SQL Server Mirroring MP Update V

Today I was able to release an update to the SQL Server DB Mirroring Management Pack.

The update doesn’t bring any new features but fixes a potential issue on larger management groups which would lead to discoveries failing. In order to work around this I have altered the Powershell discovery scripts such that they do no longer make use of any SCOM console cmdlets. Instead direct SDK .NET calls are being used. I recommend to update existing installations specifically if you are using management group connectors, the Exchange 2010 correlation engine or other custom MPs which make use of SDK workflows.

Download of the management pack is available trough the SystemCenterCentral.com MP Catalog. You need to register but registration is free.

MP Change History

Version – April, 28 2011 (no functional changes)

  • Corrected spelling in language pack.
  • Replaced all SCOM shell cmdlets with .NET calls to overcome a potential issue when several connectors and other MPs share a single SDK connection.
  • Improved discovery script timing behaviour when using desired configuration for a large number of mirrors.

Version – September, 10 2010

  • Support for SQL Server 2005 has been added and compatibility with SQL Server 2008 R2 has been verified. Starting with version, Microsoft SQL Server 2005, 2008 and 2008 R2 are supported.
  • Default Display Names of discovered DB Mirror Groups have been shortened and may optionally be changed to a customized string. See the guide for details.

Version – June, 04 2010

  • Original release – SQL Server 2008 support only

PKI Certificate Management Pack Update V1.0.1.15

After having had very helpful feedback by various users, I was able to incorporate some enhancement requests for the PKI Certificate Management Pack.

Version will deal correctly specific certificates that have somewhat unusual ‘Issued to’ and ‘Issued By’ properties. Furthermore it will only monitor CA certificates if they haven’t been superseded. Download from SystemCenterCentral.com. You need to register but registration is free.

Changes in version
  • Improved discovery of Issued to and Issued by properties: Will use Subject Alternative Name if certificate doesn’t have a subject and will correctly extract the subject if CN= isn’t encountered on the first line of the subject string.
  • Additional certificate property: CA Version (based on extension szOID_CERTSRV_CA_VERSION). If this property holds a value, that certificate is a Windows CA one.
  • Does no longer discover superseded CA certificates. Evaluation is based on the CA Version property. Additional override to change that behavior if required.
  • Monitors will not mark superseded CA certificates as expired if their discovery is enabled.
  • Expose script timeout as an overridable parameter
  • Changed alert priority to ‘Low’.
  • Broke upgrade path to avoid potential agent stale issues when upgrading from V or earlier.

Please study the included release notes and the MP guide carefully, especially when you’re planning to update from a previous version. I did deliberately break upgrade compatibility after some users had reported stale agent conditions during test cycles. You will need to remove any previous version of the MP from your Management Group before importing the latest one.

Geeky background information

The issues after upgrades were caused by moving the overridable timing parameters from the certificate object workflows to the parent certificate store’s properties. This left already discovered certificate objects’ workflows without any timing information until their parents were re-discovered and got their default timing properties added. During my own test all the agents recovered after that and re-enabled the certificate workflows.

Other users had less luck and ended up with a partly stale agent population that could only be corrected by removing the MP from the Management Group. To avoid issues I simply decided to break the upgrade path and force everyone upgrading to remove the previous MP. Breaking was easy by the way. It only took altering the caption of a property on a public class.

I do apologize for having to make go through the process of removing the MP (and it’s override MPs) before being able to upgrade. On the other hand I wouldn’t want anyone to experience stale agent conditions due to that.

Lesson learned: There are indeed rare conditions under which an MP author may write an upgradeable MP that would pass MPVerify and will import without complaints but still causing upgrade issues on the Management Group. Watch out for those! Test, test, test – then test once more.

SQL Server DB Mirroring Management Pack

My latest addition to the community MP catalog augments the SQL Server MP with database mirroring discovery and monitoring. The SQL Server DB Mirroring Management Pack helps you by:

  • discovering db mirror roles and objects on SQL 2008 DB engines
  • automatically creating service components per mirrored database (consider them mini DADs)
  • probe based monitoring of the mirrored DB state with alerting should the mirror no longer run synchronized or loose its witness
  • optionally checking the mirror mode and db roles against a Desired Configuration setting (alerts when the mirror roles are swapped etc.)
  • delivering mirror inventory and availability reports


DB Mirroring Relationships and Health Roll Up

The Management Pack comes with a comprehensive guide which is a must read. The pack will only work as expected if some prerequisites are met. The guide also discusses how to enable Desired Configuration monitoring for your DB mirrors.

 Get the SQL Server DB Mirroring MP from SystemCenterCentral.com (Version

The download also contains an override MP for the SQL Server Extension MP published on OpsMgr Jam. The extension MP already features useful event and performance collection rules that help monitoring an SQL DB mirror but as it does not contain any discoveries, they are targeting any SQL server. My override MP helps by adjusting their targeting so that those rules are only active on SQL Engines that host mirrored DBs.

2010 Management Pack Extension Contest

South Africa 2010 is about to take off and even on planet SCOM we currently have a great tournament:

The System Center Influencers program has sponsored the Management Pack Extension Contest. Entered Management Packs should extend one of the product’s pack with

  • reporting
  • diagram or service level
  • Visio or Dashboard
  • by tuning it

My own MP does certainly extend the SQL Server Management Pack and it does fit more or less into three of the contest categories. The deadline for entries is June 30, 2010. So why don’t you upload your own entries to compete with me?

PKI Certificate Verification Management Pack

PKI certificates are used to provide SSL encryption for web sites, to secure cross-server traffic (for example to join security gateways or agents in untrusted domains on OpsMgr), to guarantee the identity of the sender of a message and so on. What all certificates have in common is that their destiny often means to be forgotten after having been requested and installed. Until a certificate becomes invalid that was vital to a service. Mostly because it has expired.

To avoid service interruptions or embarrassment due to SSL warning messages displayed to users, the PKI Certificate Verification Management Pack was born. It discovers certificates and certificate revocation lists stored locally on computers and alerts you when:

  – a certificate’s lifetime is about to expire (by default 21 days in advance)
  – a certificate’s lifetime has ended
  – a certificate has become invalid because of a different reason
  – a CRL has not been updated in a timely manner

The MP also includes a series of inventory reports, which help keeping up with all those certificates in your environment. You will find more details in the comprehensive MP guide.


Certificate Verification Screen Shot

The MP and the guide are available for download at the SystemCenterCentral.com site:

Download from SystemCenterCentral.com MP Catalog

I wrote the MP in close collaboration with Pete Zerger and Jaime Correia of the SCC community. Without their help and the support of everyone testing the MP, it wouldn’t be here today.

MP Creation Zen

And there’s more! For everyone interested in learning how to author MPs: Have a look at the 6 part series MP Creation Zen. The articles will walk you through the process of writing an MP, carefully clarifying everything you need to know. Whenever possible, all authoring examples are explained using the new and much improved OpsMgr 2007 R2 Authoring Console, telling you how the PKI Certificate Verification MP was written. I recommend the documents to everyone planning to write a Management Pack by themselves without being application developers.

Windows Scheduled Task MP now supports localized OS

Having thought about enabling the Scheduled Task Management Pack for non English operating system versions for some time, I finally found the time to update it. The new release (Version works with the following OS languages:

OS Languages Remarks
Windows Server 2008 any .
Windows Server 2003 English,
discovery will not work on other languages


The update is available here: Scheduled Task Management Pack understands 7 languages.

The reason why only 7 languages are currently supported on Server 2003 is that in order to discover and manage the tasks, the output of the ‘schtasks.exe’ command needs to be parsed. That output unfortunately varies between different languages. I decided to include support for those languages I have at least a basic knowledge of (very basic for 3 of them). If you need other languages to be added let me know.

Like a little language quiz? Here’s what Scheduled Tasks are called on other OS languages. Can you tell which expression is in what language?

tareas programadas / geplande taken / operazione pianificata / tâche planifiée  / tarefas agendadas / geplante Tasks

On Windows Server 2008 parsing ‘schtasks.exe’ is not required as Microsoft has included COM object with the OS that allows managing the tasks using scripts and that is language independent.

Many thanks to Romain Girot who’s helped a lot by testing the localization support accurately and patiently.

Community written Multi-Host Ping Management Pack V3


Over the last few weeks the Multi-Host Ping Management Pack developed as a joint work by the System Center Community has seen a major update from version 2.0 to 3.0. The new Management Pack is class based and represents the health of each Ping Target (address being pinged)  as seen by one or more Ping Watchers (agent issuing the ping).

Great care has been taken to increase the scalability and keep the performance impact on the Ping Watchers low. Other than the discovery process, all datasources rely on native Operations Manager modules instead of VBScripts. Furthermore all monitors and rules of the management pack incorporate ‘cookdown’ resulting in just a single ICMP ping per cycle for all circuits.

Multi-Host Ping Scrren Shot

Neale Brown, Jaime Correia, Pete Zerger any myself have teamed up to write the management pack, documentation and test the solution. A great experience.


The sealed Management Pack and the documentation can be downloaded from the System Center Forum: Download Multi-Host Ping 3.0 Management Pack
Be sure to study the documentation before you implement the Management Pack as there is some required configuration work to be performed.

Windows Scheduled Tasks Management Pack now does Windows Server 2008

August 12, 2014 – link to latest update: https://rburri.wordpress.com/2014/08/12/scheduled-task…pack-1-2-0-500/

Some people asked if I could update the Scheduled Task Management Pack for Windows Server 2008. So here it is: Scheduled Task Management Pack now does W2K8 .

Windows Server 2008 Task Scheduler 2.0 brings some exciting new features. From the MP author’s point of view the most significant are:

  • Full support for scripting: msdn reference
  • Very detailed event logging

So for Windows Server 2008 the MP does no longer have to parse the output of a command which makes it much more reliable. And since I was at it, I attempted to make the MPs less power consuming on the agents and the management servers. So I highly recommend upgrading should you still be using an older version.

Task Scheduler 2.0 Health Explorer

Thanks everyone who provided valuable feedback during the testing phase.