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Monitoring with System Center 2012 R2 Operations Manager

Hall Monitor

Article from ADMIN 33/2016
Put Operations Manager to work monitoring Active Directory, Exchange, and Hyper-V environments.

In the System Center Suite, the Operations Manager is responsible for monitoring. Add-on Management Packs let you monitor a full range of services running on your Microsoft network. If you connect Operations Manager with the Virtual Machine Manager, you can even analyze Hyper-V environments.

Monitoring AD

Monitoring Active Directory (AD) services is essential for a functional and trouble-free AD environment. Management Packs in System Center 2012 R2 Operations Manager (SCOM) offer a powerful means of monitoring and maintaining your AD configuration. Operations Manager helps you monitor AD and respond in good time to warnings and error messages to resolve problems before they lead to major failures of the Active Directory environment.

To monitor an AD environment with SCOM, you must import the appropriate Management Pack, adapt it to your own uses, then permanently save your changes by creating a new Management Pack.

Management Pack for AD Monitoring

The AD Management Pack provides monitoring capabilities for an Active Directory environment. You can use the AD Management Pack to detect events from the application and system log of Windows Event Viewer, as well as from numerous other protocols belonging to various AD components. In addition to the overall state of AD, including the replication connections, the Management Pack monitors Active Directory sites, as well as the performance of the AD environment.

The AD Management Pack monitoring functions monitor domain controllers (DCs) from the perspective of the client.

All relevant monitoring functions are designed so the domain controllers behave like Active Directory clients that consume AD services on your network. The Management Pack provides a set of predefined Operations Manager rules, monitoring scripts, and reports designed specifically to monitor the performance and availability of domain controllers.

For example, Operations Manager monitors the services hosted on a domain controller, but it also performs further tests by generating synthetic transactions against Active Directory services, such as the Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP) and LDAP ping queries.

Additionally, the AD Management Pack performs other monitoring tasks, such as:

  • Replication
  • LDAP
  • Domain controller Locator
  • Trusts
  • Netlogon service
  • File Replication Service (FRS)
  • Intersite Messaging Service
  • Windows clocks
  • Active Directory Web Services (ADWS)
  • Active Directory Management Gateway Service
  • Key Distribution Center (KDC)
  • Service availability
  • Performance data

In addition to monitoring, the Management Pack also provides reports on service availability and the state of Active Directory services, as well as tips on AD capacity planning.

Setting up Proxy Agents

An important prerequisite for correct monitoring using the AD Management Pack is the configuration of the Agent Proxy function [1] on all domain controllers.

If you enable the Agent Proxy in the Operations Manager Administration workspace on a domain controller that is managed by the Operations Manager agent, the system has the ability to detect the connection objects of other domain controllers. The Agent Proxy obtains information about parent entities by means of installed Operations Manager agents. This ability to pass information around the network means an Agent Proxy can discover information about other domains that are on the network but are managed by other domain controllers.

To enable the Agent Proxy function, start the Operations Manager console, navigate to the Device Management | Agent Managed node, right-click on the agent, and select Properties . In the Security tab, check the box labeled Allow this agent to act as a proxy and discover managed objects on other computers .

The Operations Manager Administration workspace can only enable on one computer at a time. If you need to enable the proxy agent on multiple computers at the same time, use an Operations Manager PowerShell command, such as the following, which enables the proxy agent on all systems installed with Operations Manager:

Get-SCOMAgent | where {$_.Proxying-Enabled.Value -eq $False} | Enable-SCOMAgentProxy

For security reasons, you should only enable the Agent Proxy function on systems where it is actually necessary. Other (non-trusted) systems monitored by the proxy agent could send fake events, performance data, and states to the Operations Manager after activation.

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