Patch Management Integration with Service Manager & ConfigMgr

Back in November I presented a session on automation at MMS 2015 with Natascia Heil. The session was “Real world Automation with Service Manager and Azure Automation”.

As a part of this session Natascia Heil demo’d how to patch servers in SCCM via Service Manager! Essentially she was able to create a change request in Service Manager pulling in a software update and device collection into the change request and then Orchestrator talked to SCCM to apply the patch to the server.

This is awesome because it brings ITIL into the patching process and gives you a way to document applied patches and who applied the patch.

As a follow up to our session she has published a step by step post on the solution from the demo, the files used in the demo, and a complete video demoing the solution. This is another example of great community involvement in the System Center space as well as the kind of content you will see at MMS. Thanks Natascia for sharing this with the community.

Watch the video here:

Visit her blog post here:
https://systemcentertipps.wordpress.com/2015/12/18/orchestrator-2012-start-server-patching-from-service-manager/

Download the solution files here:
https://gallery.technet.microsoft.com/Patch-servers-with-SCSM-20ff1c66?tduid=%281b41a0287eb092bdef4fbcdd40d042b0%29%28256380%29%282459594%29%28TnL5HPStwNw-P.Z5y4TYC73yMs5ovpkyAA%29%28%29

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2 Sessions at MMS 2015

I am late posting this but better late than not at all. Next week I will be presenting at MMS 2015 on November 9th and 11th. In this post I will break down what each session is about. This is the second year of the community powered MMS event. 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, cloud, PowerShell topics and more.

Areas the speakers will be presenting on are Operations Management Suite (OMS), Enterprise Mobility Suite (EMS), Operations Manager, Configuration Manager, Orchestrator, Service Management Automation, Azure Automation, Service Manager, Data Protection Manager, Azure Backup, Azure Pack, Azure Stack, Hyper-V, Nano server, PowerShell, Desired State Configuration and more. I am lucky to be co-presenting with two awesome System Center experts Natascia Heil @NatasciaHeil and Chiyo Odika @mrchiyo. The first session I will be presenting is:

-Real world automation with Service Manager and Azure Automation-

Here is what to expect from this session:

Automation is not only requesting and building virtual machines through Service Manager and Orchestrator. Automation can do much more and Service Manager can be combined with Microsoft’s other automation tools such as SMA, Azure Automation, and DSC. This session will teach you how to identify areas of automation in your company. It will cover automation fits in the ITIL story. It will also show some real life automation examples utilizing Microsoft newest automation tool (Azure Automation) and Service Manager.

We have two demo’s planned for this session. The first demo will show how to use Service Manager and Azure Automation. The second demo will show automating patch management using SCCM, Orchestrator, and Service Manager’s change management.

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Link to this session:

http://mms2015.sched.org/event/bc3ffcd6aaaaef9a5e765493a0e6527f?iframe=no#.VjsTBeJcxps

The second session I will be presenting is:

-OMS Strategies and Notes from the Field-

Here is what to expect from this session:

OMS is a comprehensive web-based cloud IT Management solution with monitoring, automation and other features and solutions that will provide you with greater control and new capabilities across your hybrid cloud.

In this session, you will learn about strategies for getting the most out of OMS, best-practices, and learn from our extensive experiences in the field, deploying, configuring, and troubleshooting OMS.

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Link to this session:

http://mms2015.sched.org/event/a4fb2e8bd31e7cab0de55695f9ec48a1#.VjsTCOJcxps

For more information on MMS 2015 and a full list of speakers and sessions visit:

http://mmsmoa.com/

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System Center 2012 R2 UR7 Highlights

Its been a while since I have posted a new blog. I have been busy working on multiple System Center projects and other behind the scene activities. Today update rollup 7 for System Center 2012 R2 was released and this is definitely worth a post. This UR includes DPM, SCSM, SPF, VMM, , SCORCH, Azure Pack, but not Operations Manager. UR7 for Operations Manager will be coming within a few weeks. More info here.  It is interesting that SCOM is not in this UR and we actually see SCORCH included. Here are some highlights from UR7:

For Orchestrator The Monitor SNMP Trap activity has an issue fixed and there is a fix for Stop Job and Stop Runbook. The SCORCH UR also includes some fixes for SMA.

For Service Manager we see a bunch of fixes. Some fixes I want to call out are MPSync Data Warehouse job stop responding and the Get-SCDWInfraLocations cmdlet introduced in update rollup 5 have been fixed. Great work from the Service Manager team. Keep it up.

Beyond just fixes we see new features in two of the System Center components VMM and DPM. As always its exciting to see new features added via UR’s.

In VMM we see support for Windows 10, the ability to provision and customize Debian 8 Linux as a Guest Operating System, support for VMWare vCenter 5.5, the ability to have Multiple External IP Addresses per Virtual Network, the ability to re-associate orphaned virtual machines to their service or VM role, and support for VMM DHCP Extension PXE/TFP Forwarding. There also is a ton of great fixes for issues in VMM. This is great work from the team and should make VMM more stable.

In DPM we see support for Windows 10 client protection, and a really cool feature being the ability to use alternate DPM servers to recover backups from Azure Backup vault. These means if you sent your backup data to Azure from one DPM server and it croaks you can connect a different DPM server to your Azure Backup subscription and recover data from Azure! I have a feeling we will continue to see greater collaboration between on premise backup/DR (DPM) and cloud backup/DR Azure Backup in the future.

To access update rollup 7 visit this link: https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/kb/3069110

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4th time System Center MVP

This morning I received an email from Microsoft that I am awarded System Center Cloud and Datacenter Management MVP for the 4th year. Here is the email I received:

image

The System Center Cloud and Datacenter Management MVP’s are a great lively bunch of folks. It is an honor to still be a part of this group. I have made many friends at Microsoft, with other MVP’s and in the community during my time as an MVP...

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System Center Futures 2016 and Beyond

UPDATE 9-4-2015:

***There is an upcoming FREE event covering the Future of System Center. This will be held on Sep 25, 2015 at the Microsoft MTC in Minnesota (http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/mtc/locations/minneapolis.aspx). This is a must attend event for any company running System Center. For more info on this event visit: http://bit.ly/1JIHS48***

Last week I was able to attend the first ever Microsoft Ignite conference in Chicago. There was a lot of exciting news announced at this conference around the many Microsoft products and technologies. Everything was covered from SharePoint, Exchange, Unified Communications, Office, Windows server, Windows 10, all things Azure and more. This post is focused for any System Center professional that was unable to attend the MS Ignite 2015 conference but what’s to know what’s up with System Center. If you had any concern about System Center going away or just want to know about the future of System Center in general this post is for you.

During conference there were many sessions related to the various System Center components however there were a couple of critical sessions that covered the future of System Center. These are the Platform Vision & Strategy sessions. These are titled:

Windows Server & System Center Futures—Bring Azure to your Datacenter (Platform Vision & Strategy)

And

Platform Vision & Strategy (6 of 7): What’s New in System Center for Management

These sessions are important because they featured System Centers top guy Jeremy Winter and he talked about future direction of the management solutions. In this post I will sum up key information from each of these sessions.

NOTE: This post is my perspective on the Platform Vision & Strategy sessions from Ignite and do not represent the opinions of Microsoft.

Traditionally System Center has been a complete management stack for IT Operations. This is not going to change but will continue to get better. The stack consists of: Managing endpoints (PC’s/Mobile device/servers) – *SCCM/Intune* | Monitor – *SCOM* | Automation – *Orchestrator (SMA)* | Provision – *VMM* | Service Management – *SCSM* | Protection – *Data Protection Manager* | Self-service – *Azure Pack* also represented in the following screenshot from one of the session slides.

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So we are now in the year 2015 and have not had a new major version of the entire stack since 2012. However since the release of System Center 2012 we have seen a steady progression of enhancement to the stack. We have seen it move from SP1 to R2 and now updates and new features through update rollups.

These update rollups have been released on a faster cadence at a speed we have not seen from Microsoft before. In fact we have recently seen a round of new features in update rollup 6 and more announced at Ignite. Below is a list of key features that stuck out to me along with slides from one of the Platform Vision & Strategy sessions giving insight into where the System Center components are headed next.

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Webinar: Understand what it takes for a successful Private Cloud project

Learn what you can do to ensure a successful Private Cloud project. Attend one of my webinars this week. Details about the webinars include:

-“Service Management’s role in the Private Cloud“- hosted by Microsoft MVP Steve Buchanan. The webinars will be co-hosted by Savision’s co-founder and VP of Product Management, Dennis Rietvink.

 

SMRoleInPrivateCloudWebinar

 

During these webinars you will find out the right tools that IT professionals and management need to provide clean and mature processes that will enable them to become more agile and move down the path of realizing the benefits of Private Cloud. The webinars will also define the Private Cloud, the layers of the Private Cloud, and those layers within which service management operates.

The webinars will be held on two different dates, so register now for the one that will be more convenient for you:

Register for the US webinar: Wednesday, February 25th, 2015 | 2 PM EST / 8PM CET
Register for the EU webinar: Thursday, February 26th, 2015 | 9 AM EST / 3 PM CET

P.S. If you still haven’t, download the Service Management’s role in the Private Cloud whitepaper here.

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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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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.

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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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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 Manage...

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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.

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

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