SCSM HTML 5 Portal Hotfix (KB3124091)

On December 11th 2015 Microsoft released a hotfix for a bunch of issues with the new SCSM HTML 5 portal along with some new features. Here is the link to this: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=50362

In this post I will explore some of the new features in PART 1 and describe my experience applying the hotfix in PART 2.

PART 1

New features include:

Nested enumeration lists are now supported inside the Request offering forms

NOTE: This was a feature I asked for and I am very happy to see this. When I setup Service Manager notifications I typically pull in the portal URL for certain things such as request offerings or work items. This makes it really easy for the end user to reach what they need right from an email. Below I will show some examples of what the direct links look like.

Portal now allows you to share and access different objects inside the portal with direct URLs. You can refer individual items inside the portal with following URL formats –

Request Offerings:
https://[website_name]/Home/Makeform?BMEID=[bme_id]

NOTE: Notice in the screenshot I am linked directly to http://scsmportal.buchatech.com/Home/Makeform?BMEID=41778bb9-78f9-c21d-6fcc-000069f87c13 vs the default http://scsmportal.buchatech.com/Home/Makeform. I could send someone this link and bring them directly to the RO.

Without Direct Link Direct Link
 SCSMSSPHF1  SCSMSSPHF2

NOTE: Notice the two following screenshots show a direct link for an Incident and Service Request. These do not contain the side navigation of the portal.

Incident type requests:
https://[website_name]/MyRequests/RequestDetails?type=IncidentRequest&id=[incident_id]

SCSMSSPHF3

Service Request type requests:
https://[website_name]/MyRequests/RequestDetails?type=ServiceRequest&id=[service_request_id]

SCSMSSPHF4

Manual Activities:
https://[website_name]/ MyActivities/ActivityDetails?type=ManualActivity&id=[manual_activity_id]

Review Activities:
https://[website_name]/ MyActivities/ActivityDetails?type=ReviewActivity&id=[review_activity_id]

Help Articles:
https://[website_name]/KnowledgeBase/article/[id_of_knowledge_article]

Fixes include:

  • Affected user and Created by user is getting set to the service account
  • Query type form element is not working for the Incident and User classes
  • Request Offering forms are failing to load if a Query type form element is part of the form
  • Username token is not passing values to the mapped field
  • Cancelling request form does not work
  • Text is overlapping for long strings inside the list in the middle pane
  • Related activities inside My Requests always show state as active
  • Filters inside My Requests and My Activities is not working for some languages
  • Announcement is showing “Invalid Date” in Expired Date column for some languages
  • Comments in the request are using incorrect class
  • Required (mandatory) restriction is not working on query type form element
  • Query form element allows multiple selection even when it is configured for single item selection
  • Scroll bar does not work on some lower screen resolutions
  • Double scroll bar appears while browsing Help Articles
  • Some areas of portal are not rendering in Mozilla Firefox web browser
  • My Activities shows 0 instead of removing the notification sticker when no activity is in progress
  • With SSL enabled, the browser regularly prompts the message “Only secure content is displayed” with a button to “Show all content” while browsing the portal
  • “Added by” inside the action logs show domain\username instead of the display name of the user

NOTE: There are some outstanding issues. The Service Manager team is going to have the remaining issues fixed with the next Update Rollup release.

 

PART 2

My Experience:

In this post I will describe my experience applying the SCSM HTML 5 Portal (KB3124091) Hotfix.

I first took a complete backup of my SelfServicePortal directory and stored this somewhere safe. This directory can be found in <DRIVE>\inetpub\wwwroot\SelfServicePortal\.

Downloaded the hotfix and ran the executable on my portal server. This was an easy click through of a wizard. There was no errors with this.

After this completed I verified that the hotfix was applied by checking for Hotfix for Microsoft System Center Service Manager R2 Self Service Portal (KB3124091) in Programs and Features>Installed Updates in Control Panel.

NOTE: I noticed that when the hotfix was highlighted it did not have an option to uninstall.

SCSMSSPHF10

I then restarted my portal server.

When the server came backup I went to access my portal and was receiving the following error.

SCSMSSPHF5

From the image you can see that it was basically telling me I did not have any Service Offerings. This was not true. I went to my Service Manager to double check and make sure that my Service Offerings were still intact and they were. I saw it was looking for the Service Offerings in the Offerings.cshtml file.

Next I went to my backup in SelfServicePortal\Views\Home and copied the Offerings.cshtml file to SelfServicePortal\Views\Home on the portal server. I ran an iisreset from an elevated command prompt after that my portal was working again.

First thing I did was check my navigation as I had a custom navigation link and it was still there along with my custom look and feel. See the following screenshot.

SCSMSSPHF6

Even though the home page of my Service Catalog was working when I clicked on anything such as My Requests, Help Articles, my Service Offerings I received messages that these things were missing. See the following screenshots with the errors I received.

My Requests erroring out:

SCSMSSPHF7

Help Articles erroring out:

SCSMSSPHF8

I started fixing these one by one by copying in the source files from my backup. Everything was broken so I decided to copy in all the folders from backup in the SelfServicePortal\Views folder to the portal server. I then ran an iisreset checked the portal and everything was working.

SCSMSSPHF9

NOTE: I did not copy over _ViewStart.cshtml or Web.Config.

So the point of this post is backup your old SelfServicePortal directory before you apply the hotfix. And after you apply the hotfix you may need to copy the subfolders from the SelfServicePortal\Views folder if you run into errors.

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Service Manager Service Desk Ticker

Have you ever wanted a way with Service Manager to send out a notification to end users? Yes you can do this via email or some other method but how about displaying the notification directly on their computer so that they cannot ignore it. Well Cireson has created a Service Desk Ticker app that does this. Here is the official description of the app from their site:

Out of the box, Service Manager allows you to create announcements, such as “Email is down, Internet is not working, maintenance in Building 2, Floor 4”, but doesn’t actually let you communicate those announcements to your organization in any way. The Service Desk Ticker app enables an analyst to create an announcement within Service Manager and communicate those announcements directly to an employee’s computer in real-time.

This is pretty cool and the best part is that this app is free. One of my recent clients needed such a tool so I try out this app. The app consists of three files and a very easy install process:

Cireson.Ticker.App.Setup.msi – A client MSI that needs to be installed on end user computers. This is what displays the notification to the end users.
Cireson.Ticker.App.Admin.mpb – Is the management pack that needs to be imported into your Service Manager.
Cireson.Ticker.App.Workflows.dll – This needs to be copied to your Service Manager server.

You can even do a silent install of the client MSI file using a tool such as SCCM. Here is the syntax for that:

Cireson.Ticker.App.Setup.msi CONFIGPATH=”\\yourserver\yourshare\your folder” CHECKINTERVAL=60 /q

Here is my install experience:

I created a share for the SD Ticker app like \\ServerName\SDTicker and gave it the following permissions I gave domain users read access and the SCSM Workflow account full rights on the share.

SDTicker1

I imported the (Management Pack) MPB file into my Service Manager.

SDTicker2
I copied the Cireson.Ticker.App.Workflows.dll to C:\Program Files\Microsoft System Center 2012 R2\Service Manager on my Service Manager management server.
I closed the SCSM console and launched it again.
I then went to Administration>Settings and opened Cireson Ticker App Settings.

SDTicker3

The following screenshot is what the Cireson Ticker App Settings look like. Be sure to put in your share path here and tick the Enable Announcement Processing as this is what makes your Service Manager announcements show up on the end users’ desktop. Also check the Include Announcement Priority if you want to include the priority level with announcements.

SDTicker4

Now on a client computer I went and installed the Cireson.Ticker.App.Setup.msi. Here is what this looked like:

SDTicker5

SDTicker6

On this next screen I had to put in the path to the share I setup earlier. This is where it will definitely be faster and more efficient to deploy the client using the silent install.

SDTicker7

SDTicker8

SDTicker9

And the install should finish successfully.

SDTicker10

Testing the App:

Then I went back to Service Manager and created a new announcement to test the ticker app. To do this from the SCSM console go to Administration>Announcements>Active Announcements and click on Create Announcement.

SDTicker11

After the announcement is created it will display on the end users computer when the workflow runs on the next 60 second interval.

To check the workflow go to SCSM Console>Administration>Workflows>Status. Filter on “Cireson Ticker App Announcement Create Workflow“. In the bottom of the workflow pane click on All Instances and then click on View log. This will open up the status about the workflow so you can make sure it is running. You will be able to see the last time it ran.

SDTicker12

Boom there it is, the announcement on my client.

SDTicker13

In case this is not working for you here are some troubleshooting steps:

  • Make sure you are seeing this “Cireson.Ticker.App.Announcements.xml” file in your share.
  • Double check your permissions are correct on the file share.
  • Double check the share path is correct both in Service Manager in the Cireson App Ticker Settings and in your client.
  • Make sure the client app is running on the client computer and monitoring for announcements. You should see Cireson Ticker App Client running as a process in Task Manager in the task bar.

SDTicker14

  • If it is not running you can click on the app’s .exe here: C:\Program Files (x86)\Cireson\Cireson Ticker App to launch it. NOTE: It does automatically start at Windows logon.

SDTicker15
Well I hope you enjoyed this post.

You can download the free Service Desk Ticker App here:

http://cireson.com/apps/service-desk-ticker/

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Update: Custom Service Request Area (CSRA) v3

Back in 2014 I published a management pack (MP) named Custom Service Request Area (CSRA) v2 for Service Manager. The CSRA MP gives you a custom Area list for Service Requests. Here is a link to the original post: http://www.buchatech.com/2013/10/custom-service-request-area/.

I recently updated this management pack. I reduced it from two MP files down to one MP file and added 15 generic user inputs to this. With the v2 version of the CSRA MP admins had to customize the Service Request form to add their own generic user inputs. This required modifying the CSRA MP to modify the form. I added these user inputs so that admins will no longer need to do that.

15UserInput

Here is the link for the updated MP. CSRA is now v3.

http://gallery.technet.microsoft.com/Custom-Service-Request-e4d40738

Also in this blog I want to call out the process I commonly use to build the request area list. I use a tool from a talented colleague of mine Rob Plank named the Enum Builder. This is a GUI based tool that can be used to create a list in an MP file that can be imported into Service Manager. It creates the MP file from a CSV file that you populate. This makes building lists in Service Manager very easy.

The Enum Builder can be downloaded here:

https://gallery.technet.microsoft.com/Service-Manager-Enum-43e30552#content

Here is a blog on how to use the tool:

http://www.concurrency.com/infrastructure/service-manager-create-list-items-using-enum-builder/

Ok now onto using Enum Builder with the CSRA management pack. So building the list for the CSRA is slightly different compared to other MP’s. With the CSRA MP you need to know some key pieces of information. These are:

Enum MP ID: ServiceRequestAreaOverwrite

Version: 1.0.0.10

PublicKeyToken: b0ee85f41e7f3f91

These are highlighted below in a screenshot of the Enum Builder tool.

EnumBuilderScreenshotforCSRA

You also need to make sure you have the correct value for EnumerationValue ID in your CSV file. You will want to use “RequestAreaCustom” for this. Here is a screenshot of an example CSV file.

CSRA-CSV

So to sum this up. Build your CSV, fill out the fields in the Enum Builder tool, create your list MP file, import into Service Manager and you will have your own custom area list for Service Requests.

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Early Look: Service Manager HTML 5 Portal

***UPDATE 11-10-2015****

****UPDATE END****

Today the Microsoft Service Manager team announced that Service Manager’s UR8 will include the new HTML 5 self-service portal. Here is the link to that blog post: http://blogs.technet.com/b/servicemanager/archive/2015/10/21/ur8-release-date.aspx

This is very exciting news as we know a new improved portal for Service Manager has been highly requested for a long time. In this blog post I will give a quick tour of the new portal that is coming. Here is what you see when you first login with some descriptions of the different areas:

clip_image001[4]

Menu

You will find the fly out menu on the left side of the portal. On the top half are the navigation menu with contact info on the lower half.

clip_image002[4]

Announcements

The Service Manager team has brought announcements back to the portal.

clip_image0034.png

Service Catalog

Below is a screenshot of the Service Catalog the core of the self-service portal. You will see the Service Offerings listed in an easy way. As you click on a Service Offering you will see its Request Offerings pop out on the right.

clip_image004[4]

Here is what a Request Offering looks like:

clip_image005[4]

Notice on the request offering that you can favorite them by clicking on the heart icon.

clip_image006[4]

My Requests

End users have the ability to access requests they have submitted as shown in the screenshot below.

clip_image007[4]

My Activities

There is an area for activities to approve/reject, mark as completed/failed etc.

clip_image008[4]

Help Article (Knowledge Base)

The Help Articles area is a huge improvement over the last portal. Now the help articles show right in the web browser. They also can be rated and or favorite.

clip_image009[4]

The following screenshot shows that you can use keywords to scope down the help articles. This is helpful to narrow down to a specific topic.

clip_image010[4]

The next two screenshots show what an internal and external help article looks like in the new portal.

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Service Manager SCCM Remote Control Management Pack

Configuration Manager has a Remote Control tool. This tool is often used by service desks to conduct remote support sessions with end users. More information about this tool can be found here: https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/Gg682062.aspx

A common ask in any Service Manager deployment is to use this tool within Service Manager from Incidents. For some time there have been many blogs out there with the steps on how to setup this integration. A quick search on your favorite search engine will bring back many results. The steps to set this up are relatively easy to do however they can be prone to errors.

I recently collaborated with fellow System Center expert Sam Erskine (www.itprocessed.com) to package this in a management pack as an effort to reduce the steps needed to set this up. I use it myself on Service Manager projects and it saves me time. I can import a management pack on a new SCSM deployment and then it is ready to be used. If you are using User Affinity in SCCM and the SCCM connector in Service Manager users primary device will automatically be assigned. This relationship flows over to Service Manager through the SCCM connector. When you click on the SCCM Remote Control Task it will attempt to connect to the primary device. Here is what it looks like:

clip_image001

Download the solution here: https://gallery.technet.microsoft.com/Service-Manager-SCCM-0ee48590

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Update: SCSM Discovery Report v1.3

I have made some more updates to the SCSM Discovery Report script. It is now version 1.3. The updates include:

First: Updated the SCSM Version Checker code to version 2. Microsoft MVP Steve Beaumont worked with Samuel Erskine to optimize the PowerShell in the SCSM version checker. This optimization is now a part of the SCSM Discovery Report script. This also detects up to UR7 now.

clip_image001.png

 

Second: Fixed Service Manager Management Group Name section not displaying the name.

clip_image002.png

Third: Updated the Display Data Warehouse Information section to use UR7’s Get-SCDWInfraLocation CMDlet.

clip_image003.png

The script can be downloaded here: https://gallery.technet.microsoft.com/Service-Manager-Discovery-a25c7d80

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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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Script: Export Unsealed Service Manager Management Packs

Customizations to Service Manager are stored in unsealed management packs. These should be backed up. These can be exported from Service Manager and stored in a safe location. The process to export unsealed management packs from the Service Manager console is manual and each have to be exported one by one. A better way to do this is to use a script to export all un-sealed management packs.

There are several scripts out there that can do this but most are for older versions of SCSM. I have recently updated one of these scripts. It was created by Microsoft MVP and one of the top Service Manager experts Anders Asp. Here is his blog with the original script: http://www.scsm.se/?p=227

I have updated the script to work with the latest SCSM PowerShell CMDlets and have tested it with SCSM 2012 R2 UR7.

The script is named: ExportUnsealedSCSMMPs.ps1

You can download the script locally on a Management Server

Edit the script and change “C:\Unsealed SCSM MPs\” to a directory on your server. Be sure to leave the “\” at the end.

Run the script from an elevated PowerShell window on a Management Server by typing

.\ExportUnsealedSCSMMPs.ps1

You should see the following output:

clip_image001

The unsealed MP’s will be loaded in a folder with the current date as seen in the following screenshot:

clip_image002

Note: Old folders will need to be manually cleaned up. You can also schedule this using Task Scheduler.

This script can be downloaded here:

https://gallery.technet.microsoft.com/Export-Unsealed-Service-43602dd4

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Operations Management Suite in SCSM Console

Today I was playing around with Service Manager and decided to add a view for Operations Management Suite in the Service Manager Console. I have placed it in a management pack for use in other Service Manager environments. I have uploaded the management pack to TechNet Gallery. Once you load the management pack an Operations Management Suite folder will show up within Work Items.

image

NOTE: The first time you open Operations Management Suite inside of Service Manager you will see compatibility mode warning just click on continue.

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Here are some screenshots:

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Download the management pack here:

https://gallery.technet.microsoft.com/Operations-Management-10f68429

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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.

clip_image001[4]

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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