SCOM 2012 review - Part 1: Installation

In this first part of the SCOM 2012 (Systems Center Operations Manager) overview we’ll cover hardware and software prerequisites, database requirements and enhancements to the installation.
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Paul Schnackenburg

Paul Schnackenburg works part time as an IT teacher as well as running his own business in Australia. He has MCSE, MCT, MCTS and MCITP certifications. Follow his blog TellITasITis.
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Contents of this article

Long gone are the days when monitoring your IT environment meant waiting for the phone to ring and your users tell IT that something wasn’t working. Keeping an eye on your infrastructure is important for businesses of all sizes and Systems Center Operations Manager (SCOM) has been very good at providing that visibility for Microsoft’s platforms for many years, the current version (2007 R2) added native cross platform support for Linux and Unix.

SCOM 2012 - Main Console

SCOM 2012 - Main Console

The new kid on the block is SCOM 2012, currently in Release Candidate and it adds some really cool features for network monitoring, High Availability (HA), application monitoring and dashboards. In this eight part article we’ll dive into these and other improvements; giving both sysops with SCOM experience and other IT admins insight into what SCOM 2012 can bring to your environment.

Article Parts:

  1. SCOM 2012 Installation
  2. Upgrading to SCOM 2012
  3. Interoperability, PowerShell and Consoles in SCOM 2012
  4. Infrastructure improvements in SCOM 2012
  5. Network Monitoring in SCOM 2012
  6. Application Performance Monitoring in SCOM 2012
  7. Unix and Linux monitoring and Java Enterprise Edition monitoring in SCOM 2012
  8. Dashboards in SCOM 2012 and Conclusion

SCOM 2012 Installation ^

The overall installation experience for SCOM has been improved; the most obvious change is that the operational and data warehouse databases are created during the installation, in earlier versions they had to be created prior to the SCOM installation. The pre-requisite checker is also built into the installation wizard; this simplifies the overall installation process. Any problems during the steps in the installation wizard are highlighted and the error message is copied to the clipboard. Credentials that you define are tested from within the wizard to make sure they work before proceeding to the next screen.

SCOM 2012 - Installation Wizard

SCOM 2012 - The Installation Wizard has been improved, providing for a smoother setup experience.

The installation program will assign the Administrators group on the local computer to the Operations Manager Administrators role which is a change from SCOM 2007. During installation you specify the management server action account and the Configuration service and Data Access service, and although it’s not recommended from a security standpoint you can use the same account for both roles. The former should be a domain-based account and not a domain admin account. The latter account is used to read and update information in the operational database and can either be assigned to Local System or a domain account, where the management server and the databases are on separate servers it has to be a domain based account.

SCOM 2012 - Installation - Define Accounts

Make sure you plan your accounts for SCOM 2012 correctly.

All SCOM 2012 servers (Management Servers and Gateway Servers) are supported to run as Virtual Machines with the recommendation to run the SQL server database on physical servers or virtual servers with direct attached disks for performance reasons. VM snapshots are not supported for use in conjunction with SCOM 2012. Management and gateway servers have to run on Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1, recommended memory is 2GB or more with a 2.8 GHz CPU. Prerequisite software is PowerShell 2.0, Windows Remote Management (WinRM), Core XML Services and .NET Framework 3.5 SP1 as well as .NET Framework 4.

The SQL Server backend has to run either 2008 SP1 x64 or later or 2008 R2; on a server with at least 4 GB of memory, with database collation set to SQL-Latin1_General_CP1_CI_AS and full text search enabled. If you need to provide high availability for the SQL Server databases both the Operational database, the Reporting data warehouse and the Audit collection database are recommended and supported on separate Active-Passive clusters as long as no other SCOM 2012 services run on these servers. Other supported configurations (but not recommended due to potential SQL performance issues) include Active-Active clusters and putting the Operational, Data Warehouse and Audit Collection databases on the same cluster, see here for more details.

The Data Warehouse database is now a required component in your SCOM environment, it was optional in SCOM 2007 R2, but it can be shared between Management Groups. The Operational database retains data for seven days by default, the Data Warehouse for 400 days by default.

The Windows agent comes in both a 32 and 64 bit version, as well as a 64 bit Itanium version, the 32 bit version can’t be installed on an x64 OS. The RC limits on objects and monitored items are 3000 agent monitored computers reporting to a management server and 2000 agent monitored computers to a gateway server but expect these figures to change for RTM.

In the next part of this SCOM 2012 RC overview we’ll look at how you can upgrade from your current SCOM environment and in which order this has to be done as well as the help available for your upgrade planning.

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