SCOM expert Anders Öberg was one of the incredible contestants that took on the crazy challenge of building a community requested SCOM management pack (MP) in just 24 hours during HackaSCOM. When the competition ended and the results were streamed, Anders hadn’t even slept yet! So, it’s safe to say he worked hard on this.
He was given the task of creating a SCOM management pack that creates registry keys containing data from a centrally stored CSV on servers and then store that information in SCOM’s object model.
As the competition started, Anders shared that the challenge was a big one. He mapped out a diagram of his intended build with the CSV discoverable in SCOM and deploy the information on the agents.
If time allowed, Anders was also planning on building an additional function that lets you edit or correct the information on the agent, which is the transported back to the central file. Then you can track whether changes are made centrally or from the agent. This way, users can choose whether the CSV is the centre of their universe or also pull in data from the agent.
Anders was planning the management pack to be as dynamic as possible so there will be minimal changes needed to use it.
Let’s see what he built in those short 24 hours.
Though there was obviously a time challenge and some technical challenges, but additionally a language challenge with building in English and finding the right vocabulary.
But Anders put in the hours and presented the diagram below showing the management pack containing:
The management pack discovers the CSV file within SCOM and has a rule to store the data on each agent. An end user GUI makes it possible to view or edit the information, which is then pushed back to SCOM with another discovery. Then, another rule takes the agent changes, if the settings permit, and makes a new central CSV. All these events are logged both in the Windows event logs and a central location on the management server.
See Anders walk through the management pack on the HackaSCOM results webinar from 01:06:34:
To make the management pack dynamic, Anders built a dynamic CSV file that currently holds up to 16 properties (but is easy to extend if needed). Because SCOM makes it difficult to remove properties, this management pack CSV file allows you to add and remove properties and columns and has logic that takes care of all that.
The GUI has also been made dynamic so it can be in view mode or edit mode depending on the Administrator’s settings. You can allow client updates to help share the burden of maintaining good data, or you can prevent the data from being updated by users to maintain data governance.
There is central logging too, which logs all the changes to data and tasks that occur both on the management server and on the agent. There is also a local directory, WindowsEventLogs, where all the logging information is stored if you want to keep that for a longer period.
Next is the customisable schedule. Anders recommends running the customisable schedule once a day, though he was using every 5 minutes in his lab and that worked, though there are timing considerations to updates. Because it’s SCOM, you can override anything. But if you mess up the CSV, there is also self-healing, so you don’t have to worry. Just input the correct CSV and the environment will self-heal.
The judges were impressed, and Bob Cornelissen said, “I really like the possibility that you can adjust these [edit mode] settings not just centrally but also de-centrally. I thought that was very creative thinking.”
Stoyan Chalakov added, “The volume of work here isn’t what I’d imagined at the beginning. I see that Anders has though deeply about the issue and how to do each step. It’s really a lot of work – huge stuff.”
Adding more feedback, Shivam Kumar said, “Adding the admin control of whether you can edit the CSV centrally or de-centrally is thinking about the customer perspective. In a 24-hour hackathon, these things tend to be skipped and we fine-tune them later. So, this goes out to the customer obsession that we keep talking about.”
This was an impressive 24-hour build from Anders Öberg. The SCOM community will really benefit from this management pack.