Windows Server Driver Updates in the New Windows Admin Center are Awesome

Have you ever setup a lab machine running Windows Server and realized you are missing a bunch of drivers?  This can greatly affect disk I/O and overall performance of the server.  If you setup that same server running Windows 10 all the drivers and driver updates come down automatically (If Group Policy Allows it).

With the new Windows Admin Center you can now see and install driver updates in Windows Server 2016!

If I look at Windows Update on my Hyper-V Server.  I can see that there are no updates available.

But if I pull this same server up in Windows Admin Center.  I can see all the driver updates as well.

This makes using Windows Core or Server 1709 for my Hyper-V Host server a real possibility.  I no longer have to hunt down and create a custom ISO to install 1709 with the correct drivers.  All I need is the NIC drivers and I am golden.

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SCOM Self Service Portal

Imagine a world where server and application admins can install and maintain their SCOM agents themselves.  Imagine if they could quickly and easily create their own groups and then create new monitors and rules against them.  Imagine if they could create their own maintenance schedules and instantly put servers into maintenance mode with a click of a button.

This is all possible with the new SCOM Self Service Portal.

The new portal is built with HTML 5 and the latest web technologies and works with SCOM 2012 R2, SCOM 2016, and SCOM 1801.
Features:

  • Users can install, repair, uninstall, delete and reset agents. No longer do you have to be a SCOM admin to do this basic functionality.  Users are empowered to maintain their agents; the SCOM admin will no longer have to perform these tedious and time-consuming activities.
  • Users can create and maintain their own groups. With these groups they can then build their own event, service, and performance monitors.  They can also build their own performance collection rules.  All the difficult concepts to teach a user how to author their own monitors and rules is removed.
  • Users can create and maintain their own maintenance schedules from a website. Users can instantly put servers into maintenance mode without using or installing the console.  They can easily call the website from a script to use with their maintenance process.
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Install Agents

A user with local admin privileges to a server, types in their username, password and the server they want to push to.  The agent and the latest installed update roll-up are pushed from SCOM to their server.

Delete Agents

An application or server admin can now delete their servers out of SCOM after they have decommissioned their server.  No longer having to get the SCOM admin involved.

Create Groups

Users can now create their own groups of servers.  They can use these groups for targeting monitors and rules.

When a group is created.  A new management pack, class, and basic views for Alerts, Performance and State are created automatically following management pack best practices.

Create Event Monitors

A user can create an event monitor by selecting the group of servers they want the event monitor to run on.  Then they type in the information from the event they want alerted on.

Create Service Monitors

A user can create a service monitor by simply picking the group and typing in the name of the service.

Schedule Computers for Maintenance Mode

A user can schedule future maintenance on their servers.

 

Instant Maintenance Mode

This solution makes it easy for IT staff to put a server into maintenance mode without having to go to the SCOM console. On any server, the administrator can visit the Instant MM website.

Creating a shortcut on the desktop of the servers can make it even easier.  With one click a server will be put instantly into maintenance mode.

Help Screens on every page

Anytime a user is confused or needs help.  They can click the help button on any screen to get detailed help.

 

Any ideas, problems, bugs, or issues please e-mail: support@scom2k7.com  or visit the user voice site https://scom2k7.uservoice.com

 

 

 

 

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SCOM Core – Removing all the add-on management packs that make SCOM 2016 Bloated and Slow

Wouldn’t it be cool if SCOM 2016 was super fast and required less resources?

SCOM 2016 is full of legacy solutions that make it bloated and slow.  You can remove “most” of these solutions if your not going to use them anyway?

SCOM was created in a very modular fashion using management packs to add features over the years.

After careful analysis I created the following PowerShell script to remove many of the management packs that slow down SCOM.

I have broken the script into pieces so you can remove any parts that you want to keep.  The script was created using a clean SCOM 2016 install.  If you have been using SCOM 2016 for a long time or have an upgraded SCOM environment you may have some additional dependencies in unsealed MPs you created.

If you find you need a solution in the future.  Simply add the MPs back from the installation media.

Download: https://www.scom2k7.com/downloads/SCOMCoreMPRemoval.zip

The script:

For APM:  You will need to manually remove the Secure Reference Override before you can delete “Microsoft.SystemCenter.Apm.Infrastructure” mp.  Notes in are in the script as to what needs to be deleted.

My Core Environment:

Console

Authoring Wizard – Much cleaner

Discovery Wizard – Notice Unix is gone

Event Logs – No errors

One of the most valuable management packs to remove would be the “System.NetworkManagement.Library” MP.  But removing this MP breaks the Windows Computer discovery wizard.

Any issues, comments or ideas for removing additional management packs please leave them in the comments.

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Sick of explaining to end users why they didn’t get a SCOM disk monitor alert?

Are you sick and tired of explaining to end users why they didn’t get a disk space alert? The built in SCOM disk space monitors are way too complicated. There are thresholds for warning, critical, system drive, and non-system drive.  Then you must hit both percentage and megabyte thresholds. You can’t alert on warning because you won’t get a critical alert. What a mess!

Want to simplify your life? I have created two simple disk space monitors.

First: How to install them.

Download the MP here: https://www.scom2k7.com/downloads/Custom.Windows.Disk.Monitoring.zip

Import the Management Pack; Custom.Windows.Disk.Monitoring.mp  **Note: these require PowerShell to be installed on all your agent managed systems.  By default SCOM 2016 requires PowerShell on all systems.**

 

Next: Disable the built in monitors: Create overrides to disable the built in monitors.

 

 

That’s it.  Now end users will get an warning alert at 10% disk free space and a critical alert at 5% disk free space.  Simplicity Is Genius

 

Want to make your life even easier?   Check out the SCOM Maintenance Mode Scheduler

 

The Deets (Details)

There are two new disk space monitors.  They work by collecting performance counters using the native modules.  When it detects 3 consecutive perfmon samples  over the threshold of 95% for the critical monitor (90% for the warning monitor) at a 20 minute interval.

If the drive is over the threshold for 60 minutes it will then launch a PowerShell script to clean up the percentage provided from perfmon from to a more readable number.  It will also query the drive for remaining GB free and the total size of the disk.  It displays this in the details of the alert.  This is much nicer then the built in ones that don’t tell you the size of the drive.

You can modify how these work by creating overrides.  You will need to create an overrides for each of the different classes.  Windows Server 2008 Logical disk, Windows Server 2012 Logical disk etc..

If you want to still have a separate threshold for your system drives.  You can simply create a dynamic group containing your c: drives.

 

Group Members

 

 

Then create overrides for the group.

Theses monitors were built using Kevin Holman’s excellent SCOM Management Pack VSAE Fragment Library. Monitor.Performance.ConsecSamples.ThenScript.TwoState.mpx

 

Please let me know if you find any bugs.  timmcfadden@scom2k7.com

 

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