As customers prepare to deploy Exchange Server 2016, we are receiving inquiries when the System Center Operations Manager (SCOM) Management Pack for Exchange Server 2016 will be released. The short answer to the question is, there are no plans to release an Exchange Server 2016 Management Pack.
Now that we have your attention, let’s delve a bit deeper into why that is the case.
As announced in Lessons from the Datacenter: Managed Availability, Exchange Server 2013 rewrote the rules on how Exchange Server was monitored. With the release of Managed Availability, Exchange became self-healing and the role of a monitoring system was reduced to simply providing “Red/Green” console status on the health of the system. The Exchange code natively monitored the system and took corrective action when things weren’t as expected. The role of the Management Pack (MP) was reduced to listening to the activity of Managed Availability probes, monitors and responders, and forwarding to a management console a health indication of the system or the need for an administrator to intervene when Managed Availability could not remediate an action. Removed from this paradigm was the notion of initiating corrective actions through the use of the Management Pack.
Managed Availability still exists in Exchange Server 2016. It has in fact benefited from three additional years of running inside the Office 365 datacenters. The version installed with Exchange Server 2016 provides additional learnings and improvements from the Exchange team’s experience operating Office 365. What has not changed is the role the MP plays in forwarding events to the management console. The MP version shipped with Exchange Server 2013 continues to function against Exchange Server 2016 without any modification. Customers deploying Exchange Server 2016 receive all of the benefits of improved Managed Availability without a single change to their monitoring infrastructure.
The only downside of not releasing a new version of the MP is that there is not a dedicated grouping in the console for servers running Exchange Server 2016. The console view does, of course, provide the version of all Exchange servers, making it easy to determine what version of Exchange is installed on any given server.
So there you have it. Rather than deploying and maintaining multiple versions of a MP which provides no improvement, we have chosen to stick with the much simpler MP developed for Exchange Server 2013 (and later). For those customers coming from Exchange Server 2010, we believe Managed Availability and a simpler MP dependency represent significant improvements over the experience with the correlation engine and SCOM-heavy approach used in Exchange Server 2010.