Speaking @ MMS as one of the 3 International System Center Chefs

I am excited to be co-presenting a Service Manager session at MMS 2014 on November 10th. The Midwest Management Summit is a 3-day conference purposely capped to just 500 attendees so that nobody gets lost in the crowd. Almost 60 Microsoft MVP’s will be presenting on System Center topics and more.

Areas the speakers will be presenting on are Operations Manager, Configuration Manager, Orchestrator, Service Management Automation, Service Manager, Data Protection Manager, Azure Pack, PowerShell, Desired State Configuration and more.

The session I will be co-presenting in is titled: 900 Degrees of Service Manager with 3 International System Center Chefs. I am lucky to be co-presenting with:



Here is what you can expect from the session:

“In this demo-packed session, you explore the depths of customizing Service Manager with Samuel Erskine, Dieter Gasser and Steve Buchanan (MVP). We will walk you through real-world scenarios of using advanced customization techniques such as the Authoring Tool, PowerShell, and Visual Studio to build and customize classes, forms, workflows and console tasks in Service Manager. We also discuss best practices, recommendations and processes you follow when customizing Service Manager. You will learn how to plan for customizing Service Manager for business processes. Transform your plans into custom solutions using the advance authoring tools. Finally the session is delivered by 3 deep experts with vast real world deployment and authoring experience.”

Here is a video from the MMS site with us talking about the session:


About me:


Full details about this session can be found here: 900 Degrees of Service Manager with 3 International System Center Chefs


MMS has extended reduced conference registration until Friday, October 17th. So go and register today to keep from paying the higher conference and hotel rates!

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Hot off the press: Service Manager 2012 Unleashed book

The System Center 2012 Service Manager Unleashed book is finally done! I received some copies of it on Friday. It is set to publish on Monday October 6th 2014. Here is the link for it and a picture below.


SCSM 2012 Unleashed

There was a great team of people behind this book consisting of well-known folks in the Service Manager community from MVP’s, MCT’s, expert consultants, and even Microsoft staff. Authors included me, MVP Kerrie Meyler, MVP Kurt Van Hoecke, and MCT Sam Erskine. Contributors include MVP Jakob Svendsen, Microsoft employee Kathleen Wilson, MCT Kenneth Surksum, Oskar Landman, MVP Patrik Sundqvist, and Peter Quagliariello. Even the foreword was done by former Microsoft program manager and now MVP Christian Booth and Service Manager program manager Srikanth Ranganathan.

This book is packed with tons of “why” and “how to” content for Service Manager. If you have Service Manager deployed or you are about to embark on a Service Manager project add this book to your library. Here is an overview of the content in the book:

This comprehensive resource will help you automate and optimize all facets of service management with System Center 2012 Service Manager.

Expert consultants offer deep “in the trenches” insights for improving problem resolution, change control, release management, asset lifecycle management, chargeback, and more. You’ll learn how to implement high-value best practices from ITIL and the Microsoft Operations Framework.

The authors begin with an expert overview of Service Manager, its evolution, and its new capabilities. Next, they walk through overall planning, design, implementation, and upgrades. Then, to help you focus your efforts, they present stepwise coverage of all topics in each feature area, linking technical information about Service Manager with essential knowledge about the technologies it depends on.

Whatever your role in deploying or running Service Manager, this guide will help you deliver more responsive support at lower cost and drive more value from all your IT investments.

• Leverage MOF and ITIL processes built into System Center 2012 Service Manager
• Plan and design your Service Manager deployment
• Install Service Manager or upgrade from earlier versions
• Efficiently administer work and configuration items
• Use connectors to integrate with Active Directory, Exchange, and System Center components
• Create service maps
• Enable end user access through Service Manager’s self-service portal
• Implement incident, problem, change, and release management
• Utilize workflows to automate key support processes
• Create service level agreements with calendars, metrics, and objectives
• Provide quick access to a standardized catalog of services
• Use notification to ensure that Service Manager items are promptly addressed
• Secure Service Manager and its data warehouse/reporting platform
• Perform maintenance, backup, and recovery
• Manage Service Manager performance
• Customize Service Manager


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SCORCH Web Console Error Executing the current operation

When I tried to access my Orchestrator 2012 R2 web console @ https://localhost:82 I was receiving the following error:

Error Executing the current operation [HttpWebRequest_WebExeption_RemoteServer] Arguments: NotFound Debugging resource strings are unavailable. Often the key and arguments provide sufficient information to diagnose the problem.


My Orchestrator web service (http://localhost:81/Orchestrator2012/Orchestrator.svc) still worked just fine.

I did a search online and most of what I found pointed to this issue occurring after an Orchestrator upgrade. In my case this was a fresh Orchestrator install. I also checked the IIS connection string for the Orchestrator web console. It was fine.

I was able to resolve this. Here is what I did:

In IIS go to the application pools.


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SCOM Cannot initialize report after DB move

After moving the SCOM database, DW database and Reporting database to a SQL 2012 cluster I was no longer able to run reports. I would get a Cannot initialize report error as shown in the following screenshot.


More of the error:

Microsoft.Reporting.WinForms.ReportServerException: An error has occurred during report processing. (rsProcessingAborted) —> Microsoft.Reporting.WinForms.ReportServerException: Cannot create a connection to data source ‘DataWarehouseMain’. (rsErrorOpeningConnection) —> Microsoft.Reporting.WinForms.ReportServerException: Cannot open database "OperationsManagerDW" requested by the login. The login failed.

To fix this I did the following:

#1 Checked the user mappings on the ReportServer database per step 14 on this link:


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Point SCSM DW & WAP Request Management to new SQL server

I recently worked with a client that hosted the Service Manager database on a SQL cluster. They manually failed over the SCSM database to the other node in the SQL cluster. Request Management in Azure Pack and the SCSM data warehouse were still trying to communicate with Service Manager using the old node in the SQL cluster. We needed a way to manually flip both Azure Pack and The DW over to the new node in the SQL cluster. Below is how I did this. I am posting about this in case it saves anyone else time and for me if I need it for future reference.

GridPro Request Management in Windows Azure Pack Failover:

Navigate to: C:\inetpub\MgmtSvc-RequestManagementAPI

Open the “solidConnectionSettings.config” file in a text editor such as notepad.

Modify the highlighted value in the connection string to the name of the second node in the SQL cluster:


<add name=”ServiceManagerCMDB” connectionString=”Server=SQLSERVER1,1433;Database=ServiceManager;Integrated Security=True”/>


After this is modified an IIS reset is needed. After that the Request Management in Windows Azure Pack should now attempt to connect to Service Manager on the correct SQL node.

Service Manager Data Warehouse failover:

In regards to the data warehouse we needed to re-point this to the second node in the SQL cluster. To do this I:

Opened the DWStagingAndConfig database.

Open the MT_Microsoft$SystemCenter$ResourceAccessLayer$SqlResourceStore table.


Run Select * from MT_Microsoft$SystemCenter$ResourceAccessLayer$SqlResourceStore


Right click on the table and Select Top 1000 rows. (Don’t worry there are only 10 rows in this table.)


Note the 5th row column DataService_98B2DDF9_D9FD_9297_85D3_FCF36F1D016B has Service Manager listed. Further along in row 5 under column Server_48B308F9_CF0E_0F74_83E1_0AEB1B58E2FA it has the SQL server for Service Manager that it is pointed to listed. This is what needs to be changed. You can see this in the following screenshot:


To change this run the following:

UPDATE MT_Microsoft$SystemCenter$ResourceAccessLayer$SqlResourceStore

SET Server_48B308F9_CF0E_0F74_83E1_0AEB1B58E2FA = ‘SQLSERVER2′

WHERE DataService_98B2DDF9_D9FD_9297_85D3_FCF36F1D016B = ‘ServiceManager’

NOTE: Be sure to replace SQLSERVER2 with the name of your new SQL node.

Now if you Run Select * from MT_Microsoft$SystemCenter$ResourceAccessLayer$SqlResourceStore

You will see row 5 in the Server_48B308F9_CF0E_0F74_83E1_0AEB1B58E2FA column will reflect the change.


Thanks to SCSM Master and Concurrency co-worker Steve Seibold for help tracking down th...

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Online Orchestrator Clinic

The Windows Management User Group (WMUG.co.uk) – @WMUG presents the August 2014 Clinic in which System Center Orchestrator will be discussed with Sam Erskine (@samerskine) and a team of Orchestrator Guru’s. The team includes:

Steve Beaumont (MVP) – @StevybSC
Dieter Gasser@DiGaBlog
Steve Buchanan (MVP) – @Buchatech
Andreas Baumgarten (MVP) – @ABaumgarten

Sam Erskine has co-authored books on the subject as well as consulting in the deployment of Orchestrator for ITSM.

Details for the Event:

The event is held using Lync Online at 8PM BST on the 20th of August 2014.
Check your time zone here: http://www.timeanddate.com/worldclock/converter.html

You can join the live session on the 20th off August 2014: https://meet.lync.com/smsmarshall/rob/D343FYNB

Attendee link is her...

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MVP Unplugged at TechED Video

Savision just released a video they put together of interviews with several MVP’s from TechEd NA 2014. MVP’s in the video include:

  • Robert Butler’
  • Cameron Fuller
  • Kevin Greene
  • Ahmed Nabil Mahmoud
  • Rick Heiges
  • Colin Smith
  • and me

The video was to gather our opinions on the following topics:

  • System Center & VMM
  • Security Concerns in the Cloud
  • The Future of IT
  • Savision solutions

You can watch it here: http://www.savision.com/resources/news/watch-video-mvps-unplugged-teched-na-2014.


Thanks Savision for the opportunity to be a part of the video and for supporting community!

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Microsoft Private & Public Cloud Poster

On August 1st Microsoft released a new Cloud Ecosystem poster. Microsoft has a great Public and Private cloud story. With Microsoft technologies On-premises and public Azure and other Microsoft public cloud technologies such as Intune are really tied together. Microsoft Private and Public cloud consist of Windows Server 2012 R2, System Center 2012 R2 and Microsoft Azure. This new poster gives you a good visual reference for understanding these technologies and what role they play in the overall cloud story.

Here is a preview of what the poster looks like:


Here is the official description for the poster:

This document provides a visual reference for understanding key Microsoft private cloud and on-premises cloud technologies. This poster includes information about:

  • Microsoft Azur...
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MVP Award 3rd year

Today I received an email from Microsoft that I was awarded System Center Cloud and Datacenter Management MVP for the 3rd year.

Here is the email I received:


Another huge thanks to everyone in the community and Microsoft. It is an honor to continue to be a part of System Center MVP’s! I look forward to another year with the greats I have made in this community.

Congrats to all the other new and renewed MVP’s! I hope to keep adding value to the System Center community for another year!

MVP Profile: http://mvp.microsoft.com/en-us/mvp/Steve%20Buchanan-4039736

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Error installing Service Manager with SQL Alwayson

Recently I was deploying a new Service Manager and I was placing the Service Manager database on a SQL 2012 AlwaysON Availability Group. I was specifying the Database server as Availability Group listener DNS name. This is supported with Service Manager. Here are two links the first shows it is supported and the second has install steps for deploying SCSM to a SQL 2012 AlwaysON Availability Group.

Link 1:


Link 2:


The Service Manager wizard did not see the Availability Group. I got an error that SQL services were not running. The following screenshot shows the error.


I checked the SQL services and they were fine and my SQL Availability Group was not a named instance.

The strange thing is if I specified the Database server as the IP of the Availability Group or cluster name the wizard would not error out. I could not get Service Manager to install using the SQL Availability Group listener DNS name. Here is what I did to work around this issue:

    1. Installed the Service Manager database to one of the SQL nodes.
    2. Installed the rest of my management servers.
    3. Added the Service Manager database to the Availability Group.
    4. Re-pointed Service Manager registry key DatabaseServerName from the SQL node to the SQL Availability Group listener DNS name. To do this I followed the steps on this TechNet article:


After completing those steps the Service Manager database was running successfully on the SQL Availability Group. I was able to simulate a failover and everything worked as it should.

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