Wednesday 30 March 2011

SCOM & SCVMM Dirty Views

Both myself and Rob have mentioned a few times about the dirty views in Operations Manager after importing the Virtual Machine Manager MP (the SQL view contains ALL virtual computers rather than just servers with SQL installed).

Well good news, it's fixed in the new SP1 release of SCVMM!!!!

Along with Kevin Holman giving an outline of the new SCVMM SP1 he also confirms the problem, that for myself was a show stopper on the last System Center product for us to tackle, is now fixed.

More information can be found here:

Hurahh for Microsoft, it's only taken just over two years to fix ;)

Tuesday 29 March 2011

SCCM - Windows 7 & 2008 R2 Service Pack 1 Support

An update is now available that lets you add Windows 7 Service Pack 1 and Windows Server 2008 R2 Service Pack 1 as supported platforms for software distribution, software updates, desired confihuration etc etc.

You can find the knowledge base article and hotfix here:

One thing to note, The KB article states:

Restart requirements

You do not have to restart the computer after you apply this hotfix package.
Note You are required to close the ConfigMgr admin console before you install the hotfix package.

Note the ConfigMgr admin console must be closed.  I didn't see another user logged onto the server when I ran the update and as they had the console open, I got prompted to restart.

Monday 28 March 2011

Automatically Merge SCCM Conflicting Records

A colleague of mine has just blogged about this useful script he found the other day to help automatically merge ConfigMgr conflicting records when your site isn't in Native Mode.

Sunday 27 March 2011

ConfigMgr & Asset Intelligence

Following on the back of yet another Garth Jones post, some interesting information came out of the recent MVP summit as mentioned by Kim Oppalfens here

While I've often wondered why the Asset Intelligence catalog isn't sometimes a little bit more "up-to-date" the information provided on a the aforementioned blog posts does help shed some more light on why.
  1. Microsoft require a software title to be reported 4 times (assumption is from different SCCM sites) before it will be added to the queue for categorization.
  2. With the limit of uploading only 100 titles at a time, most admins give up, or can't be bothered.
So along with Kim and Garth, I'll also urge anyone reading this to upload more if you already do, or if you don't upload anything at the moment, start!!!

Kim has even taken the time to write a script that gets around the 100 item limit, making it even easier to upload your titles.  Check his blog post for more details or if you fall into the lazy category (like those that don't upload software titles) the direct link to the script is here

For those that might be new to SCCM, or have simply never looked at the Asset Intelligence part of ConfigMgr then here's a quick screen shot guide of how to upload software titles.

Within the console, click the "Asset Intelligence" node under "Computer Management" to be presented with a summary screen.
The table shows some useful information, including the last column which shows how many items are waiting to be uploaded.  In my case I've been slack in recent months and I've got 921 waiting to be uploaded.  However, you can see I've got 3439 that I have uploaded already, but they're still waiting for Microsoft to identify them or if no-one else has uploaded the same title another 3 times, it hasn't even got into the queue for identification.

Expanding the Asset Intelligence node allows you to navigate into the "Unidentified and Not Pending Online Identification" node.  This is where all the titles waiting upload will be sat, waiting for you to do something.

Highlight the titles you want to upload and then click the "Request Catalog Update" link on the right of the mmc.

I've got the message about uploading of non identifiable data turned off, but if it pops up, read and click ok/accept if you do.

You honestly couldn't get any simpler than that!
Well you could, use Kim's script and do all of your titles in one go!!!!!!!!

Saturday 26 March 2011

SCCM & SCOM 2012 exams (70-243 & 70-242)

Garth Jones blogged about this today:

Echoing his call to the community and MVP's etc, please try and find time to visit the MS Learning survey's and have your say about what content should be in the new exams.

Direct Link to surveys:
System Center Configuration Manager 2012:

System Center Operations Manager 2012:

I also agree with Garth on this one:
Quote... "Tell MSL that you want TWO certifications for ConfigMgr! Yes Two , one for Day-to-day Admins (MCTS) and one for Architect (MCITP)"

Tuesday 22 March 2011

OpsMgr, Live Maps & Kinect

Now this is an "out of the box thinking" demo!

MMS 2011 Snippets - Day One

I've been watching the various tweets coming out of MMS 2011 and thought I'd post a quickie to remind myself about some of the snippets of information floating around already.  I only wish I was there in person!

Sunday 20 March 2011

TechNet Gallery - Beta

I noticed on the Opalis blog the announcement of something call TechNet Gallery today.

I've just had a quick look and this could be very promising as a way of bringing a lot of community based content into a single easily searchable location.

I've tried a quick test and uploaded my Backup Unsealed MP's pack/workflow and it was very easy.

The main gallery site is here:

Filtered to System Center is here:

Filtered to Service Manager is here, and my MP's the first one on there at the moment, so get uploading!!

Saturday 19 March 2011

Infrastructure Planning and Design (IPD) Guide for Microsoft System Center Service Manager 2010

I posted about this when it was in Beta a while ago:

I forgot to repost when it was released!

As I said last post on this I've personally used a few of the IPD guides now and have found them extremely useful, if for nothing else they give a great start to any documentation that you might need to support a business case to implement a technology in a smart and presentable fashion that senior management will be impressed by.

SCSM IPD Site can be found here:

Download link here:

From the IPD site:
The Infrastructure Planning and Design (IPD) Guide for Microsoft System Center Service Manager 2010 takes the IT architect through an easy-to-follow process for successfully designing the servers and components for a System Center Service Manager 2010 implementation, resulting in a design that is sized, configured, and appropriately placed to deliver the stated business benefits, while also considering the performance, capacity, and fault tolerance of the system.
The guide covers these key steps in the System Center Service Manager 2010 infrastructure design process:
  • Defining the project scope by identifying the necessary System Center Service Manager 2010 features, the requirements of the process management packs, and the targeted population of the organization.
  • Mapping the selected features and scope to determine the required server roles.
  • Designing the fault tolerance, configuration, and placement of the management servers, portals, and supporting SQL Server databases.
The IPD Guide for Microsoft System Center Service Manager 2010 can help you reduce planning time and costs, and ensure a successful rollout of System Center Service Manager 2010—helping your organization to more quickly benefit from this platform for automating and adapting IT Service Management best practices such as those found in Microsoft Operations Framework (MOF) and the IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL).

Thursday 17 March 2011

Assign an Incident to a Filtered list of Analysts

I've finally made time to head back to the Service Manager forums and I've just spotted this discussion thread:

Rob Ford has greated a great little management pack that adds a task for assigning an incident to an analyst, but uses up to 3 AD groups to filter the list down rather than being presented with all the users in AD as is the annoying OOB experience.

It adds a task:

You can configure the groups under settings in the Administration Wunderbar:

And finally, a pop up window to assign the incident with a filtered list!

And just to make it even better, he's made the source code available too so you can customise it even more.

Brilliant work Rob!!

Wednesday 16 March 2011

Installing the Service Manager SP1 Web Portal AFTER CU1

** Before reading this please note this is UNSUPPORTED, and should NOT be used in production environments **

When setting up my test Service Manager environment I did a clean install of the SP1 release and then upgraded to CU1 shortly after.  When setting up I didn't have a requirement to install the Self Service Portal as we were still yet to deploy it in production.

Microsoft best practice states that the Portal should be installed on a separate server for performance considerations, but when testing it's sometimes easier just to stick it on the same server to save on resources.

However, if you've already updated to SP1 CU1 then you'll be greeted with this message when trying to run setup....

Arh.. slight problem.

I can't find it right now, but there is an article out there somewhere on doing basically an uninstall, then a re-install but connecting back to the databases by restoring the encryption keys which allows you to add the portal, but that seems a bit too long winded for a test environment.

(Again, remember I have no idea on long term impacts so do this at your own risk)

I tracked down the Registry key that gets queried by setup for the version installed:

If you delete this registry key (Export a copy first!!!), and then re-run setup, it will proceed.

After install, re-import the reg key and you're good to go!

This "shouldn't" have any impact on a SP1 CU1 install as CU1 only updates the Service Manager & Data Warehouse components, not the Portal components, so I would NOT recommend trying it on the pre SP1 cumulative updates, or any future cumulative updates.

Again, this is unsupported and backup, backup, backup, test, test, test if you're going to try it.

Tuesday 15 March 2011

Internet Explorer 9 Released

Not exactly System Center related, but Internet Explorer 9 has just been released.

I wonder how many of the System Center dashboards etc won't work ;)

Monday 14 March 2011

Service Manager Custom Task to Launch SQL Report

A while ago I posed a question on the Service Manager forums about having a console task that would launch a SQL Report and pass it a parameter.
The reason behind this is that I wanted to make it as easy as possible for our analysts to be able to print a “Receipt” without having to remember asset numbers or navigate through the console to the reports node.
Travis Wright came back with a couple of answers:
1) Console task which passes the parameter value on the query string to the SRS web UI.
2) Console task which passes the parameter value to the report viewer form in SCSM console.

I’d briefly looked at suggestion 1, but taken it no further, but while suggestion 2 is my preferred method I needed to move this along quicker so I took another look at suggestion 1.
As Travis said, creating a console task to spawn Internet Explorer to the SSRS url is very easy.
First go to the Library node of the console and click Tasks

Then click Create Task

Fill in the task name and description
 Then click the “…” button next to Target Class and select the class you want this task to appear on.
 In this example I’m going to use the Windows Computer class.

Fill in the path to the command as:
C:\Program Files\Internet Explorer\iexplore.exe  (Change to the x86 program files if you want the 32-bit IE)

Then comes the URL to the SSRS server and the property to pass from the SCSM console.
Let’s break the following URL down:

·         This is the base URL to the SQL Reporting Server: http://SSRS_SERVERNAME/LIVE_Reports/Pages/ReportViewer.aspx
·         This is the path to the report you want to display:
·         This is the command to render the report:
·         This is the command to pass a parameter to the report, in this case the “ComputerName” parameter:

This is where you use the “Insert Property” button in the create task wizard and select the property you require.
In this example I used the NetBIOS computer name property which returned:

And finally add &rc:Parameters=false to the end of the command line to hide the parameter bar by default.
Review the summary and save finish the task wizard.
When you go to a view showing the class you targeted in the wizard, you should now see a new console task.

When you select an item and click the task, Internet Explorer should spawn, take you directly to the report and pass the report the parameter (NetBIOS Computer name in this example) and render the report ready for printing.

Sunday 13 March 2011

Opalis 6.3 SCOM R2 Management Pack

Just noticed this post over on System Center Central for a management pack to help monitor Opalis Integration Server 6.3

From the post:

The SCOMGUY Opalis 6 Management Pack includes discoveries, service monitors, alerts, and views to assist Operators in detecting issues with Opalis Integration Server 6 servers.
·         Discovers Opalis 6 server components
·         Monitors Opalis 6 NT services
·         Agent Tasks to remedy service failures
·         Alerting Rules for Opalis 6 exceptions in the text logs
·         Opalis server state views for Role, Components and Services

I was talking with Rob about creating a simple MP to watch the services etc no so long ago, we might not need to bother now.  I'll get Rob to pop this into test ASAP and we'll see how it goes.

Friday 4 March 2011

Service Manager Asset Status Enum List

One of my colleagues was doing a CSV import into Service Manager today, but couldn't see anywhere in my documentation where I'd listed the enum value for "Deployment Requested".

Well since this is a default value provided out of the box it was fairly obvious to me why I hadn't documented it as part of my asset management solution documentation.

However, it did raise a good point that it would be handy to have this list.

So, below is the default OOB list of enums used by the Asset Status property:


SCCM (ConfigMgr) Client Health Tool

While looking into a Configuration Manager 2007 client issue the other day I stumbled across a new project on Codeplex.

Not sure on the real name of the person running this project as he/she is only listed as dethomson.
*Edit 08/03/2011 - Dan Thomson is the guy with the brains*

The tool looks like one of the most comprehensive ones I've seen yet to date and I'll be putting some testing in on it soon.  Once I have I'll feedback here on it, but if it does work like the documentation says it should, this should be one killer tool for any SCCM admin to have!

I hope this project gains momentum and doesn't just get abandoned in Beta as like I said, this has great potential.