See Broader Across Your Stack – Connect SCOM and vRealize® Operations™

by Saurabh Chandratre on March 13, 2018

Overview

Extending the capabilities of VMware vRealize® Operations™ with Management Packs (MPs) from Blue Medora allows companies to dramatically improve their IT systems management by gaining true full stack visibility for virtualization teams and other IT Ops users. But many companies with complex, heterogeneous data center and cloud environments rely on additional tooling for specialized control and observability. System Center Operations Manager (SCOM) is commonly used in Microsoft shops for management of Windows, IIS, Exchange and Sharepoint resources (among others). As operations teams have increasingly densified their environments, the dependencies between resources become tighter, and yet more difficult to understand. Having a single view that correlates all system metrics including those managed by SCOM is necessary to manage this complexity.

SCOM Management Pack for vROps

The SCOM MP for vROps by Blue Medora provides detailed insights into the health, performance, and capacity of resources managed by Microsoft SCOM. It uses SQL queries to collect time series metrics, object availability information, resource relationships, maintenance information, and events and alerts directly from the SCOM database.

Furthermore, this management pack can be customized, allowing you to also pull metrics for infrastructure like firewalls and routers. If the devices are monitored by SCOM, you can add dashboard visibility and alerts for troubleshooting to vROps.

  • List of Top-Level SCOM Resources Supported by Blue Medora

Out of the box, Blue Medora collects performance data, relationships (associations), and events for the following

Microsoft SQL Server Microsoft
Hyper V
Microsoft
Exchange
Windows Cluster and Server
Microsoft.
SQLServer.
DBEngine
Microsoft.
Windows.
HyperV.
VirtualMachine
Microsoft.
Exchange.
2010.
ClientAccessRole
Microsoft.
Windows.
Cluster
Microsoft.
SQLServer.
Agent
Microsoft.
Windows.
HyperV.
ServerRole
Microsoft.
Exchange.
2010.
CommonRole
Microsoft.
Windows.
Server.AD.Site
Microsoft.
SQLServer.
AnalysisServices
Microsoft.
Exchange.2010.
HubTransportRole
Microsoft.
SQLServer.
Database
Microsoft.
Exchange.
2010.MailboxRole
Microsoft.
SQLServer.
ReportingServices
  • List of Custom Groups for Microsoft Products

The MS SCOM Resources tag shows custom groups for many Microsoft products. If Blue Medora discovers a new object, the object is automatically added to the corresponding custom group.

Microsoft Services Microsoft Servers Microsoft Hosts Microsoft Virtual Machines
Active Directory Domain Services DHCP Servers Hyper-V Hosts Hyper-V Virtual Machines
DNS Servers
Exchange Servers
Web Servers (IIS)
SharePoint Servers
SQL Servers
TFS Servers

Pre-Requisites

Before installing and configuring the SCOM Management Pack for vROps, ensure your system meets the following requirements:

*MS SCOM 2016 is supported by the management pack.

Predefined, Best-Practice Dashboards

Dashboards are the primary user interface that allow users to monitor SCOM resources from within vRealize Operations.

The following dashboards are available in the Management Pack:

SCOM MS SQL SCOM Hyper-V SCOM Computer SCOM Alerts
SCOM MS SQL SCOM Hyper-V Cluster Utilization SCOM Computer Utilization SCOM Alerts
SCOM MS SQL Cluster SCOM Hyper-V Host Utilization SCOM Computer Performance
SCOM SQL Server Alerts SCOM Hyper-V VM Utilization
SCOM Hyper-V VM Performance
  SCOM Hyper-V Alerts
SCOM Hyper-V Heatmaps

Customize Blue Medora MP To Build Specialized Dashboards

Let’s explore customizing Blue Medora to enable monitoring for Cisco ASA firewalls and Cisco ASR 9000 routers, and build specialized dashboards in vROps. (Note: Blue Medora also publishes management packs purpose-built for monitoring Cisco Nexus, Catalyst and MDS switches. Learn more.)

Please note: Prior to customizing any GA-released Blue Medora management pack, it is recommended to contact Blue Medora Professional Services.

Step 1: Install Blue Medora’s MS SCOM management pack for vROps. Install & Configuration Guide

Step 2: If you are running vROps as appliance then JDBC connection is not supported for Windows authentication. It needs to be switched to JTDS driver instead of SQLJDBC. On the vROps box you need to do this:

WinSCP to vROps appliance and navigate here:

/usr/lib/vmware-vcops/user/plugins/inbound/msscom_adapter3/conf

Edit the scom.properties file, and change ‘sqljdbc’ to ‘jtds’ on the ‘jdbcDriver=‘ line

Save and Exit

 

Restart MS SCOM Adapter Collection under Administration > Solutions in vROps

Step 3:

The following top-level resource kinds need to be added to the scom.properties file to facilitate this change:

  • System.NetworkManagement.​​
  • Switch.System.NetworkManagement.Firewall
  • System.NetworkManagement.Router

Removing one of the above, corresponding top-level resources from the scom.properties files will filter the objects out.  The resource name should correspond to the IP address of the device.

Step 4:

Verify and validate the new functionality in the vROps environment by selecting Inventory Explorer > Object Types >:

Things to consider:

  1. Are all of the expected resources in your environment being returned?
  2. For each new resource, are all expected metrics from your environment being returned? (metrics and resources should be matched against the SCOM console, performance view)
  3. Are alerts being passed through to the new resources?
  4. Any noticeable performance issues?  

Once verified you will notice object type ‘router’ or ‘firewall’ contains all of the performance metrics (CPU, Memory, etc) and ‘state’ metrics which are being emitted from SCOM. In short, all the expected metrics for a Cisco firewall and Cisco router are now being collected upon enabling collection of MS SCOM adapter.

Step 5:

The data coming from MS SCOM to vROps for Cisco firewalls and Cisco routers now needs to be translated into dashboards. This will need dashboard customization knowledge within vROps. Work out what you would like to see in the dashboard as it will help you to have a layout/design for it. Within a Cisco firewalls and routers dashboard, I typically want to see the following subsections as part of an Overview Main Dashboard:

  • Environment Overview
  • Scoreboard (Health / Risk / Efficiency)
  • Object List
  • Health Chart (Up / Down)
  • Performance Chart (State / Processor Time / CPU / Memory)
  • Topology Graph

 

Step 6:

Create XML files with the ‘Resource kind metrics’ that you would like to see in the Overview Main Dashboard.

  • scom-firewall.xml
  • scom-router-perf.xml

The above XML files need to be created into “Content > Manage Metric Config” under “ReskndMetric”. Create new files using the “+” icon.

Step 7:

In this example, I will focus on a custom dashboard for Cisco firewalls but a same steps can be applied to create a router dashboard.

Remember to create the XML files before building the dashboards.  After adding the XML dependencies, the above dashboards can be created under “Dashboards > Create Dashboard”.

  • Give a name to your dashboard in Dashboard Configuration

  • Select the Widgets that you want use in your dashboard in line with your layout mentioned in Step 5. Arrange them in the right column as you want.

  • Link XML files that you previously created to Widget in Metric Configuration line where necessary.
  • Environment Overview Widget will be configured as follows:

  • Performance Chart Widget will be configured as follows:

  • Apply Interactions as required & click Save

Step 8:

Verify the dashboard is showing output as expected by clicking on the All Dashboards tab and selecting the newly built dashboard. This is to make sure all widgets are correctly configured and displaying required data. Double check if interactions are working correctly. Dashboards will be under the ‘root’ dashboard folder for vROps. You can move them to any folder you like.

Below is a snapshot of our custom built Cisco Firewall and Cisco Router dashboards.

Custom Dashboards for Cisco Firewall:

Custom Dashboards for Cisco Router:

From these dashboards you can dive into deeper analytics related to objects.  This is a fairly simple example, but the methodology can be extended and utilized in a multitude of scenarios.

Prior to customization of any GA-released Blue Medora management pack it is recommended to contact Blue Medora Professional Services.  Our experts can accelerate installation and customization of vROps management packs to help you get up and running fast, while maximizing your investment in vRealize.

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