Azure Monitoring Tools Explained – Part 13: System Center Operations Manager (SCOM)

In the first part of this series, we introduced the confusion and complexity that tends to occur when looking at the long list of monitoring tools available for Azure.

We then provided a list of currently available tools that we will explore further.

We’ve already discussed Azure Activity Logs, Application Insights, Azure Advisor,  Azure Alerts, Azure Diagnostics, Azure Metrics, Azure Monitor, Azure Security Center (ASC), Network Watcher, Operations Management Suite (OMS), and Service Health. The final tool on the list is System Center Operations Manager (SCOM). 

 

System Center Operations Manager (SCOM)

You may wonder why we included SCOM, an on-premises product, in an article about monitoring Azure.

Put simply, although SCOM is designed to monitoring your datacenter environment, it can also be extended to monitor your Azure resources too. For example, SCOM has a Management Pack (MP) that enables you to monitor the availability and performance of your resources that are running in Azure.

So what does this enable you to monitor in Azure? Firstly, it uses the Azure REST APIs to remotely discover and collect performance information about the specified Microsoft Azure resources. Of note, the Management Pack is specifically configured to collect data from Azure Resource Manager (ARM) based resources, and not the classic Azure Service Management (ASM) type.

Here is the link to the most recent Azure Management Pack for SCOM.

 

Real Word Example

Unfortunately, I don’t have a SCOM environment setup to run through this (sorry). But, in reading through the Management Pack documentation, I will call out a few things that you should be aware of before deploying this solution.

  • This Management Pack is not supported on SCOM 2012 RTM, so you need at least 2012 SP1 to use it
  • Microsoft recommends a dedicated Management Server for this Management Pack, due to performance issues!
  • To collect Event and Performance data from Azure resources, you need to enable Azure Diagnostics for them first, and those diagnostic logs need to be forwarded to an Azure Storage account.
  • Azure Active Directory is used for authenticating Azure REST API calls, so you need Azure AD setup, and with that either an Azure Active Directory User Principal Name (UPN) or Service Principal Name (SPN).
  • If you use a Service Principal Name (SPN), you need to grant Contributor permissions, as the default Reader permissions on insufficient.
  • You will use the Authoring pane to explicitly discovery and add monitoring for specific Azure resources.
SCOM - Azure - Topology

SCOM – Azure – Topology

Also recently announced, is the integration of System Center Operations Manager (SCOM) with the Operations Management Suite (OMS)’s Service Map feature. If you’ve worked with SCOM in the past, think of it as a dynamically building Distributed Application model!

SCOM - Service Map

SCOM – Service Map

 

Conclusion

Although System Center Operations Manager (SCOM) is traditionally an on-premises solution, Microsoft continues to enhance this toolset with additional cloud-empowering features. Not only is there a Management Pack for monitoring Azure resources, but SCOM can also integrate with the Operations Management Suite (OMS).

So even if you haven’t embraced the new cloud-based monitoring toolsets discussed in this series, you can still utilize the tools you are already familiar with.

That finishes our tool-by-tool coverage part of this series, let’s summarize.

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