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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Streaming Enterprise Backup Ignite 2015 Session

My Enterprise Backup session with Microsoft PFE Islam Gomaa and System Center MVP Robert Hedblom from Microsoft Ignite is now on Channel 9. Here is what we covered in the session:

  • Offline seeding to Azure Backup
  • Monitoring and the new enhanced reporting
  • Custom reporting
  • Real-world deployment best practices

and

  • The all new Backup as a Service in Azure Pack powered by DPM

You can watch it here:


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Early look: DPM BaaS in Azure Pack

I am very excited about something new with Data Protection Manager (DPM) that I was able to announce during my Enterprise Backup session @ Microsoft Ignite (http://meme.ms/d5gpbrq). It is DPM Backup As A Service (BaaS). I wanted to blog about it with even more information about this new functionality in DPM.

Well what is DPM BaaS? In a nutshell it is Backup as a Service in Azure Pack powered by Data Protection Manager. This is a new resource provider built by the DPM team. It lights up the functionality for tenants to protect VM’s in Azure Pack. Here is a screenshot of what the new BaaS in Azure Pack looks like for a tenant:

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DPM has always had a role in the Microsoft Private Cloud story. This role has been on the backend through backing up the Private Cloud fabric components that power Private Cloud (Windows Server, Hyper-V, System Center). The following image is the framework of Microsoft Private Cloud:

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DPM has also been used for protection of front end tenant workloads such as websites, SQL databases and virtual machines. However protecting tenant workloads had no visibility or control by the tenants themselves. This story changes with the introduction of BaaS for Azure Pack giving the control for tenants to choose if they want to protect their virtual machines from their cloud!

NOTE: As of now BaaS for Azure Pack can only protect virtual machines in tenant clouds. If you would like to see BaaS extended to protect other areas of the Private Cloud such as SQL databases or websites feel free to reach out to me.

Now let’s pick apart this new DPM BaaS to gain a better understanding of it in the rest of this post.

DPM BaaS in Azure Pack Architecture

So what do you need for this new BaaS? The following components make up BaaS:

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You can deploy many DPM servers for scale as your Private Cloud grows. The rest of the components are standard with a Private Cloud so if you already have Azure Pack running you simply need to add DPM and the DPM BaaS Resource Provider.

As previously stated BaaS only protects virtual machines. A DPM agent needs to be installed to Hyper-V hosts. The BaaS in Azure Pack does not do this for you. The DPM agent will not be required inside VM’s. The agent will be installed on Hyper-V hosts only.

Admin Perspective

Now let’s take a look at what can and admin do with BaaS. NOTE: The BaaS is still under development so some of these features may change. If you have any feedback about the features and functionality you would like to see feel free to contact me. Let’s explore the BaaS admin perspective through a series of screenshots.

Here is a shot of the VM Backup within the Azure Pack admin site. Here is where you would register the resource provider with SPF, you could also add a DPM server, or create a server group. Note that you still need to deploy your DPM servers before you can add them to BaaS. BaaS will not deploy the DPM servers for you.

A server group allows you to logically group DPM servers and then add DPM servers to the group and you can set settings based on a group and then add this to a plan for a tenant. An admin of the Resource Provider will set the Protection Group policy settings that will be used for all subscriptions to a particular plan.

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The next two screenshots show creating a new group.

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This screenshot shows the registration of a DPM server. Notice you have the ability to add the DPM server to a group. Adding the DPM server to a group is optional.

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The next three screenshots give you an idea of what settings you can set for a group. These settings will help you apply limits to the tenant that will be assigned this group via a plan. Notice that some of the settings will look familiar to what you see in DPM when setting up a Protection Group.

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This final screenshot is of the Usage & Metering within for the Resource Provider. The cool thing about this is we do not have a dashboard like this in DPM. This monitoring can be scoped per VM or All Up of the BaaS Resource Provider. Here is what you can see as the part of this monitoring:

  • Retention Days
  • Number of Restore Points
  • Size used

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Tenant Perspective

So we walked through what and administrator can do in the BaaS let’s look at the tenants perspective. Here is what a tenant can do with BaaS?

Ability to add a VM under protection. This essentially adds the VM to a DPM protection group on the backend. If a Protection Group does not exist for this tenant’s subscription yet one will be created.

Ability to back up a protected VM. This creates a Recovery Point in DPM on the backend. An admin of the BaaS resource provider has the option to allow this or not allow this to tenants.

Ability to restore a protected VM. This will restore a VM from a Recovery Point in DPM on the backend. Self-service restore of a deleted VM that is protected is out of scope as DPM doesn’t have VMM information (cloud, etc.) to correctly reassign it to a tenant. However an administrator with direct access to DPM could still go and restore the VM.

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Ability to remove a VM’s protection. The protection group for the tenant subscription will be created when the first VM is protected and destroyed when the last VM is removed.

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For more information:

My Microsoft Ignite session on this:

http://meme.ms/d5gpbrq

Download the DPM BaaS Resource Provider:

Coming Soon!!!

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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

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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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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:

<connectionStrings>

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

</connectionStrings>

 

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.

And

Run Select * from MT_Microsoft$SystemCenter$ResourceAccessLayer$SqlResourceStore

Or

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

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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:

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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.

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