jmbrinkman

Posts Tagged ‘Microsoft Servers’

Persistence is Futile

In Opalis, System Center on November 11, 2010 at 17:43

 

Opalis

In my earlier post I mentioned Opalis. Now what is Opalis? Opalis is an IT process automation tool. It gives you the possibility to visually design workflows that orchestrate, manage and monitor your whole process. By using integration packs Opalis is able to communicate with a host of different systems, vendors and platforms. You can get data out of systems, into systems and base your workflow’s logica on the repsonses you get from those systems.

In the breakout session I attended Opalis was compared to a mainframe run book: a formalization of all the steps involved in a process from start to end. And because of the great interoperability you can start by taking your “informal” processes and putting them into Opalis – no chance in functionality but know you let Opalis handle the execution (for instance calling Powershell), the monitoring/logging (by raising an alert in SCOM if something goes wrong or even creating an incident in Service Manager) and the decision making logic. So instead of incorperating all of that in every script you find in your environment you create a template which you can then reuse for every task.

Opalis itself was a so called third party tool vendor but is now a fully owned subsidiary of Microsoft and has been included in the System Center suite. In later posts I will try to get into the technical details of Opalis and how it relates to Microsoft Cloud management solution.

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Computer says Yes

In Service Manager, System Center, Tech Ed on November 10, 2010 at 21:16

In this post I’ll give an overview of SC Service Manager:

Service Manager is an IT service management tool which can provide problem,incident and change management while fully integrating with the other System Center products. You need a CMDB? Connect Service Manager to SCCM and SCOM and you have your CMDB. You want to create an incident if an alert is generated in SCOM? Connect Service Manager to SCOM and there you go. Want to see the same distributed applications in your IT service management tool as you’ve defined in SCOM? Import your existing MP in Service Manager and you’re good to go.

Besides being able to tap into the information provided by SCOM and SCCM Service manager enables you to create work-flows to formalize and/or automate your existing processes. Since existing scripts for common tasks can be included in the workflow you can pick up those pesky scripts and put them into Service Manager so that they are visible, documented and manageable. Combined with Opalis you could take all tasks and scripts (defrags, legacy nt backups, third party config exports) and use Opalis to orchestrate these processes and use Service Manager/SCOM to manage and monitor them. But more on Opalis later.

Eventhough the interface might seem a bit quirky for users accustomed to other IT service management or ticket handling systems the fact that you have all this information about your environment, are able to create logical workflows to for instance create a template for standard changes and are able to automate the change and monitor the change will it is being made in your environment makes this a very powerful tool.

Service Manager uses an extension of the SCOM schema and uses Management Packs just like SCOM does. Out of the box Microsoft provides with MP’s for a knowledge base,change and incident management and they are working with partners to provide things such as asset management.

Microsoft positions Service Manager as the focal point for customer\IT interaction and as a presentational layer to expose and act on information from your data-center.

Service Manager is available for free if you have a System Center Enterprise or Datacenter edition license.

 

 

Lucy in the sky with diamonds

In Tech Ed on November 10, 2010 at 15:31

I’m writing this post, my first post on my first blog, from Tech Ed Europe in Berlin. In between sessions I’m going to try to provide some coverage of this event and present my view on what I’ve heard and seen here.

My visit to Tech Ed is part of the reason why I’ve jumped on the blogging bandwagon – I wanted to let my co-workers know how I’m doing and what I’m doing over here.

This years Tech Ed is all about clouds. I’ll skip all the obvious and not so obvious allusions about Berlin,walls, windows and clouds but I do want to mention that Microsoft seems to be a little late in the cloud game ( as I am in the blogging game perhaps). However,because Microsoft’s ecosystem forms such a substantial part of a lot of services that customers consume, it has an edge on competing unified management systems because it can fully manage this ecosystem and can manage it better.

The System Center suite (which to some extent also seems to include FIM) has been transformed from a vaguely integrated group of management, monitoring and reporting tools into a cloud management quilt where the system center products are the patches and the newly acquired Opalis automation software is the thread.

As I said before Microsoft is late – Vmware has been promoting the idea of a personal clouds for a while now. And great progress has been made to tightly integrate VM’s, Network, Storage and in some cases even OS and software. But where it was lacking was in native support for Microsoft back-end/infrastructure. If Microsoft can take the experiences of the likes of Cisco, NetApp,EMC e.a. with cloud management on the network and storage level(which it has judging from some of the demo’s I’ve seen here) and combine that with its knowledge of managing its own ecosystem no Windows administrator will ever have to leave her or his office to see their clouds but can just look through their windows.

This is the first in a series of posts on Microsoft Tech-Ed, the next posts I will focus on the details regarding System Center and Opalis.