While the cloud and mobility may make it easier for end users to access their applications and data from whatever device they choose and from wherever they are on the network, managing the infrastructure that supports everything has become increasingly complex.
Long gone are the days of a neatly siloed data center since x86 server virtualization was finally created more than a decade ago.
IT administrators can no longer simply monitor physical servers in a server room onsite, but dozens of virtual servers running on a variety of software-based hypervisors that reside on physical boxes on-premise, in the cloud or a hybrid of the two.
All of the major OS, hypervisor and application providers - including Microsoft - have software to manage these environments, but, in many cases, third-party tools with more granular and automated features are needed to keep everything in good working order and lower total cost of ownership.
Microsoft server tools and services still reign in the marketplace, and its large Partner Network is actively building products to leverage and complement Microsoft's technologies, including System Center Operations Manager (SCOM).
Among Microsoft's partners is software development company VIAcode Consulting, a company with roots in monitoring software. The experts at VIAcode previously founded a company called AVIcode, where they conceived, developed and enhanced an advanced solution for monitoring .NET applications. Microsoft purchased the company in 2010 and integrated the software into SCOM 2012. VIAcode technologists have also built dozens of management packs, integrators, orchestrators, and configurators that enable the management of third-party applications within System Center.
VIAcode has partnered with us to build a Management pack for SCOM SP1:
- The Exchange Management Pack for SCOM alerts you when you have an issue and gives you very detailed information on where it is and how to fix it.
- GSX is agentless, so it has little impact on the server and works with "locked down" servers where nothing can be loaded beyond the core application.
- GSX provides high availability statistics for DB White Space, DB size, Mail Routing, protocol latency and Windows services, which are not given in the Management Pack.
- GSX saves time and enhances the value of alerts by sorting out those of critical importance.
We already had a full Management Pack (MP) for SCOM 2007, and, as a System Center Alliance partner, we follow Microsoft released management having now an MP for SCOM 2012.
The main challenges we faced together with VIAcode included:
- Quality assurance across all platforms
- Management Pack development
- Test automation
Leveraging VIAcode's Systems Center expertise and MP Tattoo, a set of proprietary, automated tools developed and operated by VIAcode that dramatically reduce the time required to test, stage and deploy a high quality MP, the companies were able to build a fully functional and officially tested Management Pack in 10 days.