This post shows how to leverage your existing SCOM investment to rapidly onboard and test OMS, Microsoft’s Operations Management Suite.
If you work as a systems administrator and don’t live under a rock, odds are good that you’ve heard about Microsoft’s Operations Management Suite (OMS). It is being branded as “IT Management as a Service”, and the goal is to make life easier for IT administrators by providing a set of heterogeneous tools for managing the infrastructure. The long-term goal is to essentially be a cloud-based System Center suite that works with public, private, and hybrid clouds, along with legacy infrastructure, while being centralized and easy to use.
OMS has a number of killer features which will be explored in upcoming blog posts, but where it began, and the cornerstone of its functionality, is the Log Analytics platform. Like any traditional monitoring tool, including SCOM, OMS can monitor your infrastructure and collect a wealth of data. The biggest difference between tools like SCOM and OMS, though, is the way that data is structured and presented. OMS leverages “big data” analysis techniques to provide deeper insights into the state of your infrastructure. Additionally, it has an ever-growing number of built-in Solutions which perform advanced analysis on specific aspects of the infrastructure, comparing them to best practices and providing you with specific, actionable steps to take to improve your infrastructure.
I’ve come across a number of companies who are interested in trying out the functionality, but don’t want to invest any time or money into it, instead needing to focus on their existing investments today. That’s entirely an reasonable course of action. However, onboarding and prepping to test OMS is much easier than most expect, especially if you already have an investment in SCOM. By leveraging your existing SCOM infrastructure, you can get connected to and start to test OMS today with less than 15 minutes worth of work, and it won’t cost you a penny. Read on to learn more.
There are a few short prerequisites to consider when leveraging SCOM to test OMS:
- SCOM’s version must be one of the two following levels or newer:
- SCOM 2012 SP1 UR6 (UR7 or higher is recommended)
- SCOM 2012 R2 UR2 (UR3 or higher is recommended)
- You must import the System Center Advisor management packs which ship with the Update Rollup you have installed.
- You need a Microsoft account with an Azure subscription.
- If you don’t already have an Azure subscription, you’ll have to supply credit card information when you set it up. Don’t worry about any charges though; we’ll be using the Free tier to test OMS.
- We recommend you do not use your personal account, but one tied to / assigned to your organization
- SCOM’s management server needs internet access (directly or via a proxy) to upload data to OMS’ web service
Once those requirements are met, you’re good to start to test OMS!
Creating the Workspace
The first step is to create a workspace in OMS tied to your Microsoft Account. In the new Azure Portal, click “Browse” and select “Log Analytics (OMS)” to open the blade for managing OMS workspaces.
Click “Add” and fill out the short list of options available. For the Pricing Tier, make sure to select the Free Tier! This tier has a limited data retention and upload limit, allowing you to get your feet wet and test OMS’s features without costing any money. Once the form is complete, click “Create” to create the workspace. Azure will show the deployment status in the corner, then shortly afterwards you’ll see your new workspace show up in the list under Log Analytics (OMS).
You have successfully created the workspace to use to test OMS! Next, we need to forge the connection between SCOM and OMS.
Creating the Connection
In order to connect SCOM to OMS, we need to load up the SCOM console and head to the Administration workspace. Once there, click on the view named “Connection”. (Depending upon which update rollup for SCOM you have installed, the folder containing the view could be called “Operations Management Suite”, “Operational Insights”, or “System Center Advisor”.)
On the right-hand side, under “Actions”, there will be a link called “Configure Operations Management Suite”. (Again, depending upon which update rollup you have installed, this could show one of the previous product names. Additionally, if you’ve already configured the connection once, the link will say “Re-configure” instead.) Click that link to open the OMS Onboarding Wizard.
The first thing you’ll need to do is enter the credentials of the Microsoft Account in which the workspace was created. Once you’ve successfully authenticated, the Wizard will prompt you to select your desired OMS workspace from a drop-down list. Once the workspace has been selected, click through the Wizard to create the connection.
The final task is to choose which computers monitored by SCOM should be included as you test OMS. By default, OMS will not monitor any individual computers via SCOM until you approve them. This can be done by explicitly selecting individual computers, or you can leverage a SCOM group for dynamic approval. Click the “Add a Computer/Group” link under “Actions” to load the approval menu. In the image below, I’ve added the “Windows Server Instances Group”, which will ensure that any Windows Servers monitored by SCOM will automatically be monitored by OMS.
Once you’ve added computers or groups, congratulations! OMS will now begin collecting data from those computers, which will be visible via the OMS portal within a few hours (after the initial onboarding workflows complete). You can access the OMS portal from Azure, by clicking on your workspace and then on the “OMS Portal” button.
Right now, you’ll be looking at a very vanilla dashboard – no solutions have been added yet, so there isn’t much going on. From here, you can add solutions; enable collection of logs, events, and performance data; and more. In subsequent blogs, we’ll go through some of the options and illustrate the kind of results and insights you can gain as you test OMS. As a basic tip, check out the Solutions Gallery – each of these are pre-made and configured to provide insights into your environment, and turning them on is a great place to start.
As you can see, it is very easy and free to leverage your existing SCOM infrastructure to connect to and test OMS today. Hopefully this post is enough to get you started and whet your appetite for future posts and information. For now, thanks for reading, and good luck with your testing!