Showing posts with label System Center 2012. Show all posts
Showing posts with label System Center 2012. Show all posts

Monday, March 3, 2014

Extending Service Request Form - Part 1 (Extending SR Class)

Throughout my experiences in implementing Service Manager 2012 (SCSM) for enterprise organisation, one of the challenge that repeat itself in each project is Service Request Fulfilment (SR).

For those who has come across the SR module of SCSM 2012, SCSM 2012 SP1 and SCSM 2012 R2, I am sure you will find that the SR Form out-of-box is nothing to fancy about. Instead you may find it very constraint and you barely can make anything out of it. Say for scenario below that you achieve which I am quite sure you could not achieve these

Scenario 1: Request Offering to Create AD Account
IT People always as how can I delegate this to HR Department (maybe) and there can request AD account through SSP. The challenge is how do you ask and map information such as First Name, Last Name, Middle Name, Proposed Username and etc. Well, asking the HR to use the "Description" box maybe a solution, but often they find it not practical.

Scenario 2: Request Offering to Request VM
Again, how could the IT Department allow the Business Unit to request for a virtual server. While the IT infrastructure is operating on a Private Cloud Concept, there is no practical way for user to request a VM with specific specification such as Processor, Memory, Operating System require.

Most of the people I come across they find it SR module of SM is not user friendly as why "M" does not consider all of this.

Well, it time to look from another angle. Service request is a very subjective module of all. You can have... ALL SORT OF REQUESTS...literally. To think about this, how could we expect "M" to make all sort of forms that could suit all of us. Of course "M" don't do that. That's where we come into picture, to understand user requirement and EXTEND the existing SR form.

Extending the SR form simply means to introduce more "field" to the form to capture the require information. This field is then use in Request Offering and publish through SSP as and interface to end user.

The rest of this topic explain how to extend the SR form to make request such as "Request VM" through SR possible and more practical.

1. Service Manager 2012 - Management Server (of course)
2. Service Manager 2012 - Development Management Server (Good to have)
3. Service Manager console
4. Service Manager Authoring Tool
5. Basic understanding of SCSM Projection, Class and Management Pack Components
6. Knowledge in Visual Studio and programming is added advantage (no kidding)

Extending Service Request Form Series
Extending Service Request Form - Part 1 (Extending SR Class)
Extending Service Request Form - Part 2 (Extending SR Form)
Extending Service Request Form - Part 3 (Customizing the MP)

Extending Service Request Class

1. Install the SM Authoring Tool either on the Management Server or on your desktop.

2. Launch the SM Authoring Tool. Click on "New" to create a new Management pack for SM.

3. I created the MP with name "CMY_SRF_Extension_RequestVM"

4. Review the new MP created

5. At the Class Browser pane, select System Work Item Service Request Library and search for Service Request class. Right-click the class and select View.

6. Back to the Management Pack Explorer, you will see Service Request class listed under the sealed MP of System Work Item Service Request Library. Right-click Service Request class and select Extend class.

7. Review the changes will be saved in the MP that we have created earlier, click OK.

8. Lets name the extended class.

9. In the result pane, click Create property. We name the propoerty as CMY_SRF_Req_VM_Proc. This is the property we create to capture information of VM Processor Count in request.

10. Right-click the property create and select Edit data type.

11. Select List.

 12. Select the List that will be use by this property.

13. Repeat step 11 to 12 for all the items.

We are now done with the SR Class extension. Next we will focus on extending SR Form.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Importing Change Record (with Activity) to Service Manager 2012 using CSV

A recent project that I actively involve, require us to import their existing Change Record (CR) into SCSM 2012 SP1. Like some the organisation out there, the IT department has to retain these information for reference and auditing purposes. Instead of keeping this information (in Excel spreadsheet), it is always good to have this to put into once place. So how do we achieve that ?

If you come across my previous blog on Importing Data (Incident Record) to Service Manager 2012 using CSV - Part 1, then you should have have an idea on
1. SCSM Projection
2. SCSM Type of Class
3. Apendix A (file)

The complication with a typical CR is that you have Activity (or sometime nested Activity) to deal with. I am going to show how can we import a CR with single Activity from CSV.
    <Projection Type="System.WorkItem.ChangeRequestProjection">
            <Class Type="System.WorkItem.ChangeRequest">
     <Property ID="Id" />
     <Property ID="Reason" />
              <Property ID="Notes" />
              <Property ID="Status" />
              <Property ID="Category" />
              <Property ID="Priority" />
              <Property ID="Impact" />
              <Property ID="Title" />
              <Property ID="Description" />
              <Property ID="CreatedDate" />
              <Property ID="ScheduledStartDate" />
              <Property ID="ScheduledEndDate" />
              <Property ID="ImplementationPlan" />
              <Property ID="RiskAssessmentPlan" />
              <Property ID="BackoutPlan" />
              <Property ID="TestPlan" />
              <Property ID="PostImplementationReview" />
              <Property ID="RequiredByDate" />
              <Property ID="Risk" />
<Property ID="ImplementationResults" />
              <Property ID="Area" />
              <Property ID="ContactMethod" />
              <Property ID="ActualStartDate" />
              <Property ID="ActualEndDate" />
              <Property ID="TemplateId" />
              <Property ID="DisplayName" />

<Component Alias="AssignedTo" Count="1">
          <Class Type="System.Domain.User">
            <Property ID="UserName" />
            <Property ID="Domain" />

<Component Alias="Activity" Count="1">
<Class Type="System.WorkItem.Activity.ManualActivity">
<Property ID="Id" />
<Property ID="Status" />
<Property ID="Title" />


2. Prepare the CSV using excel
I always colored code the SCSM Projection for easy identifying of what information needed.

Take note the Activity that to be imported (YELLOW section), it must match the structure in the coding as be in the coding stated above:
<Component Alias="Activity" Count="1">
<Class Type="System.WorkItem.Activity.ManualActivity">
<Property ID="Id" />
<Property ID="Status" />
<Property ID="Title" />

3. Ready to import
Both the XML and CSV file are ready to be imported

4. Here you go, this is how does it looks like

Friday, June 7, 2013

Importing Data (Incident Record) to Service Manager 2012 using CSV - Part 1

Over the weekend I got my chance (FINALLY !) to test out the method of importing data into Service Manager 2012. Why would I spent my time to look into this ? Well there are a few reason I can tell:

  1. Customer wants to migrate to Service Manager from existing IT SM tool
    • Not all organisation wants to let go their old data.
    • Comply with audit policy which at least 7 years. Can't expect to keep the current IT SM tool for 7 years to come.
    • Reporting, analysis and KPI trending. CIO, Director and Manager wants to see continuous trend of their service. How can they accept the fact to start from SCRATCH ? you might well just kill them - just kidding.
  2. Engineer like us wants to pump in data for testing
    • For Demo purpose. We don't want to talk only about the tool, we must be able to show it, right ?
    • Huge amount of data. We must be able to bulk create a huge amount of data before we can see the trend. Especially when we want to show the reporting part of the tool.
Lets See some of the things that should be prepared:
  1. A running Service Manager 2012 Management Server.
  2. Microsoft Excel - On your desktop for CSV file creation
  3. XML Editor - Properly you may need a good XML editor to create XML file for SM. You can survive with Notepad if you don't have one :-P.
  4. A copy of CSVImport.docx.
  5. A copy of ApendixA.html
  6. Someone (you) who knows Service Manager fundamental :-P
Useful Resources:
Using a CSV File to Import Data into Service Manager - A useful Technet article that talks about importing data to Service Manager using CSV.

XML Notepad - A XML editor by Codeplex. It safed my life before in Editing SM Management pack. It could safe yours :-P

Let's get started. In this blog, I will be importing Incident Record (IR) to Service Manager. Importing data into SM require 2 files. These are the XML and CSV. The XML file will be the the "header" (in that sense) for all the data in CSV that you going to pump in SM.

Overview of ApendixA.html
In order to get the correct syntax and sequent that the SM could understand, you must refer to ApendixA.html.

Since my objective is to import incidents, my interest in ApendixA will be on System.WorkItem.Incident.
Those field in RED indicates mandatory field. From here, it gives you an idea of the nature of the variable.
When you scroll a little down, you will now see the format. This is what you will be using to create the XML file of you own choice.
Preparing XML File
As for my first testing, I will just go with minimum data and item. Below is my XML file for first try.

Preparing CSV File
Now I got the XML file, the next task is to create a CSV file that reflects the XML structure with the data that you want to import. Microsoft Excel will be you best friend here.

The line contains below:
Id IR2
Urgency System.WorkItem.TroubleTicket.UrgencyEnum.High
Impact System.WorkItem.TroubleTicket.ImpactEnum.High
Source IncidentSourceEnum.Phone
Status IncidentStatusEnum.Active
TierQueue IncidentTierQueuesEnum.Tier1
Classification IncidentClassificationEnum.Email
Title Unable to send email
Description Email stuck in Microsoft Outlook client
ContactMethod E-Mail
1/5/2013 6:00
Displayname Unable to send email

Importing the Information to Service Manager
Launch SM Console and select Administration from the Workspace on the right
Select Connector at the Explorer Pane, and at the Action Pane, select Import from CSV file.

Select the XML and CSV files you have created earlier.

Once you click Import, SM will process both files and proceed with the import.

Now, let take a look at the data that is imported.

Verifying the Imported IR
Take a look of all the information provided.

So now you can import data into Service Manager and this will be extremely helpful when you come across project requirement to migrate data from existing ITSM tool.

You may be wonder by now how about other field such as Affected User, Created by User, Assigned by User and Resolved by User ?

Please stay tune to Part 2 as I will be showing you larger data to be imported into Service Manager.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Installing System Center 2012 SP1 - Virtual Machine Manager (VMM)

Before the VMM installation, let list down a bit of the prerequisites that I have installed

Prerequisites (as refer to Microsoft Technet):

Microsoft Windows Server 2012 Datacenter

Microsoft System Center 2012 SP1

Microsoft .NET Framework:
  • For VMM in System Center 2012 SP1: Microsoft .NET Framework 4, or Microsoft .NET Framework 4.5
Windows deployment and installation kit:
Microsoft SQL Server 2012 SP1:
  • Database Engine
Active Directory
  • An account for VMM Administrator (scvmmadmin)
  • An account for VMM Service Account (scvmmservice)

Install ADK

Locate the ADK installation source and execute adksetup.exe.

To meet the VMM requirement, only Deployment Tools and Windows Preinstallation Environment (Windows PE) are needed.

Install VMM 2012

Proceed with the System Center 2012 - VMM media and install the VMM.

Select VMM Management Server.

Database Configuration
This is where you have to specify the location of the server installed with SQL Server. In my case, I am installing on the same host. If you are installing on a remote SQL Server, make sure the port TCP 1433 is accessible by VMM Management Server.

Use a Domain User credential (recommended). VMM 2012 SP1 has changed the landscape of VMM deploment. Some of the significant enhancement including Network Virtualization, Converged Network and Service Template, are tighly depending on the VMM availability. This means that although customer today do not need VMM HA in their environment, we may still have to consider a design which the customer has an option to scale out the VMM to achieve HA capability. 

This is very important. If you DO NOT store the keys in Active Directory, the this will store in the VMM database (VirtualMangerDB) by default. I DO recommend to store the keys in Active Directory as this is one of the requirement for VMM HA, which means to say you will save yourself sometime which you get this done in the first place.

The hassle to get the keys store in Active Directory is that you are require access to Active Directory by using ADSIEdit to create a container by name SCVMMDMK container as shown below.

A proper permission have to be set right before you can proceed with the installation. The Domain User that you use to install VMM must have full control over the SCVMMDMK Container. In my case it will be SCVMMADMIN.

This is most probably a very useful summary page for your IT Security Administrator knowing which ports required by VMM.

My usual practise is create a shared location in advanced dedicated for VMM Library. If you don't, by default this will be created in C:\ and this is not a good idea because the Library is space consuming when you start to store your ISO and VHD on VMM.

If you are installing VMM Management Server as a VM, do consider to create a separate VHD for the VMM Library purpose. You no need to be told what is the consequences if your C:\ run out of space :-P

Here ou go the Summary page

This is where you have to wait for the installation to complete.

I am working on a blog which will cover the VMM HA deployment with SQL Server 2012 Always On using Denali Availability Group (DAG). 


Sunday, May 6, 2012

Introduction to System Center 2012 (SC 2012)

System Center 2012 is no longer a datacenter management solution tool, but it extends it functionalities toward managing the private cloud + public clouds as well. We can deliver IT as a Service for our business now, by enabling productive infrastructure, predictable applications, and cloud on your terms.

We can deliver flexible and cost-effective private-cloud infra to our business units in a self-service model, while carrying forward our existing data center investments. So just by leveraging existing TCO (Total cost of ownership), we can yield much better ROI. System Center 2012 offers deep application insight, which, combined with a “service-centric” approach, helps you deliver predictable application-service levels. Finally, the multi-hypervisors support in System Center 2012 truly makes it amazing in most of the heterogeneous environments in datacenters as well as clouds.

SC2012 Product Suites
System Center 2012 now comes with the complete suite of datacenter + cloud management solutions, they are Configuration Manager, Operation Manager, Service Manager (based on ITIL/MOF), VMM, Orchestrator, Data Protection Manager and last but not least, the App Controller. Let’s walk through all of these briefly.

App Controller

SC2012 integrates multiple datacenter management capabilities to manage not only your DC but also your clouds. App Controller is the new product in SC2012 release. It provides a role-based access for the App Owner. Besides, App Controller offers a single view of delegated resources across private and public clouds. We can deploy and manage services in addition to VMs.

The benefits that App Controller offers are as follows: -
·         Increased App Owner agility with self-service interface
·         It saves time by bringing together all delegated infrastructure
·         It improves reliability by deploying template-based services

App Controller presents a customized view based on your security credentials, so you’ll see exactly how much of the corporate resources have been dedicated to you regardless of their actual location. In other words, it’s virtualized so it’s physical placement doesn’t matter anymore.   This view spans multiple VMM servers and also incorporates Azure subscriptions, so you can really manage your services without caring anymore about the underlying resources.  You know how much capacity you have, in terms of network, storage and compute, and you can deploy services against it which allows you to save time and increase agility (response time). You can deploy services based on pre-configured templates as well.

Orchestrator is simply a process automation and integration engine. It offers workflow integration and 3rd party integration. On top of that, it comes with simple design of custom workflow runbooks and integration packs (from application vendors).
The benefits of Orchestrator are abundant and one of it is that by automating repetitive tasks, it lowers cost and increases reliabilities. Besides, it also simplifies heterogeneous datacenter management.
Orchestrator leverages a simple graphical interface to construct custom workflows – with no codes required whatsoever.  It also comes with Integration Packs designed for the largest 3rd party datacenter management solutions such as BMC, HP, Tivoli and even VMware. The good news is, if the Integration Pack isn’t available, you’re able to easily design a custom one of your own.

Virtual Machine Manager
System Center 2012 has the ability to work in heterogeneous environments.  Specifically, VMM is able to manage all three major hypervisors – Hyper-V, Xen Server & ESX.  This means that you can leverage what you already own in creating a more productive infrastructure without having to decommission your existing virtualization infrastructure, which can be extremely costly. VMM in SC2012 is built with a “leverage existing TCO, and yield better ROI” thing in mind.
VMM now contains a feature called Server Application Virtualization (SAV) which allows for the separation of the application state from the underlying operating system. That simply said, instead of having a custom deployment for each application, now you can keep your core OS and SQL images in a library and then compile the service at run time.  Then when the OS needs to be updated, you simply update the library image and it will proliferate to all of the services built off that image.
Finally, VMM offers Dynamic Optimization, a feature that looks across your resources every 60 seconds and then, based on policy, will either consolidate or spread the load to meet your specifications and this is all done with Live Migration!

Configuration Manager
With this release of SC2012 we are now able to actually remediate against problems automatically which continues to increase compliance and uptime in our environment, be it in a datacenter, private or public clouds.
The Configuration Manager in SC2012 integrates the management of System Center Endpoint Protection (formerly as Forefront Endpoint Protection).  This is significantly crucial as most organizations have two entirely different infrastructures to manage the configuration/state of the client devices and the security of those devices.  By leveraging Endpoint Protection, you can virtually eliminate that second physical infrastructure.
Amongst the benefits of Configuration Manager in SC2012 are:
·         It reduces compliance complexity
·         It improves support for virtualized environments
·         It reduces cost through integrated security

Service Manager
System Center Service Manager is the process management hub which adapts the ITIL and MOF practice. New in SC2012 are the service catalog, self-service request portal, release and SLA management and the data warehousing and reporting capabilities.
Self-Service is a key principle of cloud computing, this is how the Service Consumer will request cloud capacity or a specific VM
Benefits of Service Managers are;
·         Increased organizational agility with customized service offerings
·         Improved corporate compliance through process management
·         Improved business intelligence through customized reporting i.e. Excel spreadsheet reporting support

Operation Manager
We can now have deep application insight, which is the ability to monitor applications and if performance is less than expected, we can actually see the line of code that is causing the problem and with the plug in for Visual Studio Team System, we can immediately send it over to development as a work item. This speeds up problem remediation considerably, thereby complying with SLA and doesn’t put our up time in any jeopardy whatsoever.
Also, Operation Manager now extends the monitoring functionality to the cloud by offering a management pack that allows us to monitor Windows Azure Applications as well (available for download on the System Center Marketplace).
Now we can not only monitor Windows installations, but also the UNIX and LINUX deployments. We also can monitor the network layer for the health status of all key pieces of the infrastructure. 
The last item to note is the introduction of custom dashboards that can exist in the console on the web or in a SharePoint deployment and we can have custom views designed for different people based on our log in security credentials (username & password).

The benefits of Operation Manager in SC2012 are:
·         Simplified management with visibility across the stack
·         Decreased time to resolution with deep application insight
·         Improved insights with customized/personalized reporting

Data Protection Manager
Data Protection Manager 2012 enables continuous data protection of Microsoft application, virtualization and file servers to seamlessly integrated secondary disk, tape, and cloud. It is built for enterprise scale.
Built on Operations Manager technology, DPM offers a new console that provides centralized monitoring, management, and troubleshooting of servers. From this single console, we can perform the same protection, infrastructure management, troubleshooting, and reporting tasks as we did for a single Data Protection Manager server using the administrator console.
DPM is designed to protect and recover data from applications such as: Windows file shares, client data, and system state; Hyper-V technologies; SQL servers; Sharepoint and Microsoft Exchange Server.
Another new functionality in DPM 2012 is the improved support in diverse environments. If we are running virtualized servers, DPM 2012 enables Hyper-V Item Level Recovery even when it’s running inside a VM.
DPM 2012 protects against generic data sources. It provides basic protection and recovery of any referential data sources, full backup (express, full, delta replication, and consistency check) for any application. It also supports the protection on the use of XML for applications that do not have a Volume Shadow Copy Service (VSS) writer. Last but not least, original location recovery and restoring files to a network location are feasible with DPN 2012 comes with SC 2012.

Try out our SC2012 labs on
For more info on SC2012 & the Evals download, please go to
To learn more about other MS products, please go to, it’s FREE folks! 

Source from Ken Sim