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Advanced Portal for SCSM 2012 by CodeCraft-Solutions – Part 1: Introduction


If anyone has worked with System Center Service Manager, and in particular the Portal, you know that there is a lot to be desired by way of functionality, etc.

Now, since the release of SharePoint 2013, and the Service Manager Portal NOT being supported on this platform (and through other comments I have read), this is evidence that Microsoft is working on some big changes with the Portal. Speculation is that they will remove its dependence on SharePoint completely! What they will replace it with, who knows. Hopefully it won’t be entirely Silverlight-based, and hopefully they will utilize the more standard HTML5/CSS3 structure to help users to be able to make customizations and changes more easily.

But, for the time being, we get what we have, default and “out of the box”. Well, not exactly. Since there is a big demand for a better looking, improved SCSM Portal, several companies have worked to create something to fill this gap.

One example is the “Advanced Portal for SCSM 2012” by CodeCraft-Solutions. If you would like to see their portal solution in action, watch the following YouTube video:

So, for demonstration purposes, we will walk through the requirements, installation, and troubleshooting of a trial version of this product.

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SMTRAK Entreprise Dashboard by Signature Consultancy – Part 4: Offline License Activation


In our previous post, we completed the Installation and Configuration of SMTrak. However, if your web server did not have an active Internet connection, you were not able to activate the trial license (which was the case in my lab). So, that means you need to perform an Offline License Activation. Here are the steps provided by the Vendor’s Deployment and Configuration Guide.

The Offline Activation process allows you to activate SMTrak on a web server that is unable to contact the Internet.

The SMTrak licensing process will automatically fail over to the Offline Activation mode if Online Activation is not successful. The Offline Activation process consists of generating a license request file from the web server. This is an XML file with details of your license and your server.

Email the file to licensing@signatureconsultancy. The licensing team will email you back your license validation.

 

Here are the specific steps from the guide:

If Online activation fails, Offline Activation will be enabled automatically as shown below.

NOTE: Even though this screenshot is from the previous version, the process/steps are identical in the latest version.

SMTrak - Settings - Activate License (Offline Mode)

Press the Submit button on the form shown above. (License Key should be already entered, if not just enter your license key).

When prompted, choose a location to store the Offline License activation request file and click Save.

SMTrak - Settings - License File

Email this file to licensing@signatureconsultancy.com use for subject line: [SMTRAK Activation Request].

NOTE: The SMTrak licensing team is available Monday to Friday 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM (GMT +2) to process any activation request. While waiting for the activation file, you can close the SMTrak Settings Page.

 

Once you receive your license Activation email, on your webserver browse to SMTrak settings page http://WebServerName:8090/Settings.

Type your license Key and click submit to activate. When online Activation fails, you will be prompted for offline activation.

Select the option to “upload validated file” from the list.

SMTrak - Settings - Upload Validation File

Click browse to select the Validated file you received by email, then click Submit.

SMTrak - Settings - Upload Validation File - Browse

Your license details will be displayed.

SMTrak - Validated License Information

If you have come to this post from Part 3: Installation And Configuration, return to that post to continue on. Else, that’s it!

 

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.

SMTrak Entreprise Dashboard by Signature Consultancy – Part 3: Installation And Configuration


In our previous post, we covered the Requirements to the Enterprise Dashboards by Signature Consultancy. In this post we will walk through the Installation.

Installation Steps

Login to the web server with an account that has privileges to install a new application.

Download or copy the installation file to the web server, and then run the .MSI file (SMTrak.msi).

SignatureConsultancy_SMTrak_RunMSI

 

On the Welcome screen, click Next.

Install Wizard - Welcome

On the License Agreement screen, select “I accept the terms in the license agreement“, then click Next.

Install Wizard - License Agreement

On the Customer Information screen, fill out your information, then click Next.

Install Wizard - Customer Information

On the Ready to Install the Program screen, click Install.

Install Wizard - Install

On the Installation Complete screen, click Finish.

Install Wizard - Finish

Now that the installation is completed, we need to configure SMTrak.

 

Configuration Steps

Before You Begin Configuration

To run SMTRAK you require a License Key. You can obtain a license key if you purchase SMTRAK or if you request a trial. Trial License keys will run for 30 days only.

Once you purchase SMTRAK or request a trial, you should receive your license key by email from licensing@signatureconsultancy.com after your download.

 

Starting SMTRAK For The First Time

Log onto the web server and follow these steps.

First, launch a web browser.

Remember, SMTrak is supported on the following browsers:

  • Internet Explorer v10 and above
  • Google Chrome v33 and above
  • Firefox v28 and above
  • Safari v5.1 and above

In the web browser, navigate to http://<WebServerName&gt;:8090.

NOTE: SMTRAK is configured to run on port 8090 by default. This port can be changed from IIS Manager if required.


 

IMPORTANT: When I attempted to navigate to http://<WebServerName&gt;:8090, I encountered the following error.

HTTP Error 500.19 - Internal Server Error
The requested page cannot be accessed because the related configuration data for the page is invalid.
Config Error: This configuration section cannot be used at this path. This happens when the section is locked at a parent level. Locking is either by default (overrideModeDefault="Deny"), or set explicitly by a location tag with overrideMode="Deny" or the legacy allowOverride="false".

Website Error

The Deployment and Configuration guide provided by the Vendor has an Appendix for Troubleshooting Your Installation, however, I did not see this error/issue mentioned. Therefore, I contacted the developers for assistance.

I received the following information from the developer:

Some of the “IIS 8.0” default features are not enabled by default on “IIS 8.5”, to fix this error go to “Program and Features” under “Control Panel” and Click on “Turn Windows features on or off

under “Internet Information Services” select “World Wide Web Services” and then “Application Development Features” and enable the below 4 features:

  • ASP.Net 4.5
  • .Net Extensibility
  • ISAPI Extensions
  • ISAPI Filters

So, I launched Service Manager again, clicked on Manager > Add Roles And Features, and navigated to the Server Roles screen, and expanded Web Server (IIS). I clicked the “ASP.NET 4.5”  Application Development feature to add it, and it automatically added the other 3 missing features.

Missing Features

Then click Next, until you get to the Confirmation screen, then click Install.

After the missing features are installed, I re-attempted to navigate to http://<WebServerName&gt;:8090. The result? I am properly presented with the Settings screen! Let’s continue with the rest of the Installation and Configuration.


In the web browser, navigate to http://<WebServerName&gt;:8090.

If this is the first time SMTrak is launched, it will automatically redirect you to the Settings page (http://<WebServerName&gt;:8090/Settings), so that you can configure the application.

On the Settings page, under the Activation License area, enter the License Key that you obtained from the Vendor, and then click Activate.

NOTE: Even though this screenshot shows version 1.0.0.9, the settings/process is identical for the latest version.

SMTrak - Settings - Activate License (Highlight)

IMPORTANT: The default activation mode is ‘online’, which requires an Internet connection. If the web server does not have access to the Internet, the activation mode will fail back to ‘offline’ mode. To perform the activation in ‘offline’ mode, see Part 4 of this series.

Once the activation is complete, the license details will be shown.

Now that the installation is activated, we can configure the database connections and user access permissions.

 

Configure Database Connections

SMTRAK requires 2 database connections, one to your Service Manager database and a second connection to the DWDataMart database.

The Service Account (SMTrak.Connect) should already be created as per Part 2: Requirements and Prerequisites > Create and Configure SMTRAK Access Account.

 

Service Manager Database Server

On the SMTRAK Settings page, under the Service Manager Database Server section, you need to fill in the connection details for your Service Manager Database.

Enter your SCSM Database Server Name, your SCSM Database Name (ServiceManager by default), your domain name, the Service Account (SMTrak.Connect), and the password for the Service Account.

SMTrak - Settings - Service Manager Database Server

 

To validate access to your Service Manager database, click on the Test Connection button. Only once the connection is tested successfully will you be able to click on Save to save the settings.

NOTE: In my lab example, I am using a Named SQL Instance, and not the default instance. Therefore my Server field uses ServerName\InstanceName.

 

Data Warehouse Database Server

On the SMTRAK Settings page, under the Data Warehouse Database Server section, you need to fill in the connection details for your Service Manager Data Warehouse database (where your DWDataMart database is hosted).

Enter your SCSM Data Warehouse Database Server Name, your DWDatamart Database name, your domain name, the Service Account (SMTrak.Connect), and the password for the Service Account.

SMTrak - Settings - Data Warehouse Database Server

To validate access to your SCSM DWDatamart database, click on the Test Connection button. Only once the connection is tested successfully will you be able to click on Save to save the settings.

NOTE: In my lab example, I am using a Named SQL Instance, and not the default instance. Therefore my Server field uses ServerName\InstanceName.

 

Configure SMTRAK User Access

On the Settings page go to the Access Permissions section (at the bottom). By default, you will see the account you are using already included as an Admin account for SMTRAK.

SMTrak - Settings - Access Permissions

To grant access to other users, click on the “+” button. On the Active Directory Users dialog, type the domain user account (in Domain\UserName format) you want to grant access to.

For example: SC\Adin.Ermie.

SMTrak - Access Permissions (Add User)

As you type the username, Active Directory will be searched and filtered dynamically.

SMTrak - Access Permissions (Add User) - AD Dynamic

Select the user you want, then click the Add Users button. The user will appear in the Access Permissions list. You will then need to select the processes (i.e. Incident, Problem, etc.) that you want to grant the user access to. This will grant the user access to the corresponding reports.

IMPORTANT: If you select the “Settings” checkbox, this will make the user an Administrator in SMTrak, and they will have access to the Settings page and be able to change the configurations and permissions.

SMTrak - Access Permissions (New User Added)

You now have SMTrak installed. Have fun exploring the various areas.

SMTrak - Snapshot

In the last post of this series, I will document my experience with the Offline License Activation process.

 

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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