Management Packs: Keep Up!

Congratulations! You have your System Center Operations Manager up and running.  You have imported the Management Packs that you need to monitor your organization.  All that’s left is to watch your dashboards and make sure everything is green, right?

Wrong.

imageManagement Packs are updated all the time.  That’s why they have version numbers.  As an example, the Windows Server 2016 and 1709+ Operating System (Discovery) Management Pack that I downloaded for a client in March was version 10.0.17.0, and is now at version 10.0.19.0.  Is it a big difference?  I don’t know… that is why we check the documentation and the web for clues.  According to the document Management Pack Guide for Windows Server 2016 and 1709 Plus.docx (available online, but also through your SCOM Console):

Changes in Version 10.0.19.0

  • Process monitoring is disabled by default: upon a “clean” installation of the management pack, the monitoring is disabled for all existing and newly added monitored servers, except for the case when the monitoring had been configured before via the wizard in the previous version of the management pack.
  • The following rules are disabled by default:
    • Process Monitoring: Health State Collection
    • Process Monitoring: Process Health State Subscription
    • Process Monitoring: Performance Collection
    • Process Monitoring: Process Performance Metric Subscription
    • Process Monitoring: Network Port State Collection
    • Process Monitoring: Process Network Port Subscription
    • Process Monitoring: High Handle Count
    • Process Monitoring: High Memory Percentage
    • Process Monitoring: High Processor Time Percentage
    • Process Monitoring: Number of Processes Collection
  • Elaborated a workaround for Handle Count increase issue (see details in Troubleshooting and Known Issues section).

Alright… Maybe these changes are important to you, and maybe they aren’t… but there is someone out there who spends his life writing SCOM Management Packs who thought they might be handy, and knowing about them is part of your job as a cloud administrator.

So it may be our job to know about these changes, but exactly how, short of spending our days combing the web, are we supposed to know when new Management Packs are released, and what changes have been made that may (or sometimes may not) be relevant and useful to our organizations?  Here’s how:

image

  1. From your SCOM Console, click on the Administration context.
  2. In the Navigation Pane, expand Management Packs.
  3. Click on Updates and Recommendations.

You will see a list of available updates and recommendations, and when the installed Management Packs were last updated.  In the Actions Pane there is an option to Get All MPs… This is one of those ‘Are you really sure?’ moments.  I prefer to see what each Management Pack update do before going that route.

In the Actions Pane there is another option to View Guide.  It is greyed out until you click on an individual Management Pack in the main window.  That is how you end up with the document that I mentioned earlier (Management Pack Guide for Windows Server 2016 and 1709 Plus.docx ).

Once you have decided that you do indeed want to install a new version, you can click on Get MP, and the Import Management Packs window pops up, downloading the new MP.

image

Once you have downloaded the new Management Pack, you still have to install them.  In the same window, click Install.  It will go through the process, and let you know when you are ready to go.

Unfortunately, in the Updates and Recommendations console you cannot select multiple updates to apply.  You can either download a single Management Pack, or you can click Get All MPs.  There is no in between.  However, in the Import Management Packs window you can look at the properties of an individual MP (you will see tabs for General, Knowledge, and Dependencies in the Properties window).  You can thus remove individual packs from the whole, rather than having to install everything.

Once you click Import, you can click STOP if you change your mind… but only until the individual pack you are importing is done.  Once it is important, you would have to roll back by re-importing the previous version (which I hope you kept somewhere!).

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So now you know.  Management Packs are updated more often now in the days of Windows as a Service, so you are likely to see more updates to Management Packs than you might have a few years ago, but that does not mean you have to do this on a weekly basis.  For most organizations, every couple of months should do fine.  Remember… even if you are using an older Management Pack, you are still monitoring.

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