This blog series is co-written by:

Adam Dzyacky, Product Manager at Cireson
Dujon Walsham, Director at Walsham Solutions Ltd.

 

Why You Need Flexibility in Operations Manager Administration 

by Adam Dzyacky

While Microsoft System Center Service Manager (SCSM) makes it possible to create Incidents from different places, including email and Work Items in the Cireson Portal, one channel that that should not be overlooked is the out-of-box integration with Operations Manager Alerting.

Using Alerts from Microsoft System Center Operations Manager (SCOM), you can trigger the creation of a Service Manager incident, which in turn leads to a near infinite list of automation possibilities. It also helps you further along the path of centralizing your information technology service management (ITSM) processes to SCSM.

But when it comes to administering SCOM, regardless of whether you are creating overrides, setting up monitors for services or basic rules for event monitoring, you have to go back to SCOM to make adjustments. You need to have some level of understanding of SCOM architecture to achieve this. In the name of Service Manager process improvement, wouldn’t it be great if there was a way to set up monitoring, alerting and configuration in a templated fashion that anyone on your team could submit?

Fortunately for the Service Manager community, Dujon Walsham has created the SCOM Management Pack PowerShell module!

 

A PowerShell-centric Solution 

by Dujon Walsham

This PowerShell Module has had many faces over the years. It started out as a little scripting idea back in 2015 that we used to speed up the process of creating management pack fragments. This was helpful in fielding bespoke management pack requests. And of course, the more complicated the request, the more I used it in the script until it became a fully-fledged module!

The method of it is that you can create a management pack within seconds from start to finish: all of your management pack fragments are created, then add them to your visual studio project and click build 😊.

This approach covers every type of object you can think of, including classes, discoveries, monitors and rules. As you will see, it can cover overrides too!

 

Front-Ending SCOM Administration with a Structured Process

by Adam Dzyacky

SCOM offers Management Pack Auditing in its 2019 series of releases to tell you who made a change. What it doesn’t tell you is the why or the how of a change. But when we front-end this with Service Manager, we can capture the internal organizational process through Review Activities and more. Not to mention, this can lead to:

  • Scaling permissions down/removing permissions entirely to SCOM
  • Removing common requests to SCOM admins by delegating to other members of the department
  • Standardization of management packs, rules and more since they are controlled through PowerShell/Service Manager.

It’s a win for everyone! But what’s the best way to go about further integrating these technologies together?

 

The High Level, Real World Use Case 

by Dujon Walsham

While we’ll be doing a deep technical dive in a series of upcoming posts, we’re going to use the Cireson Service Manager Portal, Advanced Request Offering, PowerShell Activity, Cireson Asset Management and my SCOM Module to put some structure around our SCOM processes. In this case, we will be creating an SCSM Request Offering that lets us build a new SCOM event rule with all the checks and balances you expect from Service Manager.

This blog series will show you how we can implement process improvement/automation, the value of centralized toolsets, and the near infinite configuration possibilities of SCSM and SCOM.

Prerequisites 

I’ve created the following prerequisites, which will build the overall solution. Things like scripts and management packs are all included—this will import a lot of what you need to get this going.

PowerShell Scripts 

There are only a few prerequisites required alongside the great selection of tools provided by Cireson, including:

  • SCOM Management Pack Creator PS Module: optimized for this particular solution
  • SCOM/SCSM Portal Script: an additional script that will communicate between both the SCOM Management Pack Creator module and the Creson Service Manager portal
  • SCOM/SCSM Portal Troubleshooting Script: allows you to find the last service request that you had created so that you can investigate its forms answers. It is also used to help add additional components to your service portal.

Place these in the C:\Temp directory on your SCSM Management (Workflow) Server.

Custom Management Packs 

WalshamSolutionsSCOMObjects.mp

Like any configuration item in SCOM or SCSM, we need a management pack that defines the classes to be used. I’ve created one here that contains definitions for several SCOM concepts, so we use them as SCSM Configuration Items. We’ll then use these on a Request Offering in the Cireson Portal.

  • SCOM Monitors
  • SCOM Rules
  • SCOM Discoveries
  • SCOM Monitor Override Parameters
  • SCOM Rule Override Parameters
  • SCOM Agents

Walsham Solutions Templates

This management pack contains SCSM Work Item Templates and templates for Cireson’s PowerShell Activity. The pack is unsealed, so you can freely edit process flow as you see fit. The PowerShell Activity contains the script that is used to communicate between both the Cireson Service Portal and the SCOM Management Pack creator as well as the relevant forms for your Advanced Request Offering app.

Walsham Solutions Connectors

Having the Configuration Item Classes for SCOM concepts is one thing, but loading them is another entirely. Fortunately, we can leverage Cireson Asset Management. Using its contained Asset Import Connector, you can import Configuration Item data from CSV or in our case – directly from a SQL database. We’ll use these connectors to read the SCOM database and then populate our SCSM Configuration Items in seconds!

Walsham Solutions Views
These will create views for your recently imported Configuration Items in Service Manager, including:

  • SCOM Monitors
  • SCOM Rules
  • SCOM Discoveries
  • SCOM Monitor Override Parameters
  • SCOM Rule Override Parameters
  • SCOM Agents

 

Do a Double Check and Take Inventory

Before we get ahead of ourselves–let’s get all of this imported, data flowing and make sure all of the items we need to work with are ready to go before jumping into automation, the next part of this series.

The associated workflows and SQL queries to go along with this exercise are located here.

If you have questions or just want to share your thoughts head over to the Cireson Community! Stay tuned for Part 2 next week!

 

This blog series is co-written by:

Adam Dzyacky, Product Manager at Cireson
Dujon Walsham, Director at Walsham Solutions Ltd.