System Center Operations Manager (SCOM)
SCOM runs as a set of services for monitoring the entire IT infrastructure, including applications, services, network devices, server hardware and clients. Management packs, comprising of sets of rules and monitors, are available for pretty much every Microsoft application, with 3rd parties providing monitors for their own products - from hardware manufacturers (such as Dell and Cisco) to software vendors (such as Lotus and Oracle). Each management pack can raise alerts to operators, through email, SIP and SMS, and to other applications. Acting on those alerts enables IT to optimise the infrastructure and stamp on any issues before they become problems.
SCOM relies on SQL, strategic deployment on the network and tight integration with the Operating System (OS) and Active Directory (AD). A good SCOM implementation saves IT time and money - a bad one floods the system with alerts and makes it unusable. Our experience with SCOM will ensure a good implementation!
SCOM Complements the following System Center products:
- Data Protection Manager: Alerts from DPM are raised within SCOM for action
- Service Manager: Alerts from SCOM are raised with SM as incidents and closed when the alert is closed, or the ticket closed the alert when it is closed
- Virtual Machine Manager: SCOM monitors the performance of virtual and physical machines, enabling PRO tips to show which machines are candidates for virtualisation, and optimal placement of guests on hosts.
- Configuration Manager: SCOM monitors the SCCM services throughout the network, ensuring all SCCM services are functioning correctly.
System Center Data Protection Manager (DPM)
SCDPM enables disk, tape and cloud based protection in an easy to use, fully automated system. It protects a variety of workloads, including:
- SharePoint (item level recovery, with or without recovery farm)
- SQL databases (online backups, end user recovery possible, 15 minute snapshots)
- Exchange Mailboxes (online backups, restore individual mailboxes, item-level, alternate destinations, 15 minute snapshots)
- File Servers (end user recovery using snapshots)
- System State (including Active Directory and bare metal recovery)
- Virtual Machines under Hyper-V
Short term backups (multiple daily snapshots) are stored on disk for fast backup and recovery, with copies going to tape or Azure cloud for long term retention and off-site storage. It's a system we've used ourselves since 2007, with multiple happy customers too.
We'll install and configure the hardware for DPM, including the automated tape library if required, and then setup the required protection groups and schedules. Once set up, we'll provide training in how to restore the various workloads, and some of the troubleshooting needed for common issues - such as a data source being unavailable. We can also provide Azure cloud storage for the long-term, encrypted backup of data to the cloud, which provides a cost-effective alternative to tape, without breaching retention/off site requirements.
DPM doesn't actually need any other System Center products to work better - it can raise alerts on it's own, however SCOM will interpret these alerts to SLA's much better. What it does do is make every other workload it protects much easier to recover.
System Center Virtual Machine Manager (SCVMM)
Virtual Machine Manager provides configuration, deployment and monitoring capabilities for Hyper-V, VMware and other virtualisation platforms. We use it exclusively for Hyper-V, where it runs both our production and development environments. One of the key features of
SCVMM is the ability to automate the requesting, deployment and placement of new virtual machines. This "self service" feature is particularly useful in development and hosting environments where machines are needed on demand. Our experience with VMM in this demanding capacity makes us ideal for deploying VMM in your environment.
SCVMM Complements the following system center products:
- Operations Manager: SCOM can monitor the performance of applications and servers, enabling new servers to be triggered for deployment by VMM when certain parameters are reached, shutting them down again when no longer required. Again, this requires advanced configuration and experience to get this aspect right.
- Configuration Manager: Once servers are deployed, SCCM enables further applications and services to be automatically deployed - for example, a new application server is deployed by VMM after being triggered by SCOM, SCCM can then install SharePoint, update it with the latest patches, and configure the server to join the farm.
- DPM: new Hyper-V guest servers can be automatically backed up by DPM.
System Center Service Manager (SCSM)
This product works well with both Operations Manager and Configuration Manager. Designed as a helpdesk and automation solution (complete with end-user portal) this application is aware of multi-tier services, enabling issues with a particular component to be seen as an impact on all the services and users it affects. Requiring deep integration with the environment, lots of configuration and customisation, this is definitely one to deploy with an expert.
SCSM Complements the following System Center products:
- Configuration Manager: End users can request software through the SCSM portal from the SCCM packages which are then deployed as part of an SCSM workflow.
- Operations Manager: Alerts raised in SCOM are opened as incident tickets in SCSM and routed to the correct team with appropriate impact/severity. If the ticket is closed in SCSM, the alert is closed in SCOM. if the alert is closed by SCOM, the ticket is closed in SCSM.
System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM)
SCCM (sometimes known as Config Manager or its official abbreviation, ConfigMgr) is widest encompassing of all the System Center products. A number of different features have been added to SCCM over the years. It now includes:
- Operating System Deployment (OSD), including bare metal support via PXE boot, and migration of files and settings from one machine to another. Using SCCM, we've helped our clients upgrade 1000s of machines from Windows XP/7 to Windows 8 and 10;
- Application Deployment, with support for application lists, mandatory or on-request deployment, application streaming (using App-V) - a great way to rollout Office 2016 and migrate to Office 365;
- Power Management and reporting - reducing the carbon footprint of IT;
- Endpoint Protection Management - replacing McAffee/Symantec etc;
- Mobile Device Management - including Android and IOS devices, with optional cloud based management via Intune integration;
- Hardware and software inventory reporting, including licensing compliance;
- Desired configuration management;
- Patch management, including 3rd Party (i.e. non-Microsoft) updates and patches;
Having a good SCCM implementation means you can automate nearly every aspect of managing IT. Getting a good SCCM is a long process though, requiring a lot of trial and effort, particularly with OS and software deployment. Using Fuse as an SCCM support service, we can provide you with training, materials tips and shortcuts that will save you a lot time and money in the long run.
Running SCCM in native mode (essential for supporting internet based clients) also requires the implementation of an
Enterprise PKI, another area we're experienced in, and can help you with.
Recently, we have also been involved with integrating SCCM with Azure, for cloud-based distribution points, and the new client management gateway feature. Having these features enabled ensures your on premise infrastructure is not overly exposed to internet based devices.