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Old school MOSS monitoring

Posted by Christian Dam on June 9, 2008

One of my customers once asked me how to best monitor a MOSS farm. The answer seemed obvious: use Microsoft System Center Operations Manager 2007 or Microsoft Operations Manager 2005! However, the customer wanted to know how to monitor the farm without any special tools and preferably manually. The idea behind the request was that if it was known how to monitor something manually it was easier to implement that knowledge using the preferred in-house monitoring tool.

So after a quick brainstorm, this was my suggestion. Feel free to comment on the choices – or even better, suggest improvements!

The following areas should be monitored:

  • Server availability
  • Server Health
  • Service Monitoring
  • Event Log Monitoring
  • Internet Information Services Monitoring
  • Database Free Space Monitoring

The following 3-tiered topology is assumed:

  • Web Front-ends
  • Application Servers
  • SQL Servers

The monitoring will focus on the MOSS and SQL aspects. General Windows server monitoring or monitoring of the supporting infrastructure like Active Directory and DNS is not part of this post.

Server availability

Each server in the farm shouold be periodically pinged to check they are alive.

Server Health

Server health is monitored slightly different on the three tiers in the topology:

The following checks should be performed on the Web Front-ends and Application Servers:

  • Raise Error event íf
    • Logical Disk Space Usage > 90%
    • CPU Usage > 50%
    • Memory Usage > 85%
  • Raise Warning event íf
    • Logical Disk Space Usage > 75%
    • CPU Usage > 40%
    • Memory Usage > 85%

The thresholds are slightly different on the SQL Servers:

  • Raise Error event íf
    • Logical Disk Space Usage > 90%
    • CPU Usage > 45%
    • Memory Usage > 85%
  • Raise Warning event íf
    • Logical Disk Space Usage > 75%
    • CPU Usage > 35%
    • Memory Usage > 75%

Service Monitoring

The following MOSS services should be running on the Web Front-ends and Application Servers:

  • IIS Admin Service
  • Windows SharePoint Services Administration
  • Windows SharePoint Services Search
  • Windows SharePoint Services Timer
  • Windows SharePoint Services Search
  • World Wide Web Publishing Service

The following SQL Server services should be running on the SQL Servers:

  • SQL Server (MSSQLSERVER)
  • SQL Server FullText Search
  • SQL Server VSS Writer

Event Log Monitoring

The following event sources should be monitored on the Web Front-ends and application servers:

  • Windows SharePoint Services 3 (Warnings)
  • Windows SharePoint Services 3 Search (Errors and Warnings)
  • Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 (Errors)
  • Office Server Search (Errors and Warnings)
  • Office SharePoint Server (Errors and Warnings)
  • OSearch (Errors and Warnings)
  • IISCTLS (Warnings)

The following event sources should be monitored on the SQL Servers:

  • MSSQLSERVER

Internet Information Services Monitoring

The following Applications Pools should be monitored on the MOSS servers:

  • SharePoint Central Administration v3
  • OfficeServerApplicationPool
  • SharedServices1 App
  • MySite Web Application App Pool
  • Every Web Application App Pool that is rated important

The following Applications Pools should be monitored on the MOSS servers:

  • SharePoint Central Administration v3
  • Office Server web Services
  • Shared Services Web Application
  • MySite Web Application
  • Every Web Application that is rated important

Where to monitor the Web Applications and Applications Pools depend on how theiy are distributed in your environment.

Database Free Space Monitoring

The following databases should be monitored to ensure the free space is above 25%:

  • TempDB
  • SharePoint Config Databases
    Multiple databases may exist and they are normally named SharePoint_Config*
  • SharePoint Content Databases
    Multiple databases may exist and they are normally named WSS_Content*
  • SharePoint Search databases
    Multiple databases may exist and they are normally named WSS_Search_*
  • SharePoint Shared Services DB
    Multiple databases may exist and they are normally named SharedServices*
  • SharePoint Admin Content
    Multiple databases may exist and they are normally named SharePoint_AdminContent*

I feel that implementing something like the above will take you a long way but it will never be a substiture for implementing a enterprise-ready monitoring solution like System Center Operations Manager 2007.

Posted in MOSS, Operations Manager 2007, System Center, WSS | Comments Off on Old school MOSS monitoring

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

Posted in MOSS, Operations Manager 2007, System Center, WSS | 9 Comments »

Announcing the SharePoint Capacity Planning Tool – Solution Accelerator

Posted by Christian Dam on February 5, 2008

You are receiving this because you have signed up for the SharePoint Capacity Planning Tool Beta.

The Microsoft Solution Accelerator Communications and Collaborations group is pleased to announce the availability of the SharePoint Capacity Planning Tool for download on TechNet.

Are you planning a SharePoint installation for a customer? Chances are, you have a lot of questions.

  • What is the necessary hardware investment?
  • What kind of topology is needed to meet organizational requirements for availability and performance?
  • How will additional users from a recent merger affect deployment?

When planning a new SharePoint deployment, you will need a way to quickly characterize the general topology and minimum hardware requirements to support expected usage loads with adequate performance. You will need a way to explore plausible scenarios and get pointed in the right direction. The SharePoint Capacity Planning Tool gives you a quick way to draft topology and equipment sizing for your particular scenario and usage profile.

This solution reduces “SharePoint sizing” estimation efforts from a matter of days to a matter of hours.

Description of the Tool

Imagine a tool that you could use to input a few key facts about users, user needs, business requirements, and organizational resources in order to:

  • Build a topology model based on this input
  • Run simulations that show the impact of this topology
  • Generate a summary report that will help you evaluate alternatives

The SharePoint Capacity Planning Tool consists of System Center Capacity Planner 2007 (SCCP) models for:

  • Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 (MOSS)
  • Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 (WSS)

The tool can be used for planning and feasibility studies of a deployment project to give you a rough estimate of hardware requirements. The tool can generate estimated performance metrics based on a simulation and provide useful Visio schematics of the proposed deployment to be included in documents and proposals.

You can obtain the SharePoint Capacity Planning Tool on Microsoft Download. For a short introduction to the tool and its usage, please go to this TechNet overview page: http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkID=93030

Note: This Solution Accelerator needs SCCP 2007 to be installed first.

Downloads

SharePoint Capacity Planning Tool on Microsoft Download Center:
http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkID=93029

System Center Capacity Planner:
http://www.microsoft.com/systemcenter/sccp/default.mspx

Regards
The Capacity Planning Tool Group

Posted in Capacity Planning, MOSS, System Center, WSS | Comments Off on Announcing the SharePoint Capacity Planning Tool – Solution Accelerator

System Center Capacity Planner 2007 RTMs

Posted by Christian Dam on February 4, 2008

You are recieving this email as part of your membership in the beta program for System Center Capacity Planner 2007.

System Center Capacity Planner 2007 RTMs

The product team is pleased to announce the release of Microsoft System Center Capacity Planner (SCCP) 2007! SCCP 2007 is a pre-deployment capacity planning and post-deployment change analysis solution for Microsoft Server products including Microsoft Exchange Server 2007. It employs state of the art modeling technology to bring unprecedented functionality and flexibility to the process of performance analysis and planning of distributed application deployments. It provides Information Technology professionals with the tools and guidance to deploy efficiently, while planning for the future by allowing for “what-if” analyses.

The new version adds the following new capabilities:

  • Application model for Exchange Server 2007
  • Extensibility with new models from Microsoft, including Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 and Microsoft Windows SharePoint Services 3.0. A model for System Center Operations Manager 2007 will be available soon.
  • New, more powerful deployment wizards deliver unprecedented ease of use
  • Support for 64-bit processor architectures
  • Comprehensive reporting of disk IO and storage utilizations
  • Increased flexibility in customizing server usage profiles

Unlike the previous version, SCCP 2007 doesn’t require a Microsoft TechNet Plus or MSDN Premium subscription, and is available for anyone to download now on the Microsoft Download CenterPlease visit our website to learn more about SCCP 2007.

When will Capacity Models be available?

  • Exchange 2007 Model: This model ships with SCCP 2007 and is available NOW and included with the current download on the Microsoft Download Center.
  • Operations Manager 2007: This model is not yet available and the beta is closed. The final model is expected to ship in the 2nd quarter of calendar year 2008. Customers seeking capacity guidance should use the OpsMgr 2007 Performance and Scale Guide now available on the Download Center.
  • SharePoint 2007 Model: This model is not yet available but will be posted to TechNet shortly.

NOTE: If you already have installed SCCP 2007 beta, you have to uninstall it first before installing RTM.

Posted in Capacity Planning, MOSS, System Center, WSS | Comments Off on System Center Capacity Planner 2007 RTMs

Using System Center Operations Manager 2007 to monitor your MOSS farm – part 3: adding management packs

Posted by Christian Dam on January 15, 2008

In part 1 and part 2 of this series about MOSS monitoring with System Center Operation Manager 2007 we have completed the installation of Operations Manager 2007 software and deployed agents to the servers we want to monitor.

Now, let’s install and deploy some management packs! Depending on your infrastructure, you’ll probably want to deploy different management packs. The following management packs should be considered:

A lot more management packs can be found in the System Center Operations Manager 2007 Catalog

Here’s how to install the management packs:

  1. Download and install the management packs of your choice. Hint: if you install the management packs in the same directory you can import them all in one go.
  2. Start the Operations Manager 2007 Console (Start -> All Programs -> System Center Operations Manager 2007 -> Operations Console)
  3. Select Reguired: Import Management Packs
  4. Navigate to the folder where you installed the management packs and select the ones you want (they have a .mp extension)
  5. A list of selected management packs are displayed. Resolve any issues (e.g. the MP is already imported, a MP it depends on is not present etc) and click Import
  6. The management packs are now imported …

That’s it. Your farm is now being monitored. The tricky part going forward is to trim the events and alerts based on your environment and to figure out what to with the remaining alerts 😉

This concludes the series of how to use System Center Operations Manager to monitor your farm. I might continue posting a bit on the subject a later time.

Posted in MOSS, Operations Manager 2007, System Center | 2 Comments »

Using System Center Operations Manager 2007 to monitor your MOSS farm – part 2: adding servers to manage

Posted by Christian Dam on January 15, 2008

In part 1 we installed Operations Manager 2007. In part 2 we will add servers to our managed environment.

Here’s how we add the servers:

  1. Start the Operations Manager 2007 Console (Start -> All Programs -> System Center Operations Manager 2007 -> Operations Console)
  2. Select Reguired: Configure computers and devices to manage
  3. Click Next
  4. Select Advanced Discovery. We am only interested in servers at this point, so select Servers Only in the Computer & Device Type drop-down bow. Make sure you select the rigt management server, should you have more than one in your environment. Click Next
  5. The discovery can either scan your Active Directory for omputers matching specific criteria or be manually added. In this case, select Scan Active Directory and configure it to scan for all servers by searching for computer names = * and click Next
  6. Specify the Administrator Account. In this case we just use selected Management Server Action Account. Click Discover
  7. The Discovery now begins ….
  8. A list of discovered servers is now presented. Select the servers you want to manage and click Next. Make sure the Management Mode is Agent
  9. Specify the Agent Action Account and click Finish. We are using Local System but any account can potentially we used. It should have administrative rights on the managed servers, though.
  10. The egents are now being intalled on the selected servers.

That’s it. We are not yet ready to monitor MOSS since we have yet to install the management packs. We’ll do that in part 3.

Posted in Operations Manager 2007, System Center | Comments Off on Using System Center Operations Manager 2007 to monitor your MOSS farm – part 2: adding servers to manage

Using System Center Operations Manager 2007 to monitor your MOSS farm – part 1: installation

Posted by Christian Dam on January 11, 2008

Microsoft System Center Operations Manager 2007 is a great tool to monitor your MOSS environments. In this 2 part blog, I will describe how to install and configure SCOM2007 to monitor a MOSS 2007 farm.

Below is a quick’n dirty installation and configuration guide on how you install and configure System Center Operations Manager 2007 in to two-tier setup using a database server and a server for OpsManager. I assume you already have a database server available.

First we must install the OpsManager database on the database server:

  1. Start the installation, select Install Operations Manager 2007 and click Next
  2. Accept the Licence Agreement and click Next
  3. Enter User Name and Organisation, License Key and click Next 
  4. Leave the database option selected and deselect everything else. Click Next
  5. Verify that the preresuisites requirements are met and click Next
  6. Specify the Management Group name and configure your MOM administrators. Click Next
  7. Select the database instance and click Next
  8. Specify the database specific information and click Next
  9. Make your choice about reporting to Microsoft and click Next
  10. Finally, click Install
  11. Click Finish

That’s it for the database part. Let’s move on to the Operations Manager server:

  1. Install Windows Server 2003 R2
  2. Install IIS, ASP.Net, .Net Framework 2.0 and 3.0
  3. Install PowerShell 
  4. Update the server with the respective updates and service packs
  5. Make sure ASP.Net 2.0 is registered with IIS. From a command prompt do the following
    • cd \windows\microsoft .Net\Framework\v2.0.50727
    • if aspnet_regiis /lv doen’t list v2.0.50727 as the valid root, run aspnet_regiis /i command to install ASP.Net 2.0

We are now ready to install System Center Operations Manager 

  1. Start the installation, select Install Operations Manager 2007 and click Next
  2. Accept the Licence Agreement and click Next
  3. Enter User Name and Organisation, License Key and click Next 
  4. We are using a diffenrent database server to host the OpsManager databasem so de-select the database-option and keep the other options selected. Click Next
  5. Verify that the preresuisites requirements are met and click Next
  6.  Enter the database server, database name and port number. Click Next
  7. Enter the Server Action Account information and click Next
  8.  Did you you the domain admin account? Well, then you must click Next to bypass the warning … like me …
  9.  Enter the SDK and Config account information and click Next
  10. Make you Web Console Authentication choice and click Next 
  11.  Join the Customer Experience Improvement Program if you feel like it and click Next
  12.  Finally we are ready to click Install
  13. Leave Start the Console checked and click Finish

Posted in MOSS, Operations Manager 2007, System Center | 1 Comment »

System Center Capacity Planner – now with support for MOSS/WSS

Posted by Christian Dam on January 4, 2008

As you may already have heard, SCCP has been expanded with support for MOSS and WSS. This is really exiting as it provides a great, intuative and simple of try out you MOSS planning efforts in a simulated environment – just as it has been the case with Exchange for som time now.
The SCCP tool it selv is released as a RC and the MOSS/WSS models in public beta.
As a small example, I’d analyze a scenario where we deploy a single intranet farm for a company with 2170 employees with a HQ and three branch offices.
The employees are located as follows:
  • HQ: 2000
  • Århus: 100
  • Odense: 50
  • Sønderborg: 20

Step 1: Select the Capacity Model

Select Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 (Beta Model) and Create a new Capacity Model

Step 2: Create the Farm

Select Add Sharepoint (MOSS) Farm and enter this information:

  • Farm Name: HQ
  • Local Client Count: 2000
  • SharePoint Deployment: Intranet
  • Usage Profile: Heavy Collaboration

Click OK and Next

Step 3: Add branch offices

Select Add Branch Office Profile and create the three branch offices:

Name
Local Client Count
Usage Profile
Århus
100
Heavy Collaboration
Odense
50
Average Collaboration
Sønderborg
20
Light Collaboration

Continue with Odense and Sønderborg. Click OK and Next when finished.

Step 4: Network Information

Select Specify Connectivity for each Branch Office and enter the information below and click Next.

Yeah, I know the bandwich is not enough, but we’ll correct that later 🙂

Step 5: Select Hardware

Select appropriate CPU and disk configurations and click Next

Step 6: Application settings

Select the High Availability and SQL Server Storage settings specified below and clik Next

Step 7: Model Summary

Based on out initial input, the Capacity Planner have now calculated what an optimal configuration might look like, including MOSS servers, roles and disk layout.

Click Finish

Step 8: Simulations!

Tada! We have now entered our initial questimate into the model and we are now ready to put it to the test! Select the Run simulation option to start the simulation

The simulation appears to have identified a couple of issues:

  1. The response times are slow, especially from the Sønderborg office
  2. The storage space utilization is high
  3. The CPU utilization is high (although not directly identified by the model)

Improvement 1: Storage space utilization

To fix the storage space issue, select Hardware Editor and then Device configurations. Choose the Disk Array view and navigate to the HQ\SAN Array

Change the Disk Count from 20 to 24 for both Volume 2 and Volume 4. Finally Save Hardware Library (Ctrl + L).

Rerun the simulation from the Simulation Results page to verify the effect of the changes.

The storage space issue has been resolved.

Improvement 2: CPU utilization

To address the CPU utilization, some bigger CPU’s are assigned to the SQL Servers and the Web Front Ends. This should also have a positive impact on the response times.

Hardware changes are done from the Site Topology page in the Model Editor. Right-click on SQL Server Cluster (Primary) and select Edit server hardware configuration.

From the Apply New Configuration drop-down box, select the 4 x 3.00 GHx Xeon-configuration and click OK. Ignore the excessive use of local disk in this configuration. Repeat this step for SQL Server Cluster (Failover).

Use the same method to add additional CPUs to the two Web Front Ends.

Finally, rerun the similation to verify the effect.

As expected it did wonders for the CPU utilization, but it had only a minor effect on the slow responce times. Our last improvement should take care of that.

Improvement 3: Slow response times

Since we just beef’ed up the SQL and web Front end servers, the slow responce times are probably due to slow network links. No big surprise, but sometimes it is easier to upgrade hardware than to upgrade physical network links.

To upgrade the network links, navigate to the Global Topology page in the Model Editor. Right-click on the HQ – Sønderborg link and select Edit connection details.

In the Connection Speed section, upgrade both Uplink and Downlink speed to 45 Mbps (T3) and click OK.

Repeat for the HQ – Odense and HQ – Århus links. The rerun the simulation to see the results

Great news! All issues are resolved and we should have a working configuration. Navigate to the Model Summary page in the Model Editor to see the final configuration.

Conclusion:

The SCCP looks very promising and will be a great tool in performance and capacity estimates. The way it is possible to change the model is fantastic and it offers much much more than we have exploided here. For example it is also possible to place servers in the branch offices to enhance peformance even more.

One big problem, I think, is that the hardware requirements and networks link speed in branch office scenarios seems to be way to high to reach the defined thresholds for a healthy system … or is it just the a problem with the thresholds?

Oh, well – the MOSS/WSS models are still only in beta and they may be tuned a bit going towards RC and RTM

Posted in Capacity Planning, MOSS, System Center | 3 Comments »