Introduction to System Center 2012 Operations Manager
System Center Operations Manager ConsultantsSystem Center Operations manager, also known as SCOM or OpsMgr, is a foundational component of the System Center suite of datacenter management tools and is well into its second decade of evolution as Microsoft's flagship platform for monitoring the health, availability and performance of computers, applications, operating systems, services, and network infrastructure. SCOM can be configured to generate real-time alerts to specified network support personnel when potential issues are detected and can draw from continually expanding knowledge bases to suggest or execute corrective action before these issues become severe enough to cause productivity loss.

Major enhancements to System Center 2012 Operations Manager since SCOM 2007 include the ability to monitor infrastructure resources across multiple physical and virtual on-premises datacenters, private clouds, and Microsoft's Microsoft Azure environments. SCOM 2012 also now supports rich cross-platform monitoring including Windows Server 2012 R2, UNIX/Linux and VMware, as well as the ability to discover and monitor network routers and switches including their network interfaces and ports and the virtual LANs (VLANs) associated with them. The Microsoft Monitoring Agent combined with Operations Manager enables real-time alerting, operational reporting, and centralized configuration management of web applications written on the Microsoft .NET Framework.

Progent's Microsoft Gold-certified consulting team has extensive experience planning, implementing, enhancing and troubleshooting SCOM deployments and can provide organizations of any size with expert online or onsite consulting services for SCOM 2012. Progent can help you design a topology for SCOM servers that provides the responsiveness and availability required to monitor your IT resources effectively, whether your datacenters are on-premises, cloud-based, or a hybrid environment. Progent can also help you import and configure SCOM management packs according to best practices for monitoring network fabric as well as Microsoft and third-party applications and services. In addition, Progent can provide fast remote or on premises technical support to help you remediate critical issues detected by SCOM 2012. Progent can also provide SCOM 2016 consulting services to help you migrate efficiently from SCOM 2012 to Operations Manager 2016.

System Center 2012 Operations Manager's Infrastructure
SCOM 2012 is based on the concept of a management group, which consists of at least one management server, the operational database, the data warehouse database, and the reporting server. All of these components can be hosted on a single server or, for better performance and availability, can be distributed across multiple servers.

The management server communicates with the SCOM databases, administers the management group configuration, and communicates with and manages SCOM agents. The Operations Console and the browser-based alternative Web Console offer single-view monitoring of your infrastructure resources by communicating with a management server. The operational database, which is powered by Microsoft SQL Server, holds all of the management group's configuration settings and temporarily stores all the performance and event data for the various objects monitored within the management group. The data warehouse database is a SQL Server database that provides long-term archiving of SCOM data for use by the reporting server to generate trending and forecast reports. An optional gateway server allows SCOM to monitor computers in untrusted domains.

You can combine multiple management servers within a management group to create a resource pool to increase capacity and improve availability. SCOM automatically distributes workloads among the management servers within a resource pool and redistributes workloads in the event of a server failure.

System Center Operations Manager Infrastructure Consultants

A simple SCOM management group can be expanded into a resource pool by adding management servers

SCOM 2012 Agents
An SCOM agent is a service that is installed on a monitored computer and that reports to a single management server, called its primary management server. The agent collects data, compares the data to preconfigured values, generates alerts, and runs responses, all based on its configuration data. This allows the agent to provide a real-time health profile of its host computer and its hosted computer's applications. A proxy agent can be installed on a computer to monitor another computer that does not allow you to install an agent.

A key feature of all SCOM agents is the ability to send periodically (by default once a minute) a data packet called as a heartbeat. The heartbeat verifies the availability of the agent and the communication between the agent and its management server.

SCOM 2012 Management Packs
The data collected by an SCOM agent is specified by a management pack. Each management pack defines a series of workflows developed for a particular application, technology or feature and intended to track an object's health, generate alerts, and run remediation scripts. For example, Microsoft's first suite of management packs (MPs) for Windows Server 2012 R2 included 24 MPs, one for each of the core features of Windows Server 2012 R2 such as Active Directory, DNS, Failover Cluster, DHCP, and AD Certificate Services. Microsoft offers management packs as free downloads for all components of System Center 2012 as well as for applications such as Exchange, SharePoint, SQL Server and Dynamics CRM. Additional MPs are available for third-party application such as SAP..

Progent can help you determine the best way to design your SCOM 2012 resource pool topology to address your IT needs and budget, and Progent can help you select, deploy and configure SCOM management packs to create a System Center Operations Manager ecosystems that delivers immediate business value. Progent can also help you resolve issues that generate SCOM alerts and can provide in-depth expertise to help you adjust MP parameters to reduce false alarms or increase SCOM's sensitivity to the performance of line-of-business applications.

New Features of System Center 2012 R2 Operations Manager
System Center 2012 R2 Operations Manager includes important capabilities not available in SCOM 2007. These include Application Performance Monitoring (APM) for .NET and Java applications, cross-platform monitoring including Linux and VMware, network monitoring including physical and virtualized device views, resource pools to distribute workloads across multiple management servers, and a new Web Console for browser access to new IT pro dashboards. New capabilities offered by SCOM 2012 include:

  • Cloud Infrastructure and Fabric Monitoring
    SCOM 2012 works in conjunction with System Center 2012 R2 Virtual Machine Manager (SCVMM) to allow you to monitor the health of virtual layers for private cloud environments. The new Fabric Health Dashboard displays a comprehensive view of a private cloud and associated fabric by showing the state of hosting groups and compute resources, storage units and pools, load balancers, IIS pools, physical network nodes and virtual switches, and host clusters.
  • Monitoring Your Microsoft Azure Resources and Services
    You can monitor the availability and performance of your Microsoft Azure virtual machines and services from the SCOM 2012 Console, providing a unified, hybrid overview of Microsoft Azure and on-premises resources. You have the option of using the Azure management pack or installing the SCOM agent on Microsoft Azure virtual machines. Progent can help you decide which method makes the most sense for your environment. (Learn about Progent's Microsoft Azure planning and cloud integration consulting services.)

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    SCOM 2012 offers single-console monitoring capability across physical, virtual, and cloud infrastructure

  • Application Performance Monitoring
    SCOM 2012 supports extensive application performance monitoring (APM) capabilities for IIS-hosted .NET applications from server-side and client-side perspectives, providing performance and reliability details as well as information needed for troubleshooting. For Java applications, SCOM 2012 offers APM functions for Tomcat application servers across Windows and Linux environments.
  • Enhanced Cross-platform Monitoring
    SCOM 2012 supports rich monitoring across diverse platforms including RHEL/SUSE Linux, Unix, Oracle Solaris, HP-UX, and IBM AIX. SCOM 2012 has added support for current releases of Linux including CentOS, Debian GNU/Linux, Oracle Linux, and Ubuntu Server.
  • Resource Pools
    In SCOM 2012, the root management server has been eliminated and instead all management servers are peers. The resource pool, a new feature of SCOM 2012, is a group of management servers where workflow monitoring is automatically distributed among servers and where the workload of any failed management server is taken up automatically by other members of the resource pool. Resource pools enhance SCOM 2012 performance and availability without requiring a cluster.
  • Enhanced Web Console
    A new web console, which provides a browser-based alternative to the server-based SCOM 2012 Operations Console, offers improved performance and supports a selection of new dashboards.
  • Audit Collection Services (ACS)
    Audit Collection Services (ACS) enable SCOM to gather Windows Security event logs generated by an organization's audit policy and store the logged data in a centrally managed database. With Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) software, available from a broad selection of vendors, SCOM's ACS logs can be combined with security event data gathered from network infrastructure appliances and third-party applications. SIEM software can then normalize, correlate and aggregate all logged data associated with a security event and produce the incident report needed to comply with regulatory and industry requirements. (See Progent's SIEM solutions.)
  • IPv6 Support
    The SCOM 2012 Operations Console accepts IPv6 addresses as Network Discovery input and allows users to view IPv6 addresses in network topology displays.

How Progent Can Help You with System Center 2012 R2 Operations Manager
Progent's consulting team has over a decade of experience providing online and onsite consulting services to help organizations of all sizes to plan, deploy, optimize, expand, and troubleshoot Operations Manager solutions. Progent can help you migrate to SCOM 2012 from earlier versions or from other datacenter monitoring solutions. Progent can also help you expand the scope of your SCOM monitoring to encompass private clouds and Microsoft Azure environments. Progent's Microsoft Gold-certified consulting team can help you set up resource pools, configure virtual machines, and design management reports. In addition, Progent offers System Center 2016 consulting to help you manage a hybrid cloud environment with the latest version of System Center.

Progent can also help you select and configure SCOM management packs for your various applications, devices, and services so that you are alerted about significant issues but not overwhelmed with inconsequential alerts. Progent has in-depth experience with mission-critical Microsoft applications that can be monitored by SCOM 2012 including Microsoft Exchange, SharePoint, SQL Server, and Lync as well as third-party workloads. Progent's in-depth expertise makes it possible to resolve even the most challenging problems associated with SCOM 2012 deployment and to resolve problems uncovered by Operations Manager.

Progent can provide advanced SQL Server consulting to help you implement the operational and data warehouse databases used by SCOM 2012, and Progent's certified Windows Server 2012 R2 consultants can help deploy Windows Server 2012 R2 with Hyper-V to act as management, database, and reporting servers. Progent can also help you integrate SCOM 2012 with other components of System Center 2012 including Configuration Manager, Data Protection Manager, Virtual Machine Manager, Orchestrator, App Controller, and Endpoint Protection to create a comprehensive enterprise-class datacenter management solution that provides immediate business value. Progent's Cisco CCIE-certified network consultants can help you design and build an affordable and resilient infrastructure to support on premises, cloud-based, or hybrid environments and can help you configure SCOM's infrastructure monitoring capabilities to maximize network performance and availability.

For more information about Progent's planning, consulting and troubleshooting support for Microsoft System Center 2012 R2 Operations Manager, phone 1-800-993-9400 or visit Contact Progent.

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