Monday, December 31, 2012

SCOM 2012 - Installing Service Pack 1 RTM (Part 1)

At long last the final Release To Manufacturing (RTM) version bits of Service Pack 1 (SP1) for System Center 2012 are generally available (GA). 

This Service Pack has been highly anticipated as it not only delivers the customary bug fixes that are to be expected with any such release , but it also brings a large number of new exciting feature additions and enhancements.

This post is one of a number of posts that I've been working on to help people get upgraded to System Center 2012 Service Pack 1. You can check out my other posts here:

The following list contains some of the enhancements that SP1 brings to SCOM/OpsMgr 2012:

  • Support for IIS 8
  • Monitoring of WCF, MVC and .NET NT services
  • Azure SDK support
  • Monitoring of SharePoint 2010 with APM (.NET application performance monitoring)
  • Integration with Team Foundation Server 2010 and Team Foundation Server 2012
  • Conversion of Application Performance Monitoring events to IntelliTrace format
  • Support for monitoring of CentOS, Debian, and Ubuntu Linux
  • Improved Heartbeat monitoring for Unix/Linux
  • ACS support for Dynamic Access Control in Windows Server 2012
  • Global Service Monitor – cloud based capability to monitor the health of your web applications from geo-distributed perspective
  • Additional network devices models supported
  • Visibility into virtual network switches in vicinity dashboard – thru integration with Virtual Machine Manager

This three part blog post series will walk you through the upgrade of your existing SCOM 2012 environment to SP1 RTM. Some of the information contained in this post will be taken directly from the accompanying 'OM12_SP1_Upgrade' guide from Microsoft.

Be aware that System Center 2012 Service Pack 1 contains updates for the whole suite of products (not just SCOM) and it's advised that you follow a particular upgrade sequence of each product as per this warning:

If you are planning to upgrade two or more System Center components, it is imperative that you first consult the guide 'Upgrade Sequencing for System Center 2012 SP1'. The order in which you perform component upgrades is important. Failure to follow the correct upgrade sequence might result in component failure for which no recovery options exist.

It should also be noted that you can only upgrade to SP1 from an existing SCOM 2012 RTM environment and not from a SCOM 2007 R2 one. If you want to upgrade from SCOM 2007 R2 then you first need to upgrade that environment to SCOM 2012 RTM.

High-Level Overview

Here's a high-level overview of what's involved to get your SCOM 2012 environment upgraded to SP1:

The following steps outline the process for upgrading a distributed management group configuration: 
  1. Install Update Rollup 3 for SCOM 2012
  2. Accomplish Pre-Upgrade Sequence Tasks on other integrated System Center products
  3. Accomplish Pre-Upgrade Tasks
  4. Upgrade Management Servers (each management server must be upgraded)
  5. If applicable, upgrade ACS (this is because the ACS server must be on the same machine as a management server, it's recommended that you perform this step along with the upgrade of the management server on which ACS resides.)
  6. If applicable, upgrade Gateway(s)
  7. Upgrade Console(s)
  8. Push Install to Agent(s) / Upgrading Manually Installed Agents
  9. Upgrade Web Console
  10. Upgrade Reporting Server
  11. Accomplish Post-Upgrade Tasks 
* Steps 5 to 9 after Upgrading Management Servers can occur in parallel.

Pre-Upgrade Tasks

So, beginning with Step 1 from above, first ensure that you upgrade your existing SCOM 2012 environment to the latest Cumulative Update Rollup (UR3 is the most current) and then run through the SP1 Pre-Upgrade Sequence Tasks using my recent blog posts for reference:

SCOM 2012 - Deploying Cumulative Update Rollup 3 (CU3) Hotfix

SCOM 2012 - Pre and Post SP1 Upgrade Sequence Tasks

Once you have upgraded to the latest Cumulative Update and carried out the pre-upgrade sequence tasks from the links above on any applicable integrated System Center 2012 products, you can begin working through the tasks in Step 3 ensuring that you perform them in the order listed below:

1. Review the Operations Manager Event Logs
Review the event logs for Operations Manager on the management servers to look for recurring warning or critical events. Address them and save a copy of the event logs before you perform your upgrade.

2. Remove Agents from Pending Management
Before you upgrade a management server, you need to remove any agents that are in Pending Management. You can view agents that are in this state by clicking on the Administration tab from the Wunderbar, then expanding the Administration view and accessing the Pending Management view from there. Just highlight any agents in here and click on the Reject option from the Tasks menu on the right hand side to remove them from the list.

3. Disable the Notification Subscriptions
You should disable any notification subscriptions that you have created before you upgrade the management group to ensure that notifications are not sent during the upgrade process - a whole lot of noisy alerts coming into your inbox is not cool! From the Administration tab in the Wunderbar, expand the Administration view and then click on Subscriptions. From here, just right-click on your subscriptions and choose the Disable option to turn them off.

4. Stop the Services or Disable any Connectors
If you have any non-Microsoft connectors configured, you will need to refer to the relevant documentation for them to determine which Windows services need to be stopped in relation to the connector.

5. Verify that the Operational Database Has More Than 50 Percent Free Space
You must verify that the operational database has more than 50 percent of free space before you upgrade the management group because the upgrade might fail if there isn't enough space. You should also ensure that the transactions logs are 50 percent of the total size of the operational database. To check this, follow these steps:
  • On the computer that hosts the operational database, open SQL Server Management Studio
  • In the Object Explorer, expand Databases
  • Right-click the operational database, point to Reports, Standard Reports, and then click Disk Usage
  • View the Disk Usage report to determine the percentage of free space as shown in the screen below

6. Back up the Operations Manager Databases
As is always the case before you make any major changes to your SCOM environment, make sure that you have verified recent backups of the operational database (OperationsManager) and of the data warehouse database (OperationsManagerDW) before you upgrade the secondary management server. You should also create backups of databases for optional features, such as the Reporting and the Audit Collection Services (ACS) database before you upgrade them.

Conclusion (Part 1)

This concludes Part 1 of this short series on SCOM 2012 - Installing Service Pack 1 RTM. In Part 2 I'll walk through the upgrade of the SCOM 2012 components.

SCOM 2012 - Pre and Post SP1 Upgrade Sequence Tasks

If you're upgrading your SCOM 2012 RTM deployment to Service Pack 1 (SP1), then there are a few tasks that need to be carried out in sequence both before and after the service pack upgrade.

You will also need to take a look over the sequence in which the other System Center 2012 products have to be upgraded as this will play a major role in ensuring a successful upgrade of your environment. I recently posted about this product upgrade sequence and would recommend taking a look at it first here:

System Center 2012 Service Pack 1 Upgrade Sequencing

If you are happy enough with your product upgrade sequence and are now ready to start the SCOM 2012 RTM upgrade to Service Pack 1, then this blog post will detail the pre and post SP1 upgrade tasks that you need to consider. The focus for these tasks are mainly around  SCOM 2012 integrating with Virtual Machine Manager (VMM), Data Protection Manager (DPM), Orchestrator (SCORCH) and Service Manager (SM).

SCOM 2012 SP1 Pre-Upgrade Sequence Tasks

  1. If configured and it exists, remove the VMM-to-Operations Manager Integration Pack. (This will disable monitoring of your VMM environment temporarily).
  2. Remove the System Center 2012 RTM version of the Operations Manager console from all VMM and Orchestrator servers.
  3. On the computer hosting the Orchestrator Deployment Manager, uninstall the IP for System Center 2012 – Operations Manager.
  4. Follow my other blog posts on SCOM 2012 - Installing Service Pack 1 RTM to upgrade the Operations Manager components

SCOM 2012 SP1 Post-Upgrade Sequence Tasks

  1. On the computer hosting the Orchestrator Deployment Manager, install the IP for System Center 2012 – Operations Manager.
  2. Install the System Center 2012 SP1 version of the Operations Manager console on Orchestrator and VMM.
  3. Re-establish connectivity between System Center 2012 – Virtual Machine Manager (VMM) and System Center 2012 – Operations Manager SP1.
  4. Register the Operations Manager SP1 integration packs on System Center 2012 - Orchestrator SP1.
  5. Make sure that the Configuration Manager agent continues to function.
  6. Make sure that the management pack continues to function with App Controller.

Confirm Integrated Connections

Make sure that the following connections with VMM continue to function:
  • Management pack
  • Integration using the Operations Manager console (for IP communication)
Make sure that the following connections with Service Manager continue to function:
  • Connectors (2)
  • Management pack
  • Agentless monitoring
Make sure that the following connections with DPM continue to function:
  • Management pack
  • Central Console Server components
Make sure that the following connections with Orchestrator continue to function:
  • Management pack
  • Integration Pack (Operations Manger console (SDK) connection required for IP)
If you've followed all of the above tasks and ensure that SP1 has been deployed to each System Center 2012 product in the correct sequence, then you should be good to go with your new deployments!

System Center 2012 Integration Points Map

While doing some upgrade research for System Center 2012 Service Pack 1, I came across a neat diagram on TechNet that shows all of the System Center 2012 Integration Points in a map.

This might come in useful when troubleshooting integration issues or planning new deployments.

System Center 2012 Service Pack 1 Upgrade Sequencing

If you have deployed any number of System Center 2012 products into your environment and are thinking of upgrading to Service Pack 1 (SP1) any time soon, then it is really important that you upgrade your System Center 2012 products in a particular sequence and that each of the products have first been updated to at least Update Rollup 2 (Cumulative Update 2).

The following list is the recommended upgrade sequence that should be followed for System Center 2012 SP1:

  1. Orchestrator
  2. Service Manager
  3. Data Protection Manager
  4. Operations Manager
  5. Configuration Manager
  6. Virtual Machine Manager
  7. App Controller
Microsoft has recently released an on-line TechNet article that explains this sequence in detail and it's a must-read before you go ahead and deploy SP1. 

You can check out the article here:

Download the (BETA) IPD Guide for DPM 2012

Admittedly, I'm a little bit slow putting this particular post up (the arrival of a new baby seriously messes up your time schedules) but nonetheless, it's worth giving a mention to the recent release of the Open BETA Infrastructure Planning and Design (IPD) Guide for System Center 2012 Data Protection Manager (DPM 2012).

The IPD guides are invaluable when designing a technology solution for your clients or own internal business and are the first port of call for me anytime I'm carrying out a new type of deployment for our customers.

The guide is over 50 pages long and deep dives into a design process which gets broken into different steps depending on your requirements and each of these steps are then further complemented with tasks that require actions to help you through the entire process.

Don't be fooled into thinking that DPM 2012 is just a simple backup product and that it can be installed and configured in a matter of a couple of hours (I hear this a lot from consultants). Although DPM 2012 is certainly one of the quicker products to deploy from the System Center 2012 suite, it's imperative that you scope and plan your deployments properly, otherwise you will soon find yourself running out of disk space or lacking when it comes to untrusted domain (e.g. DMZ) server backups.

This guide will walk you through all of the scenarios you need to successfully deploy DPM 2012 and includes considerations for integrating DPM 2012 with SCOM 2012 by using the new Central Console functionality.

As the guide has just been recently released as a BETA, you will need to access it through the Microsoft Connect site and if you haven't registered here, will need to do so first. Better still, you should sign up for the IPD BETA program here and this will give you access to any future BETA IPD guides that get released.

The benefits of using the Connect site is that you can make comments and requests on the content of the BETA guide and if enough people make the same requests, then it's possible that the final release of the guide will have your changes included.

Here's the link to register and download the IPD Guide for System Center 2012 - Data Protection Manager (BETA)

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Learn PowerShell As Your New Year's Resolution

With New Year's Eve just around the corner, some of us may be thinking of making some New Year resolutions and personally, I find that the resolutions I tend to stick with are the ones where I commit to learning something new (as opposed to promising myself that I'll go for 5km jogs 4 days a week!)

With this in mind, I've promised myself that I'll really push on this year and go learn PowerShell v3 to bring me up to a proficient level that removes the requirement for me to constantly search the internet everytime I want to write a script to help with automating System Center.

To help me along the way with this, I've come across a few books and resources (see below) that will go a long way to helping me achieve my goal.


There are absolutely so many books out there on PowerShell and I'm just gonna list the ones that I'll be reading through, but if anyone is reading this post and has some recommendations they want me to add to the list, then feel free to leave a comment below and I'll drop it in.

Learn Windows PowerShell 3 in a Month of Lunches (Authors: Don Jones and Jeff Hicks)

Learn Windows PowerShell in a Month of Lunches (Author: Don Jones)

Windows PowerShell 3.0 Step by Step (Author: Ed Wilson)

Windows PowerShell Cookbook: The Complete Guide to Scripting Microsoft's Command Shell (Author: Lee Holmes)


If you are looking for free PowerShell resources from the community, then a great place to start is to check out the list of PowerShell MVP's on the Microsoft MVP site. Track down any blogs and Twitter accounts that these MVP's run and you'll be overloaded with great info in no time!

Click here for the link for the PowerShell MVP search.


Windows PowerShell Blog

The PowerShell Guy

PowerShell Code Repository

Jeff Wouters's Blog


Hopefully the list above is enough to get you started. I'll add to it as I come across additional resources on my journey to improving my PoSh Kung Fu!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Microsoft Service Templates and Template Explorer for System Center 2012

Just got an e-mail today about the availability of the Microsoft Service Templates for System Center 2012 and the Microsoft Service Template Explorer BETA's.

Having the ability to create service templates are an excellent addition to System Center 2012 Virtual Machine Manager (VMM) and I wrote up a post last year on how to create a basic service template here:

Cloud Management with System Center - Creating a Service Template with System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2012

Microsoft have now expanded on this concept and you can download service templates for Windows Server 2008 R2 and Windows Server 2012 to deliver automation of your server role deployments in a private cloud environment.

Use the new service templates to automate tasks, and reduce deployment time and cost by dynamically provisioning services that require Windows Server 2008 R2/2012 server roles for customer facing services.

The Service Template Explorer is an add-in that you can use in SCVMM to quickly discover and download new service templates from Microsoft - how cool is that!

To get access to these downloads, you will need to logon to the Microsoft Connect site and register for the BETA bits here:

The downloads come with some informative quick start guides that will walk you through the installation and configuration process in no time.