Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Quest QMX and SDK running with Local System

When you install QMX on an additional server (as suggested) and running the SCOM SDK service (System Center Data Access) with local system you should add the server account you use for QMX to the SCOM administrator group instead of an user account as described in the guide. Therefore use domain\server$ and if you like to verify that by Check Names make sure that you have the Computers objects selected.

All information is provided "as is" without any warranty! Try in lab before. Handle with care in production.

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Friday, December 17, 2010

How to use Published Data where no subscription is possible.

During an Opalis project I hat a little problem when I wanted to work with published data within foundation objects without any additional IPs.

Of course this particular issue could be solved another way but the solution should work for other objects too.

My scenario: I have a workflow that grabs some lines from a CSV file. I wanted to add additional information to the line but because of project description I had to use foundation objects and not the Codeplex Data Manipulation IP (you find it here).

So imagine like that:

origin text World,Universe
wanted text Hello World,Universe

To do that I use the Read Line object to get the data out of the CSV file (you can use any other that makes sense to you – it doesn’t matter) and the Map Published Data object to manipulate the lines.

In the properties of the Map Published Data object I added a data mapping. Unfortunately I can’t subscribe to the published data in the Map to field by right-click, Subscribe,… . So I solved it that way:

I used the following values:

Output Published Data myWantedText *
Source Data {Line text from “Read Line”} **
Pattern World* ***
Map to Hello \`d.T.~Ed/{A610DBE8-A278-45FF-96CB-3C35191332DE}.LineText\`d.T.~Ed/ ****

To explain that shortly:

* any description you like to use later in the data bus
** the source data from the normal data bus subscription
*** the pattern you are searching for
**** the additional text including my (!) copy&pasted source data field

So you have to simple copy your subscription from the source data and paste it into the map to field so that it looks like the following screenshot:

image

I didn’t double-check it at the moment but I can imagine that this solution works for all other objects too. Anyway, you can try it out very easily by yourself…

All information is provided "as is" without any warranty! Try in lab before. Handle with care in production.

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Tuesday, December 14, 2010

How to create a refreshing web page from an Opalis workflow

Of course you know the Create Web Page object to create a website through a workflow.
What might be really cool is to create a web page using a template that refreshes automatically. So you can create your own dashboard views to provide information on a central dashboard screen in a office.
At first, create a file called template.html with the following content:
<HTML>
<HEAD>
<TITLE><DOC-TITLE></TITLE>
<META HTTP-EQUIV="Refresh" CONTENT="5">
</HEAD>
<BODY>
<BR>
<HR>
<H1>This is my Opalis dashboard web page</H1>
<H1><DOC-TEXT></H1>
<HR>
<BR>
Your browser should automatically refresh every five seconds.
<P>
</BODY>

Important are the tags <DOC-TITLE> and <DOC-TEXT>. These tags will be replaced in your workflow.

In your workflow you add a Write Web Page object and type path and file name into the Template field. Now the tags above will be replaced by the Content Title and Text of this object.
If you are getting more than one line from an object before, you can flatten the data publishing object.

Hint 1: to get separate lines in the web page for every single entry simple use <BR> as separator when flattening.

Hint 2: if you like to use different styles in the body, you can add the HTML tags to the Text field as you know it from normal HTML developing.

All information is provided "as is" without any warranty! Try in lab before. Handle with care in production.
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Monday, December 13, 2010

Now it really rooocks!

Now you reach my blog by the address http://www.systemcenterrocks.com/

All information is provided "as is" without any warranty! Try in lab before. Handle with care in production.
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Opalis UI generator to trigger workflows

I just want to post a link to another blog with a very useful tool which can be used to create UIs to trigger workflows an user friendly way.

Check it out:
http://blogs.technet.com/b/yasc/archive/2010/11/06/need-to-trigger-opalis-policies-remotely-in-a-custom-and-user-friendly-way-here-is-the-opalis-ui-generator.aspx

All information is provided "as is" without any warranty! Try in lab before. Handle with care in production.
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Tuesday, December 7, 2010

This time I will DO IT!

Humans (= admins) are lazy. Sorry, I do not want to affront anyone! I will come to that point later, so don’t inveigh me at this time!

But to be honest: did you ever said: “next time… next time I will make it better”? I guess so.

Did you ever said: “we will do everything to be sure to not get this failure again”? Of course you did.

And did it ever happened that nothing (or at least not enough) happened? Probably yes (be honest, nobody will find it out (and I will not tell it anyone Winking smile )).

Believe me: in System Management it’s also the same. You can’t build a 100% monitoring solution from scratch. But you can (or somebody can do this for you) implement a best practice solution. However, this solution will also not cover 100%.

But you can learn from every unexpected situation that decreases your service availability. If that happens it would be good to adapt your monitoring to alert as soon as possible before a crash happens again – or at least as soon as possible after a crash happened again. With the best possible information about that problem. In the worst case this affects the user, yes. But you can immediately begin with the right recovery and your helpdesk can tell your users what the problem is and that you are already working on a solution (and that’s also very (!) important).

From my experience (in- and outside perspective of datacenters) the motivation to extend monitoring for an specific service/problem can be visualized as in the chart below.

Normally, immediately after an unwanted service downtime happens, the motivation is nearly at 100% to do everything to beware of that issue in the future. Take advantage of this timeframe to extend your monitoring!

image

Legend:

vertical axis % motivation and % monitoring integrated
horizontal axis time before/after crash (take any unit)
blue line motivation to improve monitoring
red line level of monitoring implemented already
orange area when the crash happens
green area time of highest motivation to become better

Nobody (!) can monitor all services for all failures that can ever happen. But it is mandatory to learn from every problem that occurs and most of the time there is not that much time to improve your monitoring configuration. Because everybody has a lot of workload and the motivation to create monitoring for this particular problem increases.

The good thing to know is, that it must not depend on lazy or not system management admins. In real world it is very often that exactly these guys are not in the review process and the involved admins or operators do not care about monitoring (I will write an own blog for that because this is a very common problem).

Read this blog for some other thoughts: Why monitoring is necessary?

Credits to my friend Alexander Edelmann („Das Regenschirm Prinzip“ ISBN-13: 978-3639098624) for inspiring me.

All information is provided "as is" without any warranty! Try in lab before. Handle with care in production.

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Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Opalis: Cannot connect to the Management Server

After you have installed Windows and SQL you installed Management Server (step 1) using a new domain account and configured the datastore (step 2) but when trying to import the license key (step 3) you are receiving an error, that you can’t connect to the management server service:

image

Investigating the log under %ProgramFiles%\Opalis Software\Opalis Integration Server\Management Service\Logs and analyzing the OpalisManagementService.* latest log file you find an error like “Cannot open DB connection”.

In that case mostly your OpalisManagementService account is not configured to connect to SQL. So add the account as a new login and configure it to the Opalis- DB.

(yes, you caught me: I created the screenshot above after I’ve finished the setup Winking smile (as you can see that all 4 steps finished successfully))

Update: see also the information here:

http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/gg440635.aspx

All information is provided "as is" without any warranty! Try in lab before. Handle with care in production.

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