May 28 2010

Buy vs. Build

It’s the classic question faced by everyone in Information Services. I know how to do this and I could build software to do it, but I’m a lazy b_____d so I’d rather just pick up a piece of software that does it for me. I love working for large companies because I can usually get them to purchase stuff so that I can loll around stuffing my face all day instead of doing actual work. Unfortunately, not everyone can afford to pick up Microsoft’s Operations Manager or Idera’s Diagnostic Manager. But you still need to monitor your servers. With buy eliminated, that leaves build.

Which, is where this excellent blog post by Laerte Junior comes in. He lays out how to build a wrapper around calls to get Performan Counter information using PowerShell. It’s a pretty slick and worth a read. Becuase the thing is, when you need to build your monitoring products, you want to use a language that you know. Since everyone is learning Powershell (right?) this provides a good foundation for beginning your monitoring project.

Dec 23 2009

A Lack of Excitement

I usually use all the problems, crashes, and issues that I run into at work as grist for my mill, aka, material to blog about. But lately, we haven’t been crashing & burning much <knock wood, turn three times, throw salt over my left shoulder, spit>. But it was suggested that may be I should mention why that is.

The fact of the matter is that I’ve been spending a lot more time working on methods for monitoring our systems so that we avoid more of the stupid stuff, full disks, failed backups, long running agent jobs, etc.. I’ve blogged before about our use of Microsoft’s Operations Manager for monitoring our servers and how we’ve built custom rules and monitors to keep an eye on things. I’ve also mentioned how we use Idera’s Diagnostic Manager as a drill-down mechanism to keep on eye on SQL Server internals that OM just didn’t do as nifty a job on. What I haven’t mentioned is, that after attending the PASS Summit (and if you didn’t go, you sure missed out) and sitting through Buck Woody’s session on monitoring using Policy Based Management, “More Servers Less Control,” I’ve implemented PBM within our organization.

If you have yet to explore Policy Based Management, PBM, get on it. I know that others have blogged about their experiences with it, and there’s a reason that people are excited. Track down Buck Woody’s session over at the PASS site (it’s worth paying for it, trust me).¬† You too can get this stuff up and running in no time. That’s the good news. Now for the bad news, PBM only works with SQL Server 2008. But, I’ve got some good news about that too. There’s a great utility published over at CodePlex (and isn’t that a great place to browse on occasion) called the Enterprise Policy Management Framework, EPM (you can never have enough acronyms, especially with three letters). The EPM Framework allows you to run policies against 2000 and 2005 servers. Sweet!

All of this is work has been part of a concerted effort within our organization to get really and truly proactive, to prevent errors before they occur. Between the modifications I’ve made to OM and the implementation of PBM through EPM and reports against the OM data through SSRS, SQL just isn’t having as many problems these days¬†(I love talking through acronyms sometimes just to watch peoples toes curl). I’ve been busy as all get out, but it’s on pretty mundane, non-exciting stuff. Hence fewer blog posts.

Mar 16 2009

Tom LaRock on Reports In Operations Manager

Tom has published a great article on reporting in Operations Manager over at Simple-Talk. In case you don’t know, Tom is one of the best when it comes to OM on SQL Server. He’s presented at PASS on these topics for the last two years and has written other articles as well.

Apr 01 2008

System Center Operations Manager Unleashed

I posted a small review of the book over on Amazon. I’ve found this a very useful resource towards getting SCOM up & running. That’s in the short time I’ve had it. I suspect it’ll become even more useful as the days go on.