SIM355: Systems Center Operations Manager 2012: Overview

If you are a SCOM user, you will have noticed that MS has been pretty mum about SCOM 2012. Last year at TechEd 2010 MS had sessions on configuration manager v.Next, but not a single one on SCOM v.Next. Well this year they finally have some SCOM 2012 sessions. First up was their overview session which hit a few key highlights of the next release. Areas of investment include:

  1. Focus on how to reduce the mean time to resolve a problem, and expand IT’s visibility into their environment.
  2. Reduced TCO through a simpler topology (no more RMS server), reliable (no blackouts), and a consistent experience.
  3. High-availability is now built in, and does not require MSCS. It features automatic fail over and what I would call load balancing.
  4. Platform extensions and network device management are now handled by a pool of SCOM servers, not a single server, so an individual service outage will not result in the loss of management functionality.
  5. Holistic view of application health: Adding native .Net, Java and robust network device monitoring.
  6. Supports SNMPv3, SNMP community strings, and ICMP monitoring of network devices.
  7. Simple and powerful visualizations. It’s easy to create stunning dashboard views, personalize them, and consistently access  them through the SCOM console, web browser, or SharePoint.
  8. MPs can contain/define ‘widgets’ which are visualization options such as bar chart, line graph, etc.

Most of the session was demos, which were quite impressive. They really focused on network monitoring, and the level of detail you can drill down into is amazing. For example, for a Cisco switch you can go down to port level I/O stats, latency, switch CPU utilization, and see which servers are connected to which ports. It collects and displays historical data, and lets the server admin troubleshoot performance issues involving the network. A vicinity view lets you view network devices two hops away and maps them out, so you can spot performance issues upstream.

They also spent a lot of time on .Net monitoring with their AviCode acquisition, and their native Java monitoring. Both enhancements looked very impressive. Microsoft is targeting Q4 of 2011 for a major release for most all their Systems Center products. However, one of the MS guys I was talking to afterwards said SCOM 2012 really isn’t fully baked, and the release would probably slip to Q1 of 2012.

It seems to me MS has spent a lot more dev dollars on SCCM, and has not invested as heavily in SCOM. SCCM 2012 is already in beta 2, yet SCOM 2012 is still in CTP. While SCCM 2012 has gotten the ribbon interface treatment, it didn’t appear the early CTP release of SCOM got the same makeover. It’s a shame MS can’t get major release versions of sister products the same GUI make overs. For years SCOM was ahead of SCCM’s MMC, and now SCCM will be ahead of SCOM with the ribbon. Why oh why can’t they be on parity? 

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