Midwest Management Summit 2015

If you never heard of MMS or Midwest Management Summit then I will try to help with that. MMS is a conference, which started in 1998 and was initialy more a user group meeting, the main focus was SCCM. That conference ran so well that Microsoft took it over and dropped it after 2013. So the Minnesota System Center User Group restarted the initiative 2014 and now MMS is in its second year again. The difference between the conference held by Microsoft and the one from the user group is that it is smaller (which is really positive) and closer to the customer. You can feel that it is not a Microsoft promotion but a real user group event. The people have time to talk to each other and they use the chance. Speakers are close and the fact that the sessions are not recorded also help to avoid fears. So besides the System Center Universe conferences this is the conference you should attend specially when you are based in the US.

MMS 2015 was held in Minneapolis (Minnesota) between Sunday, Nov. 8th, and Wednesday, Nov. 11th, at the Radisson Blu Mall of America. The  location was fantastic. Great hotel and I do not need to mention the mall nearby ;-). There were some pre-conf sessions on Sunday and also the welcome reception, where attendees and speakers could meet first time.

It was my first time speaking and it was a pleasure to do that during this conference. The technical support was very good, they were in the room 10 min before the session started, to fix things. The organization and communication before and during the conference was great. The only negative thing which was mentioned by nearly every speaker was the bad wifi connection.

I had two sessions:

To my co-presenters: you were wonderful! We rocked it ;-).

I attended most of the SCOM sessions and also the early bird sessions for Data Center and Cloud Management and realized that all SCOM sessions covered different parts. So that was really good, not much overlaps.

I met a lot fantastic people and even the Jet lag did not reduce the fun we all had.

The next MMS will take place between May 17th and May 19th 2016 at the same place as this year. So add this to your schedule, perhaps you can meet some of us there.

Here are some impressions:

20151108_192618899_iOS Entrance of the Radisson Blu1stSession Steve, Rob and I20151110_104946000_iOS My first sessionIMG_0745 Nat, Cameron & Nat20151109_150824167_iOS Lee & SamIMG_0791 Nat, Dieter & NatNat-Nat-John Nat, John & Nat20151112_022658000_iOSFinal Dinner at The Crave

Advertisements

SCCM 2012: Disable Operations Manager Alerts

The integration between Microsoft System Center products is always one of the marketing promises. A lot has been done in that direction within the last years. One topic is still not working as expected, which is related to the interopability between SCCM and SCOM.

Short explanation: If you install software or software updates through Configuration Manager you normally want to disable the monitoring (alert creation) in Operations Manager. The problem is, that it looks like the function is implemented, but it is not fully implemented. See System Center 2012 Operations Manager Unleashed.

Here are the details.

You can set the option to “Disable Operations Manager alerts…” for applications, package or software updates. Here are the screenshots for it:

Application: SCCM-MMApplication

Package (only 2012 SP1): SCCM-MMPackage

Software Update: SCCM-MMUpdates

The question is, what is happening in the background when you select this option?

The real thing, which happens, is that the System Center Management Service gets paused.

HS-paused

This was already the case in ConfigMgr 2007 with SCOM 2007 R2. See.

What is the effect in SCOM?

The Health Service object gets unavailable, but the Health Service Watcher stays active.

SCCM-MMHealthExplorer

We will not see the alert “Health Service Heartbeat Failure” because the monitor is in a warning state and it only creates an alert when it is in a critical state.

Do we have a problem with that?
Yes. The system is not really in maintenance mode. If the system needs to reboot after the installation minimum one alert will be created: Failed to Connect to Computer. See these posts:

https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/kb/942866

http://thoughtsonopsmgr.blogspot.de/2009/04/maintenance-mode.html (this one is for SCOM 2007 R2, but it is still current.)

Also if you implemented my solution for greyed out agents, then you will get an alert listed with these servers which get the System Center Management service paused, because they are greyed out and no Health Service Heartbeat Failure alert is created!

You can use other options to set the maintenance mode in SCOM for installing software or implement software updates until a better integration for setting this functionality is implemented into SCCM 2012 directly:

Microsoft System Center Reporting Cookbook available soon

A new System Center book is on the horizon which covers the very important reporting topic. It will be published Friday 27th. You can find the link to the book and more information about it on the blog of Steve Buchanan, MVP and technical reviewer of the book.

Why is this book special?

Reporting is essential in the System Center world. What is for example Sccm without patch compliance reports? But where can you find good information about how to design System Center reports besides searching the web? This book gives you guidance with easy to follow recipes and a lot of useful information about setup, report design and other options besides SSRS like PowerPivot.

A big thank from me goes to Sam Erskine, one of the authors, who had the idea for the book. He managed the publication from the beginning to the end and it is really his baby. He made it possible that I was a technical reviewer of this book, that I saw how it grew and I am proud as a nurse which helped to bring a baby to live, that I had a small part in it.

So buy it, read it and share it ;-).