Monitoring Exchange 2013 with SCOM 2012 (Part 4)

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(Un)Available Reports

As it was said in the first part of this article, the current version of the Exchange Server 2013 Management Pack doesn’t include reports. If you really want to have some reporting capabilities around the Exchange service, as a workaround you can use some of the built-in Operations Manager reports (such as the Availability report or the Health report). The Service Level Report Library can also be very useful, as we’ll see a little bit further ahead.

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Figure 1: Reports

For example, to create an Availability report, follow these steps:

  1. In the Reporting view of the Operations console, click Microsoft Generic Report Library. Right-click the Availability report, and then click Open.
  2. Click Add Group. In the Group Name box type “Exchange” and click Search. Under Available Items, select “Exchange 2013 Service” and then click Add. Click OK to close the Add Group window (Figure 2).

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Figure 2: Add Group

  1. In the Data Aggregation drop-down box, select Hourly. Select an appropriate time interval, using the From and To dropdown boxes. Click Run to generate the report, as depicted in Figure 3. After a moment a new report with the availability status from several Exchange components will be displayed (Figure 4)

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Figure 3: Availability report

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Figure 4: Availability report

Monitoring Service Level Objectives

Looking from a higher perspective to service monitoring, companies set goals for their service availability and response times, defining the required metrics that measure if the critical resources, such as applications and systems, are available and performing at acceptable levels.

Using the industry jargon, these goals usually correspond to Service Level Objectives (SLO). System Center 2012 Operations Manager provides the capability to monitor and track service level objectives using the following features:

  • Define a set of monitors that you need to track
  • Running availability reports against those sets of monitors
  • Using Dashboards for visualization

The Service Level Tracking feature in System Center 2012 Operations Manager offers the capability to define SLOs that you can then use to track the health of an application or group. You can define an SLO for an application, a group, or other class of objects. These SLOs focus on such targets as availability and performance.

To define an SLO for the Exchange 2013 Service, follow these steps:

  1. In the Operations console, from the Authoring view, click Management Pack Objects and then, in the Authoring navigation tree, click Service Level Tracking. In the Actions pane, click Create.
  2. In the Name box, type the name of the application or group. You can optionally provide a description. Click Next.

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Figure 5: General

  1. In the Objects to Track window (Figure 6), under Targeted class, click Select to specify the class for the service level. In the Select a Target Class window (Figure 7), select Exchange Server and click OK. The Exchange Server class will include all the Exchange servers in your organization.

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Figure 6: Objects to Track

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Figure 7: Select a Target Class

  1. Select the management pack where this service level will be saved (Exchange Server 2013 MP customizations) and click Next.
  2. On the Service Level Objectives page (Figure 8), click Add and then click Monitor state SLO to create a new monitor to track the availability of the application or group. Define the state monitor as follows:
    a) In the Name box, type Availability SLO
    b) In the Monitor drop-down box, select Availability.
    c) For Service level objective goal, provide the numerical measure for your objective. For example, if your goal is 99.5 percent availability, type 99.500.
    d) To refine what the monitor tracks as available, select or clear any of the following state criteria to be counted as downtime:
    • Unplanned maintenance
    • Unmonitored
    • Monitoring unavailable
    • Monitor disabled
    • Planned maintenance
    • Warning

e) Click OK.

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Figure 8: Service Level Objective (Monitor state)

  1. To add a performance monitor, click Add and select the Collection Rule SLO. Since the current version of the Exchange Server 2013 Management Pack doesn’t collect Performance information, will skip this step. Click Next (Figure 9), and then click Finish (Figure 10). Click Close to close the window when you have successfully created the SLO.

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Figure 9: Service Level Tracking – Service Level Objectives

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Figure 10: Service Level Tracking – Summary

The Service Level Tracking Summary Report compares the results for one or more service levels to the defined target objectives. From this report, you can examine a more detailed report, the State view, or the Service Level Agreement view.

  1. In the Reporting view of the Operations console, click Microsoft Service Level Report Library. Right-click the Service Level Tracking Summary Report, and then click Open.
  2. Click Add. In the Type Name box click Search. Under Available Items, select the one that as “Exchange Server” as the Target and then click Add. Click OK to close the Add Service Levels window (Figure 11).

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Figure 11: Add Service Levels

  1. In the Data Aggregation drop-down box, select Hourly. Select an appropriate time interval, using the From and To dropdown boxes. Click Run to generate the report, as depicted in Figure 12.

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Figure 12: Service Level Tracking Summary Report

Create a Service Level Dashboard

After configuring System Center 2012 Operations Manager with the SLOs required for tracking, we can create a service level dashboard view to monitor the service level objective. The service level dashboard view allows us to quickly visualize the level of service and whether success is either above or below the target value for the currently selected SLA/instance. When you select an objective in the Service Level Objectives grid, a gauge and chart is displayed.

  1. In the Operations console, click My Workspace. Right-click the folder where you want to store the view, point to New, and click Dashboard View.
  2. In the New Instance Wizard (Figure 13), on the Template page, select the Service Level Dashboard Layout, and then click Next.

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Figure 13: New Dashboard and Widget Wizard

  1. On the General Properties page (Figure 14), enter a name for the dashboard view. The Description is optional. Click Next.

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Figure 14: General Properties

  1. On the Specify the Scope page (Figure 15), click Add. In the Add SLA window, select the service level objective that you created, click Add, and then click OK. You can add multiple service level objectives. On the Specify the Scope page, in the Last section, set the period of time that you want to display in the dashboard view, and then click Next.

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Figure 15: Scope

  1. Review the settings on the Summary page (Figure 16), and then click Create. Click Close on the Completion page (Figure 17).

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Figure 16: Summary

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Figure 17: Completion

Since this is a test environment, it was with no surprise that the Service Level Dashboard showed a red condition, meaning the SLOs are not being met, as depicted in Figure 18.

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Figure 18: Exchange SLA Dashboard

Summary

To meet compliance needs, administrators require a solution for tracking, managing, and reporting the Exchange Server 2013 messaging infrastructure. The Availability and the Service Level Tracking Summary reports can help visualizing service level goals. The Service Level Dashboard is also another available feature that displays summarized data about those service levels.

In the next and last part of this series we’ll cover monitoring from a global perspective using System Center Global Service Monitor.

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

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