Monday, September 17, 2018

SCOM - Global Service Monitor Heads to the Retirement Home

Last week, Microsoft announced that Global Service Monitor (GSM) -  the cool add-on for SCOM that gave us 'Outside-In' monitoring capability - will be hanging up its synthetic transactions and heading to the legacy solutions retirement home on 7th November 2018.

This solution was a very useful addition to our SCOM deployments when we wanted to get an external perspective of the health and performance of our web applications from locations across the globe and I've been blogging about it on and off for the best part of six years now.

The retirement announcement doesn't come as a massive surprise though as earlier this year, myself and a number of other MVP's began to notice that the tool had stopped working due to DNS resolution errors and although those issues were resolved, the writing was on the wall for its end-of-life.

So What Happens Now?

To be fair to Microsoft, they might be retiring GSM - but they're not removing the 'Outside-In' monitoring capabilities that we've become accustomed to and as part of the retirement announcement for GSM, they've also announced a new tool/script that will help you migrate your existing GSM tests over to the awesome Azure Application Insights platform.

This is a nice alternative to have as Application Insights supports the same single URL ping and multi-step web tests that GSM supported, the same frequency of the tests can be configured and the same geo-locations are also supported.

In true Microsoft monitoring fashion and as a final nod to GSM's integration with SCOM, after the expiry date in November, you'll receive an alert in the SCOM console notifying you that GSM will no longer work and that it has been retired!

Integrating the Migrated Tests with SCOM

If you're thinking that this all sounds well and good but a migration away from GSM and into Application Insights means you no longer get visibility of your external web application tests in SCOM, then Microsoft have you covered here too.

Using the brand new CTP version of the Azure Management pack (accessible here), you can integrate with your Application Insights resource group and view the alerts from the newly migrated web tests directly within the SCOM console.

How Much Will It Cost?

The nice thing about this migration process is that Microsoft have committed in their original post on the retirement of GSM that any web application tests that get migrated over to Azure Application Insights will not incur any additional costs! Here's a couple of snippets about this free-of-charge offer that I've taken directly from that post:

"GSM was provided as a software assurance benefit of your System Center purchase. When you migrate to Azure Application Insights, Microsoft will transition migrated tests and alert rules at no additional charge."

"Only the tests which are migrated using the script, would be provided at no additional charge in Azure Application Insights."


I think that with the rapid pace of cloud adoption, the sheer power and scale of Azure and factoring in the guarantee from Microsoft that these migrated tests won't cost anything extra in your Azure subscription, migrating them to Application Insights is a no-brainer.

You can download the new GSM to Azure Application Insights migration script and its associated documentation from here.

In my next post on this topic, I'll walk through the process of configuring and deploying the new script to ensure a smooth migration of those GSM web application tests to Azure. Click the link below for more information:

SCOM - GSM to Azure Application Insights Migration Walkthrough (Part 1)

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