SCOM is still a Relevant Monitoring Platform so Assess Your Monitoring Strategy Carefully

So this weeks blog I thought I’d write an article on System Center Operations Manager (SCOM) and why it’s still a relevant monitoring tool and why shifting to the cloud may not initially address all of your monitoring requirements.

My own experiences with SCOM have been mixed but after getting the right guidance and shown some specific training resources it all started to click and make sense

For many, monitoring hasn’t been the most attractive technology to invest time in learning over the years and therefore it’s not always surprising that peoples attitudes to monitoring and embracing SCOM is indifferent.

My initial perception of SCOM was that it was a noisy beast that just generated countless alerts that nobody ever did anything with – sound familiar? Ultimately, where monitoring is concerned, technology can only bridge part of the gap. People and process are significant cogs in the wheel and neglecting input from your teams or failing to create processes will lead to an overall poorer experience.

Approaches to Monitoring

Monitoring should be a shared responsibility although some organizations have monitoring teams or individuals who are responsible for the delivery and maintenance of a monitoring platform engaging with other teams should be a key strategy in delivering the requirements for your organization.

The chances are the SCOM or monitoring admin is unlikely to know how each and every application functions, what their business purpose is and what critical workflows need to be monitored. Application owners need to accept accountability for these platforms contribute to the development of a monitoring solution.

Monitoring – The Race Towards the Cloud

As organizations look towards the cloud to gain a competitive advantage and embrace new capabilities they should also be diligent about functionality in technology and make decisions based on requirements and ease of adoption. Here are some of the things that are worth considering…

  • What are the requirements to move monitoring to the cloud?
  • Not all cloud technologies offer the same functionality and each maybe suited to a specific scenario
  • Monitoring methodology should remain the same even if you are trying to transition between SCOM and Azure Monitor
  • Are you able to leverage SCOM and Azure Monitor in a Hybrid scenario
  • Convincing stakeholders and workers to change their approach and embrace new tooling.
  • Changing culture can be difficult and met with some resistance unless you can show employees the key benefits for adopting new technology

When should I take advantage of the Cloud for Monitoring?

SCOM has been around for many years and Microsoft is still actively investing in the product along with significant investments in Azure Monitor, so should you change approach start moving your monitoring to the cloud or should you to continue with your investments SCOM?

This debate hosted below at Squared Up discusses this this subject and gives the viewpoint of several different professionals who have worked with SCOM and Azure Monitor

Here are some of my own thoughts about SCOM…

Invest time in learning SCOM?
  • Trying to attract and convince teams to invest time and learning with SCOM can be challenging
  • Many people are attracted to the cloud and want to invest their time and energy in cloud only platforms as they see a benefit of enhancing their skills and career
  • SCOM is still utilized by many organizations and as a product still carries value and therefore makes sense to obtain and maintain skills
  • SCOM can perform more granular monitoring over Azure Monitor and has better capabilities for monitoring platforms like SQL
Enhance Monitoring with Management Pack Authoring
  • Management Pack (MP) Authoring is development skill which can be learnt and used to build your own management packs and enhance your monitoring capability.
  • Management Pack Authoring will greatly increase your knowledge of SCOM monitoring
  • Management Pack Authoring requires (in it’s basic concept) to learn development skills in XML which can deter some organizations from adopting it although you can buy commercial products such as Silect’s MP Author and MP Studio
  • Brian Wrens MP Authoring Guide is a great way to get started. This will teach you about but not limited to classes, discoveries, groups, relationships, rules and monitors.
Tools to Enhance SCOM

The SCOM console has been around for a long time and although you can manage your monitoring tasks here it’s much more favourable to enhance the experience with tools like SquaredUp which offers the visualizations through dashboards and can help distribute responsibility for monitoring to other teams.

Well Known SCOM Commentators

SCOM has very well known commentators who still continue to write and publish helpful information

Kevin Holman

Kevin Greene

Cameron Fuller

and many more…

Conclusions

Hopefully the points made and video content from Squared Up gives you a more balanced view of your monitoring options that Microsoft can provide and how SCOM and Azure Monitor can be a force for good but it’s important to recognize the benefits of both, which scenarios they are suited to and how to make most of them.

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