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Enterprise Software Thread, Server Monitoring / SCCM? in Technical; Hi, I have been asked to look into using SCCM as a tool for monitoring the health and status of ...
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    Server Monitoring / SCCM?

    Hi,

    I have been asked to look into using SCCM as a tool for monitoring the health and status of the servers. I have looked into it briefly a couple of years ago but have never actually implemented, so it's not something I know a lot about.

    The network is quite large, with around 200 servers and 5,500 desktops PCs (and a growing number of BYOD wireless devices).

    We'll be getting in a partner company to do the lower level monitoring of the network (i.e. up to the Transport layer), for things like, bottlenecks, Routing, QoS, STP issues. But we need something to report on the higher layers (to enable us to be more proactive about any issues that arise).

    For example, I would want it to report on issues like; servers low on HDD space, High Disk IO, High Network IO, Event logs categorized as Error/something else, DHCP servers running low on available IPs, DNS issues, or if a DC is not functioning correctly. And summarise issues is a readable format and have method to alert us of more serious issues. And also, to be able to pull reports from it e.g. In relation to bringing together of event logs "which DC was used to authenticate x user on y date"?

    We already have some basic monitoring software that just tells us if a server it up or down.

    So I suppose I am asking two questions really:

    1) What would be the benefits to us (and our customers) of implementing SCCM in an Educational environment (not just for server monitoring)? It seems that for a lot of what it offers there are already solutions (e.g. WSUS, WDS). Is it straightforward to implement?

    2) Can SCCM be used to monitor the servers (as above)? If not, can anyone recommend any software?

    All our servers are all Windows Servers (up to 2012) and we use VMware 5.x (with VSphere) for virtualisation. The hardware from a variety of manufactures but tends to be IBM/HP/Netapp.

    Any advise appreciated.

    Many Thanks,

    Bruce.

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    ChrisH's Avatar
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    You want operations manager and not config manager for monitoring.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ChrisH View Post
    You want operations manager and not config manager for monitoring.
    Agree with that, If you are very much a MS house and running MS Apps such as Exchange, Lync, DHCP, DNS, IIS, RRAS, ISA/TMG etc... then SCOM is the tool for you. You can add bits for other OS's to it and do SNMP with it as well but for the true power MS apps work well with it. You can set e-mail alerts on it for things, text or IM depending on how you set it up so its very powerful and flexible. However it is very "shouty" it picks up any little niggle and tells you about it so may take months of tuning to get it to be giving you the information you need. I have been working on it for months now on and off and still find it logs a lot of stuff that is momentary blips of WAN links but it creates about 4 or 5 alerts for a small WAN drop taking a lot of time to go round and check all is well....

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    Quote Originally Posted by john View Post
    Agree with that, If you are very much a MS house and running MS Apps such as Exchange, Lync, DHCP, DNS, IIS, RRAS, ISA/TMG etc... then SCOM is the tool for you. You can add bits for other OS's to it and do SNMP with it as well but for the true power MS apps work well with it. You can set e-mail alerts on it for things, text or IM depending on how you set it up so its very powerful and flexible. However it is very "shouty" it picks up any little niggle and tells you about it so may take months of tuning to get it to be giving you the information you need. I have been working on it for months now on and off and still find it logs a lot of stuff that is momentary blips of WAN links but it creates about 4 or 5 alerts for a small WAN drop taking a lot of time to go round and check all is well....
    Thank you John and Chris.

    I will start looking at SCOM.. Do you (or anyone) know of any other server monitoring software (perhaps third party) that might meet our requirements as well? Maybe not so shouty... I don't like the sound of endless alerts...

    Bruce.

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    We use PRTG (Paessler) for much of the functionality you describe. It has a huge host of different sensor possibilities, ranging from a simple Ping to WMI for keeping an eye on Windows services, disk space and NIC throughput etc., SSH for Linux interaction and SNMP for other types of device. Many hardware vendors publish MIB files, which can be easily imported. For example, I use this to monitor the hardware status of our storage units (down to individual disk/controller) and also servers (using the DRAC interface). Very intuitive and fast iPhone/Android apps, coupled with a third party bolt-on provides Push Notifications the moment something goes wrong. Education commands a huge discount on their list price, making it also affordable. Happy to speak further, if interested.

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    jonwitts's Avatar
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    We use a combination of Nagios, Nagvis and Nagiosgraph over here. Takes some setting up but it can monitor everything (and more) that you asked for.

    Jon

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