Changes in the last weeks…

Dear Community,

It’s quiet a long time since my last post and there were some major personal changes in the meantime. I switched from my former company to BytesAtWork where I have the possibility to support my new colleagues in a lot of interesting projects like building up a data center with Windows Azure Pack technologies. But also after my change I will do a lot of work in System Center components like Operations Manager, Service Manager, Orchestrator and SMA.

I hope to get time in the near feature to write some new posts about my first impressions and my first interesting issues…

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SCU Europe 2014 – My personal summary

After my first visit on SCU 2013 in Bern it was a pleasure to also visit SCU 2014 – this year in Basel. Before the event started we met for Community dinner of the Building Clouds Community (@BCC_Germany) and I could meet some real nice guys. It was a great pre-event-evening although it was not the cheapest one 🙂

This year’s SCU was organized for 3 days and there were 370 people showing, learning and discussing about almost everything you can reach with System Center and the Cloud OS. Of course there were some – let’s say – favorite topics like SMA or the Windows Azure Pack but I think every System Center component was covered very well – even DPM. So I guess every attendee could get a lot out of this 3 days because there was a lot of technical knowledge which was provided not only by the huge amount of MVP’s. As last year there were also parties after the sessions to come together, do networking and meet a lot of interesting people.

As I said last year – the SCU is a great community event everybody who is involved in System Center should at least think of participating. You will get a lot of knowledge and ideas and also if you come to SCU with any System Center related problems or questions I am sure you will get the answer to very fast.

Because this year I cannot decide what was the most interesting topic or session for me – they were ALL interesting – I will only give you three of the most interesting quotes I got the last 3 days:

  1. Learn PowerShell or practice the phrase “Would you like fries with that?” (Done Jones – quoted by Travis Wright)
  2. I am a CPM-Consultant. Copy, paste and modify – that saves your job (Samuel Erskine)
  3. All behind the WAP (I am not sure about the speaker)

So I hope you got an impression of this great event although I go not in deep of topics and you will also be participating in the next year. I am sure – if I have the chance to I will!!

I thank all the involved persons for organizing this event!!

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Automated Installation of SCOM 2012 R2 Prerequisites

Hi community,

After some time without posting I have created a hopefully interesting script for some of you. In the SharePoint community there are a lot of possibilities and scripts to automate the installation of the SharePoint Prerequisites. But for the System Center Operations Manager installation there are only some older scripts which aren’t up-to-date anymore. Therefore I wrote a PowerShell script for preparing a fresh installed OS for installing the SCOM application. In detail the script does the following steps:

– Check if the OS is supported by System Center Operations Manager 2012 R2
– Download of prerequisites from Microsoft download:

  • .Net Framework 4.0 (only if OS is < Windows Server 2012)
  • SQL Server System CLR Types
  • Report Viewer Distributable

– Installation of needed IIS features (only if Web Console prerequisite should be installed)
– Installation of .Net Framework 4.0 (only if OS is < Windows Server 2012)
– Installation of SQL Server System CLR Types and Report Viewer Distributable (only if SCOM Console prerequisite should be installed)

This script can help time if you want to deploy so SCOM as well in Test as in productive environments because you will always download and install the same versions and you do not complete the installations manually. Therefore I hope it will help some people…

The script base as well on own fragments as on fragments of a script of Kevin Greene (was only for SCOM 2012 SP1. I will update the script as soon as a newer version and therefore new prerequisites are needed. Maybe I will find time to script also the prerequisites for other System Center components 🙂

You can download the script here

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No new data in DW after SCSM 2012 R2 Update


Some weeks ago I updated the first productive Service Manager 2012 environment to R2. The Environment consists of 4 servers and I proceeded step-by-step in the correct order. Now I noticed that there are no new data written into the Data Warehouse. All reports and Dashboards show only the data until the R2 Upgrade. After some research I found a Microsoft Technet article which describes exactly that behaviour. So if you notice after a SCSM R2 upgrade that there is no new data in the DW you might have a look into this artice:

The solution which is described (run a sql-script against some DB’s) worked perfectly at our environment. I hope if can help you as well and this post saves you some hours of researches…


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Migrate SCOM Databases with short downtime

At one customer we had the scenario of a single SCOM 2012 server where as well SCOM Management Server as also the SQL database was located. Because of performance issues we had to split this scenario in at least two systems – so firstly we wanted to separate the SQL database. Because of the fact that the downtime should be as short as possible we decided to migrate the databases online while SCOM was still working on the old server. Therefore we did the following tasks:

  1. Preparation:
    – Install the second server (OS, SQL, further needed tools)
    – Do a full backup of the OperationsManager and the OperationsManagerDW database while SCOM can stay online
    – Do a transaction log backup of the OperationsManager and the OperationsManagerDW database
  2. Configure Mirroring / LogShipping between old and new SQL instance
    – Restore the full backup of OperationsManager and OperationsManagerDW database on the new SQL server (with “Restore with norecovery” option)
    – Restore the transaction log backup to the new SQL server (also with “Restore with norecovery” option)
    – Now you can either activate LogShipping (e.g. if you use different SQL versions) or Mirroring between the old and the new SQL server for both databases

From that point in time the data will be synchronized between the two SQL engines. That means that you already have all the needed data on the new server while SCOM is still using the old SQL instance. After those steps you can switch SCOM to the new SQL instance while a short downtime by doing the following steps:

Switch SCOM Management Server to the new SQL instance:

  1. First you have to stop all the necessary SCOM services on the Management server (System Center Data Access, System Center Management, and System Center Management Configuration)
  2. After that make sure that all ne changes from the old SQL databases are transferred to the new ones (check Mirroring state / LogShipping)
  3. Now you can start with the configuration of the Management Server to the new SQL instance. The steps are well described in the MS TechNet. Just start with step 6 of the HowTo’s:
    – OperationsManager DB:
    – OperationsManagerDW DB:

By following these steps you can prepare your SCOM environment very well so you can decrease the downtime for the “real switch” to some minutes instead of some hours or even days…

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My first steps with PDT

In the last weeks I heard a lot about PDK (PowerShell Deployment Toolkit) but never had the time for testing it out. Today I finally had a deeper look at it and I am really surprised how easy you can automate deployment tasks of e.g. System Center.

The PowerShell Deployment Toolkit consists of a few scripts which were developed by Rob Willis (MSFT) to automate the deployment of a System Center environment. The current version is available in the Technet Gallery and there are a lot of updates within the last months. With the PTK you can deploy automatically a complete System Center environment with all its components, the SQL instances and also the integration between the products. If you download the Toolkit you will get a set of five files:

  •  Workflow.xml: This is the “brain” of the whole PDT where all the tasks are processed. You do NOT need to edit this file!!
  • Variables.xml: In this file you have to adapt the Toolkit to your environment. That means you have to define e.g. the installation & service accounts and the folders you will store the installation sources. You can also enable / disable here the System Center components you want to deploy.
  • Installer.ps1: With this file you can start the deployment of your desired environment. You should start the deployment from any system which is not part of your target environment (it can also be started from any workstation)
  • Downloader.ps1: With this file you can also automate the download of all needed installation sources (including OS images, installers, hotfixes, CU’s.
  • VMCreator.ps1: With this file you automate the deployment of the needed VMs (configured in variables.xml). It is also able to join the VMs to the domain

Because of the fact that my time was limited today I just wanted to deploy one single SQL instance (and after that a SQL Cluster instance) with the PDT. Also that was quiet simple because you just have to change the component you want to install in the variables.xml and after that you can deploy the SQL instance. It took only 6 minutes to deploy the instance as desired.

I hope to find some more hours within the next weeks to try a whole System Center deployment with the PDT – but this small SQL deployment was a good start to see the possibilities you have.

If you are interested in more details of the PDT you can find some HowTo’s on the following sites (written by Rob Willis itself):

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My impressions from System Center Universe DACH

In the last days I was one of the 280 attendees in Bern where the System Center Universe DACH 2013 took place. There were a lot of very interesting sessions and also a very nice evening event. In the next days I will write some posts about topics hat I found interesting as “bring the cloud on premise” with the Windows Azure Pack or also some posts about Service Manager and Orchestrator. So stay tuned and I hope I can give you some new and usefull information…

SCU2013_dach2I want to thank you very much all the organizers for this great event!! Hope we will see next year again.

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Configuration Manager 2012 R2 announced – recording available!

Microsoft has announced System Center 2012 Configuration Manager R2, at the first day of Teched yesterday.

Configuration Manager 2012 R2 will contain features like:

  • Support for Windows 8.1
  • Manage Windows 8.1 using Mobile Device Agent
  • Workplace join
  • Selective wipe for IOS devices
  • Better management of Android devices
  • New Self-service Portals, native apps of IOS, Android and Windows x86
  • Support for configuring work folders and the management with the self-service portal

Furthermore the role-based administration control will support reports.

In addition to this there was a session called “Microsoft System Center 2012 SP1 – Configuration Manager Overview” where they talked about some of the new features in ConfigMgr 2012 R2.

The recording and slides are already available online on Channel 9. Be sure to check out the recording: Microsoft System Center 2012 SP1 – Configuration Manager Overview

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