SCOM APM for Orchestrator, SPF, SMA and WAP

Orchestrator, Service Provider Foundation, Service Management Automation and Windows Azure Pack are all web applications or web services or both. They are all monitored by IIS 8 Management Pack in Operations Manager but that MP can only provide monitoring to certain levels to solve these limitations in SCOM (SP1 and R2 for IIS8) we have Application Performance Monitoring (APM). This blog post does not aim to show you some advanced features in APM but rather to show you how to enable some advanced monitoring for those services. As SMA and WAP are available only in R2 I will use the R2 wave. Let’s start with enabling APM for every service:

Service Provider Foundation

Open SCOM console. Go to Authoring pane. Start Add Monitoring Wizard.

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Select .NET Application Performance Monitoring

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Give a friendly name to the application and create new management pack where the settings for this application will be saved.

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Select Add.

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Click on Search and add the two web service in SPF – VMM and Admin. Click OK.

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It is always a good practice to put Environment.

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Accept the default settings. The idea is to fine tune these settings depending on the performance of the application in your environment. If you have more than one environment (development, test, production and etc.) these settings can be different because some environments will have less resources than other and the application can perform slowly because of that. SPF is only web service and because of that does not have portal so client-side monitoring is not relevant. On summary page click Create and wait until the APM for SPF is created.

And the result is:

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From now on when you have data for a long term period you can fine-tune the APM settings. You can even set exceptions for some methods.

Orchestrator Web Service and Console

Orchestrator has Web Service and Console (Web Application).

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One Web service and Web application (portal) added,

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Orchestrator has web application but do not enable client-side monitoring for now.

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To enable client-side monitoring you need first have to check if the web application could be enabled for this client side monitoring. This is done trough a task Check Client-Side Monitoring Compatibility which is available in Monitoring Pane –> Application Monitoring –> .NET Monitoring –> IIS 8.0 ASP.NET Web Application Inventory View. Select the web application you would like to test and execute the task from the Task pane.

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I’ve enabled the client-side monitoring for the Orchestrator console but even I didn’t received any error in SCOM or on the Orchestrator portal no performance counters were shown from client-side:

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Windows Azure Pack

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You need to add all found Web Applications for Windows Azure Pack:

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I am not using WAP intensively in this environment  so I do not have so much data:

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Because I do not have even database created for WAP you can see the performance exception created for that:

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APM can very useful to public user portal like Tenant Site in WAP:

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Because of that I’ve tried to check if client-side monitoring can be enabled but unfortunately the check returned negative results:

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Service Management Automation

Service Management Automation is part of Orchestrator setup but can be connected to WAP.

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Only one web service is available so no client-side monitoring will be available:

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As a summary I hope this will help you in providing advanced monitoring for these Web Services and Application as they are of the Microsoft Cloud OS and critical for Cloud Providers. What I would like to see in the future instructions or possibility from Microsoft on how to enable client-side monitoring for at least the Tenant Site.

Some Tips on Upgrading System Center 2012 SP1 to R2 Preview

After covering the installation of the R2 wave for System Center 2012 I will now cover the upgrade from SC 2012 SP1 by providing some tips.

Note: Do not upgrade your production environment to R2 Preview. Only try to upgrade in lab environment.

So let’s start. With System Center we need upgrade sequence for upgrading the different components. Currently there is not such publically available but we can use the upgrade sequence for SC 2012 SP1:

1. Orchestrator

2. Service Manager

3. Data Protection Manager (DPM)

4. Operations Manager

5. Configuration Manager

6. Virtual Machine Manager (VMM)

7. App Controller

I will not be able to cover Configuration Manager, Data Protection Manager and App Controller as I do not have them in my lab. Also Service Provider Foundation is not listed in the upgrade sequence list but as it is part of Orchestrator I am putting it also on first position.

Upgrading to Orchestrator 2012 R2

In order to Upgrade to R2 you have to remove all Orchestrator 2012 SP1 roles. By removing them, retaining the database and starting the R2 installation you will be able to upgrade without data loss. Unfortunately after upgrading I’ve stumbled upon on the bug with the not working web service. Besides that bug runbook designer was working OK and all my runbooks were intact. After upgrading Orchestrator you have to upgrade your Integration Packs also to R2. You can download them from here. As my web service was not working and I couldn’t fix it even with my own workaround in the end I’ve end up on creating a new Orchestrator 2012 R2 and migrating all my data.

Upgrading to Service Provider Foundation 2012 R2

SPF 2012 R2 requires to be installed on Windows Server 2012 R2. So I’ve created a new WS 2012 R2 server hoping that I will start the installation pointing to my old database so SPF can upgrade it. Again unfortunately when I’ve done that the installation stuck on Updating Database for more than 40 minutes at which time I’ve decided to cancel the installation. Installation wasn’t responding to cancel command so I’ve ended up killing it. In the end I had to install completely new SPF server with a new database. I’ve couldn’t migrate my old data.

Upgrading to Service Manager 2012 R2

With Service Manager in most cases you will have at least one Service Manager Management Server and one Service Manager Data Warehouse. To upgrade to R2 you have to start with the Data Warehouse server first. Before upgrading it is best to stop all data warehouse jobs. I haven’t met any issues with upgrading the Data Warehouse server. After DW you can continue with the Management Server. Before upgrading it is good idea to disable all connectors. Again I was having no troubles with this upgrade also. Keep in mind that in a new installation of SCSM 2012 R2 System Center Management Service is renamed to Microsoft Monitoring Agent. This is not the case with upgrade that service stays named System Center Management. After upgrade start the DW jobs and enable the connectors. Make sure all are finished successful.

Upgrading to Operations Manager 2012 R2

Operations Manager upgrade also went flawless. The one thing I’ve done before upgrading is to brake the SCOM-SCVMM integration and remove the VMM MPs.  I’ve upgraded Management Server and Reporting server without issues. After the upgrade you need to upgrade the SCOM agents on all servers you are monitoring. If you have somewhere Service Manager Console installed (like terminal server) you will need to uninstall the console and than upgrade the agent. You may also need to update some of your MPs to the preview versions. VMM 2012 R MPs are located in a folder of the VMM 2012 R2 installation. Do not import only the Dashboard MP from there but rather download it from here. If you have data that is synchronized between SCOM and SCSM and you’ve updated some MPs in SCOM that are also imported in SCSM you will need to update them there also.

Upgrading to Virtual Machine Manager 2012 R2

VMM also does not support in-place upgrade. You have to uninstall VMM and retain the database. Before uninstalling VMM first uninstall any Update Rollup if you have such. After uninstalling VMM, ADK (Windows Assessment and Deployment Toolkit) 8.0 also have to be uninstalled. Before starting the VMM 2012 R2 installation you have to install ADK 8.1. After VMM 2012 R2 installation is easy. You have to point a few settings, the installation will detect that you want to make upgrade to existing database and after a few minutes you will be upgrade to R2. After successful upgrade you need to start the console and update your VMM agents also.

Overall the upgrading experience to R2 is good but there are few serous bugs that needs to be fixed or at least upgrade documentation to be available to help you when RTM arrives which today was announced that it will be 18th of October. Mark you calendars.

Making System Center 2012 SPF SP1 Highly Available and Scalable

The overall architecture of Service Provider Foundation is very simple. SPF have two components Web Service and Database. As the database is SQL database it can be made highly available by making SQL Cluster and putting the database there. There is no information if SQL Always On is supported but the SPF database is not a complex one and Always On should be an option. After all SPF is part of Orchestrator and Orchestrator is supported on SQL Always On. But let’s talk about how to make the Web Service highly available and scalable. The Web Service is a static application which is front for the database. So it should be easy to install to install more than one instance of the web service and just put NLB to combine them. But lets test it.

I will not show you how to install SPF as there is a great guide by Marc van Eijk here. Lets say I have 3 servers:

  • SPF01
  • SPF02

I’ve already installed SQL Server 2012 SP1 on SPF01. Installed SPF in SPF01 and for the SPF database I’ve used the SQL on SPF01. I’ve installed the database and SPF on the same server just because it is home lab and I didn’t want to create another server.

Next step is to populate some data in SPF in order to have some information before deploying the second SPF server. I’ve added a VMM server and associated it with Stamp. You can see that information directly in the database.

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Now lets install SPF on SPF02. I’ve installed all prerequisites so I am ready to go.

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For database server I am pointing SPF01 where we have SPF database already deployed.

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Next Next Next

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And we push Install. Installation is started.

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As we are at the step of deploying the database we see message: UpdateDatabase instead of CreateDatabase.

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After successful install we can query the database to see if our records are still there.

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As we can see all the records are there as we left them.

Let’s add another server and another stamp from SPF02

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No errors during adding. Records also show in the database.

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Lets see if the records are visible from SPF01.

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Both SPF01 and SPF02 are working ok.

Installing more than one SPF Web Service servers is supported scenario just not well documented.

The rest is to configure IIS and NLB the right way. There are some challenges that could be met there.

Registering Stamp in System Center 2012 Service Provider Foundation

System Center 2012 Service Provider Foundation is a new component introduced in SP1. Actually it is still not with status component because it is included in the installation DVD of System Center 2012 Orchestrator SP1. Nevertheless it seems it will key part of System Center Family. And may be the only reason that is not with status component is probably this product will be developed further a lot more.

So what exactly is SPF?

As you probably know System Center Virtual Machine Manager does not have SDK so SPF is the SDK of VMM. This is of course the short explanation. Basically in order to develop web portal that will expose and interact with VMM data you need some programming language so you can write your code and connect to VMM. As VMM is based on PowerShell developers can actually use PowerShell to do that but PowerShell is not a programing language and this is the problem. Of course there are probably a lot more reasons why PowerShell is not the right way. So Microsoft created SPF that is basically API over a Representational State Transfer (REST) web service and this web service actually uses PowerShell to interact with VMM. REST web service is basically the standard for web services. As I am not developer and I might be in mistake for some of the terms but this is the way I understand it from IT Pro perspective. But the capabilities of SPF doesn’t end here. While the other System Center components have their own SDK each (exception is Orchestrator that have REST web service also) that can be used for developing web portals the SDK isn’t so appealing for web developers. For now SPF currently can be connected to VMM only but there are plans to be able to connect SPF to OpsMgr and DPM. With such plans why not in the distant future see also SPF to be able to connect to Service Manager and Configuration Manager.

With this short description let’s see what is Stamp and how we can connect SPF with VMM?

As there are other people who can describe better than me what is Stamp I will just borrow the description from Technet Wiki:

Management Stamps, or stamp, is a new concept introduced with Service Provider Foundation. A stamp represents a unit of virtualized platform infrastructure that includes System Center Virtual Machine Manager, one or more virtual machine hosts and the virtual machines that are managed in the context of the System Center Virtual Machine Manager instance within the stamp. Each stamp also includes the configuration unique to each stamp such as service accounts and user roles.
Stamps must be capable of being monitored; therefore a stamp also includes an instance of System Center Operations Manager. However an instance of System Center Operations Manager may provide monitoring for multiple stamps so there is not necessarily a 1:1 relationship between the number of stamps and instances of System Center Operations Manager.
Put another way a stamp is an instance of System Center that supports a virtualized platform infrastructure up to the maximum number of virtual machine hosts and virtual machines supported by System Center.

 

With this description in mind you can probably think of that you can use stamps do define different Datacenters. Let’s say have Datacenter in Europe that is managed by one set of System Center components and you have another datacenter in USA that is managed by another set of System Center components. You create two different Stamps for those datacenters so you can connect a different set of System Center to each Stamp. Imagine that you have a global web portal like Windows Azure and from that portal your customers deploy virtual machines. USA customers deploy virtual machines to USA datacenter and Europe customers deploy virtual machines to the Europe datacenter. This distinguishment is based on the Stamps that you have defined.

Now that we know what is Stamp we can create it.

Create the stamp is quite straightforward and it is document in in Technet. It can be done by PowerShell. What is not documented is that you have to import SPF PowerShell module first in order to use the cmlets. So to import open PowerShell as Administrator and execute this:

Import-Module spfadmin

Than in order to create Stamp you first have to create connection to a VMM server. This can be done by executing this command:

$server = New-SCSPFServer -Name "VMMserver.contoso.com" -ServerType 0

In your case please the FQDN of your VMM server instead of VMMserver.contoso.com. By pointing out Servertype 0 you are indiciating it is VMM sever. 1 is for OpsMgr and 2 is for DPM but for now they cannot be used. Next command creates the stamp:

$stamp = New-SCSPFStamp –Name "Stamp_Europe" –Servers $server

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You can put whatever name you want for your Stamp. Besides the name when the Stamp is created a unique identifier is assigned to it.

On the Technet link that I’ve provided you can see how you can create tenant, associate that tenant with a stamp and create Tenant Administrator role in VMM based on that Tenat you’ve created in SPF.

Note that by executing the commands for new server and new stamp you are creating records in the SPF database for them.

Definitely SPF is a interesting software that can be the key for the future of System Center family.