Introduction to Configuration Manager 2012 (Part 8)

by [Published on 4 Dec. 2012 / Last Updated on 4 Dec. 2012]

In this, Part 8, you will learn about how you can get deep information from what are called management pack monitors using the management console.

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Introduction

Welcome back! So far in this series, you’ve learned how to get System Center 2012 Operations Manager installed and begin some basic monitoring activities.

Part 2. You performed a complete installation of the product and, by the end of the article, had a working system.

Part 3. You gained an understanding of the OpsMgr framework.

Part 4. You discovered how to manage agents, which are key to making OpsMgr operate.

Part 5. You learned how to further manager OpsMgr 2012 by investigating rules and monitoring.

Part 6. You entered the world of monitors.

Part 7. You learned how to add a management pack that monitors a Windows Server 2008 R2 domain controller.

In this, Part 8, you will learn about how you can get deep information from what are called management pack monitors using the management console.

If you’re following along at home, I’m assuming that you have a working SCOM installation with at least one management pack loaded.

Using Health Explorer

Before you attempt to customize a management pack, let’s first take a look at some of the methods by which you can gain granular knowledge regarding the state of your existing environment. This is where the Operations Manager Health Explorer comes in handy.

With this tool, you can get at a glance status for every monitored item in the environment. To access the Health Explorer, from the Monitoring area, right click one of the health indicators and, from the shortcut menu, choose Open > Health Explorer. See Figure 1 for a look at how this should appear in your environment.


Figure 1: Open the Health Explorer

Once you open the Health Explorer, you’ll see a screen like the one shown in Figure 2. Believe it or not, you want to see as little as possible on this screen. By default, along with the primary health of the entity, only unhealthy child items are displayed. So, since there is nothing wrong with this server at present, you see a green circle with checkmark indicating that the entity is health. Immediately above that, you will see a yellowish bar that reads “Scope is only unhealthy child monitors.”

Basically, this means that SCOM is going to display only those metrics that are not in alignment with their established parameters. To show everything click the X in the yellow bar.


Figure 2: You are first presented with (hopefully) very little information abut the selected entity

Once you click the X, you’re shown everything there is to see with regard to this entity (Figures 3 and 4). You can see that I have expanded the Entity Health nodes until Logical Disk Free Space (C:) was visible. By clicking on that metric, Operations Manager now displays a whole lot of information about the selected metric. In this case, you’re shown “knowledge” about Drive C: on the selected server. Knowledge is information that is included in the management pack to help administrators identify and correct issues that may arise in the environment.

What you will notice immediately is that the Knowledge pane also provides you with the point at which Operations Manager determines that the selected disk drive is too low on disk space. Further, you will see that there are two different criticality levels:

  • Warning. A warning will be raised on the C: drive when it gets below either 500 MB of free space or when it goes below 10% of available space.
  • Error. An error will be raised on the C: drive when it gets below either 300 MB of free space or when it goes below 5% of available space.

For a system drive, the parameters are a little more restrictive:

  • Warning. A warning will be raised on the C: drive when it gets below either 2 GB of free space or when it goes below 10% of available space.
  • Error. An error will be raised on the C: drive when it gets below either 1 GB of free space or when it goes below 5% of available space.


Figure 3: Information about the free space available on drive C:


Figure 4:
More information about the C: drive

Note also that the Knowledge tab provides you with a list of potential causes for a warning or error along with possible resolutions. While the resolution for correcting a disk space issue is pretty simple, when it comes to resolving more complex issues, the cause and resolution sections of the knowledge tab can be extremely valuable.

Get yet more information

The information you’re shown in the main screen is just the beginning. To see extremely detailed information about the monitored item, click the Properties button in the menu bar. This opens the General tab that you see below in Figure 5.

The General tab provides the name of the monitor as well as a description of such. It also identifies the management pack from which the monitor originates and tells you the kind of resource that is targeted by the monitor. Finally, you’re told to which parent monitor the monitor rolls up. If the C: drive shows a warning or error, then the main Availability monitor for the server will also show a warning or error state.


Figure 5: General information about the monitor

On the schedule tab, you’re able to see how often the monitor is configured to gather information to be reported back to Operations Manager. In Figure 6, you can see that information is gathered, by default, every 15 minutes.


Figure 6: The interval at which the information is gathered

The next few tabs are like the one shown in Figure 7 and provide you with a way to see the levels at which a warning or error alert will be raised. You saw these values earlier, so I won’t repeat them here.


Figure 7: The percentages that you saw earlier

The Health tab allows you to see which statuses trigger which health states.


Figure 8: The health status that will be set on a per monitoring condition basis

When the monitored item enters a state that requires a warning or error to be issued, an alert is raised in the Operations Manager console. The Alerting tab is the place to go to see what the text of this message will look like. Further, on this tab, you can see the default priority level for the alert.


Figure 9: The text of the alert that will be raised for this item

When used properly, the Diagnostics and Recovery tab can be used to automate the resolution to a problem. For disk space, issue, however, you don’t want the system to automatically delete files, so no actions are listed.


Figure 10: Actions that will be taken to attempt diagnostics and recovery related to the monitor

Once you close the Properties windows. Click OK to go back to the view of the monitor and choose the State Change Events tab. You will see a screen like the one shown in Figure 11. This screen lets you know the date and time at which an alert condition is raised. This can aid response and help you more quickly understand when something went wrong and streamline your support efforts.


Figure 11: State Change Events tab

Summary

That’s a look at how you can manage monitors in SCOM 2012. The Health Explorer powerful insights about the health of your system. You may be wondering how you can change these metrics since they were all grayed out. That is the topic for the next part of this series.

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If you would like to read the other parts in this article series please go to:

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