TechEd Berlin 2010 Day 3

Posted: November 10, 2010 in Computer and Internet, Microsoft TechEd

3th day at TechEd 2010 in Berlin. I got up at 5h45 AM to go out for a short run in Berlin before going to the conference center. We’ve doing some sightseeing in the evening  the last 2 days so I know some routes at this time. A quick 6,5 km, nothing better to clear the brain after yesterday’s session and a few beers . First session planned for today was Microsoft Exchange Server 2010 SP1 Upgrade and Coexistence: Questions and Answers From Previous Versions of Exchange. It was a interactive session on upgrade scenarios for Exchange 2010. I’m not an Exchange implementer but I picked up some good tips and found out what the look for during Exchange upgrades. An example is this site; You can use this site to test your Exchange external connectivity configuration. It’s even recommended that you use this site whenever you make any changes consider external connectivity in your Exchange environment.
My second session  I attended was given by Ilse Van Criekinge and was about the new OCS-server: Microsoft Lync Server 2010 Management, Administration, and Delegation. She showed lots of PowerShell stuff during the demo’s which (again) indicates that PowerShell is THE way to manage your servers today and for future releases. If you do not use PowerShell, make sure you pick it up because all Microsoft products will have PowerShell integrated and like in Exchange, not all configuration can be done in the GUI. Also as in Exchange, and again, this will be for all Microsoft products in the future, the GUI uses PowerShell CMD-lets in the background. Lync Server 2010 is no exception to this and uses the PowerShell is 2.0, so remote PowerShell is there for you to use! That being said, the GUI for Lync is web-based and makes use of the SilverLight technology. If you know that I’m a pro-SCOM IT-dude, you’ll know that I’m happy the say that Lync Server 2010 already has a MP for SCOM 2007 R2  .To install a Lync server you need use the Topology builder, which connects to central management store (CMS) and will configure the Lync-servers via file transfer (SMB).
I didn’t attend any session during lunch today but I made my way to the exhibition hall because I only passed there briefly yesterday. I had a nice chat with the guys from JalaSoft who offer a Operations Manager console for Mobile devices. For the moment only for Blackberry and Windows Mobile devices are supported. For iPhone the console should become available by the end of the year. Future versions should also support connecting to multiple SCOM infrastructures, but that is still under development. The software, which is called Wings by the way, is a service running in the Operations Manager MS-server. I’ll need to play with that later when I get back home…
My next session: Troubleshooting Group Policy. This session was given by Jeremy Moskowitz, the driving force behind (great site!). I picked up some good resources to troubleshoot some GPO problems like the GPO-tool. GPO troubleshooting needs to be done at 2 parts, one is the AD replication and the 2nd is SYSVOL replication. To troubleshooting SYSVOL replication, you can put a TXT file in the SYSVOL folder to check the replication to other servers. A other great tool for troubleshooting GPO problems is Gplogview which can be downloaded from Microsoft site to do advanced troubleshooting on a client. To troubleshoot GPO preferences you should use the Application log in the event viewer. If you can’t find the problem using the event log, you can always enable Tracing for final troubleshooting. 
Next planned session for the day was System Center Data Protection Manager 2010 in the Datacenter given by Jason Buffington. I attended a session of Jason last week when I went to the System Center day in Belgium, great and passionate speaker. When he checked how much people are using DPM 2007 or 2010 almost half of the room raised their hand , meaning that DPM is a great and commonly used product in the System Center portfolio. One of the most things you need to know about DPM agents is that the VSS writer is written by product team, for example the VSS for Exchange is written by the  exchange guys. These means that there is only one type of agent that needs to be installed, as with other backup products you need to buy and install a agent for file backup, SQL, exchange … VSS has 3 components, the Requester, the Writer and the Provider. The way a backup works is like this, the backup server talks to backup agent. The agent talks to VSS requester and says give me want you got, at this point the agent does not know what kind of data is going to be backup-ed. Requester talks then to the Writer, what happens then depends on the data (exchange, sql, file …). Writer send data to requester which sends it to the agent which on his turn sends the data over to the DPM server. Regarding client backups, the licensing is great. If you have the client licenses, the server is free! (reason for this is that server does not do anything). DPM 2010 has now the ability to protect a complete SQL instance, in DPM 2007 you had to add each new db that was created because DPM did not add this automatically (could be scripted however). Now with DPM 2010 if you select the entire instance to be protected the new created databases are automatically protected. If you add a volume to your DPM server, do not format them because DPM cannot use them, it needs block level storage. When the DPM server starts a backup is talks to the DPM agent installed in the host is going to backup. The DPM agent is then going to take to the VSS (Volume Shadow Copy Service). The VSS exist out of 3 components, the Requester, the Writer and the Provider. The DPM agent then talks to VSS requester and says give me want you got. Requester talks then to the Writer, what happens then depends on the data (exchange, sql, file …), remember that the VSS is not DPM related, it  depends on the product. Writer send data to requester which sends it to the DPM agent who on his turn send the data over to the DPM server. For Hyper-V VM on Hyper-V host the process is the same. You need to only install a agent on the host, there is no agent required in the guest VM. The Hyper-v Integration components install a VSS for this and take care of the rest (the same process as for other backups). The overhead of the backup data is removed by the agent on the Hyper-V agent on the host. Jason had a announce to make for DPM 2010; with a single DPM 2010 server you can now backup 3000 clients instead of 1000. I should play with this technology in my home lab Smile.
My last session today would be What’s New in Operations Manager Since R2. Yeah, I know, another SCOM session, but what can I say, I like this product! The agenda for this session had a lot of topics which indicates that SCOM is still growing rapidly. I’ll summarize the topics without going into details:

  • Default MP contains reports to find out which monitors are generating (too much) alerts
  • Bulk URL Editor to import mutiple URL’s at the same time. Tool is available on the installation media (part of the resource kit)
  • Service Level Dashboard 2.0 for OpsMgr R2.
  • Management Pack Authoring:
    • Trace Workflow is a tool you can use to do online tracing of workflow. It also available via the resource kit. NOTE: when the trace workflow is enabled it can have a small impact on performance.
    • There is a BPA in the Authoring console available to check your created MP.
    • The Autoring console contains a spell checker so you can check your MP before deploying it with a customer, I definitely can use that :p
  • You can generate reports for ACS for Cross platform
  • Visio Add-in enables you to create user friendly views to show the health state of the components. The components contains a link which opens the OpsMgr webconsole where, if sufficient rights, the user can perform actions, like mount a db.
  • In CU3 there is a view which shows the state of the agents being updated (after an update), in 2007 SP1 you needed to create this view yourself, but it wasn’t as nice as the new view.
  • Also in CU3 there is the Azure MP. The implement it you will be guided through a wizard which ask you some information and 2 RunAs accounts.

Off course every SCOM admin should know that you do NOT store your distributed applications in the Default Management Pack, create a new MP and store it in there.

This evening me and 2 other colleagues are invited to a party from 1E. The party will be held in a Puro Sky Lounge in Berlin which is on the 20th floor. It should have a great view over Berlin, I’ll let you know tomorrow how it was Winking smile.

  1. […] reports on his experiences in Berlin, manifesting his interest in the System Center portfolio in this post, summarizing the sessions he attended on DPM in the datacenter (presented by our own Jason […]

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