Archive for the ‘SCA’ Category

What If you have several location distributed across huge geographical locations without connection or with poor connection speed ? how would you collect and proactively protect your systems ?

this when SCA comes to the rescue , SCA is cloud based service that monitor and collect the error for your systems . for now its does not cover all systems but it covers the most important systems your AD and the DB .

What is SCA ?

System Center Advisor (http://www.systemcenteradvisor.com) is an online service that analyzes installations of Microsoft SQL Server 2008 (and later versions) and Windows Server 2008 (and later versions). Advisor collects data from your installations, analyzes it, and generates alerts that identify potential issues (such as missing security patches) or deviations from identified best practices with regard to configuration and usage. Advisor also provides both current and historical views of the configuration of servers in your environment.

what is the differences between SCOM and SCA ?

Advisor is developed by the Microsoft System Center Advisor product group in partnership with Microsoft Support engineers to ensure that the issues customers report to Microsoft are detected before they affect your environment. Advisor is regularly updated to reflect the most recent experiences of these engineers, who support customers around the world.

also SCOM is a real time monitoring SCA is not (up to 12hours lag )

 

What does Advisor analyze?

As of the Release Candidate version of Advisor, the following workloads are analyzed:

  • Windows Server 2008 and later:
    • Active Directory
    • Hyper-V Host
    • General operating system
  • SQL Server 2008 and later
    • SQL Engine

The Advisor environment

The Advisor environment is made up of the Advisor web service, hosted in the cloud, and the on-premise software, installed in your local environment. The on-premise software consists of one gateway and at least one agent. The agent collects data from your server and analyzes it using a set of rules (similar to a management pack in System Center Operations Manager) known collectively as Advisor knowledge. The analyzed data is regularly sent from the agent to the gateway for upload to the Advisor web service. If the data indicates an issue or a deviation from best practices, an alert is generated. By connecting a web browser to the Advisor portal, you can view the alerts and the associated remediation guidance.

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What data is collected?

The full list of data points collected by the agent is available for download here, from the Microsoft Download Center, in an Excel spreadsheet.

For example, included in this list are properties about SQL Server like data from SERVERPROPERTY, sys.databases, and sys.configurations.

In addition to this list of data points, we collect some diagnostic data from event logs to help identify any problems with the Advisor on-premise software.

the System Center Advisor agent collects data about your environment from the following locations:

  1. Windows Registry
  2. Windows WMI calls
  3. SQL OleDB queries
  4. Windows event log
  5. SQL error logs
  6. Agent error logs

This data is analyzed for any issues or deviations from defined best practices. If any are identified, alerts are generated to help you resolve the issues. This data is also used to provide configuration information for the computers in your environment. You can view the configuration on either the Configuration: Current Snapshot or Configuration: Change History pages.

The specific data that is collected is determined by configuration information sent to the agent from Advisor. Every 24 hours, the on-premise software queries Advisor for updates to the configuration. The gateway server automatically downloads this content and stores it to be picked up by the agent.

 

How the data is stored and sent to Advisor

The agent stores the collected information in a set of XML files on the local disk. You can open and audit these files. See View the Data that is sent to System Center Advisor for more information.

Every 24 hours, the xml files are packaged into a compressed CAB file and copied to the gateway. The gateway then securely uploads the CAB file to your Advisor account.

On-premise software functions and requirements

Advisor consists of a web service in the cloud and on-premise software that is installed locally in your environment.

Before you begin deploying the on-premise software, ensure that you understand the following:

  • The agent is installed on any server from which you want to collect and analyze data.
  • The gateway transfers data from your agents to the web service. It does not analyze any of the data. If you want to analyze data for the server where the gateway is installed, you must also install an agent on that server.
  • The gateway must have access to the internet in order to upload data to the web service.
  • For the best results, do not install the Advisor gateway on a computer that is also a domain controller.
  • The agent must have network connectivity to the gateway so it can automatically transfer data to and from the gateway.

Co-existence with Operations Manager 2007 R2

Advisor uses the System Center Health Service to collect and analyze data. The version that is used by Advisor is the same as the System Center Operations Manager 2007 R2 agent. Because of this, when you view the programs installed on your server, you will see System Center Operations Manager 2007 R2 agent software, particularly in Add/Remove Programs. Do not remove these as Advisor is dependent on them. If you remove the Operations Manager agent software, Advisor will no longer function.

When you install an Advisor agent on a computer that has a System Center Operations Manager 2007 R2 agent installed, the Health Service will be configured to run in multi-homing mode so that existing Operations Manager management groups are not impacted. For more information on multi-homing configurations, see Configure an Agent to Report to Multiple Management Groups, available in the System Center Operations Manager 2007 R2 library, at http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkID=204945.

When you uninstall Advisor, Add/Remove Programs will uninstall Advisor and update the System Center Operations Manager agent to remove Advisor-specific configurations while ensuring that the Operations Manager agent continues to work. On computers with only Advisor installed (and no Operations Manager), the agent is completely uninstalled.

Advisor is only supported with the System Center Operations Manager 2007 R2 agent and not with previous versions of System Center Operations Manager.

 

Clustering support

The Advisor agent is supported on computers running Windows Server 2008 and Windows Server 2008 R2 and configured to be part of a Windows failover cluster. You can view the virtual clusters in the Advisor portal, the same as physical computers. The only difference is seen on the Servers page, where virtual clusters are identified as TYPE=OTHER (as opposed to TYPE=AGENT, the way that physical computers are identified).

The discovery and configuration rules will run on the active and passive nodes of the cluster, but any alerts generated on the passive nodes will be ignored. If a node shifts from passive to active, alerts for that node are displayed automatically, with no intervention required from you.

Some alerts might be generated twice, depending on the rule that generates the alert. For example, a rule that detects a bad driver by examining the operating system entity will generate alerts for both the physical server and the virtual cluster.

Configuration analysis of passive nodes is not supported.

In addition, the Advisor portal does not support grouping or linking of Windows Server computers that are part of the same Windows failover cluster.

Scaling your Advisor environment

When you plan your Advisor deployment, particularly the number of agents you want to transfer data through a single gateway, consider the capacity of that server in terms of file space.

Consider the following variables:

  • Number of agents per gateway
  • The average size of the data transferred from the agent to gateway per day.  By default each agent uploads CAB files to the gateway twice per day. The size of the CAB files depends on the configuration of the machine (such as number of SQL engines and number databases) and the health of the machine (e.g. the number of alerts generated). In most cases, the daily upload size is typically less than 100 KB.
  • Archival period for keeping data on the gateway (default is 5 days)

So, as an example, assuming a daily upload size of 100KB per agent and the default archival period, you would need the following storage on the gateway:

Space required =agents*100K*5days

 

Geographic location

If you want to analyze data from servers in diverse geographic locations, consider having one gateway per location. This can improve the performance of data transfer from the agent to the gateway.

Ports needed

only Http and Https are needed (80 and 433 )

 

Supported operating systems

Agents and gateways are supported on the following 32-bit and 64-bit editions of Windows Server 2008 and 2008 R2 also HyperV server.

Required software

only .net 3.5sp1

Supported browsers

The following browsers are supported:

  • Windows Internet Explorer 7 (or a later version)
  • Mozilla Firefox 3.5 (or a later version)

Regardless of the browser you use, you must also install Microsoft Silverlight 4.

Supported technologies for analysis

Advisor analyzes the following workloads:

  • Windows Server 2008 and later:
    • Active Directory
    • Hyper-V Host
    • General operating system
  • SQL Server 2008 and later (any edition including Express ) 
    • SQL Engine

In addition, the 32-bit edition of SQL Server is supported when running in the WOW64 implementation.

now just after we activate our account you will be prompt with this wizard  download both the certificate and the gateway and agent setup .

so download both

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next we start installing the gateway and the agent

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select the installation location

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normal warning .

 

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select what you need to install

 

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give the path to address of the cert you downloaded

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install SCOM agent (if you installing on a DC you will get failed to start service and that’s normal

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installing the SCA agent and gateway

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and we done

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as you can see its almost real time the installation been detected on the portal

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now lets install the agent only on sql server

on the getaway got to users and groups and add the computer you will install the agent on  (I have my GW on a DC but if its not it will be the local users and groups

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and add the computer object so it can access the GW

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select agent

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select your gateway

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now the portal we be updated with new information every 12hour (the default value )

now this how its looks like

as you see it give you also how to fix the issue

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configuration snapshots

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configuration :history

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servers

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Configure the Gateway and Agent

You can use registry keys to control most configuration settings for the gateway and agent. By changing the various registry keys, you can customize the frequency of data uploads (between the agent and the gateway, and between the gateway and the service), the size and location of mailbox shares on both the gateway and agent, and the archival period for content. The following sections describe the configuration settings that you can change for the gateway and agent, including setting the proxy configuration for the gateway through the config.xml file.

Configuring the gateway

The following table lists the registry keys and default values for the gateway’s configuration settings. The registry keys for the gateway are stored in HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESoftwareMicrosoftSystemCenterAdvisorGateway.

After you change any of the registry keys, you will need to restart the gateway service. To restart the gateway service, in the Services console, right-click System Center Advisor Gateway, and then click Restart.

Setting Name

Type

Description

Default Value

UploadFrequency

REG_DWORD

Defines how frequently the gateway uploads data to the service. Use one of the following values:

  • 1 – Data is uploaded every 12 hours
  • 2 – Data is uploaded every 24 hours
  • 3 – Data is uploaded once per week

clip_image001Note

If you set the value to 3, you must also specify a value in the UploadDay key.

1

UploadDay

REG_DWORD

Defines the day of the week to upload data to the service. The day of the week is represented by a number, where 1 is Monday and 7 is Sunday.

clip_image0011Note

Use this setting only when the UploadFrequency key is set to 3.

1

UploadTimeHour

REG_DWORD

Defines the hour of the day to upload data to the service. Use a number between 0 and 23 to specify the hour.

A random number between 2 and 6

UploadTimeMin

REG_DWORD

With the UploadTimeHour setting, defines the minute to upload data to the service. Use a number between 0 and 59.

A random number between 0 and 59.

PollingFreq

REG_DWORD

Defines the frequency, in minutes, that the gateway uses to check for new agents and for the size of the mailbox.

15 minutes

MaxMailboxSizePerAgent

REG_DWORD

Defines the maximum size, in megabytes (MB), for the mailbox per agent. If this size is exceeded, the oldest content is deleted.

1024 MB

ArchivePeriod

REG_DWORD

Defines the number of days Advisor retains data in the sent items folder after the data is uploaded.

5

MaxLogSize

REG_DWORD

Defines the maximum size, in MB, for the log file. Specify a number greater than 10. (By default, a lower number indicates that logging should not occur, because an individual log file can be 10 MB.)

100

BlockUpload

REG_DWORD

Indicates whether to upload content to the service. If this registry setting is present, content is not uploaded.

Not applicable

LogLevel

REG_DWORD

Defines the level of logging for the gateway.

3

Configuring the agent

The following table lists the registry keys and default values for the agent’s configuration settings. The registry keys for the agent are stored in HKLMSoftwareMicrosoftSystemCenterAdvisorAgent.

After you change any of the registry keys, you will need to restart the agent. To restart the agent, in the Services console, right-click System Center Management, and then click Restart.

Setting Name

Type

Description

Default Value

GatewayServer

REG_SZ

Defines the gateway server for this agent.

Not applicable. This value is supplied during agent installation.

UploadFrequency

REG_DWORD

Defines how frequently the agent uploads data to the gateway. Use one of the following values:

  • 1 – Data is uploaded every 12 hours
  • 2 – Data is uploaded every 24 hours
  • 3 – Data is uploaded once per week

clip_image0012Note

If you set the value to 3, you must also set the UploadDay.

1

UploadDay

REG_DWORD

Defines the day of the week to upload data to the gateway. The day of the week is represented by a number, where 1 is Monday and 7 is Sunday.

clip_image0013Note

Use this setting only when the UploadFrequency key is set to 3.

1

UploadTimeHour

REG_DWORD

Defines the hour of the day to upload data to the service. The Use a number between 0 and 23 to specify the hour.

A random number between 0 and 1.

UploadTimeMin

REG_DWORD

With the UploadTimeHour setting, defines the minute to upload data to the service. Use a number between 0 and 59.

A random number between 0 and 59.

MaxCacheSize

REG_DWORD

Defines the maximum size, in MB, for the cache folder on the agent. This folder contains data collected from the health service that has not yet been packaged and sent to the gateway.

1024 MB

MaxMailboxSize

REG_DWORD

Defines the maximum size, in MB, for the mailbox on the agent. If this size is exceeded, the oldest content is deleted.

1024 MB

ArchivePeriod

REG_DWORD

Defines the number of days Advisor retains data in the sent items folder after the data is uploaded.

0

MaxLogSize

REG_DWORD

Defines the maximum size, in MB, for the log file. Specify a number greater than 10 (By default, a lower number indicates that logging should not occur, because an individual log file can be 10 MB).

100

BlockUpload

REG_DWORD

Indicates whether to upload content to the gateway. If this registry setting is present, content is not uploaded.

Not applicable

LogLevel

REG_DWORD

Defines the level of logging for the agent.

3

 

Advisor Deployment Troubleshooting

http://onlinehelp.microsoft.com/en-us/advisor/gg608178.aspx

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