Thursday, April 29, 2010

Failed to store data in the Data Warehouse. Cannot resolve the collation conflict between "SQL_Latin1_General_CP1_CI_AS" and "Latin1_General_CI_AS" in the equal to operation.

Phew. Had my piece of action today! At a customers site this error in the OpsMgr event log of the RMS popped up. And not just one time:

No way! Many times. Too many times. So time for action. But never ever thought I would ending up INSTALLING SQL SERVER 2008 for SCOM R2 AGAIN!

However, this is what I found:

See the red high lighted part. Say WHAT?

I ran through all the official guides from Microsoft about SCOM R2, but only one online document mentions this (special thanks to Oskar Landman):

However, the events are really serious and need attention. So time to dive deeper. Lets take a look at the OpsMgr database itself. As you can see the collation is correct here:
(Picture taken from one of mine test environments, out of respect of the customers privacy. However it reflects the situation I bumped into.)

Lets check out the SQL Server – which is hosting this database – and keep our fingers crossed:
(Picture taken from one of mine test environments, out of respect of the customers privacy. However it reflects the situation I bumped into.)


But… WHY do I see this error now? Never ever seen this error before. And believe me, I have installed many SCOM (R2) Management Groups. So it was time to call a real SQL Guru. Met him yesterday but he KNOWS his stuff about SQL, the SQL Engine in particular. So I told him what I bumped into and how to go about it.

His advice was to reinstall SQL Server totally from scratch since changing the Collation of the SQL Server isn't something to be taken lightly. And yes, I know my way around in SQL but also know when to listen to the real guru’s. So time for action!

This is what I did:

  1. Make backups of the SCOM R2 Databases (OperationsManager & OperationsManagerDW) through the SQL Server Management Studio;
  2. Close down the RMS;
  3. Close down the MS servers;
  4. Remove SQL;
  5. Remove SCOM R2 Reporting;
  6. Remove SCOM R2 Agent from the SQL Server (just to be sure all SCOM registry entries are gone);
  7. Reboot the server;
  8. Reinstall SQL Server 2008 SP1 (slipstreamed) and choose the right collation for SCOM (SQL_Latin1_General_CP1_CI_AS):
  9. Reinstall CU# 7 for SQL Server 2008 SP1;
  10. Run this script against the Master database;
  11. Restore the OperationsManager and the OperationsManagerDW databases;
  12. RMS only (!!!); start the related SCOM R2 services;
  13. On the SQL Server: install SCOM R2 Reporting (DESELECT the DATA WAREHOUSE database!!!).
    - First time run will not succeed and the Reporting Wunderbar will disappear from the SCOM R2 Console, which is GOOD.
    - Follow Graham Davies advice on table of the Data Warehouse, found here.
    - Restore the SQL Server Reporting Services instance with the tool ResetSRS.exe. Procedure to be found here.
    - Reinstall SCOM Reporting , (DESELECT the DATA WAREHOUSE database!!!) now it will run just fine.
  14. Now all is well again and SCOM R2 will operate just fine.

Of course, the SCOM R2 Agent needs to be reinstalled, the owner of the SCOM R2 databases need to be set correctly, some new backup plans of the SCOM R2 databases (don’t forget the MASTER database!) need to be created, but those are the details. Also the remaining SCOM R2 Management Servers need to be started again (Health Service).

Above mentioned steps worked for me and the earlier mentioned error is GONE! Great!

Lets run a final check of the SQL Server:

Way much better! Phew!

Lesson Learned:
When installing SQL Server for SCOM (R2) databases, select SQL_Latin1_General_CP1_CI_AS as collation. Otherwise one might bump into this situation.

Updated Maintenance Mode scripts for SCOM R2

As stated earlier, Tim McFadden has made a great tool which really every SCOM environment needs. It is all about PLANNED Maintenance Mode (MM) which normally can’t be done in SCOM (RTM/SP1/R2):
As you can see, no way to PLAN MM in advance like setting a start and an end date/time…

For this Tim McFadden has created the Remote Maintenance Scheduler. This tool has been around since SCOM RTM/SP1. As we all know is MM in SCOM R2 made easier. Now all the related objects (Computer, Health Service & Health Service Watcher) are put into MM whereas in SCOM RTM/SP1 all these objects need to be set into MM separately.

In order to reflect this change has Tim McFadden updated the scripts for SCOM R2 environment. These scripts and the related blog posting can be found here.

Thanks Tim for your great work. Much appreciated!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Two new MPs released

Yesterday Microsoft released two new MPs:
  1. Windows BranchCache MP
    To be found here.

  2. SharePoint 2010 Products MP
    To be found here.

So the portfolio of MPs is getting bigger & better. Great!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

MPs and the related guides

All the people who started to use SCOM when it went RTM do remember how the related MP guides were. Not much real and good information was to be found in them. But Microsoft listened and learned. And the MP guides became real guides with a good format as well. Whether you read the guides for instance for DNS, IIS or the Server OS, all these guides (and the others as well!) do have the same format and index.

And now the guides have evolved to such a stage that an update to that guide is enough reason for Microsoft to update the related MP, even when not that much has changed to the MP itself!

Believe it or not, but this is really great! Because the real power of SCOM (R2) is found in the MPs. And in order to unleash and CONTROL the full power of those very same MPs the related guides are VERY VERY important.

That’s why I always emphasize on RTFM:

  • RTFM BEFORE implementing ANY MP,
  • RTFM DURING the implementation of ANY MP,
  • RTFM AFTER the MP has been implemented.

Yesterday Microsoft released a new version of the Exchange 2007 MP for SCOM R2 (version 6.0.6702.0), found here. And when one reads the related guide, this is to be found in the section ‘Changes in This Update’, page 8:

The minor changes to the MP itself are:

As you can see, the guides are not only getting way much better are also getting more and more important. A great development it is.

Friday, April 23, 2010

SCOM R2 Notifications: Operator can not subscribe to any Alert since the option ‘Notification Subscriptions’ is grayed out

Bumped into this issue today.

At a customers site SCOM R2 was in place. Notification had only be configured at a Channel level. No subscribers, nor subscriptions. In SCOM R2 any person with Operator permissions within SCOM R2 can subscribe to any Alert shown in ‘their’ Console. So why bother as a SCOM R2 Administrator and configure it to all the way down while the SCOM Operators can do it for themselves?

But when an Operator right clicked any Alert this was shown:
? A grayed out Notification Subscription option?

At first I was puzzled and was looking for an answer at the wrong places. But then I realized what was happening is by design!

When any person working in the SCOM R2 Console – without SCOM Admin permissions -  wants to subscribe to any Alert, they need to have configured their Subscriber Information first! This action must performed only once. And when that is NOT done, no way that person can subscribe to any Alert!

How to configure the Subscriber Information? Easy! The person with the SCOM R2 Operator permissions need to do this themselves:

  1. In the SCOM R2 Console go to Monitoring > in the toolbar go to Tools > My Subscriber Information

  2. Now a Wizard start. Follow this Wizard all the way through. At the end something similar like this will be shown:

  3. Click Finish. Now all is set and ready for the SCOM R2 Operator to maintain his/her own subscriptions.

And now the SCOM R2 Operator can set a Notification Subscription on any Alert shown in the Console:

For more information about setting up the Notification Model in SCOM R2 go here.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

We got him!

Yeah! Finally! I am downloading the EBook SCOM R2 Unleashed

Can’t wait for the download to finish!

Great! Much to read for the days to come.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

MMS 2011

No, it is NOT a typo!

MMS 2011 will be held 21-25 March 2011 (duh!).

So let’s book the ticket WAY in advance:

But this is what I get:

So I have to do some more waiting I guess… :)

But… lets book a boat trip as well. (You never know when the volcano strikes again…)

A way to do such a thing is by cargo ship:
(These containers almost look like the containers Microsoft told about during the Keynote. So it is like a huge FLOATING datacenter! Nice!)

Lets check out the website (in Dutch):
Hmm. The journey can take between 12 to 21 days. The cargo ship is owned by a Polish shipping company, is 200 meters long and 24 meters wide. The metric weight is… Who cares?

As long as I get there!!!

So when I want to get to MMS 2011 in time, I have to ‘set sail’ on the 24th of February 2011. That gives me some extra days. Wonder whether my employer will allow it. But hey, I have enough time to request it… Preparation is the key word here!

So this is my list of ‘Must-Haves’ in order to get to MMS 2011:

  • Ticket for air travel from Amsterdam to the US
  • Ticket for the cargo ship
  • Ticket for air travel from Madrid to the US (Also Known As ‘The Belgium Connection’)

This way I have covered as many things as possible. This should work!

System Center Service Manager (SCSM) 2010 is RTM!

With the start of MMS 2010 SCSM is Released To Manufacturing (RTM)!

An evaluation version (valid for 180 days) can be downloaded from here.

MMS 2010: Keynote

At Microsoft Netherlands HQ we were invited to see (life!) the Keynote of MMS 2010.


With the usage of some cool techniques it looked like we were almost present in Vegas!

So we could see all the cool demo’s and were told about Dynamic IT, Bing, future Management Packs like Azure MP, a very nifty and SUPER cool version of SCVMM which not only deploys VMs for servers but applications (!) as well. Here the applications are separated from the underlying OS, thus giving much more flexibility to deployment. It gives the applications much more power: it makes them elastic in scaling capabilities and much more resilient  to failures.

Many new products were highlighted, like DPM 2010 (only RTM for some days now), SharePoint 2010, Visio 2010 and Visual Studio 2010. All of these products are – at some level – more or less integrated with the SC products.

And lets not forget System Center Service Manager which went RTM on the first day of MMS 2010 and of course Opalis! So there is MUCH going on and Microsoft is putting up the pace. Some nice things of Opalis were demonstrated and it was good to see how Opalis was integrated into the SCOM Console! So I wonder when that will go out to the public.

Besides all these new things Microsoft told much about their views upon IT also known as Dynamic IT. The SC products are the very fabric of that vision. And of course, the Cloud was also explained. The Cloud provisions basically ‘scaling capabilities of needed applications on shared hardware’.

Microsoft differentiates between two types of Clouds: the shared Cloud, like Azure and dedicated Clouds. These can be run by Microsoft, ASP’s or by the companies themselves. Mixtures of these models are also possible.

During the Keynote much was demonstrated. It shows what is about to come or is already here. All I can say is that all SC products are very up to date, ready for the future to come which will be (partially or completely) Cloud based. And the future products of SC will be that even more.

After the Keynote we enjoyed real American pizza with Dutch beer. It was a good evening. Thank you Robert (and peers) for organizing this.

The only thing which did not feel totally OK was the location: Schiphol of all places! (which is the national airport of the Netherlands). Sometimes we saw/heard planes taking off. Somehow it felt like being at the wrong place at the wrong time. But then again, it was a shared emotion. :).

An impression is to be found on YouTube (special thanks to Stefan Stranger):

Monday, April 19, 2010

Opalis: Microsoft has published six KB articles

The integration between Opalis and Microsoft goes well. Microsoft has even published five new KB articles, all about Opalis:
  1. 2023357
    "Error 0x80004005: Unspecified Error" returned when starting OpalisActionService service.

  2. 2023391
    "Subquery returned more than 1 value" returned during Database Configuration when upgrading Opalis Integration Server.

  3. 2023392
    Error 1722 returned when uninstalling Opalis Integration Server Management Server component from Add/Remove Programs.

  4. 2023523
    How to set user permissions on Folders, Policies, Computer Groups, Variables, Counters and Schedules in the Opalis Integration Server Client.

  5. 2023582
    "A general error occurred. The error returned was: Access is denied. (80070005)" returned after connecting to Management Server using Opalis Integration Server Client.

MMS 2010: The alternatives

For the Dutch MMS 2010 attendees will Microsoft Netherlands organize a live streaming of the MMS Keynote. All Dutch MMS attendees will receive an Email with the invitation. Through this mail one has to register for this event.

I will certainly go there. Hopefully we meet!

Where are my counters for Windows Server 2008 Physical Disks?

Got this question from a good Australian friend of mine.

Somehow, the counters for the Windows Server 2008 Physical Disk(s) were nowhere to be found anymore. This posting (Step 6) of mine was being used to run reports against some disk counters, among them the Physical Disk counters were needed as well. But they didn’t show up in the list.

So I looked into one of mine test environments (SCOM R2 with CU#1 applied) and indeed, the counters for PhysicalDisk were missing:

So time for some investigation. Lets first take a few steps back.

As we all know, all MPs use the same methods in order to function. Without going to much into details here, these are the steps they take when being imported into any SCOM (R2) environment:

  1. Discovery
  2. Group Population
  3. Push of Rules/Monitors/Tasks to related servers
  4. Monitoring

Of course, there is way much more to it, but these are the outlines which are important here. Especially step 1 is very important. When something is NOT discovered, never ever will Step 4 take place.

So lets check out the Discovery of the Physical Disks of Windows Server 2008:

In the SCOM Console go to Tools (in the toolbar above in the Console) > Search > and click on Object Discoveries. Type Physical in the search box, hit enter. Select Discover Windows Physical Disks and check in the underneath part of the screen whether it comes from the Windows Server 2008 Operating System (Discovery) Management Pack. This tells you it is the right Discovery you are looking for. Click in the same part of the pane on the Link View Knowledge. Now the properties of this Discovery will be shown.

The first tab (General) tells you whether the Discovery is enabled or not. As you can see, this Discovery is disabled by default (the option Object discovery is enabled is NOT check marked):

So its time for an override which enables this Discovery:
Save this override in a MP of its own, not the Default MP!

The first step of the MP is OK. Step 2 (Group Population) is an automated process. The only thing we could do here is to lower the interval of the earlier mentioned Discovery. In Production environments however I will not do that since it can cause a significant additional (unwanted) load.

Now its time to check out the rules for the physical Disk. Not monitors.

Why? Read this.

In the SCOM Console go to Tools (in the toolbar above in the Console) > Search > and click on Rules. Type Physical in the search box, hit enter. Select all rules related to Windows Server 2008 which you deem to be important and click in the underneath part of the screen on the Link View Knowledge. Now the properties of the related Rule will be shown.The first tab (General) will tell you whether the rule is enabled by default or not (the option Object discovery is enabled is check marked).

As you will see, the rules are enabled by default. So when the Discovery is running fine, the performance collection will also run fine. Another check in order to see whether any physical disk has been discovered is this method:

In the OpsMgr Console go to Monitoring > Discovered Inventory > right click in the middle part of the screen and select Change Target Type > and type Windows Server 2008 Physical Disk. Select it and click OK. Now the discovered W2K08 physical disks will be shown:

Ah! That looks good. Not only the disks are found but also MONITORED! So that means some data is getting in. And as we have checked before, also the collection rules are running! Lets check out the reports and the available counters:

Available items:

Nice! Still we have to wait some hours before enough data is available to get filled reports. But all is OK now.

Still it puzzles me why this counter was gone. Lets check the latest guide for the Server OS MP. On page 12 this is being told:

So by default the Discovery of physical disks is not running. Therefore nothing showed up initially. I do not remember though how the previous versions of the Server OS MP had this Discovery set.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

MMS 2010: No Go!

As of today (Saturday the 17th) it is definitively over.

No MMS 2010 for my colleagues and me.

Only digital we will be present. No Vegas, no Q&A during Maarten Goet’s session. No meet & greet with some SCOM guru’s.

The weather is just too good. No storms or rain. On the ground it is very nice (warm and sunny) but high in the skies the ash cloud does not go away. It only expands further and becomes more dense.
(Source: BBC News.)

So no flights for the days to come.
(Source: BBC News.)

For every one out there at MMS 2010: enjoy your time and we meet another day.

Friday, April 16, 2010

MMS 2010: Along came a volcano…

And blew it all away:

So the changes to attend MMS 2010 are becoming very slim.

Windows Server 2008 R2 CA: SCOM Certificate template not listed

Based on a previous posting about creating a SCOM Certificate template I got a comment that a CA based on Windows Server 2008 R2 does not list the template, even when the whole procedure as stated in the same posting was followed to the end.

So time for a follow up.

As we all know is Windows Server 2008 R2 far more locked down then Windows Server 2008 (SP1). As a result, many things work a bit different. The same goes for a CA based on Windows Server 2008 R2.

When a SCOM Certificate template is created and added to the CA as well, it will not be shown in the list of the available templates:

The security of the template needs some adjustment. In order to get it working as fast as possible, follow this procedure:

Step 1: Remove the SCOM Certificate template from the CA.

  1. Go to Start > type MMC <enter> > File > Add/Remove Snap-in > select Certificate Templates and Certification Authority (local computer) > OK.

  2. Go to Certification Authority (Local) > [server name of local CA] > Certificate Templates. Select the SCOM Certificate > right click it and select Delete.
    Click Yes.
    The SCOM Certificate is now deleted from the local CA, but still present as a Certificate Template within the Certificate Templates Store.

Step 2: Changing the Security settings of the SCOM Certificate template.

  1. Go to Certificate Templates (server name) and double click the SCOM Certificate template.

  2. Got to the tab Security
    click Add > click Object Types and checkmark Computers.
    Click OK.

  3. In this screen, type the name of the CA where also the web interface for the CA is run from. In this case, SV01.
    Click Check Names > OK.

  4. Select the server and select as permissions Read and Enroll.
    Click Apply > OK.

Step 3: Rapidly publishing the SCOM Certificate template.

  1. In the MMC, go to Certification Authority > collapse this node  > click with right mouse button on Certificate Templates > New > Certificate Template To Issue.
    Select the new template (SCOM Certificate) and click OK.

  2. Open a cmd-prompt and type: gpudate /force. Wait for it to end.

Step 4: Testing it.

  1. Open IE, go to the web interface of the CA (http://localhost/certsrv) > Request a Certificate > advanced certificate request > Create and submit a request to this CA > under the header Certificate Template: > open the drop down box:
    Now all is well! :)

Cumulative Update 7 for SQL Server 2008. Be aware, there are TWO versions of CU#7…

Bumped into this issue at a customers site. An update of SQL Server 2008 SP1 was needed.

They wanted to apply the latest CU which is CU#7. So they downloaded it, unpacked it an ran it on the SQL Server. This is what the update told them:

? ‘A SQL Server patch with a higher version has already been installed…’ ?

Time for some investigation. Soon the cause was found.

There are two versions of CU#7 for SQL Server 2008. One for SQL Server 2008 WITHOUT SP1 (KB973601) applied and another version for SQL Server 2008 WITH SP1 applied (KB979065).

So when the correct CU#7 was downloaded:

and ran on the SQL Server, this was shown:

And now CU#7 applied just fine.

So when CU#7 needs to be installed, make sure to download the correct version.

MMS 2010 and a volcanic eruption


Hmm. In order to attend MMS 2010 in Las Vegas with some colleagues and friends, we planned for boarding the airplane bound for the US on Saturday the 17th, 10:20 AM, local time (GMT +1).

But as you know, the volcanic eruption taking place on Iceland is ‘slightly’ disrupting the airspace across northern and western Europe. The airspace of the Netherlands, Belgium, France, the UK, Ireland, Denmark, Norway, Finland and Sweden are totally closed. Germany, Poland and Austria are expected to follow soon. At this moment there is not any certainty when the airspace will be reopened again.

I guess it is quite a mess up there high in the skies….

So changes are that the planned flight will be canceled. But safety first. So this weekend is going to be a bit exciting about whether we can leave and when and how.

To be continued…