OpsMgr. What does it mean for me? What does it mean for you?

MOF circle

System Center Operations Manager (aka OpsMgr, aka SCOM). It doesn’t have its’ own product page. It used to have one some years ago, but not any more. Nowadays it is just a component of System Center family. One of many. The product page has only one paragraph about this great piece of software, but I’m not upset. Probably, as a SCOM lover, I should be, but I’m really not. Looking back into 2010, when Opalis (now Orchestrator) had been announced, I can say that I was waiting for that and I’m glad that it has happened.

As I was making my career turn, I had many conversations with many people. Some of them are MP developers, so I was asking why do they do that? Why do they spend time for management pack development? Of course, it’s a business. Some sell MPs, others sell working hours. But that is just one side of the coin, on the other side there is something that should be valuable for customers and end users. Answers were different:

  • Bring visibility of infrastructure. Good answer.
  • Enable effective management of infrastructure. Even better.

Unfortunately nobody gave me the answer that would satisfy me, so I had to engender it myself. Considering one of the todays [marketing] mantras about “flat or shrinking IT budgets”, that was an easy task. So, my personal vision is: SCOM is not a monitoring tool. It is Operations Management tool. That is clearly stated in its’ name and that is why all management packs should not be designed for providing decent monitoring capabilities only. All MPs should enable cost-saving through simplifying operations and slashing down operational costs, increasing the density and minimizing the amount of hardware resources being unused. In other words: today it’s all about money. Even more than it was yesterday. This business ask implies that features like flexible monitoring configuration, analytical monitors, intelligent reports, capacity planning, simplified user experience, assisted troubleshooting and configuration advisory become a must.

There is one more thing. Take a look at the MOF circle. As you can see the “Operate” sector is (or at least should be) an integral part of the IT lifecycle. “Integral” here means that it should commit to other parts and vice versa it should accept commitments. SCOM collects and stores tons of operational data which are often overlooked. Not considering that data for planning means breaking a holistic approach. Bringing that back to the end-user, unlocking that data and smoothing an uneven user experience will yield in restoring the broken ecosystem and making many processes work symbiotically. The same story with accepting planned and delivered desirable hardware/software/process/etc. configuration as an input for “Operate” process. Circle should stay a circle.

That’s my vision. That’s what I stand for.

3 thoughts on “OpsMgr. What does it mean for me? What does it mean for you?

  1. As a programmer, i love the challenges SCOM and MP development throws at me. Some of the puzzles of design and complexity it gives is unmatched in C#/Java (where all the control is there). I have seen Onepoint-> MOM-> SCOM evolve over more than a decade and it’s been a marvelous journey and a story by itself.
    (Vignesh)

  2. Well said. I too enjoy writing MPs. I like to tackle difficult problems that ultimately make people’s lives easier to live. Thanks for posting this.

  3. I’m yet another to echo you sentiments. It’s funny. SCOM is like a toolbox in which everyone grabs out the hammer but never bothers to leverage the other tools in the bag. This is where the things just seem to fizzle out… operations folks are so busy that it is often times difficult to budget out the time to learn how to leverage SCOM or to talk with the folks (scom admins) who can make SCOM do so much more. Since there is no time to learn how to leverage the screw driver, let’s just use the hammer. Since we don’t have the time to learn how to use the stapler, let’s just use the hammer.

    SCOM’s greatest success is where all teams communicate and take involvement in the monitoring of the application they support. This is how management packs grow and add value. It is indeed good to be able to say, “it’s monitored,” but growth and improvement happens when we ask questions.

    How can we reduce false positives? Can SCOM be used to fix this automatically? Is there a way too…..

    When asked “How can we monitor this/that?” It’s like throwing down the gauntlet to a scom admin or MP developer? I dare you to figure a way to monitor this….

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