Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Dell MP Suite, version 5.0.1. Part II: Know What’s In Place.

Postings in the same series:
Part  I Let’s Start
Part IIIServer Monitoring
Part IVThe Verdict

This is the second posting of a series all about the Dell MP Suite version 5.0.1. When you haven’t read the first posting of this series I’ll advise you to do so before reading this one.

A small recap of the first posting. Here I installed the file and as we saw, the installer did three things:

  • It unpacked all contained MP files and the related guides in the folder C:\Dell Management Packs\Server Management Pack\5.0.1;
  • It installed, configured and started this COM+ application:Dell Device Helper;
  • And finally, imported three MPs into your SCOM/OM12 Management Group.

    Purpose of this posting & some useful tools
    This posting will be about these three MPs since they are the very foundation of all the other Dell MPs you’re going to import. For this purpose I used the tool MPViewer 2.2.1, to be found here and the MPBA (Management Pack Best Practices Analyzer). These tools should be part the toolbox of any one working with SCOM/OM12 on a daily basis.

    With a BIG word of thanks to Boris Yanushpolsky who wrote the original set of these tools for SCOM and Daniele Muscetta who updated these tools for OM12. Thank you guys!

    MPViewer enables you to take a quick look into any MP in order to see what it does and how. No, it won’t protect you totally from nasty and unwanted surprises but it will rule out the most nasty ones, like Discoveries which run way too often for instance. When such a thing is at hand you know exactly what overrides to make and when overrides can’t be set, you simply don’t import that MP.

    Another nice thing of this tool is you’re able to export the view dump to an Excel XML file (makes it more easy to filter, count and to sort everything since per topic a tab is created) or as an HTML file making it easier to get a quick overview with the underlying code, thus revealing more information compared to the Excel XML file which doesn’t show the underlying code.

    MPBA is the tool which checks to what extend any given MP adheres to a set of Best Practices for MP Authoring. It’s part of the MP Authoring Console used for MP development in the days of SCOM 2007. Even though it’s a bit outdated it’s still a good tool to give you an insight into the overall build quality of any given MP.

    This way you’re in control and know far more better what a MP does and doesn’t do in your environment.

    In order to demonstrate the power of these tools I have uploaded the MPBA Reports and the related MPViewer exports (in HTML and Excel XML formats) to my SkyDrive. This way you can see what these tools can do for you as well.

    The 3 Dell MPs

    1. Dell Feature Management
      (ID: Dell.FeatureManagement.Pack)
      This MP is one of the three MPs which is imported into your SCOM/OM12 Management Group when the setup file Dell_Server_Management_Pack_Suite_x86_x64.exe is run.

      As the description of this MP states: ‘…Dell Feature Management Utility facilitates to monitor installed Management pack features, indicate available feature version and perform feature management actions such as import, set management modes and remove features by the administrator…’

      When opening this MP in the tool MPViewer you’ll see this MP is a foundation indeed. There aren’t any kind of Monitors, Recoveries or Reports to be found. Only one (discovery) Rule is defined (MonitoringFeature Discovery Periodic Trigger Rule), enabled by default which runs once per 24 hours. This discovery interval is OK and won’t cause too much of a burden on your environment.
      And when you want to change this interval (bump it up, not down please) the good news is it can be done through an override on the Rule ‘MonitoringFeature Discovery Periodic Trigger Rule’. Also the Timeout (default 180 seconds) can be modified.

      This MP contains three basic Discoveries, four Views, a couple of Dependencies and defines 19 Classes, depicted here:
      These Classes will be used by all the other Dell MPs you’ll import later on.

      On top of it all, this MP also defines a bunch of Tasks (24 in total), all of them related to other Dell MPs:

      When running MPBA it’s output isn’t too bad actually, with only one critical item (a workflow using the wrong scheduler module). Have seen other MPs being in a far worse state.

      So now we know what this one does. Let’s move on to the second MP which is imported while running setup.

    2. Dell Base Hardware Library
      (ID: Dell.Connections.HardwareLibrary)

      This MP is the second of the three MPs which is imported into your SCOM/OM12 Management Group when the setup file Dell_Server_Management_Pack_Suite_x86_x64.exe is run.

      As the description of this MP states: ‘…Dell Base Hardware Library MP v4.0. The Dell Base Hardware Library Management Pack provides the high level hierarchy of view folder structure and root group for the Dell Management Packs to rollup hierarchy and health…’

      Basically meaning this MP should only contain one or more Views. Let’s check it out. And indeed, besides the ‘usual suspects’ (2 Dependencies, 1 Class and 1 Group) it contains 1 View only ‘Complete Diagram View’.

      MPBA tells us all is clear. Would have been bad when it wasn’t since this MP is almost empty.

    3. Dell OperationsLibrary Common
      (ID: Dell.OperationsLibrary.Common)

      This MP is the last one of the three MPs which is imported into your SCOM/OM12 Management Group when the setup file Dell_Server_Management_Pack_Suite_x86_x64.exe is run.

      As the description of this MP states: ‘…Dell Common Operations Library Management Pack for Microsoft SCOM/SCE…’.

      Basically meaning this is foundation MP for the other Dell MPs as well. So it won’t contain any Rule or Monitor for that matter. Let’s check it out with the two earlier mentioned tools.

      The MP is almost empty since it contains 3 Classes, 2 Discoveries, both running once per 24 hrs (86400 seconds). Only one Discovery can be modified for it’s discovery & timeout-intervals (Dell License Configuration Discovery) whereas the other (Dell Registry Discovery) can’t be modified for it’s interval. In this case however not a big deal since it’s targeted against the Management Servers only so it won’t create any load on the monitored Windows Servers.

      MPBA however isn’t really happy and shows many times the same warning: ‘Management Pack elements should have display names’:

      Unfortunately I see this warning way too many times in many other MPs from other vendors as well. Seems to me people are under tight schedules and cut corners short by not adding names for MP elements. Which makes such an element hard to track since it has no name Sad smile.

      Not a showstopper but neither a showcase of good and solid MP authoring.

    As stated before I don’t like installers which – without telling - import MPs into any SCOM/OM12 environment. But sometimes there is no way to get around that for which a test lab comes in handy. But when the installer is finished I want to know what MPs are imported and even more important what they do and how they function. The two earlier mentioned tools are a great help in order to gain that knowledge.

    The three Dell MPs aren’t bad nor 100% OK. But on a scale of 0 (really bad) to 100 (a shiny example for any other MP out there) I rate these three MPs with an overall score of 80

    So these MPs are welcome into my environment, allowing me to start monitoring Dell based hardware because without them the other Dell MPs simply won’t import.

    Homework and next posting
    For any one who hasn’t imported the Dell MPs just yet, it’s a good time now to wait in order to collect the requirements of your organization for monitoring Dell hardware. This way you can map those same requirements to the MPs delivered by Dell.

    In the next posting of this (small Smile with tongue out?) series I will zoom in the other Dell MPs. See you all next time.

  • 1 comment:

    John Bradshaw said...

    Thx for highlighting the tools used Marnix. I never knew how to really use them before.
    John Bradshaw