Author: Zvi Uretzky

Most Awesome Tools For IT Administrators

Here is a collection of awesome tools for IT administrators

Contributions are always welcome! We accept proprietary and commercial software too.

Thanks all! you’re awesome and wouldn’t be possible without you! The goal is to build a categorized community-driven collection of very well-known resources.

Updated! Database Query Result Monitoring MP

The company that I am working for Savision always looking for an opportunity to contribute to the community; therefore, I found time at Savision to work on the old OleDB query monitoring project. Now I am happy to announce that I fixed bugs and add more features, here is a list of key features:

  • Easy Authoring template to create and delete queries.
  • Support for SQL Authentication.
  • Dedicated views in SCOM console.
  • Historical data collection.
  • Monitor using consecutive samples condition and schedule filter.
  • Two or three monitoring states (healthy/warning/critical).
  • Recalculate state on-demand.
  • Grouping of multiple queries.

You are welcome to download it directly from the Savision website.

Improve Customer Experience For Less Than 50$

I was recently presenting a lecture speaking about how a large number of social networks cause companies to lose their control over communication channels with their customers. I was also explaining why it is a problem and how Azure serverless services can reduce the problem dramatically for less than 50$. The reaction from the audience was great. So I decided to share it with you. Here is the explanation:

Before social networks existed on the internet (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and so on), the traditional communication channels between companies and customer were telephone, fax, email, mail or even a company website. Basically, companies had several common channels of communication. So, they could decide which of the communication channels to use.

Nowadays, social networks have become a legitimate communication channel between the customer and the company. As a result, the customer expects the company to respond within the social network. If the company does not, it becomes irrelevant. This means that companies no longer have the privilege to decide which of the communication channels to use.

Social networks are not the problem. Their quantity is. There are too many social networks and they continue to grow. If companies want to communicate with customers through all social networks or some of them, companies will have to pay an enormous amount of money. If they don’t use social networks, they will lose customers. Companies have no more the privilege to decide which of the communication channels to use.

Companies that understand how important this issue is. Spend time and money to develop their private solutions from scratch. Other companies are using external services such as Hootsuite or SproutSocial. These services are excellent, and companies should consider using these kinds of external services. Another option I would like to suggest is to consider using Azure serverless services to create your tailor-made solution. Let’s look at a diagram (1), it demonstrates an automated communication channel for customers that are using Twitter to interact with the company.

Flow
(1) – Twitter channel diagram.

An explanation of a diagram:  

The flow trigger is a tweet with the hashtag #expertsliveisrael (Experts Live Israel was a  conference that I organized and took part in during July 2018 in Tel Aviv). Next, it is splitting into using Azure Cognitive Services (Text Translate and Text Analytics) to analyze the tweet sentiment (is it a positive or negative tweet) in order to create a tailor-made response. It also stores the data inside an Azure Cosmos DB for future analyzing of the data.

Note: I used a database to store the data for demonstration purposes, it is not necessary for automatic response. I used it to give you an idea of possible insights that you might use, such as analyzing complaints and improving tailor-made responses.

You may follow my steps to achieve a similar result (I won’t describe all the workflow steps, only those that I think will be important for you to understand the solution):

  1. Create a Twitter account or use an existing account, if you don’t have a Twitter account click here to signup.

  2. Open Azure portal, and create a new Logic App flow ( I’m assuming you already know Logic App, if not I suggest to read this simple guide or start playing with it.)

My main Logic App flow is ExpertsLiveIsreal-Demo-Twitter, and here is how it visualized on designer view.TwitterFlow1

To simplify the visuality and for future maintenance purpose, I create a three separated Logic app flows.flowslist.JPG

  1. Add a Twitter trigger and fill in the fieldsFlow1.jpg

  2. Create a new Logic App flow for cognitive servicesFlow2.jpg

Note: You will need to create two Cognitive Services, a Text Translate and Text Analytics (If you don’t know what it is and how to use it, click on this link.)

  1. Create a new Logic App flow for a tailor-made responseFlow3.jpg

  2. Currently, to reply a tweet, there is no simple built-in action in Logic apps, therefore, at first, you will need to create a Function app and a developer account in Twitter.

  3. Once you created a developer account in a Twitter, you may continue to build a Function. Flow4

How I use a free LinqToTwitter.net API?

To be able to do so you need to download it and save it. Next, upload a LinqToTwitter.net.dll file into the bin folder inside the Function app folder. To open the function folder, click on the function name in my case it is an ExpertsLiveIL,  then change the tap to a Platform features and click on an App Service Editor.Flow5

You will open a new window of an App Service Editor.flow6

Select a bin folder and Right-click on a mouseflow7

Select Upload Files, browse to the location where you saved a LinqToTwitter.net.dll, select it and click on Upload button.

  1. Create a Cosmos DB follow the 5 minutes guide to creating it.

  2. Now, you are ready, to complete other actions on main flow.Flow10.jpg

Note: I didn’t mention a small function GenerateGuid, that I needed since Cosmos DB has a mandatory property “id” and it must be unique. So, I created a function that outputs a unique value to pass as “id” value.flow8.jpg

It took me a day maybe a little more to complete a whole flow. And here is a list of my costs:

Flow11.jpg

As you can see the total price was 45.87$. It’s a low price, wouldn’t you agree?

You should try it, be creative and productive 🙂

You are welcome to write me anything (a question or a comment or feedback).

And don’t forget to subscribe! Thanks.

 

#Go2ExpertsLiveIL (Implement an idea in less than a day)

Have you ever woken up in the morning with an idea that you thought would take a long time to implement? If you have, I hope I can convince you to try Microsoft Azure serverless products which will save you a lot of time.  Let me show you an example.

bg_IL2018

The idea is a campaign called #Go2ExpertsLiveIL. Tweet it and you will automatically receive a reply with a link to a personal website invitation. To implement it, I used Microsoft Azure serverless products such as:

  • Logic Apps – An orchestration service. I use it for subscribing to twitter posts with the hashtag #Go2ExpertsLiveIL. These tweets are then passed on to the Azure Functions.
  • Azure Functions – A Compute service, I use it to parse, manipulate data, and tweet the reply message.
  • Azure Web Service – A web hosting service, I use it to host the personal invitation site.

Additional Azure serverless products are:

Using those tools and services, I saved a lot of time and unnecessary effort. The past projects just like this one could have taken at least several days or weeks. Now with Azure serverless products, it took me less than a day to complete.

If you want to hear more about it, come to Experts Live Israel 2018 Tel Aviv, on June 21st. It is a community conference with a focus on Microsoft cloud, data center, and workplace management.

Don’t worry, if you can not come to Experts Live Israel I will write and explain how I did it shortly after the conference.

Besides me, you could meet well-known experts such as Bob Cornelissen, Avihai Hajaj, Idan Yona, Yury Kissin and Yaniv Shmulevich

I hope you are already preparing for #Go2ExpertsLiveIL:-)

See you soon…

 

 

 

NEW Author Announcement – Sameer Mhaisekar ( A talented blogger, a SCOM expert, and ambitious guy)

This is an exciting period for AnalyticOps Insights.It is growing and it is becoming from personal blog to a community blog. Our new author Sameer Mhaisekar is a very talented blogger, a young ambitious SCOM expert and a community contributor. Let’s get know him a little better.

Who is Sameer?

Hello, I am a young addition to the SCOM community from India. I’ve been working with SCOM for the last couple of years and fell in love with it. After being blessed by the awesome community for a long time, a few months ago I started contributing my little share. I’m serving the community mainly in the Operations Manager forums. I aim to be a capable SCOM admin and MP author. Apart from SCOM, I also take a keen interest in Powershell, SCCM, Azure, and OMS (which I am still learning).When I’m not working I enjoy reading, blogging, traveling, sports, online gaming, etc.

I have read your Linkedin and Microsoft Tech profiles, and the first impression I got is that you are a very ambitious guy. In two years you have done so much. Your progress is very impressive. And therefore it makes sense to me that you have great ideas and goals that you want to achieve. So, first of all, am I right? If I am, what are they?
You are right, I am pretty ambitious and willing to work hard for it. I aim to be a capable IT professional all-around and to serve the community as much as I can. My goal is to be a person who can get your work done, whenever you ask me to.

What was the biggest challenge in your workplace that you accomplished?
The biggest challenge I faced (which I still face very often) is just coming up with the sheer vastness of IT. Having come from a non-IT background, this was pretty tough for me in the beginning. However, after a while, I got used to it, and now I actually love that there’s always more and new things to learn!
Do you think there is a future for SCOM?
Definitely. Apart from the fact that there is a vast majority of organizations who are highly dependent on SCOM environments, it is simply not possible or feasible to move everything to cloud and achieve the same level of competency. Not to mention SCOM is becoming better and better, just look at the latest version SCOM 1801!
Do you think the OMS will replace SCOM?
Not in near future, no it won’t. I believe SCOM and OMS both work the best hand-in-hand, and they compliment each other very well. I think the advantages on-premise software providers are not matched in cloud solutions (yet, at least). However, let’s not pretend that OMS will never replace SCOM in future, but for now, SCOM is here to stay.
And finally a traditional question, Star Wars or Star Trek?

Well, please don’t hate me for saying this, but I haven’t watched both and to be honest, I’m not a fan of it either.
For me though, the better question would be “Who’s better, Messi or Ronaldo?”

Thank you.

Chat with Sameer in SCOM Community chat room.

Or contact on LinkedIn for professional advice.

Or find him on Technet.

Sebastian Pabst (The father who can also teach you a lot about SCOM) [Interview]

Sebastian is an excellent example of a professional that always keeps his family first. Therefore, I think he is a unique member of our growing community; I believe that the best quote that describes him is:

“Try not to become a man of success, but rather try to become a man of value.” – Albert Einstein

Sebastian spends most of his time with his family. He is a husband and the father of a two-year-old son. He spends the rest of his time focusing on SCOM solutions. This includes creating customer-specific monitoring and automation requests.

SebastianPabast

The first time I noticed Sebastian was when he retweeted my open source projects. I got really curious about his opinion on Open Source. And so I called up we chatted for a few minutes, and that’s it, I knew that this was the guy that was going to be featured on The March in. So, Let’s get know him a little better.

What do you think of Microsoft’s change in its approach to open source?

In my opinion, this change of mind was necessary and inescapable, as a fight against the open source community would merely have been hopeless. If you can’t defeat an enemy, make him your friend.

Do you use open source in your projects?

Not yet. But there are projects from open source operating systems. So it’s only a matter of time.

Do you use visual studio to develop monitoring packages?

At the moment I mainly work with Visual Studio 2017 Pro with the authoring extensions. Occasionally with Silect’s MP Author.

After work, house or beer with friends?

Home and after work beer in the garden with the family and neighbors.

Star Wars or Star Trek?

It’s a tough decision, but if I had to decide: Star Wars!

Thank you

“The Force will be with you. Always.” — Obi-Wan Kenobi

Tweet Sebastian on Twitter.

Awesome Things I Didn’t Know About my Colleague [Interview]

This week, I have the honor to introduce an exceptional community member. He has been my colleague for the past seven years. Please say hello to Moshe Ovadya.IMG-20180304-WA0001 

Moshe has had more than 10 years of experience as a SCOM expert. He has a massive impact on all successful projects we work together on, such as the most known of all, the OleDb query monitor. Moshe was the inspiration and the motivation behind it and helped me a lot to improve it so everyone could enjoy it. Let’s get to know him a little better:

Moshe after years of working as a monitoring expert do you think a SCOM is still relevant?

I believe so. I think we will look at a lot more community projects that will respond to the speed at which technology is changing. And therefore, I’m sure that a SCOM will stay relevant.

What do you love about monitoring?

I love the fact that always you need to improve and learn new technology, for instance, several years ago we used to write scripts in VBScript or JavaScript, and now we write scripts in a PowerShell and C#.

What do you work toward in your free time?

Actually, lately, I started to learn more seriously a motion designing this is something that I always wanted to do, and even I created a YouTube channel with all the videos I have done.

What is the funniest or stupidest thing that has happened to you recently?

In a previous job, I still do not know why but I agreed to bet that I could swallow cinnamon, I will not tell you how it ended, you should see it yourself  🙂

Which is better, StarWars or StarTrek?

StarTrek.

Thank you!

Chat with Moshe in SCOM Community chat room.

Or contact on LinkedIn for professional advice.

Or just tweet him on Twitter.

 

It’s all about a community

Hi everyone, I have exciting news!

Starting from today, I will write a series of new weekly posts that will be all about the System Center community members.

I am going to write about members that are usually not in the spotlight. I think those members are essential for the community’s continuing growth.

I am sure it will motivate you, a dear member of our community, to be more involved, and who knows, maybe you will write your own blog one day.

Every week I will try to introduce a random member of the SCOM community. Maybe, it will be you next week 🙂 Of course, every interview will be published only after you agree and approve.

The first member that I had the honor to interview is Ruben Zimmermann, click here to meet him.

Breaking News!

You don’t need to use a Microsoft generic Service Level Tracking Summary Report anymore. Savision heard you and decided to collaborate with me on a new project: a user-friendly report that allows you create and export a complete SLA overview of all of your SLOs. Plus it is a FREE community reporting management pack (Click here to download the management pack).

Check out the real benefits of the new report:

  • A complete SLA overview report of all your Service Level Objectives.
  • An easy way to analyze why SLA expectations were not met by drill down and review the top targeted monitoring objects and their alerts causing downtime.
  • This report can be set up once and sent automatically via email at regular intervals.

In other words, no more:

  • Exporting data to Excel to improve the view of format data.
  • Wasting time on complex searches to delve deeper into the data.
  • Explaining to your boss what he sees in the report.
  • Explaining to your boss that SCOM doesn’t have the report he needs.

Note: If you not familiar with SCOM reporting, lately,  Microsoft MVPs Bob Cornelissen and John Barreto joined forces with Savision to create the ultimate 23 pages guide to SCOM reporting (Click here to download this eBook).

How we came up with the project

An SLA is an agreement between clients and IT organizations on regarding the services and quality delivered. SLOs are defined within every SLA to obtain specific and measurable metrics which help to evaluate the quality of the service. Therefore, it is essential to continually track SLAs.

To most users the default Service Level Tracking Summary doesn’t seem to be user-friendly, as you can see in this example:

Table showing SLO performance in SCOM Console
SLA Example token from (http://approvedconsulting.com/component/k2/item/60-slo-reporting-with-scom)

As you can see, if you have more than 10 SLAs the current report can be very confusing and be challenging to manage SLAs situation. Therefore, obviously, a change was needed.

Savision has a vast experienced in optimize IT service delivery, prevent problems, and reduce a service downtime. All those and the willingness to help the community, bring them to collaborate with me on a project to improve SLA report.

The Project Result

At First, without adding additional words here is an example of a report output:

SLAOverview

As you can see, the report is straightforward to understand, rows are SLAs and columns are SLOs. The indicators show the availability percentage for a time frame of your choice. To find out why an SLA was not met, you can click on the SLO, and the report will show the top monitoring objects that caused the downtime.

SLAOverviewDrillDown

The report also integrates with Live Maps and shows the Infrastructure, Application, and End-User perspectives. If used with regular SCOM SLOs, it will show one column per group within the SLA target, and each column will represent its own SLO percentage.

(Note: It is preferable to select a small number of services at a time to make the report load fast, but keep in mind you can choose a longer list and run a scheduled report in the background.)

Enjoy reading my blog, please don’t forget to subscribe by click on the Following blue button that is on top of the page.

T H A N K  Y O U 🙂