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Upcoming Articles


Hello All,

I thought I would add a sticky post to the home page, to list/show what articles ans series I am preparing to post. Hope this keeps you coming back for more. Here is the list of upcoming articles (in no particular order).

MiCloud Upcoming Articles

  • Applying SCVMM 2012 R2 Update Rollups To Perimeter Hyper-V Hosts
  • Monitoring Linux with SCOM 2012 R2 (multi-part series)
  • Patching Hyper-V Hosts with SCVMM 2012 (multi-part series)
  • SCSM Dashboard – Expit EnSight (multi-part series)
  • SCVMM 2012 R2 Compliance Scan Fails With Error 2927
  • SCOM SNMP Monitoring
  • SCUtils Knowledge Base For SCSM 2012 (multi-part series)

If you have an idea or request for an article/post, or would like an existing article to be expanded upon, please send me an email via the About Me page and I will do my best to accommodate. Please note that, when suggestions/requests are received, they are queued as draft posts. This means that there may be a delay before a requested post is written and made available, but rest assured, I am working on it.

Don’t forget to rate, comment, subscribe, and share any articles you found helpful or interesting.

Thank you to all my followers.


I wanted to write a post/series on something that I knew about, but never had the opportunity to actually do in a Production environment; monitoring Linux/UNIX servers using System Center Operations Manager (SCOM).

All of my experience has been in a Windows-based environment. Even though the environments I have worked in did have some Linux/UNIX systems, these were not within my realm of jurisdiction, and therefore I could not install the SCOM Agent on these servers.

So, what better way to gain experience with something, than doing some research, and trying it out. Here it goes. Let’s start with setting up a Linux server. In my lab I’m running Hyper-V, so I will setup a Linux VM to work with.

The first thing that you need to do is choose an appropriate Linux/UNIX distribution. System Center Operations Manager supports multiple versions/editions of Linux/UNIX, but it doesn’t support ALL versions. Here is the link for the Supported UNIX and Linux Operating System Versions, specific to System Center 2012, 2012 SP1, and 2012 R2 Operations Manager.

Review the list, and choose a version you would like to work with. If you are not familiar with UNIX or Linux at all (like myself), I have read that it SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 11 is easier to work with because it has setup wizard, which we Windows-IT folk are more used to.

Now that we have chosen a Linux distribution to use, SUSE 11 in my lab example, we have to obtain the files necessary. Go to the SUSE webpage and navigate to the SUSE Downloads page. In their Basic Search tool, select the appropriate options to find the download. At the time of this writing, the latest version of SUSE is version 11 SP3.

IMPORTANT: You will need to register for a free account before you will be allowed to download the ISOs.

Monitor UNIX - 01 - SUSE Download

After you have downloaded  the ISOs, we need to create a VM to install it onto. I’m not going to detail how to create a Virtual Machine (VM) in Hyper-V; but if you do need me to detail/document that piece, please email me and I will add it. On my VM, I have mounted the first ISO, and then powered on the VM.

Setup/Installation of SUSE Linux

NOTE: Within the SUSE VM, use the up and down arrows and the Tab key to navigate around, and the Enter key to accept or confirm a selection.

On the setup screen, highlight the Installation option, and then press Enter.

Install SUSE - 01 - Start Screen

Once the OS loads, on the Welcome screen, change the Language and Keyboard Layout options as desired, then click Next.

Install SUSE - 02 - Welcome

On the Media Check screen, click the Start Check button to check the files contained on the ISO. Once the check has completed successfully, click Next.

Install SUSE - 03 - Media Check

After the System Analysis runs, you will be on the Installation Mode screen. Choose New Installation and then click Next.

Install SUSE - 04 - Installation Mode

On the Time Zone screen, make the appropriate selection for Region and Time Zone, then click Next.

Install SUSE - 05 - Clock and Time Zone

On the Server Scenario screen, select the “Physical Machine (also for Fully Virtualized Guests” option, then click Next.

Install SUSE - 06 - Server Scenario

One the Installation Summary screen, review the information displayed, and then click Install.

Install SUSE - 07 - Installation Summary

On the Confirm Package License screen, review the information displayed, then click I Agree.

Install SUSE - 08 - Confirmation

On the Confirm Installation screen, click Install.

Install SUSE - 09 - Confirm Installation

Now we can watch the installation being performed. But we’re not done yet.

Install SUSE - 10 - Installation In Progress

Configuration of SUSE Linux

After the installation has been completed, we have to perform some configuration steps.

The first configuration you will be prompted with is for the Password for the System Administrator “Root” account. Provide a password and then click Next.

IMPORTANT: This is the most important thing to provide (and remember). The “Root” user account is equal to the Windows Local Administrator account.

Config SUSE - 01 - Root Password

On the Hostname screen, provide a name for the computer, and also provide a domain name, then click Next.

IMPORTANT: The domain name provided must NOT be a valid Active Directory domain name. Also ensure that the “Change Hostname via DHCP” option is NOT selected.

Config SUSE - 02 - HostName

On the Network screen, make the appropriate changes as you require, then click Next.

In my lab example, I disabled the Firewall, enabled VNC Remote Administration,

Config SUSE - 03 - Network

On the Test Internet Connection screen, you can choose the option to “Yes, Test Connection to the Internet” or “No, skip this test“, then click Next.

In my lab example, my VMs are not connected to the Internet, so I chose to skip the test.

Config SUSE - 04 - Test Internet Connection

On the Network Services Configuration screen, click Next.

Config SUSE - 05 - Network Service Configuration

On the User Authentication Method screen, you can choose the Authentication Method that you want to use, then click Next.

In my lab example, I used the “Local (/etc/passwd)” option, since this setup is similar to the Windows “Workgroup” type setup.

Config SUSE - 06 - User Authentication Method

On the New Local User screen, I am going to create a new account to use with SCOM monitoring, then click Next.

Config SUSE - 07 - New Local User

On the Release Notes screen, review the information, then click Next.

Config SUSE - 08 - Release Notes

On the Hardware Configuration screen, click Next.

Config SUSE - 09 - Hardware Configuration

Now the installation/configuration is finally complete! Click Finish.

Config SUSE - 10 - Installation Completed

Now you can login to the new Linux installation. Login with the Root account that we setup.

Config SUSE - 11 - Login

If everything is setup and configured correctly, your home screen should look something like this.

Config SUSE - 12 - Home Screen

Now that we have a UNIX / Linux system setup, in our next post of this series we will setup SCOM to be able to monitor Linux systems.


Install System Center Service Manager Technical Preview

In my Lab example, I am using the following:

  • Windows Server Technical Preview
  • SQL Server 2014

These have been setup as per my previous guides for the OS and SQL setup.

IMPORTANT: In order to evaluate the System Center Technical Preview, youMUST be using the Windows Server Technical Preview, and SQL Server 2014; as per the following TechNet article: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dn806369.aspx.

Install SCSM Management Server

Start by copying the EXE file into the SCSM VM. As of this writing, the Technical Preview EXE is labelled as “en_system_center_technical_preview_service_manager_x86_x64_5650108“.

Start by running the EXE, on the first screen, click Next.

SCSM vNext - 01 - Setup Wizard

On the Location screen, choose the location to extract the installation files, then click Next.

SCSM vNext - 02 - Location

On the Ready to Extract screen, click Extract.

SCSM vNext - 03 - Ready To Extract

On the completion screen, click Finish.

SCSM vNext - 04 - Extract Complete

Once the files are extracted, start the installation by running Setup.exe.

On the splash screen click the Install link.

SCSM vNext - 05 - Splash Screen

On the Product Registration screen, enter the applicable information, including reading and accepting the license terms, and click Next.

SCSM vNext - 06 - Registration

On the Installation Location screen, you can change the install location if you want to, or accept the defaults, then click Next. From my personal experience, I have seen setups in Production environments have a dedicated HDD for the Operating System, and another for middleware.

SCSM vNext - 07 - Installation Location

The Prerequisite check will run, and inform you of any issues found. If there are issues detected, resolve them as indicated, and then click the Check Prerequisites Again button. Until everything passes (or if there are only Warnings left), you will not be able to continue with the installation. Once the prereq check passes, you can click Next to continue with the installation.

SCSM vNext - 08 - Prerequisites

On the Service Manager database screen enter the SQL server name and select the appropriate instance, then click Next.

For this lab example, we are installing the Service Manager database on the same server as the Service Manager Management Server.

SCSM vNext - 10 - Database

NOTE: You may encounter the following error when you get to the Service Manager Database screen. To understand more about this, see this TechNet article. According to Microsoft: “You can bypass this warning message and continue to install using the SQL_Latin1_General_CP1_CI_AS.” Read the article so that you are aware of why this occurs, etc.

This is particularly important if you plan on using Service Manager’s CMDB in connection with System Center Operations Manager (SCOM) and/or System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM).

When you encounter this Warning, just click OK.

SCSM vNext - 09 - Warning

On the Management Group screen, provide a Management Group Name, and also add Group Administrators. It is easier if you create/add an Active Directory Security Group and add it as the Management Group Administrators, so that all you have to do is add users to the Security Group. Then click Next.

SCSM vNext - 11 - Management Group

On the Service Manager Services screen, either accept the default of Local System Account, or choose to provide a Domain Account.

NOTE: If you choose to use a Domain Account, the Next button will be disabled until that account is successfully tested (via the Test Credentials button).

Make your applicable choice, and then click Next.

SCSM vNext - 12 - Services Account

On the Service Manager Workflow Account screen, either accept the default of Local System Account, or choose to provide a Domain Account.

NOTE: If you choose to use a Domain Account, the Next button will be disabled until that account is successfully tested (via the Test Credentials button).

Make your applicable choice, and then click Next.

SCSM vNext - 13 - Workflow Account

On the CEIP screen, you can choose to join the program or not. There may be concerns about sending Production-type data to Microsoft, however, I recommend joining the program as this is how Microsoft improves their software. If no one sent their experience information, then the tools we use would never be improved. Mark your choice and then click Next.

SCSM vNext - 14 - CEIP

The Microsoft Update screen is new to System Center. Make your choice and click Next.

SCSM vNext - 15 - Microsoft Update

Review the information presented on the Summary screen, and click Install.

SCSM vNext - 16 - Summary

Once the installation in complete, ensure that the ‘Open the Encryption Backup or Restore Wizard after Setup Closes’ checkbox is selected. It is recommended to backup the encryption key as part of your disaster recovery planning.

SCSM vNext - 17 - Setup Complete

Encryption Key Backup

When the Encryption Key Backup wizard launches, read the Introduction information and then click Next.

Encryption Key Backup 01

On the Backup or Restore screen, select ‘Backup the Encryption Key’ and click Next.

 Encryption Key Backup 02

On the Provide A Location screen, it is recommended to store the Encryption Key backup in a secure location (i.e. a file server that is regularly backed up). Enter an applicable UNC path, along with a filename, and then click Next.

Encryption Key Backup 03

On the Provide A Password screen, provide a password for security purposes (and keep it in a secure location), and click Next.

 Encryption Key Backup 04

Once the backup is complete, click Finish.

 Encryption Key Backup 05

That completes the installation of Service Manager’s Management Server Technical Preview.

As you can see from the About screen, the version of SCSM, even though it shows “System Center 2012 R2″, the version is: 7.5.4108.0 (whereas the actual 2012 R2 product is version 7.5.3079.0).

SCSM vNext - 18 - About

At this point, I haven’t noticed anything new/different with the product. However, as the product is updated, I will keep you informed of any interesting and important changes.

NOTE: The following features have been removed from the System Center Technical Preview, as per the following TechNet article: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-ca/library/dn806370.aspx.

  • Microsoft ITGRC Process Management PackSP1 for System Center Service Manager
    • Status in System Center Technical Preview: Removed.
    • Replacement: We recommend that you engage with proactive governance partners that can integrate into your current System Center investments.
  • Service ManagerCSPP
    • Status in System Center Technical Preview: Removed.
    • Replacement: Use Windows Azure Pack for Windows Server.

Release Note Issues (as per http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dn806369.aspx)

See the referenced TechNet article for workarounds.

  • Manual steps to configure remote SQL Server 2014 Reporting Services
  • Service Manager console Installed on a VMM Server Causes VMM Connector Failure
  • Self-Service Portal Installation
  • Data Warehouse Setup Might Fail if the Database or Log Path Includes a Single Quotation Mark Character
  • Setup Might Fail if the Service Manager Authoring Tool Has Been Installed
  • Setup Does Not Install the Report Viewer Language Pack
  • Service Manager Setup Fails if a SQL Server Instance Contains a $ Character
  • Orchestrator Connector Account Password Cannot Contain $ Characters
  • Information Linked from Setup Might Not Display Localized Content
  • Full Text Search Does Not Work for Some Turkish Language Characters
  • Unassigned Virtual Machines Appear in Reporting Information
  • Virtual Machine Component Aggregation Is Misleading
  • Reassigned Virtual Machine Values Might Be Erroneously Calculated
  • Values in Price Sheets Are Effective Starting on the Next Day
  • After the Display Language Is Changed, the Wizard Text Might Display an Incorrect Language
  • Errors Might Occur When You Modify or Delete Service Request Template Items
  • Double-Byte Characters Might Not Display Correctly if a Knowledge Article Is Created from a TXT File
  • Shortcut Keys Have Limited Functionality
  • Configuring the Reporting Server Might Take a Long Time
  • Double-Byte Characters Are Sent Incorrectly to Search Provider
  • Sorting Knowledge Articles by Date Does Not Work

In our last post, we covered the Installation of the Advanced Portal for SCSM 2012. In this post, we will walk through some Troubleshooting steps.

According to the Installation Guide from the Vendor, here are the steps as requested by the Vendor.

 

Troubleshooting the Advanced Portal

If you have any problems with the installation, please collect some additional information, to help us in solving the issue.

Some tips, where you can find usable:

  • Windows Event Log (Application or Installation source)
  • Next to the deployment tool, you will find a trace.log file with verbose information about the deployment process.

SCSM Advanced Portal - TraceLogFile

  • DebugView is always helpful, it gives a little more information then the above mentioned log options.

If you have problems with starting, running the application, please send us the trace.*.log files found under the installation directory, with an error description. The logs are under the [sysdrive]:\Program Files (x86)\CodeCraft\AdvancedPortal” (or under the custom install directory).

If you notice my Trace.Application.Log file, you will notice that there are multiple entries that show “Initializing view before first use” and then some Hungarian text.

SCSM Advanced Portal - TraceApplicationLogFile

I have sent these Log files to the Vendor for further analysis/direction.

Alternatively, on the Settings page, you can choose English from the list of language, as displayed in the following screen shot.

SCSM Advanced Portal - Settings Page (Language List)

Obviously, unless you read Hungarian, you might have a hard time finding the Save button to apply the language change. Near the top left on the Settings page, look for the button labelled “Mentés” which is “Save” in Hungarian.

SCSM Advanced Portal - Settings Page (Save)

The site will re-load after the language re-configuration, and will finally be shown in English.

SCSM Advanced Portal - Settings Page (English)

SCSM Advanced Portal - Home Page (English)

Hopefully the Vendor will correct this minor issue, and update the installer.

UPDATE: I have received a response back from the Vendor, indicating that “Yes, it’s a good point. We will add an option to the installer, for choosing language. There is a configuration file, inside the installation package, with the default portal language. This is set by the build server. In this case it was built for Hungarian.

 

Default Portal Views

Additionally, the Vendor also provided the following additional information (with some screenshots added by me for clarity).

The default views on the portal are generated on the first installation. So probably you will have them with Hungarian labels. However you can rename them, I’ll describe you below, how you can re-generate them with English labels.

Stop the Advanced Portal site in the IIS Manager.

SCSM Advanced Portal - Stop Website

On the Service Manager Management Server, open the Service Manager console, navigate to Administration > Management Packs, and delete the “CodeCraft EnterpriseManagement Common Library“.

SCSM Advanced Portal - Delete CodeCraft MP

Back on the Advanced Portal web server, open Windows Explorer and navigate to the Advance Portal installation directory (by default at C:\Program Files (x86)\CodeCraft\AdvancedPortal). Within the this directory, look for the Web.Config file, and open it (i.e. in Notepad).

SCSM Advanced Portal - Install Directory

With the Web.Config file open in an editor, find the line “<add key=”IsDeployment” value=”false” />”, and change the Value to “true”. In the Web.Config file, this should be at Line 73.

SCSM Advanced Portal - WebConfig - IsDeploymentKey

Also find the line “<globalization culture=”en-US” uiCulture=”en-US” />”, and confirm that it is set to “en-US”. In the Web.Config file, this should be at Line 81.

SCSM Advanced Portal - WebConfig - GlobalizationKey

Once you have made these changes save the Web.Config file. Go back into the Internet Information Services (IIS) Manager, and Start the website.

SCSM Advanced Portal - Start Website

Re-launch the website in a browser. This will cause the Advanced Portal to re-import the required Management Packs, and should generate the Views in English. Also, the “IsDeployment” key will automatically be changed back to “False”. This worked successfully in my testing.

SCSM Advanced Portal - Home Page (English)

Well, that’s my review/experience with the Advanced Portal for SCSM. Give it a try, and see if it will fill the current SCSM Portal gaps, and fill your company’s needs.

 

As always, if this post helped you in any way, and you would like to show your appreciation, please rate it and comment on it. Also, feel free to contact me (via the About Me page) with requests for future articles.

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