Strategies for Monitoring Failover Clusters (Part 2)

by [Published on 29 Sept. 2011 / Last Updated on 29 Sept. 2011]

This article continues the discussion of using System Center Operations Manager to monitor failover clusters by demonstrating the process for deploying management agents to the individual cluster nodes.

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

Introduction

In the first part of this article series, I showed you how to deploy System Center Operations Manager and I showed you where to get the management packs that would allow System Center Operations Manager to monitor a failover cluster. Now that all of the server components are in place, it is time to deploy agents to the machines that we will be monitoring.

Deploy agents

Although System Center Operations Manager is able to perform some level of management without the need for agents being installed on the servers that are being managed, you really need to deploy the agents in order to be able to use all of System Center Mobile Device Manager’s capabilities. To begin deploying the agents, go to the Administration tab, and then click on Device Management from within the console tree. When you do, the pane on the right side of the display will list several required configuration tasks, as shown in Figure A.


Figure A: The console lists several required configuration tasks.

Go ahead and click on the link labeled Required: Configure Computers and Devices to Manage. When you do, Windows will launch the Computer and Device Management Wizard. The wizard’s initial screen asks you what types of devices you want to manage. You have the option of managing Windows computers, UNIX / Linux computers, or network devices (using SNMP), as shown in Figure B. In a real world environment you would probably want to manage your Windows computers, network devices and any UNIX or Linux devices that might be present on your network. However, since this article focuses on failover clustering I am going to limit my discussion solely to Windows failover clusters. That being the case, go ahead and select the Windows Computers option and click Next.


Figure B: System Center Operations Manager can manage a variety of device types.

At this point you will see a screen asking you whether you want to perform an automatic computer discovery or an advanced discovery, as shown in Figure C. An automatic discovery will query the Active Directory for information about the Windows machines on your network. An Advanced Discovery lets you control whether you want to manage servers and clients, just servers, or just clients. You also have the option of specifying the name of the management server that you want to use (which shouldn’t be an issue if you only have one management server). There is also an option to verify that the discovered computers can be contacted.


Figure C: You can perform an automated or an advanced computer discovery.

Click Next, and you will see a screen prompting you for the discovery method that you want to use. The default discovery method involves scanning the Active Directory, but you can also browse for or type in the names of the computers that you want to manage. 

If you decide to scan the Active Directory then you must click the Configure button and then enter some parameters for the scan. The wizard allows you to specify individual computer names, owners, and roles. For a comprehensive directory scan enter an asterisk in the Computer Name field and set the Role option to any. You can leave the Owner field blank.

If you prefer to browse for or type in the computer names then the easiest thing to do is to click the Browse button, followed by the Advanced button. When Windows displays the Select Computers screen, make sure that the Object Type is set to Computers and that the Locations option is set to Entire Directory (or to the container that you want to scan). Click the Find Now button and Windows will display a list of all of the computers that match your search criteria, as shown in Figure D. You can now pick computers from the list.


Figure D: You can use the Select Computers option to pick the computers that you want to manage.

After you have selected your preferred discovery method, you must tell the wizard which account you want to use during the detection process. The default behavior is to use the selected Management Server Action Account, as shown in Figure E. Depending on how you set up System Center Operations Manager however, you may need to specify a domain admin account. After specifying the account that you want to use, click Next.


Figure E: You must specify the account that you want to use during the computer discovery process.

At this point, you should go ahead and click the Discover button. When you do, the wizard will launch the discovery process. This process can take quite a while to complete depending on the size of your Active Directory.

When the process completes, the wizard will display any unmanaged devices that have been detected, as shown in Figure F.


Figure F: You must select the objects that you want to manage.

There are two things that I want to point out about the figure above before I move on. First, it’s easy to manage all of the detected devices by simply clicking the Select All button. Before you do that however, it is important to remember that you must have a license for every device that you manage. As such, you must make sure that the number of devices that you select does not exceed your license count.

The other thing that I wanted to point out about the figure is that the individual cluster nodes are listed (ExchNode1 and ExchNode2 in the figure), but the cluster itself is not listed. This isn’t a problem, but it is something that I wanted to point out. The reason why it isn’t a problem that the cluster isn’t showing up is because this list is used to control where the agents will be installed. Agents are deployed on the individual cluster nodes, not at the cluster level, so the absence of a listing for the cluster as a whole is fine.

Click Next and you will see a summary screen, which indicates the number of agents that are about to be deployed. This same screen, which is shown in Figure G, also gives you the chance to change the agent installation directory and the credentials that will be used during the agent installation process.


Figure G: The summary screen confirms the number of agents that are about to be deployed.

Click Finish and the agents will be deployed to the servers that you have selected. This process can take several minutes to complete. In my environment (which is really small) the agent deployment process took about three minutes to complete.

Conclusion

In this article, I have demonstrated the process for deploying System Center Operations Manager agents to the failover cluster nodes. Now that the necessary agents are in place, we can begin monitoring the cluster. In Part 3, I will show you how to confirm that the agents that you have deployed are working correctly. I will also show you how to configure the monitoring process. 

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

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