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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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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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...

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SysCTR 2012 R2 UR2 – SCSM fixes, DPM SRV 03 support, & new SCOM DB Widgets

Microsoft has release UR2 for System Center 2012 R2. There are many good fixes for the System Center products in this release.

For Service Manager a good amount of console issues are resolved including the annoying FullAdapter error. Here is the list:

  • Assume that users have both SMTP and Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) endpoints. When you send email messages to these users from the Service Manager console, Service Manager uses the Lync SIP endpoint as the email address.
  • After you select the Service Requests with Service Level Warning feature, an error occurs about one hour later.
  • After you select the Assigned to me view, a FullAdapter exception occurs about one hour later.
  • When the Service Manager console runs in maximized mode, you encounter one or more of the following issues:When you run PowerShell workflows at the same time, the results are displayed as successful. Actually, the workflows fail.
    • You experience slow performance in the console, and the console consumes excessive CPU resources.
    • Context menus in the console are not displayed as expected, and instead it is displayed at the upper-right hand corner of the main window.
    • Scroll bars for the work items preview pane do not display when you run in full-screen mode. Even if the scroll bars display, they are still inactive and you cannot move the slider.
    • Certain forms or wizards do not display appropriately. Specifically, only the left navigation pane displays and the right area is blank.
    • When you create or edit on a User Prompts page in a request offering, the page is not displayed appropriately.
    • When you scroll on an open work item or a configuration item form, the scrolling does not work. In this case, you can have the mouse held over the scroll bar for scrolling.
  • When a user tries to open an already opened attachment from a work item form, an exception is thrown.
  • After you mark a release record as Closed, the attachment and associated details cannot be retrieved.
  • When you create service requests from Request Offerings, it takes a long time to display the request offerings form.
  • When you try to use a service request template, the console crashes.
  • When you try to create a service request, a NullReferenceException exception is thrown and the console crashes.
  • The Service Manager console shows a generic Microsoft SQL exception instead of the detailed Data Collision exception when you run in a non-English environment.

The DPM update includes support for Windows 2003 Servers. This from the KB article:

DPM 2012 R2 now supports backup and recovery of Windows 2003 servers. In Update Rollup 2, you can now protect Windows Server 2003 by using DPM 2012 R2. The following workloads are also supported in Windows Server 2003:

Microsoft SQL Server 2005, Microsoft SQL Server 2008, Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2

Microsoft Office Sharepoint Server 2007

Other highlights are:  SQL AlwaysOn with Clustering now supported and the ability to schedule backup and CC jobs defined by time windows on individual protection groups. There also are a number of issues that are resolved.

Some highlights from the Operations Manager UR 2 are:

Service Level Objectives (SLO) dashboard load times will be more consistent. When member of a member of a custom Operator role views load slow. This is resolved. There also has been updates to the Unix and Linux monitoring and SQL issues resolved. Something else to note that is new with this SCOM UR is new widgets for the dashboards. Very exciting! Here is a blog specifically about this http://blogs.technet.com/b/momteam/archive/2014/04/24/new-widgets-and-dashboard.aspx and a wiki article http://social.technet.microsoft.com/wiki/contents/articles/24133.operations-manager-dashboard-widgets.aspx with details on them. Here are screenshots of some of the widgets:

NewSCOmWidget1  

NewSCOmWidget2  NewSCOmWidget3

UR downloads and full details can be found here:

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2932881

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Hybrid Cloud with NVGRE Whitepaper (WSSC 2012 R2)

Hybrid Cloud with NVGRE Whitepaper (WSSC 2012 R2)

There is a new whitepaper on Hybrid Cloud with NVGRE (WS SC 2012 R2). This was put together by the following team:

 

Authors:

Kristian Nese, Cloud & Datacenter Management MVP and Flemming Riis, Cloud & Datacenter Management MVP.

 

Reviewers:

Daniel Neumann, Cloud & Datacenter Management MVP and Stanislav Zhelyazkov, Cloud & Datacenter Management MVP.

 

This whitepaper covers how t...

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Integration points for System Center SP1

Microsoft recently update the Integration points for System Center map for Service Pack 1.

The map is a diagram that illustrates the integration points between all the technologies in the System Center stack.

Here is what the map looks like:

image 

This can be downloaded here:

http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=36429

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Virtual Machine Manager 2012 Cookbook published

I am happy to announce the Microsoft System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2012 Cookbook was published on March 26th 2013. I had the opportunity to be a  technical reviewer on this book. If you administer SCVMM you will want this book.

The author is Microfost MVP Edvaldo Alessandro Cardoso.

 

You can visit his blog here: http://virtualisationandmanagement.wordpress.com

 

Here is the cover and the link to purchase it:

image

http://www...

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Tech Review on Microsoft System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2012 Cookbook

I have been staying busy. I recently finished technical review of a new book titled Microsoft System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2012 Cookbook. Here is what the book will look like.

 image

Here is an overview of what you can expect from the book:

 

  • How to use VMM Architecture and plan for a real word deployment
  • Utilize Network Virtualization, Gateway integration, Storage integration, Resource Throttling, and Availability options
  • De...
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