Posts Tagged ‘SCO’

So, here is the scenario, we managed a lot of customer’s System Centre Operations Manager (SCOM) environments. One of the most common issues we run into, it is the “Grey Agent” issue, where an agent is no longer reporting into SCOM. There might be a few reasons for this, however one of the most common and effective ways to fix this to clear the agent cache. By this, we simply mean connecting to the agent, stopping the “SCOM” service, deleting the content of the “Health Service State” folder and then restarting the “SCOM” service.

Yes, this is a perfect candidate for PowerShell and their a quite a few scripts that do this in numerous ways using PowerShell, I have a script for this, but they are usually dependant upon a list of some and then loop through this, I decided to use my friend, System Centre Orchestrator (SCO) to facilitate this is in a time manner, with more flexibility and log building as well as inputting the results into a database. With SCO, we also have more avenues available to us for error handling, like logging a call within SCSM or “richer” email or the like.

So, I have learnt with SCO, the best thing to do is to actually sit down and whiteboard you solution, simply draw out the steps you want to follow and think of some error handling. With my example, my logic was as follows. I have added a VIsio diagram as my handwriting is barely legible even to me 🙂

1. Query Database for grey agents, there is a SQL Script for this.

2. Create Folder for logging

3. Read SQL results into a file for “’looping”

4. DNS Test

5. Ping Test

6. Determine Service Name and folder path (Remember we might be dealing with multiple versions of SCOM here

7. Check Service status, to determine if a stop of the service is needed

8. Stop if needed

9. Delete files

10. Wait 10 Seconds

11. Start Service

12. Write log to Database

SCOM_GreyAgentFix

The SQL query will be part of the Runbook file, it can be found here, please change the extension to .ois_export.

Have fun automating.

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So, let’s ay you have invested the time and gotten System Centre Orchestrator up and running in your environment and you have the product performing some day to day tasks and it is working well. However, now you want start using SCO (System Centre Orchestrator) to start performing end user focused tasks like Password Reset, add users to groups or even disabling of users or server testing as part of first line support.

All of these tasks can be completed within orchestrator, however exposing them to the end user can be a little tricky. It can be done, the “native way” of performing this within the System Centre Suite is to use System Centre Service Manager with the Service Manager Orchestrator Connector and then prompt the user for information and kick off runbooks. This particular scenario works well if you have System Centre Service Manager in place, and a future blog post will cover the idea of “adding a user to an Active Directory group” as part of a Service Request. There are a few challenges around this. Firstly, you need SCSM (System Centre Service Manager) and some time and patience to test the connectors and runbooks and to create the correct templates and ensure that Workflows with SCSM are configured correctly within SCSM. Like I have said previously, this solution works and it works well!!!

In reality though, not everyone has SCSM in place, many of my companies customers are in the progress of migrating to SCSM and these systems are still in testing or QA or UAT, whatever the case may be, they are NOT in production YET! However, these companies still want this the functionality listed above. Yes, there is a way!!!

Enter EUPSCO, the full name is End User Portal System Centre Orchestrator, and as the name suggests it creates an End User Portal for System Centre Orchestrator. This allows the IT Department to create the required runbooks, to for example, ping a server or reset a password or disable an account. This creates the “Menu”, called “Services” within the End User portal. Once this is completed, the end user can then order from this menu and get the required results without the need of having to contact the IT Department. This particular tool is very easy to install and the guide is easy to follow. The End User portal requires NO Silverlight and as such, it is compatible with most browsers. I have personally tested with the IE, Chrome, Safari and Firefox, all working without issue.

The application also reads from Active Directory, this helps with your reporting line allowing a Manager of staff members (Determined by “Manager” in Active Directory) to log requests on the behalf of his/her staff members, so now +a manager can log a request to reset the password of his/her staff member. The application also allows for approvals. So each service can have an approver, the service allows for a runbook to be triggered if an Approver’s input is needed, with mine, I simply kick off a runbook, which sends an email to the approver with a link to the End User Portal and his/her requests allowing him/her to approve or deny the request.

There are a few key variables which are passed onto the runbook to allow the automation to be easier. The How To’s on the EUPSCO page cover these nicely. This Forum Post also covers these options. Just to make it a little easier, the primary ones are as follow. (please note that these are case sensitive)

1. TargetUserId

2. ApproverUserId

3. ServiceName

This should help your organization adopt System Centre Orchestrator more easily.

A BIG thank you goes out to the People at ITQ for the System Centre Orchestrator End User Portal

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