Monitoring Exchange 2010 with OpsMgr 2007 R2 (Part 2)


If you would like to read the other parts in this article series please go to:

Solution Topology

For the purpose of writing this article, I installed the following environment on my test lab:


Figure 2: Solution topology used in this article

One thing to note is that all the machines (virtualized on Hyper-V) are now 64-bit, since this architecture is fully supported by OpsMgr 2007 R2.

Server Name

Role

Software

OPSMGR2K7-R2

Root Management Server

Windows Server 2008 R2

SQL Server 2008 SP1

System Center Operations Manager 2007 R2 + CU3

E2K10

Domain Controller

Mailbox Server

CAS Server

HUB Transport Server

Unified Messaging

Windows Server 2008 R2

Exchange Server 2010 SP1 + RU2

E2K10-MBX2

Mailbox Server

Windows Server 2008 R2

Exchange Server 2010 SP1 + RU2

E2K10-EDGE

Edge Server

Windows Server 2003 R2

Exchange Server 2010 SP1 + RU2

Table 1: List of servers

Exchange 2010 Management Pack Pre-requisites and Considerations

Before importing the Exchange 2010 MP into System Center Operations Manager, there are some pre-requisites that have to be met:

  • If you are running Operations Manager 2007 R2, install Cumulative Update 1 or higher. At the time of this writing, Cumulative Update 4 was already available.

  • If you are running Operations Manager 2007 SP1, install the Update Rollup for Operations Manager 2007 Service Pack 1 (KB971541).

  • Ensure that all managed Exchange 2010 computers use LocalSystem as the Agent Action Account.

  • If you are monitoring Exchange Server 2010 Database Availability Groups (DAGs), ensure that all DAG members are monitored by Operations Manager.

  • Ensure that all agents on Exchange 2010 computers have Agent Proxy enabled.

The Exchange Correlation service requires the following:

  • It must be installed on a computer running Windows Server 2003, or either the 32-bit or 64-bit version of Windows Server 2008 or Windows Server 2008 R2.

  • It must have network connectivity to the Operations Manager Root Management Server (RMS). The preferred location for the service is on the RMS role given the close SDK interaction and core functionality of raising alerts.

  • The Operations Manager Administration Tools must be installed on the computer running the Exchange Correlation service.

Other considerations that you should be aware of:

  • Determine which server will host the Correlation Engine. While not strictly required, it is highly recommended that the Correlation Engine service is installed on the Operations Manager Root Management Server (RMS).

  • Unless required for other infrastructure, the Windows Clustering Management Pack is not recommended.

  • Since the Correlation Engine needs to maintain the instance space of the management group in memory to determine related monitors/alerts, its memory footprint is relative to the number of instances in the management group. In plain terms, the more Exchange servers and databases you have, the more memory it will require. In observing environments at Microsoft, the Correlation Engine scales roughly at about 5 megabytes per monitored Exchange server.

Before downloading and installing the Exchange Server 2010 MP, you might want to import some recommended additional management packs, such as (these are the ones I used):

Installation and Configuration Procedures

There will be 5 steps covered in this article in order to install and fully configure the Exchange Server 2010 MP for the environment previously described. Although some of the steps are optional, I’m pretty sure these are the most common in a typical organization:

  1. Install the Operations Manager agent on all Exchange 2010 servers you want to manage, and enable agent proxy.

  2. Create a new management pack in which you store overrides and other customizations.

  3. Download and import the native Exchange 2010 MP and the recommended additional management packs.

  4. Configure synthetic transactions.

  5. Enable Event Collection for Synthetic Transaction Rules.

  6. Disable monitoring of unnecessary services (IMAP/POP3).

If you have previously installed and configured the Management Pack for Exchange 2007, you may notice that the installation process for the Exchange Server 2010 MP is more simplified. For instance, the previously required configuration steps are no longer required:

  • Configure disk monitoring.

  • Configure Internet Information Services (IIS) Monitoring.

  • Configure the Log Shipping Replay Queue Length Monitor for SCR and CCR Scenarios.

  • Enable Remote Unified Messaging Connectivity Monitoring.

Add the Exchange servers as agent managed computers

Adding the Exchange servers to monitor as agent managed computers is the first required step.

  1. Click the Administration tab and then click Configure computers and devices to manage on the Actions pane. This will start the Computer and Device Management Wizard (Figure 3). Click Next, choose Advanced Discovery (Figure 4) and select Servers Only from the Computers and Device Classes drop-down box.


Figure 3: Computer and Device Management Wizard


Figure 4: Advanced discovery

  1. On the next window, browse for the computers you are adding (Figure 5) and click Next. Select Use selected Management Server Action Account (Figure 6), click Discovery and wait for the discovery results (Figure 7).  Figure 8 shows a brief summary that is displayed at the end of the wizard. It is mandatory that all systems running Exchange Server 2010 that are managed by Operations Manager use Local System as the Agent Action Account. Click Finish.


Figure 5: Discovery Method


Figure 6: Administrator Account


Figure 7: Select Objects to Manage


Figure 8: Summary

  1. If the agent installation was successful, on each Exchange server you’ll be able to see the System Center Operations Manager 2007 R2 Agent listed on the Add/Remove Programs or Programs and Features on Windows 2008 (Figure 9). A new service is also created, the System Center Management Service, as depicted in Figure 10.


Figure 9: Programs and Features (Add/Remove Programs)


Figure 10: System Center Management Service Properties

  1. To enable Agent Proxy configuration on all managed Exchange servers, in the Administration pane, under Administration, Device Management, Agent Managed, right-click on each Exchange server (Figure 11), select Properties, then the Security tab (Figure 12), and check the box Allow this agent to act as a proxy and discover managed objects on other computers. This step will also make exchange cluster instances to appear in the Agentless Managed section (ensure that all physical nodes of the cluster are monitored). Repeat the process for every managed Exchange 2010 server in the list.


Figure 11: Agent Managed Properties


Figure 12: Enabling Agent Proxy

Create a new management pack for customizations

The customizations and overrides of sealed management packs, such as the Exchange 2010 MP, are usually saved in the default management pack. As a best practice you should create and use a separate management pack for that purpose. Creating a new management pack for storing overrides has the following advantages:

  • It simplifies the process of exporting customizations that were created in your test and pre-production environments to your production environment.
  • It allows you to delete the original management pack without first needing to delete the default management pack.
  • It is easier to track and update customizations to individual management packs.

  1. In the Operations Console, click the Administration button. In the Administration pane, right-click Management Packs and then click Create Management Pack. The Create a Management Pack wizard displays.
  2. In the General Properties page (Figure 13), type a name for the management pack in Name, the correct version number in Version, and a short description in Description. Click Next and then Create.


Figure 13: Creating a Custom MP for customizations

Summary

By the end of this part we now have all the necessary conditions to start installing and configuring the Exchange 2010 Management Pack. In the next part we’ll cover the next 2 steps: install the management pack and configure synthetic transactions.

Related Links:

If you would like to read the other parts in this article series please go to:

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