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Web Application Monitoring with System Center Operations Manager

Posted by Christian Dam on March 17, 2008


System Center can emulate end user experience by monitoring a Web Application. Here’s how to monitor a Web Application, even if it is require credentials, and how to record a browser session

Create a Web Application Monitor
How to create an end-to-end monitoring for a Web Application:

  1. Log on to the computer with an account that is a member of the Operations Manager Authors role for the Operations Manager 2007 Management Group
  2. In the Operations Console, click the Authoring button
  3. Expand Management Pack Templates and right-click Web Application. Select Add monitoring wizard
  4. Select Web Application and click Next
  5. Enter Name and Description and click Next
  6. Enter and test the URL and click Next
    The test will fail in the web site requires credentials but they can be provided later
  7. Select the node that will act as the watcher node and enter time time interval at which the test will run. Click Next
    The Watcher Node must be an agent managed computer and have access to the web site
  8. Click Create
  9. If the web site doesn’t require credentials or you don’t want to record a browser session, you’re done

Enter credentials for the Web Application
If the Web Application requires credentials to be displayed, here is how to configure it:

  1. Log on to the computer with an account that is a member of the Operations Manager Authors role for the Operations Manager 2007 Management Group
  2. In the Operations Console, click the Authoring button
  3. Expand Management Pack Templates and click Web Application and select Web Application Monitor that should be modified
  4. In the Actions pane on the right side, select Edit web application settings
  5. On the Web Application Editor page click Configure settings
  6. In the Select Authentication Settings select the same Authentication Methodas is being used by the Web Application you’re monitoring. For SharePoint sites using Active Directory this is normally NTLM
  7. Set the User Account to one of you previously defined Run As Accounts and click OK and Apply
    If you haven’t yet defined an account to test your Web Site, you can create one in the Administration part of the Operations Console. The accounts are defined in the Security section
  8. That’s it. The web site is now being monitored using the credentials defined for the Run As Account

The Web Application Properties are also useful for defining other parameters, such as:

  • Retry Count
  • Watcher Node(s)
  • Query interval
  • Performance Criteria
  • Performance Counters 

Record a browser session
If the Web Application requires credentials to be displayed, here is how to configure it:

  1. Log on to the computer with an account that is a member of the Operations Manager Authors role for the Operations Manager 2007 Management Group
  2. In the Operations Console, click the Authoring button
  3. Expand Management Pack Templates and click Web Application and select Web Application Monitor that should be modified
  4. In the Actions pane on the right side, select Edit web application settings
  5. On the Web Application Editor page click Start capture
  6. If you see an error message about third party extensions being disabled for Internet Explorer, follow these steps:
    • Click Tools->Internet Options
    • Click the Advanced tab
    • Under Browsing, select Enable third party browser extensions (requires restart)
    • Close Internet Explorer, and then click Start capture to start the browser again.
  7. If the Web Recorder Explorer bar doesn’t show on the left side of Internet Explorer, click View -> Explorer Bar -> Web Recorder
  8. Browse you web site and record the user session you want to be part of the test. When the session is complete, click Stop in the Web Recorder Explorer bar. The Internet Explorer will close.
  9. Click Apply to include the browser session in the test. Optionally, you can click Run Test to verify the test run is successful
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9 Responses to “Web Application Monitoring with System Center Operations Manager”

  1. Mike said

    Never ending amount of alerts. Had to remove. I was hoping I would be alerted specific error like 404, 401, or content not match it just sends an alert that case is open and is in critical but doesn’t say anywhere what is in critical — besides just the entire site.

    Good explanation thou on how to set a monitor for a web site. Thanks

  2. Hi Mike,

    I see your point. You do have the option to customize the monitor for each request it contain. The customization include Alert name and Alert Description.

    To modify it go to the Health Explorer for the monitor (Ops Console -> Monitoring -> Web Applications -> Web App State. Right-click monitor and select Open -> Health Explorer for Web App.

    In the Health Explorer right click any of the elements and requests and select Monitor Properties. In the Alerting tab you can change alert properties.

    Could this be what you are looking for?

    Cheers,
    Christian

  3. Eric White said

    How do create a web monitor that alerts content, I’ve tried all the varible listed in the drop down with no success. I’m just trying to create an alert that will alert if certain content is displayed on the website.

  4. Hi Eric,

    I am not quite sure what you mean, but I can think of two scenarios:

    1) if you are looking to generate an alert if a specific text in included in the response, you should be able to create a rule in the Request Details section:

    Content Match Contains “the text your are looking for”

    2) if a simple text macth is not good enough and the content your are looking for is always the same, you can Record a browser session of the page displaying the content and let it alert you.

    Happy New Year,
    Christian

  5. Neil said

    I have recored a journey through a site I want to monitor, when I get to the end I want to serch for text on the page that will let me know that the page has loaded correctly.

    Within the monitor browser session I select Content Match and select Contains I then put the text in the box. the verify passes but when I go to run the test it fails and the report produced says it fails on Response Body Evaluation Result.

    Have I entered my text in the wrong place or am I missing an step ?

    Thanks

    Neil

    • Neil,

      slightly embarrassing, but I don’t have a clue and I don’t have a SCOM environment running currently to check it out – sorry 🙂

      Cheers,
      Christian

  6. Very intuitive and basic guide on website application monitoring. Thanks for posting the above regarding setting the communication limits. I would have been very frustrated if I had received many notifications!

  7. Trickey said

    Thanks for the walkthough.

    Is it possible to build wait times into the test. My scenario is that on the 3rd step of the user journey I need to wait for a search result before the validation will pass.
    what currently happens is the test goes:
    request1
    request2
    request3 & Fire validation rule

    What I need to do is set it up to go:
    request1
    request2
    pasuse 5 seconds
    request3 + fire validation.

    Can anybody advise me on how to insert the PAUSE 5 seconds.

    Without that pause, I either get a lot of false positives, or I have to remove the validation, which makes the synthetic transaction meaningless.

    Any advice greatly appreciated.

  8. Henrik said

    Is there an update on this for SCOM 2012 RC and IE 9?
    I’m trying to record a browser session and on #7 it says that I should have a Web Recorder Explorer bar. I dont get that one, but I have a similar in SCOM 2012 window.

    BR
    /Henrik

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