Desired State Configuration (DSC) Training

On February 25th Microsoft will hold a free all day training on Desired State Configuration (DSC). This will be from 9AM to 5PM PST on Microsoft Virtual Academy.

Here us the

Course Outline:

Getting Ready for DSC
Performing a Push Deployment
Configuring Pull Servers for Deployment​
Deploying Configurations Using a Pull Server
Resource Roundup
Writing Better Configurations
DSC and Linux

Instructors are:

Jeffrey Snover | Microsoft Distinguished Engineer and inventor of PowerShell| @jsnover

and

PowerShell MVP Jason Helmick | Concentrated Technology Senior Technologist | @theJasonHelmick

For more information and to register visit:

http://www.microsoftvirtualacademy.com/liveevents/getting-started-with-powershell-desired-state-configuration-dsc

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Whitepaper – Service Management’s Role in the Private Cloud

I am happy to announce that today Savision just published a new whitepaper authored by me. It is titled:

Service Management’s Role in the Private Cloud
Dispelling the Myopic Perception

 Service-Management's-role-in-the-private-cloud-600x188

This whitepaper sets out to define Private Cloud, the layers of Private Cloud, and those layers within which service management operates.

The whitepaper also explores having ultimate visibility into your organization’s business services. Business services discussed in this paper consist of configuration items (CIs), monitoring, and application maps; they are underpinned with incident, change management, and modern day self-service. In addition, the whitepaper explores the integration between Operations Manager and Service Manager, and the role Savision Live Maps Unity plays in this area. Here is an excerpt from the whitepaper:

“Technology needs of the business are changing, often faster than can be addressed by most internal IT departments.

It is critical for IT departments to shift away from the image of black box cost centers and slow moving dinosaurs that are hard to work with and become viewed as revenue-generating centers that are agile, fast moving, and business enablers with modernized IT services.

From the perspective of internal IT, there are some key steps that can be made to prepare and deliver “modern IT services” – with service management being a critical component of those services. This whitepaper explores these key steps from a Microsoft technology perspective as it applies to System Center.”

A huge thanks to both Kerrie Meyler and Sam Erskine for doing the technical review on this whitepaper!

To download visit:

http://savision.com/resources/white-paper/free-whitepaper-mvp-steve-buchanan-service-managements-role-private-cloud?utm_source=Twitter&utm_content=Whitepaper+by+MVP+Steve+Buchanan&utm_campaign=General

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Great start For #SysCTR in 2015

We are just 8 days into 2015 and already there has been a lot of great things happening in the space. First off DPM has just received a highly anticipated feature.

DPM now has Deduplication of the DPM Storage. The storage savings is anywhere from 50% to 90%! This is a huge improvement for DPM. Here is a blog about the announcement:

http://blogs.technet.com/b/dpm/archive/2015/01/06/deduplication-of-dpm-storage-reduce-dpm-storage-consumption.aspx

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Here is a whitepaper on the new functionality:

http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dn891438.aspx

Second today Microsoft released a survey soliciting feedback on System Center. This feedback will be used to influence the future of System Center. This is a chance for the System Center community to provide feedback directly to the Microsoft product teams. The post with the survey link can be found here:

http://blogs.technet.com/b/momteam/archive/2015/01/07/have-a-say-on-the-future-of-system-center.aspx

Other great news is that one of my colleagues Lee Berg has been awarded a Microsoft System Center MVP. Congratulations Lee! Here is his blog post about it:

http://www.leealanberg.com/blog/2015/01/01/im-mvp-happy-new-years/ and here is Lee’s twitter @LeeAlanBerg . This makes a total of 6 MVP’s at Concurrency now.

The other MVP’s at Concurrency are: Nathan Lasnoski – @nlasnoski, Shannon Fritz – @MrShannonFritz, Mike Steineke – @MSteineke and Annur Sumar.

You can catch these MVP’s and other Concurrency experts blogging at http://www.concurrency.com/blog/.

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Featured on Techguy Blog

Today Michael Seidl published an interview he did with me on his blog!

TechGuy

 

 

 

Check it out:

German: http://www.techguy.at/interview-mit-steve-buchanan/

English: http://bit.ly/1xcM9bg

Follow Michael on Twitter @TechGuyAT for System Center related content.

Thanks Michael!

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Community tools: Manage SCSM DW Jobs & SCORCH Reporting

One of the many great things about System Center is the rich eco-system within the community. Many System Center guru’s contribute their time to making tools that improve or fill gaps within System Center and they release these to the community for FREE. Two new community tools have recently been released one for Service Manager and one for Orchestrator. I wanted to post about them today and give them some shine.

SCSM DW Jobs Management Tool

The first tool is from Sam Erskine. We have seen a lot of great stuff from Sam lately such as System Center books, speaking at conferences and now another Service Manager tool. This tool gives you a GUI to execute all the Server Manager Data Warehouse actions.

ViewJobs-executed

As of right now you cannot do this directly in the Service Manager console. You can only do this via PowerShell. This tool gives you a centralized and organized way to handle the DW jobs. This is especially helpful when upgrading Service Manager or applying update rollups.

Sam has posted a blog about the tool with more information. You can find it here:

http://itprocessed.com/2014/11/838/

You can download this tool here:

https://gallery.technet.microsoft.com/SCSM-DW-Jobs-Management-f69fb703

Orchestrator SSRS Reports

This one is from Steve Jesok. He is the man when it comes to automation. Steve has taken the time to share some very useful Orchestrator reports with the community.

summary

Orchestrator does not come with any reporting out of the box. For insight into your Orchestrator environment you have to create your own reports. Here is a blurb from the description of the reports:

This collection of reports was put together to help me spot check the health of my servers and identify usage and failure patterns easier.  The reports are based on a number of common Orchestrator SQL queries you find used to gather different bits of information, this is simply an attempt to put more of those bits in one place.

You can download the reports here:
https://gallery.technet.microsoft.com/Orchestrator-SSRS-Reports-ac304a7d

Thanks Sam and Steve!

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Provide feedback to Microsoft (Azure Back-up & DPM)

Do you use DPM and or Azure back-up? Now you can provide feedback about these products directly to the Microsoft product group.

The product group has added DPM and Azure back-up on user voice feedback forum on Azure. They watch this forum and now is a great time to get your requests and feedback in. Here is the link:

http://feedback.azure.com/forums/258995-azure-backup-and-scdpm

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DPM 2012 R2 Reporting Improvements

A while back I released a custom DPM report that could be loaded in SSRS. This report is community based and only offered reporting on one DPM server at a time. It was however an improvement over the out of the box DPM reporting. More about the custom DPM report here: http://www.buchatech.com/2014/04/free-dpm-backup-summary-report/ . Finally Microsoft has taken the step to improve the out of the box reporting within DPM. Hats off to the DPM team for stepping up and taking steps to improve this. Recently at TechEd Europe new DPM reporting was announced. It is not available as of now but is coming soon.

The video covering this can be found here starting at 19:43:

Cloud Integrated Data Protection with System Center Data Protection Manager and Microsoft Azure Backup

http://channel9.msdn.com/events/TechEd/Europe/2014/CDP-B334

In this blog post I will take a look at what is coming. As you can see there is some success SLA reporting, protected data source overview on specific workloads such as Exchange, SharePoint and SQL, duration summary in hours, top backup failure reasons, bandwidth, and transfer data, and even data around deduplication! The new reporting will be surfaced in SCOM. This is what the report will look like.

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With the new reporting you can chose to use what is their out of the box or extend this further without any coding. This reporting framework will cover all of your DPM servers because it is surfaced in SCOM. The new reporting leverages the SCOM management pack and the DPM management pack. All of your DPM servers are aggregated up through SCOM and therefore will show up in reports. Below are two diagrams one that breaks down the new reporting framework and one that covers the new reporting architecture:

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To enable the reporting you will need to first have the two DPM management packs loaded in your SCOM deployment. Your DPM servers need to be discovered. You then will need to add a third DPM reporting management pack. The following screenshot shows the new DPM Reporting management pack for SCOM.

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After the new management pack is loaded the some new DPM views are added within the SCOM DW database as seen in the following screenshot. Note that the new reporting has not been released and therefore we may see more changes to the views. The new report can be accessed and used or you can build your own report based on the views using a tool like report builder.

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The new reporting is estimated to be public in January as a part of the next update rollup. Thanks DPM team for making improvements such as this to DPM. If you have specific requests or feedback about what you want to see in DPM reporting feel free to email me.

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Service Manager 2012 R2 UR4

I want to take this blog post and help promote Update Rollup 4 for System Center Service Manager 2012 R2. There has been many issues with Service Manager for some time. It is good to see the Service Manager team tackling these issues to give us a stable solution.

They continue to fix bugs in Service Manager with the new faster cadence. It is good to see the plan of stabilizing and improving performance materialize. Before we know it the Service Manager team will move on to adding new features and functionality to the product.

Don’t forget to go and apply update rollup 4 to your Service Manager 2012 R2. Note it is always recommended to apply updates to a test Service Manager environment first. The list of fixes include:

Bug fixes included in this update:

  1. ObjectGUID (MT_Microsoft$AD$UserBase) is retained correctly when Users imported into Service Manager using the Active Directory (AD) connector with Group Expansion check enabled. The changes will take effect the next time the workflow runs.
  2. The Folder and View links on the central pane of the ‘Work Items’ item of the console, appear correctly when the DataWarehouse Management Server is connected.
  3. Changes to DisplayName field are replicated correctly, when the title of a Manual Activity is updated.
  4. Request Offering wizard displays the runbook input parameters only (instead of all the properties) for Service Management Automation (SMA) runbooks.
  5. Saving a Template containing a Configuration item with an enumeration property that no longer exists works without errors.
  6. The default value for Data warehouse transform jobs have been increased to 180 minutes , up from 60. This value can be configured.
  7. Service Requests incorrectly entered the “Completed” status on rare occasions. This issue has been addressed.
  8. Creating a new SLA Calendar does not cause an error message to be displayed when the local timezone on the computer is custom.
  9. Console does not freeze after applying changes to an existing Knowledge Article.

You can download it from:

http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=44575c

For steps and order of upgrade and tasks to applying Service Manager update rollups check out the bottom half of Sam Erskine’s blog here: http://itprocessed.com/2014/09/815/

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New UR’s for SC 2012 R2 & SP1, Updated Exchange 13 MP & more

Wow another exciting day for Microsoft and specifically System Center! Microsoft is moving at a fast pace and doing some cool things. There were several announcements today. These included:

Update Rollup 4 for System Center 2012 R2

http://aka.ms/yktkfk

App Controller is not included in this. I am not surprised by this. Configuration Manager and Orchestrator do not have any fixes or new features either. The rest include:

Service Manager
Data Protection Manager
Operations Manager
Service Provider Foundation
Virtual Machine Manager
Service Reporting
Windows Azure Pack
Windows Azure Pack Web Sites Version 2

It is interesting to see Windows Azure Pack included with the System Center update rollup. Also DPM has been getting a lot of love from the DPM team at Microsoft...

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DPM 2012 R2 Upgrade unable to connect SSRS. ID: 33431

I recently had to help someone do a DPM upgrade from DPM 2012 SP1 UR3 to DPM 2012 R2. I am a fan of starting fresh when I can but in this case we had no choice but to do an upgrade. We had to first upgrade SQL 2008 R2 to SQL 2012. After upgrading to SQL 2012 and trying to run the DPM upgrade we got the following error regarding SSRS:

“DPM Setup is unable to connect to the specified instance of SQL Server Reporting Service. (ID: 33431)”

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What is happening is that the DPM installer is trying to access the 2008 R2 SSRS even though it no longer exists as SQL has been upgraded to 2012. I manually removed the left over SQL 2008 components and rebooted but this did not help. The DPM installer uses WMI to get information about the SSRS installation during the install, so in order to fix this I had to go into WMI and remove the SQL 2008 references. Here are the steps:

Open the WMI tool:

From the Run window type: wbemtest

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In the namespace type the following:

\\NAMEOFYOURDPMSERVERGOESHERE\root\Microsoft\SqlServer\ReportServer\RS_NAMEOFYOURSQLINSTANCEGOESHERE

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You will now be connected. Click on Query.

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Put in the following query:

SELECT * FROM __NAMESPACE

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You will then see two entries for SSRS that DPM is trying to access. You will see one for v10 and one for v11.

v10 is for SQL server 2008 R2 and v11 is for SQL 2012. We want the DPM installer to connect to SSRS on SQL 2012.

Click the Apply button in the query window and you will see the results.

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Highlight v10 and click the Delete button. Now click Close and click Exit to close out the WMI tool.

Now run the DPM 2012 R2 upgrade again and it should go through without any issues.

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