Monitoring Exchange 2013 with SCOM 2012 (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 1: Solution topology used in this article

Server Name




Root Management Server

Windows Server 2012

SQL Server 2012 SP1

System Center 2012 Operations Manager SP1 + UR4


Domain Controller

Mailbox Server

CAS Server

Windows Server 2012

Exchange Server 2013 + CU2


Mailbox Server

CAS Server

Windows Server 2012

Exchange Server 2013 + CU2

Table 1: List of servers

Exchange 2013 Management Pack Pre-requisites and Considerations

Before importing the Exchange 2013 MP into System Center Operations Manager, there are some pre-requisites that have to be met:

  • You have one of the following versions of System Center Operations Manager deployed in your organization:
    • System Center Operations Manager 2012 RTM or later
    • System Center Operations Manager 2007 R2 or later
  • You have already deployed SCOM agents to your Exchange Servers.
  • The SCOM agents on your Exchange Servers are running under the local system account.
  • The SCOM agents on your Exchange Servers are configured to act as a proxy and discover managed objects on other computers.
  • If you are monitoring Exchange Server 2013 Database Availability Groups (DAGs), ensure that all DAG members are monitored by Operations Manager.

Before downloading and installing the Exchange Server 2013 MP, you might want to import some recommended additional management packs, such as (these are the ones I used):

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 2). Click Next, choose Advanced Discovery (Figure 3) and select Servers Only from the Computers and Device Classes drop-down box.

Figure 2: Computer and Device Management Wizard

Figure 3: Advanced discovery

  1. On the next window, browse for the computers you are adding (Figure 4) and click Next. Select Use selected Management Server Action Account (Figure 5), click Discover and wait for the discovery results (Figure 6). Figure 7 shows a brief summary that is displayed at the end of the wizard. It is mandatory that all systems running Exchange Server 2013 that are managed by Operations Manager use Local System as the Agent Action Account. Click Finish.

Figure 4: Discovery Method

Figure 5: Administrator Account

Figure 6:
Select Objects to Manage

Figure 7:

  1. If the agent installation was successful, on each Exchange server you’ll be able to see the System Center 2012 – Operations Manager Agent listed on the Programs and Features on Windows 2012 (Figure 8). A new service is also created, the System Center Management Service, as depicted in Figure 9.

Figure 8: Programs and Features (Add/Remove Programs)

Figure 9:
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 10), select Properties, then the Security tab (Figure 11), 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 2013 server in the list

Figure 10: Agent Managed Properties

Figure 11:
Enabling Agent Proxy

Create a new management pack for customizations

The customizations and overrides of sealed management packs, such as the Exchange 2013 MP, are usually saved in the default management pack. As a best practice you should create and use an unsealed management pack for each sealed management pack that you want to override, as shown in Figure 12.

Figure 12: Unsealed management packs

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

Install the Exchange Server 2013 MP

With the recommended additional management packs already imported, download and install the latest Microsoft Exchange Server 2013 Management Pack (at the time of the writing of this article it was version 15.00.0620.018). You can find the latest Management Packs at the Microsoft System Center Marketplace.

Let’s look at the installation steps of the Exchange 2013 Management Pack:

  1. Download the management pack file and launch the Microsoft Installer (MSI) package on the selected SCOM server. Accept the license agreement, and click Next (Figure 14).

Figure 14: License Agreement

  1. Accept the default installation folder or select a new one. Click Next (Figure 15). The extraction process begins.

Figure 15: Select Extraction Folder

  1. When the extraction ends, click Close (Figure 16). When the installation is complete, the management pack files are copied to the System Center Management Packs folder.

Figure 16: Extraction Complete

  1. To import the Exchange 2013 MP, open the SCOM 2012 Operations Console. Click the Administration tab, right-click the Management Packs node and then click Import Management Packs (Figure 17).
  2. Click Add, Add from disk and then click No on the Online Catalog Connection window. Select all the files from the Exchange MP directory, by default C:\Program Files\System Center Management Packs (Figure 18), click Open and then click the Install button (Figure 19).

Figure 17: Import Management Packs

Figure 18: Select Management Packs to import

Figure 19: Import Management Packs

  1. The Import Management Packs page appears and shows the progress for each management pack. After the import process is complete and the dialog box displays an icon next to each Management Pack that indicates success of the importation (Figure 20), click the Close button. Click View and then Refresh, or press F5, to see the Microsoft Exchange Server 2013 management pack in the list of Management Packs.

Figure 20: Import Succeeded

After importing the Exchange 2013 MP, it will start immediately discovering Exchange machines. So, if you browse to the Discovered Inventory pane on the Operations Console (Figure 21), all the Exchange 2013 servers should be listed. Notice that the Database Availability Group (DAG) is also listed, although its state is Not monitored. This is a normal behavior, since the physical nodes of the DAG are already being monitored.

Figure 21: Discovered Inventory

The Exchange 2013 MP adds 3 views to the Monitoring pane (Figure 22):

  • Active Alerts
  • Organization Health
  • Server Health

Figure 22: Organization Health

Expand Microsoft Exchange Server 2013, and then click Server Health. Right click on one of the Exchange servers listed and click Open, Health Explorer. By default, the view is scoped to unhealthy child monitors (Figure 23). Click on Filter Monitors to clear the filter (Figure 24). Expand Entity Health to view the 4 health groups for Exchange Server 2013:

  • Customer Touch Points – components with direct real-time, customer interactions (e.g., OWA).
  • Service Components – components without direct, real-time, customer interaction (e.g., OAB generation).
  • Server Components – physical resources of a server (e.g., disk, memory).
  • Key Dependencies – server’s ability to call out to dependencies (e.g., Active Directory).

Figure 23: Server Health (filtered)

Figure 24: Server Health (unfiltered)


With the Exchange 2013 Management Pack imported, SCOM is now prepared to receive the escalated alerts from Managed Availability that require human attention.

In the next part we’ll take a deeper look into Managed Availability, specifically how to interact with it and perform some configuration tasks that used to be part of the process of installing and configuring the MP.

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

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