So at this point we have SCOM setup and running, along with a few agents installed on other systems in our environment.
Technically, you could say that we are monitoring our environment, however, this isn’t entirely accurate. In actual reality, SCOM is only monitoring the state of the Agent that is installed on the systems. Right now, SCOM has no insight into the Operating System, or any middleware platforms (i.e. SQL, IIS, AD, etc.). We are going to correct that by importing Management Packs.
Download Management Packs
To start, we need to download the Management Packs (MPs) we want to install. Open a browser and navigate to the System Center Marketplace (URL: http://systemcenter.pinpoint.microsoft.com/en-US/home).
From here, enter your search term, and click Search. For our example we will enter “Windows Server” (I will explain why shortly). Currently there are 539 results, though this may change depending on when you perform your search.
In reference to SCOM, we are specifically looking for ‘Monitoring Management Pack’ as this marketplace will also contain other packs for use with SCCM, Orchestrator, etc. In our example of “Windows Server”, look for “Windows Server Operating System Monitoring Management Pack”, and click the title (which will be a hyperlink). This will bring you to that specific Management Packs page.
From this page you can read information about it (i.e. which OS’s it supports), reviews, release date, etc. You will need to determine if this Management Pack is applicable to your environment. This one is applicable to my lab environment I am using, because I have Windows Server 2012. Click the orange ‘Download’ button in the top left area of the page. This will bring you to the Microsoft Download Center.
From here you can read further information about system requirements, installation instructions, etc. When you are ready, click the red ‘Download’ button.
You will be prompted with a dialog, asking you which files you want to download. The MSI file contains the Management Pack, and the DOCX provides more in depth information. I would recommend downloading both files. From my personal experience, I would read the entire Management Pack documentation twice (and I have done so for each/every Management Pack that I have implemented). This serves 2 purposes. First, I highlight points that are applicable to the environment that I am implementing it in. Second, I review it a second time focusing on the points I’ve highlighted.
Select the file(s) that you want to download, and click the Next button.
Download the files to your either your workstation or your SCOM server. I mention your workstation, only because you probably don’t have Microsoft Word installed on your server, and you need to be able to read the documentation.
At this point to move forward, I will assume that you have downloaded or copied the MSI file (in this specific example ‘System Center Monitoring Pack-Windows Server Operating System.msi’) to your SCOM server.
Install Management Packs
On your SCOM server, run the MSI to install it. Read and accept the License Agreement and click Next.
Next select the folder you want to install to.
There are a few things to take note of at this point. First, remember the directory that the Management Pack is installed to, as this will be used in a later step. Second, it is recommended that you select the option to install the Management Pack for ‘Everyone’ to avoid any access related issues. Third, and the most important, is that this is actually NOT installing the Management Pack.
I disagree with the wording used in this dialog, since in fact this is not installing anything, but rather is extracting the files required for installation (you’ll see what I mean shortly). But I digress. Click Next.
Finally, click the Install button.
The installation will be quick. Once it is complete, click Close.
When you close the installation dialog, the directory that you installed the Management Pack to MAY open in File Explorer. I stress “may” because I haven’t noticed every Management Pack that I have installed behave this way. If File Explorer does open, you can close it, as we will work with these files in another step.
Now that we have “installed” the Management Pack so that the .MP files are extracted, we can now move onto the final step, importing.
Here is a video walk through:
Import Management Pack
At this point, we have downloaded the Management Packs we are interested in (in our example the Windows Server OS), installed it on the SCOM server so that the .MP files are extracted and available for use. Now we have to import the Management Packs so that SCOM will have the information required to identify and monitor the technology platform.
Start by opening the SCOM console, and navigating to the Administration space.
From the Administration space, you can either click on the link ‘Required: Import Management Packs’, or you can right-click on the Management Pack item in the left navigation pane. I am going to demonstrate using the navigation pane option, since the link may not always be present after you import a few Management Packs.
So, right-click on the Management Pack item in the navigation pane, and choose ‘Import Management Packs’. This will cause the Import Management Packs wizard to launch.
From the first and really only dialog screen, click the Add button. You will be presented with 2 options, ‘Add From Catalog’ and ‘Add From Disk’. The ‘Add From Catalog’ option will enable you to search the catalog directly, however, most Production systems don’t have an Internet connection, which this option requires.
Therefore, we will demonstrate and choose the ‘Add From Disk’ option. When you select this option, you will immediately receive the following prompt. Since, in Production, your server probably will not have Internet access, we will choose ‘No’.
Now, you will see the File Explorer dialog. From here you need to navigate to the location that you installed the Management Pack (in our example it is: C:\Program Files (x86)\System Center Management Packs\System Center Monitoring Pack-Windows Server Operating System\).
When you navigate to the location that the Management Pack is installed, you will then see several .MP files. You can select more than one MP file at a time. Since our lab example is running on Windows Server 2012, we will select the ‘Microsoft.Windows.Server.2012.Discovery.mp’ and ‘Microsoft.Windows.Server.2012.Monitoring.mp’ files, then click Open.
The system will add the .MP files to the import list. However, you will notice that there are a few errors! Why is that? As you can see in the Status Details this is because some Management Packs have dependencies. To see which dependencies you are missing, click the Error link.
You can see from the following 2 examples, that some Management Packs have more than one dependency.
So, to be able to import the Windows Server 2012 Operating System Management Pack(s), we need to also import 3 additional Management Packs. Thankfully, we can import all of these Management Packs at the same time. So, click Cancel on the Import Management Pack Error dialog, and go back to the Import Management Packs dialog and click Add > From Disk, and select the other dependent Management Packs.
Your Select Management Packs dialog should then look similar to this:
Now all you have to do is click the Install button. The import will begin, and may take some time depending on the number of Management Packs you are importing.
Once the import has completed, click Close.
You can confirm that the Management Packs have been successfully imported, but looking for them in the Management Pack list.
Additionally, when a new Management Pack is imported, there may be new/updated Reports included. As well, if you navigate to the Monitoring space, you will see new folders/views for the technology platform that the Management Pack relates to.
In our example, we now see the Microsoft Windows Server folder, and within there it has a Windows Server State view that shows the status of the server(s). With this new Management Pack imported into SCOM (specifically the ‘Discovery’ Management Pack), SCOM is now able to identify systems that are running this technology platform. This is how it works for all Management Packs (i.e. SQL, IIS, WSUS, AD, etc.). SCOM will now start Alerting to issues that pertain to the technologies that it can detect and monitor.
Congratulations, your SCOM environment is now able to monitor your Windows Server 2012 Operating System and report/alert on any issues. For any other technologies, repeat the same steps described.
Here is a video walk through:
Now that we have SCOM monitoring and alerting to issues in our environment, we need a way to easily be notified when there is an issue. That’s why we need to Enable Notification Channels. Stay tuned for the next post.