I loved Microsoft Operations Manager 2005. With a little bit of time and work, it was possible to get in deep and really understand how everything worked, especially the monitoring. Everything was so logical. Like another product I worked on years ago, Novadigm EDM, it was possible to find the starting point and logically diagram everything from discovery through to monitoring and then alerting. Using that knowledge you could use the Administration console to author your own management packs quite easily, from windows log monitoring and text file monitoring right up to SNMP monitoring. I could bring someone through MOM 2005 from A-Z in two days.
OpsMgr 2007 changed things drastically. It’s a much more complicated beastie. Getting it up and running is still relatively easy. After that I recommend doing some reading before going any further. I liked Sams “System Center Operations Manager 2007 Unleashed” because it was a very real book with real world recommendations based on best practice from MS. After that, customising existing management packs is a doddle.
But creating your own management packs from scratch is really hard compared to OpsMgr 2007. Management Packs becamse musch more complicated to add more power and flexibility, as well as some “intelligence”. There’s loads of MS blog posts on how to create a management pack but they cannot be used in the real world, e.g. create a monitor for all machines to look for alert XYZ from an application that you may only have on 1 or 22 boxes. MS released a management pack authoring console but it was undocumented as far as I could see. I remember talking to a PSS engineer about it and he had heard the same thing from other customers.
But that has started to change!!! I just read a blog post from MS that led me to here. There are some basic guides (with screen shots) on how to do stuff like discovery (something I’ve struggled with to be honest), monitors, rules, etc. I hope this is a sign of things to come because authoring was the only thing I was not entirely happy with in OpsMgr 2007. Doing some documentation like this is a fantastic step in the right direction.