Operations Management Suite

How the Operations Management Suite can help you manage multivendor environment combining System Center 2016 and OMS.

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What is Operations Management Suite (in Windows Server)?

Operations Management Suite (OMS) is a cloud-based management solution that can complementon-premises investments in System Center 2016 or stand independently. The next figure shows how youcan manage multivendor environments and get the best experience possible by combining SystemCenter 2016 and OMS to manage your hybrid IT world

Before diving into how we can take advantage of the capabilities of OMS and System Center 2016, let’s describe what’s available in OMS. We can divide OMS into the following four primary areas:

Focus Area Description
Log analytics Search for patterns; identify problems across a multitude of different log sources and provide real-time insights into what is happening in your environment; Integrate into Microsoft Power BI dashboards for powerful visualizations.
IT automation Automate simple and complex tasks in your IT environment; directly integrate with applications and provide source control for your automation environment; connect and manage resources across datacenters.
Backup and recovery Back up your workloads directly to the cloud and use the cloud as a recovery point. Alternatively, replicate your workloads from VMware or Hyper-V and use the cloud as a recovery site.
Security and compliance Continually assess and understand what is happening in your environment, from who is signing in to a new risk that is highlighted in your environment.

The key takeaway here is the ability to be hybrid. This is particularly relevant if you have made a large investment on-premises and want to use OMS and its features along with System Center 2016. Even if you haven’t made any investment into System Center on-premises but like what OMS can offer, noproblem: You can take advantage of OMS to manage your existing cloud or on-premises estates.

To begin, whether you have OMS deployed or not, you must create an OMS workspace. To do so, sign in to https://portal.azure.com, and then click New. Next, type Log Analytics (OMS), click Log Analytics (OMS) (see next figure), and then click Create on the next page.


Creating your OMS workspace, part 1

This will open the OMS Workspace dialog box; you will need to populate the settings to match those shown in Figure 5-12 and then click Create Workspace. You have a choice of tier; for most users, the Free tier is a great way to explore the power and benefits of OMS.


Creating your OMS workspace, part 2

Note If you chose Operational Insights you will be redirected to the Azure Service Management (ASM) portal and then back to the Azure Resource Manager (ARM) portal. Selecting Log Analytics performs the same function.

After the workspace is created, go to Log Analytics (OMS). You should see that your workspace status is listed as Active.

There are many settings in this page (too many for this book), but for a quick example, if you observe in the Data Sources section, there are two options: one for Virtual Machines and one for Storage Accounts. If you click the Virtual Machines tile if will open a new page displaying VMs that exist in the resource group into which you have published the Log Analytics (OMS) workspace, as shown in the next Figure.


VMs in the resource group

As you can see, there is three VMs; two are connected to another OMS workspace and one is currently not connected to any. If you click this VM, it will give you the option of using the Azure VM Extensions capabilities to install an OMS agent and automatically register to your workspace, as shown in the next Figure.


Connecting a VM automatically to OMS

Return to the main OMS page and then, in the Data Resources section, click Storage Accounts. Notethat it is blank, as shown in the next Figure; this is by default. You need to add a storage account to whichyou can store log data from a variety of sources (again, refer to Figure 5-14). OMS will use thisaccount to ingest that information into its engine.


Connecting a storage account for OMS

After you click the Add button, the Add Storage Account Log dialog box opens. Here, you need to provide some information, the first of which is selecting the storage account that you want to use. Then, select the Data Type, of which there are several to choose. For example, you can potentially select the following options:

  • IIS Logs
  • Events
  • Sys Logs
  • ETW Logs
  • Service Fabric Events

The next figure shows a sample of the fully populated dialog box.


The Add Storage Account Log dialog box with all the needed information filled in

There are multiple options that you can play with and add more resources as you expand or more storage accounts as required, but for now, let’s not click into the main OMS portal.

Return to the Log Anlaytics page and click the workspace you want to work with. On the page that opens, in the Management section, click OMS Portal to bring you to the OMS Portal, as depicted in the next Figure.


Click a workspace to manage it

This brings you to some basic settings, one of which you might want to consider implementing. In Azure, a lot of services have the ability to write log files directly to a Storage account. You can add this account to the workspace so that you can later perform analysis on it.

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When you sign in to the workspace, the first thing you need to do is click the Get Started tile, as shown in Figure 5-13.

Note: if you have preconfigured data sources from the Azure Portal they will show up here.


The main workspace

There are three main tasks to accomplish when you get started with OMS. When you click Get Started, a wizard-like experience guides you through the process of selecting solutions. Solutions are like management packs in OMS. They contain all of the intelligence and rules against which machines in the environment you present will be assessed. Solutions are updated on a cloud cadence, and new solutions are continually being developed and added to the overall portfolio based on customer demands and requirements.

The next Figure depicts the first step in configuring OMS. To get up and running requires that you select some solutions. In the pane on the left, click Solutions. These solutions won’t really do anything until they have machines to work against, so you can technically select all of them or only the ones with which you are interested in working.


Step one: selecting solutions

Next, click Connected Sources. Figure 5-20 shows the range of options from which you can select depending on your environment.


Step two: connecting sources

Here, you have three basic questions to answer:

  • Do you want to deploy an agent directly to a machine and register directly with OMS?
  • Do you want to connect an operations manager deployment to OMS?
  • Do you want to add a Storage account that contains log data?

Your answers will determine which steps you take to complete the installation. If you want the destination machine to report directly to OMS, download the agent and install it on the machine. During the installation, you will be prompted to select the type of deployment that you want to register the agent against. The agent itself is the Microsoft Management Agent, which can be registered directly with OMS or an OMS server, as shown in the next Figure.


Installing the Microsoft Monitoring Agent

When you select the Connect The Agent To Microsoft Azure Operational Insights check box, you are prompted for the workspace ID and key. You can obtain these from the Operational Workspace, as previously shown in Figure 5-20, and type or copy them into the boxes, as shown in Figure 5-22.


Configuring the Workspace ID and Key

The agent will complete its installation and then register with the OMS workspace. When the agent has registered with OMS, you will see a green check mark beside Step 2, and you will see one server connected in the OMS workspace.

Finally, in Step 3, you can configure to add some additional data that you might be interested in from the sources you are collecting. Figure 5-22 shows the different log types you can select. For example, in the search box, you can type free for Windows Event Logs and then type System, and you will see it will try to resolve the available logs. Ensure that you click Save.


Adding logs

From here the rules are downloaded to the agent, as normal, and processed. Data will be uploaded to the portal and assessed. The main solution gallery will be updated with the latest information pulled from the system. You can add additional solutions from the solutions gallery when you need them.


Updated dashboard

You can click each site to view more information. From here you can also configure additional items such as Automation, Backup, and Azure Site Recovery. You can use all three areas in hybrid scenarios to manage cloud resources and on-premises resources from the cloud.

From here, you can explore Log Search and all additional solutions, as shown in the last Figure.


Solution gallery in OMS

External references

To learn more about OMS, go to https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/cloud-platform/windows-server

Further reading:

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