First Steps with Microsoft Operations Management Suite


I’ve worked with System Center Operation Manager (SCOM) in the past to manage on premise infrastructure. Microsoft Operations Management Suite (OMS) is a relatively new offering that is focused on monitoring hybrid cloud environments. I like to think of it of a cloud version of SCOM, although it actually enables data from SCOM to be sucked into it for additional analysis so is a lot more.

It is worth noting that OMS is a number of Azure services bundled together including:

  • Operational Insights
  • Backup
  • Site Recovery to customer owned sites
  • Site Recovery to Azure
  • Automation

All of the components parts of OMS are also available as standalone Azure services, I’ve done lots of work with (and have blog posts on) Azure Backup, Azure Site Recovery and Azure Automation so wanted to focus on Operational Insights. This is the part of OMS that monitors your infrastructure. I had given Operational Insights a try in the early days, but decided it needed to mature. I have heard the product has advanced and given we are managing an increasing amount of Azure based infrastructure I decided to give it a try.

Microsoft offer a free option for the service which has a limit on the amount of data that can be collected to 500MB and days of data retained to 7 days – this is great for exploring the functionality in a lab environment. As you can see below, while on the Free plan if you reach the storage limit data analysis will stop until the following day when data has been removed. If you wish to change plans you have to do this manually via the Azure portal so don’t worry that you will be spending valuable Azure credit without realizing.

Signing Up

You can sign up and create a workspace here https://login.mms.microsoft.com/signin.aspx .

Rather than re-writing what is written elsewhere I suggest following the Onboarding Steps on page 3 and 4 of this PDF: http://download.microsoft.com/download/3/7/E/37E21FFE-7E3B-4EB3-A0FE-A07E66ECB9F9/Microsoft_Operations_Management_Suite_Resources.pdf . I’ve included screenshots below for reference. It took me about 15 minutes to carry out the steps detailed in the document.

  

Initial Data

I installed the agent on the servers, two running on Hyper-V on a lab on my laptop, an DC and RDS server, and an Azure server that is simply running DNS. I also added a number of out of the box Solutions to my workspace. Solutions are preconfigured to monitor and assess different areas of your infrastructure.

It wasn’t long before I had data to view! On my Overview screen, the page seen when you initially log in to OMS I could immediately see some useful information, including:

  • AD Assessment: 2 high priority and 6 low priority recommendations
  • Malware Assessment: Inadequate protection on two of my servers (I am aware I haven’t installed AV on the two servers in the lab)
  • There is also change tracking and security data for informational purposes.

I’m going to take a closer look at the AD Assessment solution as it was telling me I had 2 high priority recommendations:

By clicking on the tile I could view additional data:

As you can see a number of issues have been identified over a number of areas. I really like the way it is easy to see where issues exist and how each issue is given a weight and colour to help identify how serious the issue is.

As the Availability and Business Continuity tile showed the most serious issues I clicked on it to reveal further data.:

I can immediately see the issues that need to be resolved. One high priority issues identified seem to be linked with a missing DNS record, the others seem to be related to the fact I have a single DC – I am well aware given this a VM running on my laptop!

I’m really impressed on how easy OMS was to get up and running with, and also how easy the data is to read to make it easy to identify potential issues. The whole process above took me around 30 minutes to configure, including installing the agents manually.

I’m going to go and investigate the high priority issues, although I do believe they might be false positives given the fact I only have a single DC.

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