I have been working on this tour for HP Insight with System Center Essentials 2010 for a few months, and I am glad to have overcome a lot of pitfalls that I discovered along the way with regard to the installation process for the product. As one of the people involved quipped (after a relatively long troubleshooting session): “At least with this you will be a real expert at installing the product!”
Over the week-end I reinstalled my own System Center Essentials 2010 instance at home (there will be another article on doing that shortly) for two reasons: Firstly because I wanted to write an article documenting all of the installation issues I have encountered (see System Center Essentials- Installation Gotchas), but also because the install I had was the Microsoft version, and while I am on tour for it (and run primarily HP servers!) I thought it would be nice to run the HP Insight with System Center Essentials edition that they sent me… for precisely that purpose.
After I published the troubleshooting article yesterday, Doug asked me if I might want to write a follow-up about any installation issues I might have found with the HP Insight Extensions. I told him sure… but there’s a flaw to that: I haven’t encountered any. With all of the issues I have encountered installing System Center Essentials, the HP Insight Extensions have gone off without a hitch every time.
That is not to say that there aren’t issues that I have noticed… for one thing, you have to install the System Center Virtual Machine Manager update rollup for System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2008 R2 (KB2308590) in order for System Center Essentials to properly manage Hyper-V R2 SP1 hosts (whether on full server, Server Core, or Hyper-V Server). For reasons which only Microsoft knows, even with this rollup Essentials will not manage Dynamic Memory, which you will still have to set at the Hyper-V Manager level. This, it should be noted, has nothing to do with Hewlett Packard, and is entirely a functionality limitation of the original Microsoft product.
One issue that I have found – and a very minor one at that – is that the Extensions components (there are five) can either be installed all together (Express) or individually (one at a time). In other words you cannot select two or three of them to install at a shot. This, however, is a VERY minor quirk that does not even rise to the level of irritant. If you only want to install certain components then you can do them individually, and it does not take more than a few seconds for each one.
It is important to remember that even though this product is OEM and can only be purchased with a new HP server, it will still manage other servers in your environment, whether they are HP or not. That is not to say that I do not prefer HP servers (I really do!) but if you have other server brands in your environment (I have a couple of older PowerEdge servers that I haven’t retired yet) they can still be managed by HP Insight with System Center Essentials 2010. You simply have to acquire the appropriate license (non-HP Server ML) for it, and the proper OpsMgr Management Packs (if you are going to monitor the hardware).
If you are running a small- to mid-sized IT department, or you cater to them, then you have to know about System Center Essentials, and you should definitely look into the Reseller Option Kit (http://h18004.www1.hp.com/products/servers/software/microsoft/rok/index.html). It will help you to grow your business and let you get more done in less time. Check it out, and check back here for more articles on HP Insight with SCE.