In the previous blog post we went through System Center Operations Manager as a framework, we talked about management packs, and that importing a management pack isn’t stopping the work you need to do.
We talked about fine-tuning and the importance of it to make the framework fit your environment.
In this blog posts, we are simply going to import a management pack(s) and then immediately create an “override” management pack to store our customizations. Just a few best practices that you need to do before you actually do the import.
Setting the scene
In this series we are going to work with the Veeam Management Pack for System Center and use the Hyper-V capabilities from it.
Wait! Don’t import it yet!!!!
The first mistake everybody makes is download all the management packs he or she needs (whether Microsoft or 3rd party) is just import it, wait, and see all the alerts coming in and then run away being scared of the environment. On the one hand Microsoft has made it easy for us for being able to connect to the catalog but on the other hand that is not the smartest idea to do.
Here are a few best practices to get you started:
1. Import one technology at a time
I know it is tempting to install all the MPs for all the different technologies that you have in your infrastructure at once, but that makes the fine-tuning process only more difficult. If you can, deploy your technologies one by one and fine-tune first before starting the next import of a MP for a specific technology.
By importing one by one you will have a much easier time fine-tuning the alerts and get the management pack adapted to your needs more easily.
2. Download & read the manual
Honestly, not all the management packs have great manuals but some of them have, and even those who don’t should be read upfront. You will save yourself a large amount of trouble by just reading the manual. And after all, give those technical writers some credit for their hard work.
3. Understand the prerequisites
This should be mentioned in the manual and tell you what management packs you need as prerequisites. That actually means that that MP already needs to be imported upfront (or at the same time) but preferred fine-tuned already. Some MPs can also have other prerequisites. IIS 7 MP used to be one of those famous ones. If your IIS 7 servers weren’t patched with certain hotfixes, you were going to have a bad time.
So let’s do this. As an example we will use the Veeam MP manual as a reference. When opening the document, there are a few things you need to read that will save you from headaches afterwards:
· System Requirements
· Required Permissions
· Before you Begin
Most troubleshooting after deploying a manual could be avoided by just reading those 3 bullets.
Import the Management Pack
So now that we know everything we need to know about the MP, we can do the actual import. From Microsoft, we can import it through the catalogue, download it first and then import or use PowerShell to do the job.
Other MPs will give you a single installer or might be afterwards imported from the media.
Importing a Management Pack can be done by going to administration -> management packs. This will give you an entire list of the installed management packs. By using the actions pane you will be able to import management packs
Now you have the option to add management packs from the catalog or add from disk. If you are adding from disk the wizard will ask you to connect to the catalog to search for missing prerequisite MPs, I advise you to do this always.
After selecting the MPs, you will be able to import them
Make an override Management Pack
Now that you have imported the MP, the best next thing to do is to create an override MP. Override MPs are sometimes already created by the creator of the MP but certainly not always. They will also be in an .XML format and not in the closed .MP format. I’ll explain quickly.
A management pack can be locked or open. Locked means it comes in .MP format and therefore cannot be changed or modified. There are various reasons why all the different management packs from Microsoft and 3rd party vendors come in a locked state but I’m not going to go into detail about it. Important to know is that if you want to change thresholds, disable or enable rules and monitors and even change specific views or reports that you need to do that in an override MP. Those are the open ones and come in .xml format. And that is what we are going to make. One of my best practices is to create an override MP per technology, and even create an override MP per version of the technology. For example, in the case of SQL, I would create a SQL 2005, a SQL 2008, a SQL… override MP.
Go back to Administration -> Management Packs and now select Create Management Pack from the tasks pane.
Some of you might wonder now why every MP doesn’t come in .xml format and why we can’t override or make changes directly in the original MP.
There are a few reasons for that, but the most important one is upgradeability and manageability. If all the changes that you have done are created in one override MP, then it is easy to throw away that MP and go back to the original settings. And upgrading a specific MP to a newer version could be blocked because of your modifications and make it much harder to do an upgrade.
In this second part of the series, we have imported the management pack, created the override management pack and maybe most importantly, read the fine manual that comes with it and now we can start thinking about fine-tuning for our specific needs.