15 December 2015 blogs Matthew Carr 4min read
Microsoft System Center Operations Manager (SCOM) is a very powerful agent-based monitoring tool. Pretty much anything can be monitored in SCOM, with an average deployment in an Enterprise covering thousands of individual discovered objects. One important feature of SCOM is Distributed Applications (DA), which according to TechNet, are defined as:
“A Distributed Application in Operations Manager is an application that is comprised of multiple objects. These objects may be defined by different management packs and may be managed on the same agent or on different agents. The purpose of the distributed application is to provide an overall health for an application that is comprised of different objects.”
There are some drawbacks of using Microsoft’s own “Distributed Application Designer” notably:
• “The component groups can only have explicit members, which means that you cannot populate them dynamically. For example, you may have a distributed application with a set of websites. You install an additional web server with a site that should be included. You would have to edit the distributed application and manually add the new site.
• You cannot create multiple levels of health rollup. The health of the application will be the worst health of any of the component groups, regardless of the relationships that have been created for them.”
There are workarounds for the issue of creating dynamic DA’s in SCOM. They can be built, but you need to be a scripting expert to write code; which costs time and money that most organizations do not have.
Live Maps Services Membership Rules
One of the most powerful features of Savision’s Live Maps is that we allow easily-created membership rules, which make the creation of Distributed Applications easier and then DYNAMICALLY maintains them.
This means that once you have defined the rules correctly within Live Maps, you don’t need to worry if new objects are added or removed (e.g. a new server is added to a cluster, or a new website is added to a group). The membership rules will automatically update the relationships and Distributed Applications with SCOM. There is zero maintenance required–absolutely zero, zip, nada.
How much time will I save?
This all depends on your own particular environment and how often the underlying relationships will change. In today’s modern hybrid environment, with multiple failover designs, the data-center is a constantly changing beast. This makes SCOM a beast to maintain as well (e.g. a new SQL server might need to manually update four or five distributed applications to keep the application layer correctly monitored).
Through our experience with over 700 customers, we can walk through a common scenario:
A new SCOM deployment requires a typical, average organization to build and maintain seventy Distributed Applications and create dashboards that allow them to see the application status and correlate that with information that shows impact on the business and service-level agreements.
SCOM native Distributed Application
Initial Build Out = 4 hours per Distributed Application (DA)
Ongoing DA Maintenance = 8 hours per week
Total = 696 hours in first year (for 70 DA’s)
SCOM plus other 3rd party dashboarding solution
Initial Build Out = 4 hours per DA
Create dashboards per persona: Dashboard creation = 2 hours per DA
Ongoing DA Maintenance = 8 hours per week
Ongoing dashboard maintenance = 4 hour per week
Total = 1,044 hours in first year (for 70 DA’s)
SCOM plus Live Maps Services
Initial Build Out = 2 hours per Service (related to DA)
Create dashboards per persona: 0 (out-of-the box)
Ongoing Service Maintenance = 0 hours per week
Total = 140 hours in first year (for 70 DA’s)
A huge benefit is found in the initial deployment, where the power of Live Maps Service membership rules halves the time of an average deployment of seventy Distributed Applications from 280 hours to 140 hours.
The real value lies in the dynamic rules that allow your Services and DA’s to be automatically updated as and when your infrastructure changes. Knowing that your services are always up to date saves you time (an average of 416 hours a year) to focus on more strategic deliverables. Plus, it gives you peace of mind that SCOM is monitoring the correct objects in the correct configurations. This peace of mind is priceless.
There are other third-party SCOM dashboarding products on the market today. All of these tools rely on the output of SCOM to be correct and show a “read-only” view into your SCOM environment. If your environment changes, then it is necessary to update the relationships in SCOM and then update the manual dashboards to reflect those changes. This can become a time-consuming and repetitive task for IT administrators. When users realize this native ability of Live Maps, which removes all of these repetitive low-level tasks, we find a real eureka moment as the customer “gets” our product offering for the first time.