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MMS 2011: Day Four

Posted On 2011-03-24 by FortyPoundHead
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Another beautiful day in Las Vegas. It promises to be another information-packed experience here at the Microsoft Management Summit 2011.

Case Study: Managing VMware in System Center

First on the agenda, a case study of a real life situation, in which Belgacom, a European telecommunications and IT solutions company, has successfully began monitoring their growing VMWare environment under the unflinching eye of System Center. In this presentation, given by Alec King (Veeam Director of Product Management) and Serge Berat (Belgacom Solution Engineer), we will learn how Veeam refined its MP health model to better meet Belgacoms requirements, and we'll see a real-world demonstration of VMWare integration with Operations Manager and Virtual Machine Manager.

In the past, I've had no problem with monitoring my own large VMWare environment via SCVMM or Operations Manager. However, most of my environment has been moved to ESXi, and for some reason, I have been unable to connect my ESXi machines. I am hoping this session might shed a little light on my own issues, as it promises to be a very technical discussion, with Belgacom as the subject of the talk.

Alec starts of the speech with a brief history of the Veeam MP, going back to 2006 and MOM 2005. hitting several stops along the way, including the July 2008 acquisition of nWorks. nWorks is/was a provider of plugins and connectors for VMWare/OpsMgr. Finally, he wrapped up the history with the August 2010 shipping of version 5.5 of the management pack.

Serge begins his section of the presentation giving a brief introduction of the current environment for Belgacom. They mainly use three hypervisors: VMWare vSphere, Hyper-V, and Virtuozzo (for hosting only).

Around 2007, after several acquisitions, they found that they had a large mish-mash of different technologies. Different virtualization strategies, ticketing systems, and even management/monitoring solutions. Things were, basically, hell to manage. Something had to be done.

Belgacom then went forth and did good. The end result was a 150 VMware hosts, utilizing standard hardware (HP Proliants - DL385), hosting 2700 guests. Quite a job! But it looks good, and functions great.

Serge admitted to us that there even some Windows 2000 Server guest VMs, which they are desperately trying to get rid of. This brought a good chuckle from the audience. Good luck, Serge! A lot of us have these legacy machines, which house applications that will not run on newer OSs.

Mr. Berat gave some great pieces of advice in deploying the nWorks MP:

  • Test, Test, Test
  • Deploy Slowly
  • Don't forget Maintenance Mode

Now back to Alec. Using the list of issues raised by the Belgacam experience, Veeam fixed some problems with the MP:

  • Discovery Thrashing (update MP class model)
  • Health Rollups (updated MP health model)
  • Monitor Resets (converted monitors to timed resets)

The Veeam MP includes a ton of great features, including but not limited to:

  • Agentless
  • Scalable, distributed architecture
  • Fault-tolerant and load-balancedl
  • Granulare VMWare health model with unique metrics
  • 100\% integration with Operations Manager
  • Certified by VMWare and Microsoft Pinpoint

Overall, a good presentation. Lots to learn, and many notes were taken.

Showtime for System Center: Management of the Common Platform

In this demonstration filled breakout session Maarten Goet, System Center MVP, and Kenneth van Surksum, System Center MVP, together show you how System Center provides all the capabilities for the Optimized Desktop and Optimized Datacenter. In this session we get to see System Center Service Manager, Configuration Manager, Virtual Machine Manager, Operations Manager, Data Protection Manager and Opalis!

This presentation is great. The duo go through simulated scenario with Woodgrove Bank, which needs to accomplish management and monitoring of their various types of systems, as well as software distribution utilizing SCCM. To top it off, they'll be using Opalis to automate all of this.

Overall, the session could've been a bit longer. The presenters did a great job, but there was so much information packed into the presentation, I could tell that they were a bit rushed, and maybe glossed over a bit of the information.

Operations Manager 2012: Dashboards and Authoring

You asked for more reporting and richer dashboards – and Operations Manager 2012 delivered! Covered in this session are service level reports and dashboards. Ops Manager 2012 makes it super easy to build great looking dashboards for service owners and IT Managers, with no programming, while still giving you the option to get down and dirty with some advanced dashboard authoring. All I can say are there some exciting things coming in SCOM 2012. Dashboarding has got *tons* easier, and I think I even saw a way for consumers to build their own reports, without making them members of the author role. Be on the lookout for the public beta!

Real World Support Case Scenarios

In this breakout session, Rodney Jackson (Senior Premier Support Engineer, Microsoft) gives some real world problems, and how they were solved with the use of System Center products, with a focus on System Center Configuration Manager. Cases given are from ROSS and DSE personnel around the world.

Mr. Jackson was careful to state at the beginning of the presentation, long before the Q&A, that this session was not meant to address specific problems that any of the audience members might have. There are just too many variations out there, and not near enough time to cover them all.

The demos were the highlight of this presentation, showing some intricate details of package administration, collection management, and a few other topics. If you have a core competency with SCCM 2007, you should know most of the items presented. But it was a great refresher for those of use that have been away from SCCM for a bit.

That wraps up day four, for now. See you at the closing party tonight, 7pm to 10pm. Two more sessions tomorrow, then I get to hop down to McCarran and catch a plane home!


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