Export All SCOM Subscriptions into a Text File

A few days ago I was in need to export all my SCOM subscriptions and be able to analyze them thoroughly. So I researched for a script/solution online but didn’t find anything particularly useful to my exact requirement. So I decided to write one myself!

I wrote a quick version of the script to get the job done, and indeed it was an investment of time well made! The script really spells out everything and it is very easy to analyze it visually and understand the relationships between the subscriptions, the channels as well as the subscribers. Sample output:

SCOM-Bob Cornelissen was gracious enough to publish the blog on his website as a guest post, read it here:

Export SCOM Subscriptions using Powershell



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.

Leon Laude [Interview]

This time, we are meeting Leon, who is a very passionate about sharing his knowledge with the community and help others! He is definitely one of those guys that you go to to get your stuff done! Let’s get to know him better:

Q: Please tell us a little about yourself and your background.
A: My name is Leon Laude, I work as a full time consultant in mid-size company in Stockholm, Sweden. My focus is mainly on Microsoft products, such as Windows Server, System Center, Hyper-V, Azure, Active Directory and a few others. I started working with these roughly 7 years ago, I started my IT career as a help desk agent, then I moved on to 2nd line support for workstations and printers, and eventually I ended up working with everything within the data center such as servers, firewalls, networks and storage within the Windows environment.
Q: I see you are very active on Technet Forums and also run your personal blog. What attracted you to get involved into community contributions?
A: I like to help people, I have always liked helping others, it brings me joy in life and I can also learn many new things by helping others.
I’ve known the Microsoft TechNet community for quite some time now, and I’ve noticed how many questions get asked there, but there are also many questions that are struggling to get some answers. There is clearly a big need of more help there, so I thought that I can share my knowledge with others, and maybe it could be useful or help them out, so I ended up contributing to the community by answering and troubleshooting people’s questions and also writing Wiki articles.
Q: What technologies do you think are on the rise dominantly in near future? 
A: This is always an interesting question, but I think we can all agree on that the cloud is growing bigger and becoming more popular.
From what I hear and experience from current customers and colleagues, many companies want to go with the hybrid model, meaning having both on-premises and cloud services.
Another technology that is rising is containers, I believe this will also play a bigger role in the future.
Q: What advice would you give to the new IT professionals to be successful in their journey?
A: What you need to know about IT is that it’s constantly changing, find something you feel comfortable to work with and something you enjoy doing.
Don’t get stuck with some tool, because it won’t last forever, try to be open to new things and keep yourself up-to date with where the IT industry is heading.
It is also very important to keep a good balance between your work and your personal life.
Q: What do you enjoy to do when you’re not working?
A: I spend a lot of time contributing to the Microsoft TechNet community, because I enjoy doing it, which doesn’t actually leave me that much time to do other things.
My other passions are travelling around the world, doing sports to keep myself fit, being with my girlfriend, family and friends. I do love the nature and I’ve always liked exploring and trying out new things!
Thanks for the interview! 🙂
Thanks a lot Leon for chatting with us! 
You can get in touch with him here:

Enable SCOM subscriptions with Powershell with “Fewer messages”

This is one widely known “inconvenience” with working with Powershell to manage your subscriptions in a big SCOM environment. Consider the following widely common scenario:

You have a SCOM environment with a fairly large number of subscriptions. You have a planned maintenance scheduled, and so you plan to disable all your subscriptions so that the support teams aren’t bothered with unnecessary alerts. There is a simple quick way of doing this:

Import-Module OperationsManager
Get-SCOMNotificationSubscription | Disable-SCOMNotificationSubscription

This will disable all your subscriptions and stop sending notifications out. This is simple enough. The issue lies with enabling them back. The catch here is when you enable the subscription using Powershell, you start getting all the notifications that were “cached” during the time of the maintenance mode, and your support teams are bombarded with tens or even hundreds of such spam notifications. This is because when you enable the subscriptions with Powershell, it enabled it using the default option of “More messages”. Moreover, there is no apparent parameter/switch to change it to “Fewer messages”.

Get-SCOMNotificationSubscription | Enable-SCOMNotificationSubscription

If you are not familiar with these two options, here’s what they mean:

More Messages: This option means all the notifications that were cached since the subscription was disabled are forwarded to subscribers.

Fewer Messages: This option means only the notifications that are generated after the subscription was re-enabled are forwarded to the subscribers.

This discussion was actually happening a few days ago on the SCOM Community Gitter Lobby (make sure to join!), and Dimitry K. suggested an excellent workaround on this issue (Kudos, Dimitry!). There’s no parameter in the cmdlet to switch options but you can actually do this using a method. Here’s the code:

$sub = Get-SCOMNotificationSubscription | where {$_.displayname -like "SUBSCRIPTION_NAME"}
$sub.Enabled = $true

Note the last line – $sub.Update($true)

The value you pass to this method actually determines the option to choose more or fewer messages. If you choose Update($true), it is equivalent to fewer messages, and if you choose Update($false), it is equivalent to more messages in the GUI.

Hope this helps, and save you and your support teams from a bunch of spam emails!


Service Uptime Report in SCOM

This is a question that I often get asked by the customers I work with and apparently a lot of others as evident by the related questions on the forums.

One way of doing it is to author your own service monitor, but that involves considerable amount of knowledge and experience of management packs and the underlying coding. It usually takes a lot of time as well. Not everyone has the right knowledge or the time to spend on it so I thought I’d share a quick trick I do to measure uptime of a service and also be able to present it to the concerned parties in the form of a report.

It often happens that you have a service running on your servers and many organizations use it as a “proof” to show that the application was running, or maybe as analysis for troubleshooting, hence it becomes necessary to be able to measure the uptime of the service accurately and to be able to show it to the management and/or to pass it around.

The thing is, when you’re creating a monitor to measure availability of a service in SCOM, you usually choose a “Basic Service Monitor”. This monitor is not very “intelligent” and simply places an instance of itself on every server belonging to the class that you choose. However, you do have another option to monitor your service with, and it is the “Windows Service Template”. This type provides you much more features and finer control on your service monitoring. I wrote a blog earlier comparing these two options of service monitoring and when to use what.

SCOM basic service monitor Vs Windows Service Template

So the way the Windows Service template works is that it creates a discovery of it’s own and hence creates an actual class. This class can further be used to target other workflows that you may have to monitor this class of servers. Another advantage of that is you can now use this class to fetch a “Service Availability” report. For example:

Let’s say I’m monitoring the Spooler service on a bunch of servers, and I need to be able to see the uptime of this service on each of these servers. So I create a Windows Service Template monitor, call it “Test Spooler”.

Now once it’s done, go to “Discovered Inventory” tab under Monitoring. Click on “Change the target type” and you can see that now the “Test Spooler” is a class available for targeting.

This means you can also target your availability report to this target as well and measure the uptime of the service it is monitoring.

You can also fetch a report for a group of service monitors created this way. There’s a good discussion we had a while back regarding this exact requirement:

Service Availability Report

Hope that helps!


SCOM 2012 R2 to 1801 Side-by-Side Migration : The Powershell Way! – By Ruben Zimmermann

Ruben is back with another awesome blog post, and I have no doubt this one is going to help a lot of people!

We all know the hassles of migrating your SCOM from one version to another, and it involves a lot of manual efforts. And especially so when you choose the side-by-side upgrade path. Making sure you have all the Management Packs re-imported, all overrides are intact, making sure all permissions to various users you’ve assigned over the years are still in place, etc just to mention a few examples. We’ve all wished how great it would be if you could run some kind of script and it’ll do it all for us. Well, this is exactly what Ruben has made available for us! Here, take a look:


Migrating from SCOM 2012 R2 to SCOM 1801 isn’t a stressful job as both environments can live in parallel.

This blog gives examples how to migrate the configuration from A to B by trying to leverage PowerShell whenever possible / reasonable.

Please apply the PowerShell code only if you feel comfortable with it. If there are questions, please don’t hesitate to drop me a line.


Although it is possible letting the agent do duplicate work in the sense of executing code in management packs, sending data to different management groups can cause excessive resource consumption on the monitored computer.

I suggest:

  • Migrate configuration to 1801 from 2012 R2 (blog topic)
  • Test with a very small amount of machine of different types (Application Servers, Web Servers, MSSQL, Exchange, Domain Controllers)
  • Move the remaining, majority to 1801
  • Change connectors to ticket systems, alert devices other peripheral systems
  • Remove the agent connections from 2012 R2 (see below for details)
  • Monitor the new environment for a while, if all fine decommission 2012 R2


  • 1801 is setup fully functional and first agents have been deployed successfully.
  • Windows PowerShell 5.1 is required on the 2012 R2 and on the 1801 server
  • Service Accounts used in 2012 R2 will be re-used. – If they are different in 1801 it is no big obstacle to change them if they are overwritten by one of the import steps.
    • Usually SCOM will alert if there is misconfiguration such a lack of permission somewhere.


Below now the steps separated in the different parts. – No guarantee for complete-  or correctness.

Management Packs

Migrating to a new environment is always a great chance to perform cleanup and apply the lessons you’ve learned in the old one.


Export all Management Packs from the current SCOM environment and review.

Get-SCOMManagementPack | Select-Object -Property Name, DisplayName, TimeCreated, LastModified, Version | Export-Csv -Path C:\temp\CurrentMps.csv -NoTypeInformation

For your convenience use Excel to open the CSV file. Import only those Management Packs which bring measurable benefit.


Standard Approach

If you have followed best practices you have created Override Management Packs for each Management Pack to store your customizations. Export those and import them into your new environment.

Note: Verify that the overrides work as expected.

Green field approach

In case you have stored the all overrides only in one Management Pack or want to be more selective follow these steps

  1. Create a new Override Management Pack for that specific MP and name it properly.
    1. E.g. <YourCompayName>.Windows.Server.Overrides

    2. Follow the steps mentioned in ‘Management Pack tuning’.

Notification Settings (Channels, Subscribers and Subscriptions)

Quoted from: http://realscom.blogspot.de/2017/05/migrate-notifications-to-another.html

  • Export the Microsoft.SystemCenter.Notifications.Internal mp in the old and new management groups – do not modify these, they are our backup copies
  • Make a copy of both files and rename them to something meaningful like Microsoft.SystemCenter.Notifications.Internal.ManagementGroupName_backup.xml
  • Make a note of the MP version number of the Microsoft.SystemCenter.Notifications.Internal MP from the new management group. In my case it was 7.2.11719.0
  • Open up the Microsoft.SystemCenter.Notifications.Internal.xml file for the old management group and change the version number to that of the new management group MP version + 1. In my case I changed it from 7.0.9538.0 to 7.2.11719.1. This is so the MP imports properly in the new management group

Exporting Configuration with PowerShell

Open a PowerShell console on the 2012 R2 Management Server and use the following cmdlets to store the information to C:\Temp\ResolutionStates.json

Alert Resolution State

Only user defined resolution states are exported.

Get-SCOMAlertResolutionState | Where-Object {$_.IsSystem -eq $false} | Select-Object Name, ResolutionState | ConvertTo-Json | Out-File C:\Temp\ResolutionStates.json
Alert Auto – Resolution Settings

Limited to the properties AlertAutoResolveDays and HealthyAlertAutoResolveDays

Get-SCOMAlertResolutionSetting | Select-Object AlertAutoResolveDays, HealthyAlertAutoResolveDays | ConvertTo-Json | Out-File C:\Temp\SCOMExport\AlertResolutionSetting.json
Database Grooming Settings (hint to dwarp! Plus link)

Exports data retention settings for information in the OperationsManager database. The DataWareHouse database is covered later.

Get-SCOMDatabaseGroomingSetting | Select-Object AlertDaysToKeep, AvailabilityHistoryDaysToKeep,EventDaysToKeep,JobStatusDaysToKeep,MaintenanceModeHistoryDaysToKeep,MonitoringJobDaysToKeep,PerformanceDataDaysToKeep,PerformanceSignatureDaysToKeep,StateChangeEventDaysToKeep | ConvertTo-Json | Out-file C:\Temp\SCOMExport\DatabaseGrooming.json
User Roles

Exporting User roles and System roles into dedicated files.

Get-SCOMUserRole | Where-object {$_.IsSystem -eq $false } | Select-Object -Property Name, ProfileDisplayName, Users | ConvertTo-Json | Out-File C:\Temp\SCOMExport\UserRoles.json
Get-SCOMUserRole | Where-object {$_.IsSystem -eq $true }  | Select-Object -Property Name, ProfileDisplayName, Users | ConvertTo-Json | Out-File C:\Temp\SCOMExport\SystemUserRoles.json
Run As Accounts

Exporting user defined RunAsAccounts. System defined ones are created by Management Packs.

Get-SCOMRunAsAccount | Where-Object {$_.isSystem -eq $false} | Select-Object -Property AccountType, UserName, SecureStorageId, Name, Description, SecureDataType | ConvertTo-Json | Out-File C:\Temp\SCOMExport\RunAsAccounts.json
<# The cmdlet 'Get-SCOMRunAsAccount' can't extract credential information. A free cmdlet, written by Stefan Roth is required for that. – Import it to your 2012 R2 environment before proceeding with the following lines.

https://www.powershellgallery.com/packages/RunAsAccount/1.0 #>
Get-SCOMRunAsAccount | Select-Object -ExpandProperty Name | ForEach-Object {

    try {  

        $theName  = $_

        $theTmp  = Get-RunAsCredential -Name $theName

        $thePass = ($theTmp.Password).ToString()


        $secPass  = ConvertTo-SecureString $thePass -AsPlainText -Force

        $theCreds = New-Object -TypeName System.Management.Automation.PSCredential($theName,$secPass)

        $theCreds | Export-Clixml -Path "C:\temp\SCOMExport\$theName.cred"

        $fileName =  "C:\temp\SCOMExport\" + $theName + ".txt"

        "$($thePass)" | Out-File -FilePath $fileName

    } catch {

        $info = 'Swallowing exception'



Importing Configuration with PowerShell

Copy the JSON files to the 1801 Management Server (C:\Temp\SCOM-Scripts)  and import using the following code:

Alert Resolution State
$jsonFileContent = Get-Content -Path C:\Temp\SCOM-Scripts\ResolutionStates.json | ConvertFrom-Json

foreach ($aState in $jsonFileContent) { 

Add-SCOMAlertResolutionState -Name $aState.Name -ResolutionStateCode $aState.ResolutionState


Alert Resolution Setting
$jsonFileContent = Get-Content -Path C:\Temp\SCOM-Scripts\AlertResolutionSetting.json | ConvertFrom-Json

Set-SCOMAlertResolutionSetting -AlertAutoResolveDays $jsonFileContent.AlertAutoResolveDays -HealthyAlertAutoResolveDays $jsonFileContent.HealthyAlertAutoResolveDays

Database Grooming Settings
$jsonFileContent = Get-Content -Path C:\Temp\SCOM-Scripts\DatabaseGrooming.json | ConvertFrom-Json

Set-SCOMDatabaseGroomingSetting -AlertDaysToKeep $jsonFileContent.AlertDaysToKeep -AvailabilityHistoryDaysToKeep $jsonFileContent.AvailabilityHistoryDaysToKeep -EventDaysToKeep $jsonFileContent.EventDaysToKeep

Set-SCOMDatabaseGroomingSetting -JobStatusDaysToKeep $jsonFileContent.JobStatusDaysToKeep -MaintenanceModeHistoryDaysToKeep $jsonFileContent.MaintenanceModeHistoryDaysToKeep -MonitoringJobDaysToKeep $jsonFileContent.MonitoringJobDaysToKeep

Set-SCOMDatabaseGroomingSetting -PerformanceDataDaysToKeep $jsonFileContent.PerformanceDataDaysToKeep -PerformanceSignatureDaysToKeep $jsonFileContent.PerformanceSignatureDaysToKeep -StateChangeEventDaysToKeep $jsonFileContent.StateChangeEventDaysToKeep        

User Roles
# Importing User roles and System roles from dedicated files. – Review them first.

$jsonFileContent = Get-Content -Path C:\Temp\SCOM-Scripts\UserRoles.json | ConvertFrom-Json

foreach ($uRole in $jsonFileContent) {

    switch ($uRole.ProfileDisplayName) {       

        'Advanced Operator' {

            Add-SCOMUserRole -Name $uRole.Name -DisplayName $uRole.Name -Users $uRole.Users -AdvancedOperator           


        'Author' {

            Add-SCOMUserRole -Name $uRole.Name -DisplayName $uRole.Name -Users $uRole.Users -Author


        'Operator' {

            Add-SCOMUserRole -Name $uRole.Name -DisplayName $uRole.Name -Users $uRole.Users -Operator


        'Read-Only Operator' {

            Add-SCOMUserRole -Name $uRole.Name -DisplayName $uRole.Name -Users $uRole.Users -ReadOnlyOperator




$jsonFileContent = Get-Content -Path C:\Temp\SCOM-Scripts\SystemUserRoles.json | ConvertFrom-Json

foreach ($sRole in $jsonFileContent) {

    if ($sRole.Users) {   

        Get-SCOMUserRole | Where-Object {$_.Name -eq $sRole.Name} | Set-SCOMUserRole -User $sRole.Users

    } else {



Run As Accounts
# Importing User roles and System roles from dedicated files. – Review them first.

$jsonFileContent = Get-Content -Path C:\Temp\SCOM-Scripts\RunAsAccounts.json | ConvertFrom-Json

foreach($rAccount in $jsonFileContent) {

    $theName  = $rAccount.Name   

    if ($theName -match 'Data Warehouse') {

        write-warning "Skipping default account $theName"



    switch ($rAccount.AccountType) {

        'SCOMCommunityStringSecureData' {                       

            $credFile =  Get-Content -Path "C:\Temp\SCOM-Scripts\creds\$theName.txt"

            $secPass  = ConvertTo-SecureString $credFile -AsPlainText -Force

            Add-SCOMRunAsAccount -CommunityString -Name $theName -Description $rAccount.Description -String $secPass


        'SCXMonitorRunAsAccount' {


                $thePass = Get-Content -Path "C:\Temp\SCOM-Scripts\creds\$theName.txt"

                $secPass = ConvertTo-SecureString $thePass -AsPlainText -Force

                $theCreds = New-Object -TypeName System.Management.Automation.PSCredential($theName,$secPass)               

                Add-SCOMRunAsAccount -SCXMonitoring -Name $theName -Description $rAccount.Description -RunAsCredential $theCreds -Sudo              

            } catch {           

                Write-Warning $_                            



        'SCXMaintenanceRunAsAccount' {


                $thePass = Get-Content -Path "C:\Temp\SCOM-Scripts\creds\$theName.txt"

                $secPass = ConvertTo-SecureString $thePass -AsPlainText -Force

                $theCreds = New-Object -TypeName System.Management.Automation.PSCredential($theName,$secPass)               

                Add-SCOMRunAsAccount -SCXMaintenance -Name $theName -Description $rAccount.Description -RunAsCredential $theCreds -Sudo               

            } catch {

                Write-Warning $_                            



        'SCOMBasicCredentialSecureData' {


                $thePass = Get-Content -Path "C:\Temp\SCOM-Scripts\creds\$theName.txt"

                $secPass = ConvertTo-SecureString $thePass -AsPlainText -Force

                $theCreds = New-Object -TypeName System.Management.Automation.PSCredential($theName,$secPass)                

                Add-SCOMRunAsAccount -Basic -Name $theName -Description $rAccount.Description -RunAsCredential $theCreds                

            } catch {

                Write-Warning $_                            



        'SCOMWindowsCredentialSecureData' {


                $thePass = Get-Content -Path "C:\Temp\SCOM-Scripts\creds\$theName.txt"

                $secPass = ConvertTo-SecureString $thePass -AsPlainText -Force

                $theName  = $env:USERDOMAIN + '\' + $rAccount.Name

                $theCreds = New-Object -TypeName System.Management.Automation.PSCredential($theName,$secPass)                

                Add-SCOMRunAsAccount -Windows -Name $theName -Description $rAccount.Description -RunAsCredential $theCreds                

            } catch {

                Write-Warning $_                            



        default {

            Write-Warning "Not coverd: $rAccount.AccountType please add manually."



Run As Profiles

Run As Profiles usually come with Management Packs and therefore not handled here.


Run As Profiles are the binding component between Run As Account and the Object (e.g. a Computer / Health State) they are used. Please check the configuration in the 2012 R2 environment to setup the mapping and distribution manually.

Datawarehouse Retention Settings

Datawarehouse retention settings are configured with a cmdline tool named dwdatarp.exe. It was released in 2008 and works since then.

Download link can be found here: https://blogs.technet.microsoft.com/momteam/2008/05/13/data-warehouse-data-retention-policy-dwdatarp-exe/

Checking the current settings

After downloading, copy the unpacked executable to your SCOM – database server (e.g. C:\Temp).

Open an elevated command prompt and use the following call to export the current configuration:

dwdatarp.exe -s OldSCOMDBSrvName -d OperationsManagerDW > c:\dwoutput.txt

Setting new values

The following values are just a suggestion to reduce the amount or required space.

dwdatarp.exe -s newscomdbsrv -d OperationsManagerDW -ds "Alert data set" -a "Raw data" -m 180
dwdatarp.exe -s newscomdbsrv -d OperationsManagerDW -ds "Client Monitoring data set" -a "Raw data" -m 30
dwdatarp.exe -s newscomdbsrv -d OperationsManagerDW -ds "Client Monitoring data set" -a "Daily aggregations" -m 90
dwdatarp.exe -s newscomdbsrv -d OperationsManagerDW -ds "Configuration dataset" -a "Raw data" -m 90
dwdatarp.exe -s newscomdbsrv -d OperationsManagerDW -ds "Event data set" -a "Raw Data" -m 30
dwdatarp.exe -s newscomdbsrv -d OperationsManagerDW -ds "Performance data set" -a "Raw data" -m 15
dwdatarp.exe -s newscomdbsrv -d OperationsManagerDW -ds "Performance data set" -a "Hourly aggregations" -m 30
dwdatarp.exe -s newscomdbsrv -d OperationsManagerDW -ds "Performance data set" -a "Daily aggregations" -m 90
dwdatarp.exe -s newscomdbsrv -d OperationsManagerDW -ds "State data set" -a "Raw data" -m 15
dwdatarp.exe -s newscomdbsrv -d OperationsManagerDW -ds "State data set" -a "Hourly aggregations" -m 30
dwdatarp.exe -s newscomdbsrv -d OperationsManagerDW -ds "State data set" -a "Daily aggregations" -m 90

Agent Migration – Remove the older Management Group

After the computer appears as fully managed computer in the SCOM console, remove the older Management group.

Jimmy Harper has authored a Management Pack which helps to clean-up the agent migration after the new agent has been deployed. Please read through:


This is great! Thanks a lot Ruben, for taking the time and efforts to put this all together!

Get to know more about Ruben here!


Linux/UNIX agent failover and Resource Pools – Debunking the Myth! – Part 2

We discussed about the common misconceptions regarding failover for Windows agents in SCOM in the previous post (part 1). In this part, as promised, Stoyan Chalakov is going to be discussing about the failover for Linux machines monitored by SCOM. Here goes:

Linux/UNIX agent failover and Resource Pools – debunking the myth – Part 2

While answering questions on the Microsoft Technet Forums, I noticed that are lots of questions on topics, which are repeating, or which often are not that well understood. So I had a discussion with Sam (Sameer Mhaisekar) and we decided that it would be very beneficial if we write short blog posts on those topics.

One such topic is agent failover in SCOM and the difference between a Windows and Linux/UNIX agent. In order to understand how the Linux/UNIX agent failover works, one need to first become acquainted with the concept of Resource Pools in Operations Manager.

Sam already wrote the first part on this subject, where he explains the basic of Resource Pools and gives also example of how the failover of the Windows agent work in SCOM. He also referenced 3 very important articles about Resource Pools in SCOM, which are you need to read before getting to Linux/UNIX agent failover.

Before jumping to failover, it is important to mention some important facts about the architecture of Linux/UNIX agent.

The Linux/UNIX agent is very different from the Windows one and hasn’t been changed since Operations Manager 2012. One of the most important functional difference, compared to a Windows agent is the absence of a Health Service implementation. So, all the monitored data is passed to the Health Service on a management server, where all the management pack workflows are being run. This makes it a passive agent, which is being queried (using the WSMan protocol, Port 1270) for availability and performance data by the management servers in the Resource Pool.

The first important thing that needs mentioning is that you cannot discover and monitor UNIX/Linux systems without configuring a Resource Pool first. When you start the SCOM discovery wizard you will notice that you cannot continue unless you have selected a Resource Pool from the drop-down menu.

Here a few important considerations regarding the Resource Pool that will manage the UNIX/Linux agents:

  • It is recommended and, in my opinion, very important to dedicate the management servers in the cross platform Resource Pool only to UNIX/Linux monitoring. The reason for this are the capacity limits, which Operations Manager has when it comes to monitoring UNIX\Linux and Windows and which needs to be calculated very accurately. I will try to explain this in detail. A dedicated management server can handle up to 3000 Windows agents, but only 1000 Linux or UNIX computers. We already revealed the reason for that – cross platform workflows are being run on the management server and this costs performance.

So, if you have also Windows agents, reporting to the dedicated management server, capacity and scalability calculations cannot be made precise and the performance of the management server can be jeopardized.

This fully applies and is a must for larger organizations where there are many Linux or UNIX computers (hundreds of systems) and their number grows. In smaller monitored environments, where you have a small (tens of systems), (almost) static number of cross platform agents, very often, dedicating management servers only for those systems can be an overkill. So, in such cases, I often use management servers, which are not dedicated and are members of the Default Resource Pools or are managing Windows agents. This of course, is only possible if the number of Windows agents is way below the capacity limits of the management group, which would leave enough system Resources on the management server for running the Linux/UNIX workflows.

  • It is very important to dedicate the management server in the cross platform Resource Pool only to UNIX/Linux monitoring. This means not only that you should not assign Windows agents to report to it, but also the server should be excluded also from the other Resource Pools in the management group (SCOM Default Resource Pools, network monitoring Resource Pools, etc.). The reason is the same – performance. If the management server participates in other Resource Pools, it will execute also other types of workflows.

To exclude the management server from the Default Resource Pools, you will need to modify their membership from automatic to manual. By default, each management server, added to the management group is automatically added to the Resource Pools that have an automatic membership type. For some of the Resource Pools this can be accomplished over the console, for others like the “All Management Servers Resource Pool” this can be done only with PowerShell:

Get-SCOMResourcePool -DisplayName “All Management Servers Resource Pool” | Set-SCOMResourcePool -EnableAutomaticMembership 0

  • When you do the capacity planning for your management group, make sure you don’t forget to calculate the number of UNIX or Linux computers a management server can handle in the case another member of the Resource Pool fails. Let me explain this with an example:

According to the official documentation (see the link above), a dedicated management server can handle up to 1000 Linux or UNIX computers. But, if you have two dedicated management servers in your cross platform Resource Pool and you aim for high availability, you cannot assign 2000 (2x 1000) agents to the Pool. Why? Just imagine what will happen with a management server if its “buddy” from the same Resource Pool fails and all its agents get reassigned to the one, which is still operational. You guessed right – it will be quickly overwhelmed by all the agents and become non-operational. So, the right thing to do if you would like your cross platform monitoring to be highly available, is to have 2 management for not more than 1000 agents, so that in case of failure the remaining server can still handle the performance load.

  • Last, but not least, make sure the management servers, which will be used for Linux/UNIX monitoring are sized (RAM, CPUs, Disk space) according to the Microsoft recommendations.

Now back to the agent failover topic…I think it got already pretty clear how the Linux/UNIX agent failover happens behind the scenes, but short summary won’t do any harm:

  • After the discovery wizard is started, a Resource Pool must be selected for managing the systems.
  • When the Resource Pool is selected, it assigns one of the participating management server to complete the actual discovery of the systems and take over the monitoring.
  • When the management server fails, the Resource Pool selects one of its other members to take over the monitoring.

Here a reference to what we said in the beginning that the UNIX/Linux agent is passive and is being queried by the management server. Because of this, it is not actually aware of what happens in the background and continues to communicate with the server, which has been now assigned to it.

Now is also the right time to make a couple of very import notes:

  • XPlat (cross platform) certificates

Part of the preparation of the environment for the monitoring of cross platform systems is the creation of self-signed certificate and its deployment to every management server, member of the Resource Pool. This will ensure that in case of failover each management server will be able to communicate with agent, using the same certificate.

  • High availability with Operations Manager Gateways as members of the Resource Pool (thanks to Graham Davies for the reminder)

What I forgot to mention in the first version of this post, but is of high importance for maintaining high availability of your Gateway Resource Pools (Resource Pool, consisting of Operations Manager Gateway servers) is the fact that two Gateways are not sufficient for achieving high availability. Why? You will find the answer in the article Kevin Holman wrote about Resource Pools in SCOM and how exactly they provide high availability This is also the same article Sam posted in the first part and it is must read if you have to plan for and manage Resource Pools and cross platform agent failover in Operations Manager:

Understanding SCOM Resource Pools



Understanding UNIX/Linux agent high availability and failover is not a hard thing to do. Still, in order to properly plan for Operations Manager cross platform monitoring, there are some additional things like sizing and scalability that need to be considered.

Awesome, thanks a lot Stoyan! It was very informative and interesting read, as usual! 🙂

You can get in touch with Stoyan on LinkedIn or Twitter, or visit his Technet profile.


Stoyan Chalakov : A real life MVP! [Interview]

This interview is VERY special to me, personally. Stoyan is not only my technical teacher, my guide but also my very good friend, and who’s been with me since pretty much the beginning of my professional journey. A big chunk of what I am today (and whatever I will be in future), I owe it to Stoyan. A true community contributor, professional and always more than ready to help the community wherever and whenever possible!

Stoyan Chalakov_Switzerland

So, let’s get into it!

Stoyan, please tell us a little about yourself!

My name is Stoyan Chalakov and besides being a proud father of two I am also a full time consultant in a small consulting company, located in Bern, Switzerland. In July this year (2018) I got my 2nd Microsoft MVP award in the Cloud and Datacenter Management category.
My focus lies on private and hybrid Cloud management, involving number of technologies like Microsoft System Center, Hyper-V, Office 365, Microsoft Azure and covering topics like Datacenter monitoring, IT Service Management, Orchestration and Automation. Still, my passion is System Center Operations Manager, which plays also a key role in my community contributions. 
I am currently struggling finding a healthy equilibrium between work and family and part of this is dedicating all my spare time for my family and kids. If you ask me how I imagine my personal quality time, I would say: give me a nice book (old school paper book) and watch me 🙂
Since when are you involved with the community contributions and what keeps you going?

It started back in the time, when I was working for the Microsoft Professional Support. I was answering posts on the so-called Microsoft Newsgroups, which has been discontinued some years ago. At that time, it was more of a duty to me than an actual community work. After moving to Switzerland, I started working actively with different System Center Products like Service Manager, Orchestrator and Operations Manager and I quickly found out how great it is to be able to ask questions or get help in a quick manner. So, after a while, as advanced with all the technologies I started also answering questions and helping others in the forums. Each marked answer and each “Thank You” puts a smile on my face. There isn’t a better motivation than this.

With the ever-rising popularity of cloud services, do you think on-premise technologies have started to die out? Will on-premise technologies ever be completely taken over by cloud?

I wouldn’t say that on-premise technologies are dying out, I think they are just currently being overrun by the respective cloud alternatives. Microsoft’s “Cloud First, Mobile First” created a “cloud” rush indeed and we cannot deny that for many organizations going to the cloud was a way better option, than operating a local Datacenter. We are all familiar with the reasons for that.

Despite this, there are lots of companies and establishments, which are not ready or not able to go the cloud for different reasons. There are also those, which move only part of their infrastructure and workloads to the cloud, which creates a unique Hybrid model. For all of them “on-premise” will always be a topic.

If you were to start your career with a clean slate again – what would be your technology of choice to begin with?

I started my career in the Microsoft Professional Support Services and there it is all about troubleshooting and problem solving – troubleshooting core issues (revealing the cause for a BlueScreen by analyzing memory dumps, server freezes and other performance issues), network (connectivity, network performance, etc.,) and Active Directory related issues on Windows Servers. This was a great entrance in the Microsoft world for me because I learned not only all important basics and how things work, but I also learned the different troubleshooting and problem solving techniques. So, if I can decide again where to start, I would make the exact same choice I did back then.

When you’re not working, what do you do for fun?

With my employment as consultant and all the community work, I barely have any spare time. I am a family guy and spend each free minute with my kids. This is what brings my joy and puts a smile on my face after a tough day. I do like to spend time in the nature, but currently this happens only or rare occasions.

Great, thanks Stoyan!

Stoyan really puts the things very well into perspective. You can reach him on the channels below:



Here’s his Technet profile:

Technet – Stoyan Chalakov


Autogrowth on SCOM Operational DB?

This is another of the hot topics I find with differences in opinion among the experts.

The other one we discussed was Windows Agents and Failover – Debunking the Myth!

Should you enable autogrowth on SCOM Operational Database?

I did some some research online and consulted some of the best SCOM experts I know and put together an article that explains why you would NOT want to autogrow your SCOM DB.

The short version is:

DO NOT autogrow your SCOM Operational DB, unless you absolutely need to. Autogrowing DB comes with its own set of disadvantages and might affect the performance of the DB.

So, choose the size of your DB very carefully while you are designing your Management Group!

The longer and more detailed version is here:

Should You Enable Autogrowth on SCOM Operations Database?


PS. Special thanks to Stoyan Chalakov and “SCOM Bob” Cornelissen for reviewing the article and suggesting edits! 🙂

Windows Agents and Failover – Debunking the Myth!

The myth: “If the primary Management Server is down, the windows agents will automatically failover to any Management Server in the Resource Pool.”

It’s been 6 years since the release of SCOM 2012, and yet, the understanding around the failover process in SCOM is still widely confused. SCOM 2012 came out with the concept of the “Resource Pools”, essentially replacing and enhancing the previous “Root Management Server” concept. Having said that, the Resource Pools are still very widely misunderstood and confused.

Why was the concept of Resource Pools introduced? For failover? Sure, but probably not in the way you are thinking. I talk very frequently to other SCOMers in person and online and I often find that their understanding about the Resource Pools is not very accurate. So, I thought about writing a two-part blog explaining the failover process in SCOM – one for the Windows Agents and other for Unix/Linux and network agents.

I will talk about the Windows Agents failover part here, and my friend Stoyan Chalakov was generous enough to agree to write on the U/L and networking part. So, let’s get started!

Before we jump into the actual failover process, let’s recap briefly what Resource Pools are and what do they do.

Basically, the concept of resource pools was introduced to eliminate the Root Management Server as the single point of failure. Till SCOM 2007, RMS was the boss and other MS were under it in the management group hierarchy. Many critical workflows were specifically targeted at the RMS and so there was a risk of your SCOM being paralyzed if the RMS goes down. On top of that, you couldn’t cluster it either.

So starting from SCOM 2012 Microsoft came up with the concept of Resource Pools, and the idea that all the Management Servers are peers, and not in hierarchy. That simplified so many things and the workflows that were running on the RMS were now running on the members of the Resource Pools.

When you install SCOM, out-of-the-box you get 3 default Resource Pools – The “All Management Servers Resource Pool”, which deals with most of the legacy RMS workflows, the “Notifications Resource Pool”, which deals with notifications (alerts subscription service), and “AD Integration Assignment Pool”, which deals with the AD Integrations.

Now the scope of this blog is not to get into much detail of Resource Pools, but there are actually a couple of very good blogs out there that discuss Resource Pools in great details. The one we’ll discuss about here is in particular the “All Management Servers Resource Pool”, and specifically what it DOES NOT do.

Some reading material on Resource Pools:
Understanding SCOM Resource Pools

Resource pool design considerations

OpsMgr (#SCOM) Resources Pools–What they do not do [#SYSCTR]

Now coming back to the failover thing – I’m sure most of you have read or known that the Resource Pools provide failover and high availability in SCOM. Which is true. But again you may also be thinking that the Resource Pools (notably the All Management Servers Resource Pool) provides failover to your Windows Agents. This is simply not true. In almost all of the blogs and even in the Microsoft official documents, when you’re reading about Resource Pools, there is a line mentioned somewhere, “Windows agents do not report to resource pools” – and that’s it. Nothing else. No further explanation, no further discussions at all. That is why it is often just skimmed over or simply forgotten.

So, what does “Windows agents do not report to resource pools” actually mean?

Let’s have a case:

3 Management Servers: MS1, MS2, MS3

2 Gateway Servers: GW1 (reports to MS1) and GW2 (reports to MS2)

As the name suggests, we have all the MS in the “All Management Servers Resource Pool”.

Now let’s understand how the failover takes place should the MS or GW go down.

Case 1: Management Server goes down –

Let’s say it’s the MS3 that failed. All the agents reporting to MS3 are RANDOMLY failed over to either MS1 or MS2 (for successful failover, of course you need the required port 5723 open to all MS). This is the out-of-the-box feature of SCOM and does not require you to set up AD Integration. This process is random by default, but you CAN configure which Management Server you want it to failover to, using Powershell:

$agents = Get-SCOMAgent
$pri = Get-SCOMManagementServer -Name "MS3"
$sec = Get-SCOMManagementServer -Name "MS1"
$agents | where {$_.PrimaryManagementServerName -eq $pri.Name} | Set-SCOMParentManagementServer -PrimaryServer $pri -FailoverServer $sec

Now, once you run this the agents will failover to the Management Server YOU want, instead of failing over randomly. This is NOT affected by what Management Servers you have in whatever Resource Pool. Let’s say I removed one (or all) Management Server(s) from the All Management Servers Resource Pool, this behavior is NOT affected (Don’t do that though, it’ll cause other problems!). The servers will still failover to any Management Servers in the Management Group.

When you install a Windows agent, you configure it to report to a particular Management Server (or GW) only. The Resource Pool simply doesn’t play a role here.

In conclusion, Windows agents will failover to any available Management Server RANDOMLY (unless explicitly configured) and this behavior is NOT affected by any Resource Pools (default or custom).

Case 2: Management Server with a GW reporting goes down –

Let’s say MS1 goes down. GW failovers are not automatic and unlike agents, they DO NOT failover randomly to any other available MS. You need to configure the GW explicitly for failover to MS2 or MS3, using Powershell.

$primaryMS = Get-SCOMManagementServer | where {$_.Name –match "MS1"} 
$failoverMS = Get-SCOMManagementServer | where {$_.Name –match "MS2"} 
$gatewayMS = Get-SCOMManagementServer | where {$_.IsGateway -eq $true} 
Set-SCOMParentManagementServer -GatewayServer: $gatewayMS -PrimaryServer: $primaryMS 
Set-SCOMParentManagementServer -GatewayServer: $gatewayMS -FailoverServer: $failoverMS

Case 3: The GW server goes down –

Let’s say GW1 goes down. Again, the agents will NOT automatically failover to another GW server. You will need to configure the agents to use another server (GW2), using a Powershell script.

#Agents reporting to "GW1" – Failover to "GW2" 
$primaryMS = Get-SCOMManagementServer | where {$_.Name –eq "GW1"} 
$failoverMS = Get-SCOMManagementServer | where {$_.Name –eq "GW2"} 
$agent = Get-SCOMAgent | where {$_.PrimaryManagementServerName -eq "GW1"} 
Set-SCOMParentManagementServer -Agent: $agent -PrimaryServer: $primaryMS 
Set-SCOMParentManagementServer -Agent: $agent -FailoverServer: $failoverMS

Note: Scripts are for example only. You may need to modify them according to your requirements.

Now you’re probably thinking, how come people say that the Resource Pools are used for Failover and high availability then? Fair question! The answer is, they do provide automatic failover to the workflows that are running on the health services of the members of the resource pools. Windows agents run their workloads on their respective health services local to them; hence they have no relationship with the Resource Pools.

In other words you can also say that the failover and high availability resource pools provide is actually for Management Servers, and not for the Windows agents reporting to them.

However, this is not the case with Unix/Linux agents. I will not go into details of it here though, because Stoyan will have an entire blog dedicated to this in part 2, so I’ll let him dive into the details. 😉

Hope this clarifies some misunderstandings and helps someone out there plan their deployment correctly!