Microsoft has released a new Technical Preview 5 of Windows Server 2016 and System Center 2016 a few days ago. Rumors say, that this will be the last technical preview before RTM. About time to take a look on the likely new features of System Center Operations Manager 2016.
Built-in Scheduled Maintenance
This feature is in the preview since TP 2. The scheduled maintenance mode is one of the customers most requested features for the next SCOM version. It’s accessible at the Administration / Maintenance Schedules section inside the Operations Console. As in the instant maintenance mode, you have to select the target objects first. You can decide, if only the object itself or all contained objects will be put into maintenance mode.
On the next page, you can define the schedule, as we are used to do from the task scheduler.
Finally, enter a name and the desired category for the maintenance mode. As soon as you’ve finshed the wizard, the scheduled maintenance mode is active. If you temporary don’t need the scheduled maintenance mode, you can disable the entry.
In addition, the scheduled maintenance mode can be managed throught Windows PowerShell. Microsoft has added a few new cmdlets to the OperationsManager module.
Tune Management Packs
Another new feature is the Management Pack tuning option. In the past, it was very triky to find out, which rules and monitors make most noice on the system. Now SCOM 2016 TP5 makes the life easier for admins – it has a build-in Management Pack tuning setting. First, go to the Administration / Tune Management Packs page and select the Identify Management Packs To Tune task on the right side. You can select a time frame and a minimum thrshold for thrown alerts per Management Pack.
It will list all Management Packs which match the time range and the alert threshold. Now you can select the Tune Alerts task on the Management Pack you want to tune. It will show all alerts thrown by the selected Management Pack.
As you are used to, these alerts can now be fine tuned by overrides directly out of this window. With this feature, we have a much easier and quicker way to tune a SCOM environment.
Recommended Management Packs
The next very usefull new features also is connected to Management Packs. With the new page Administration / Updates and Recommendations, SCOM shows all Management Packs wich have a new udpated version available for installation. No guessing or search on the internet for each Management Pack if there is a new version available any more.
In addition, SCOM now propose new Management Packs which could add monitorng value for the current environment but are not installed. Thanks to this new feautre, such new Management Packs can be installed directly throught the wizard, including all dependencies.
This new feature should help on a daily basis to keep the Management Pack up to date.
Nano Server Agent
The last new feature I want to point out is the support for the Nano Server SKU of Windows Server 2016. Currently the Nano Server Agent can not be installed with the Discovery Wizard inside the Operations Console (push mode). Instead, we have to use the PowerShell script on the installation media: NanoAgent\NanoServer\InstallNanoServerScomAgentOnline.ps1. This scripts uses PowerShell Remoting to install the SCOM Agent. It’s important to start the PowerShell session as Administrator on the Management Server. You have to provide the Management Server, the Management Group, the Nano Server Name and the path to the Nano Agent folder on the media.
.\InstallNanoServerScomAgentOnline.ps1 -ManagementServerFQDN '<MS>' -ManagementGroupName '<MG>' -NanoServerFQDN '<NS>' -BinaryFolder 'C:\Path\To\NanoAgent\'
The script then does the SCOM Agent installation manually on the target system: update firewall, copy files, set registry settings, register services, etc.
More infomation about the whole System Center 2016 site is available on the latest video of Microsoft Mechanics: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OpRGKIUy37s