Data Centers

Get IT Done: Fix what's ailing MOM with SP1

Heres what to expect with Service Pack 1 for Microsoft Operations Manager and how to upgrade to it.

If you've seen enough TV, you've probably seen the cough syrup commercial that talks about Dr. Mom and how mom is always there taking care of the family when a member doesn't feel well. In your organization, MOM refers to the Microsoft Operations Manager, and it helps you keep track of your network. However when MOM needs fixing, it's up to you. Microsoft helps by providing updates and fixes for MOM. Here's what you'll find with Service Pack 1 for MOM.

What's new in SP1?
As with any other service pack that Microsoft releases, MOM SP1 is designed to fix several known bugs. However, SP1 also extends the software's functionality. Among the new capabilities are the ability to install MOM on non-English-language operating systems and the ability to manage servers on those operating systems. There are also performance and scalability enhancements. With SP1 installed, you can manage twice as many servers as before. SP1 also supports database clustering and offers improved scripting support and documentation. The maximum script size has been significantly increased.

Acquiring SP1
Unlike the service packs for most other Microsoft products, MOM SP1 isn't available for download. However, it's available free to those who already have licensed copies of MOM. Details for acquiring SP1 may be found at

Upgrading MOM to SP1
Also unlike the service packs for Windows and most other Microsoft products, MOM SP1 isn't always a simple installation. There are a number of steps that must be completed as you install SP1.

Before installing SP1, you must make a backup of your existing MOM database. This is critical because if anything should go wrong with the upgrade to SP1, you won't be able to restore your system to a functional state without a backup of the database. I also recommend verifying that you can restore the database before beginning the installation.

To back up the MOM database, open the SQL Server Enterprise Manager. Now, expand the console tree to Console Root | Microsoft SQL Servers | SQL Server Group | your server | Management | Backup. Right-click on the Backup node and select the option to back up a database from the resulting shortcut menu. When you do, you'll see the SQL Server Backup properties sheet.

There are several databases that will exist on your SQL Server, but you'll want to backup a database called OnePoint. You can see an example of this in Figure A. I also recommend that you go to the Options tab and select the Verify Backup Upon Completion check box. When all of the necessary options have been set, click OK to start the backup.

Figure A
Make a backup of the OnePoint database prior to upgrading to SP1.

If you only have a single server that's running MOM, then the rest of the upgrade process is easy. Just run the Setup program on the SP1 CD. The only real prompt that you'll encounter during the Setup process asks you to verify that MOM has been backed up. The reason for this is that you can't revert to your previous configuration unless you have a backup of it.

Upgrading a distributed MOM environment
If you have a distributed MOM environment, then upgrading to SP1 can be a little complicated. As you're no doubt aware, a distributed MOM environment is an environment consisting of multiple zone configuration groups. In such an arrangement, there is usually a parent zone and one or more child zones. When upgrading MOM to SP1 in a distributed environment, the child zones must always be upgraded prior to upgrading the parent zone.

When upgrading to SP1 in a distributed environment, it's best to start the upgrade with one child zone. After completing the upgrade in that zone, move to the next child zone. Upgrade one child zone at a time until all child zones have been upgraded, and then move on to the parent zone.

Within a zone, there is a specific order in which you must upgrade MOM. First, you must upgrade any MOM Administrator consoles within your monitoring environment. Next, you'll upgrade the MOM database. After that, you must upgrade the MOM components on the zone's primary DCAM (Database Consolidator Agent Manager). Finally, you'll upgrade the MOM components for any redundant DCAMs. You will use a similar procedure for just about every multitiered MOM upgrade, even if zones are not used. The various procedures most commonly used in multitiered MOM upgrades include:
  • Upgrade stand-alone MOM consoles
  • Monitoring mission-critical servers during the MOM upgrade
  • Upgrade the MOM database
  • Upgrade the DCAM
  • Upgrade the secondary DCAM
  • Upgrade manually installed agents
  • Update the base management packs
  • Upgrade application management packs
  • Upgrade MOM reporting

Upgrade stand-alone MOM consoles
Begin the process by upgrading any machines that contain the MOM Administrator console, but not a full-blown MOM installation. You can upgrade these machines by simply running the MOM SP1 Setup program.

Monitoring mission-critical servers during the MOM upgrade
If your MOM environment is set up to constantly monitor mission-critical servers, then you probably want the monitoring to continue throughout the upgrade process. Obviously, if you have redundant DCAMs, this is not an issue. If you don't have redundant DCAMs, it's still possible to perform the necessary monitoring during the upgrade. You just need to do a little prep work before starting the upgrade to SP1.

To implement continuous monitoring during the upgrade on a system without redundant DCAMs, install the MOM Administrator console onto a computer that will act as a temporary monitoring station. During the installation, specify the OnePoint database for the configuration group that you're upgrading. The account that you use to connect the MOM Administrator Console to the database must be a member of the OnePointOp Users group on the database server. If you don't have such an account available, you can easily add your account to the OnePointOp Users group through the SQL Server Enterprise Manager.

Upgrade the MOM database
Before going further, you should back up the MOM database and test the backup to make sure that you can restore it if necessary, if you haven't done so already. If you've taken my advice from the last section and set up a temporary monitoring station, you should be monitoring all of the computers that are being upgraded to verify that they are still generating alerts. Once you've done all of the prep work and are comfortable with moving forward with the upgrade, it's time to uninstall the agent on the database server.

The reason that this is necessary is that, when you upgrade the database, some of the agent components are also upgraded. Since not all of the agent components get upgraded, failure to remove the agent ahead of time will cause the agent to become out of sync with the database, and thus malfunction.

To uninstall the agent, open the MOM Administrator Console and navigate through the console tree to Console Root | Microsoft Operations Manager (Default) | Configuration | Agent Managers. When you select the Agent Managers container, the DCAM will appear in the pane to the right. Right-click the DCAM and select the Properties command from the resulting shortcut menu. When you do, you'll see the Agent Manager Properties sheet.

Select the Managed Computers tab and then select the database computer from the list of managed computers, as shown in Figure B. Click the Uninstall Now button to remove the agent from the computer. I should mention that even after you've uninstalled the agent, the database computer will continue to be displayed on the All Computers list for 48 hours.

Figure B
Remove the agent from the database computer.

Once the agent has been removed from the database server, you must disable the communications between the DCAM and the database. This step isn't absolutely necessary, but is a huge time saver. The reason for disabling the communications between the DCAM and the database is that during the upgrade, the DCAM will attempt to write a lot of event information to the database. Obviously, writing all of this extra data to the database while you're trying to upgrade it can really slow down the upgrade process. If you have a small network and the DCAM doesn't do much, it may not even be worth your time to disable the database communications. If you have a large monitored network with a complex database though, I highly recommend disabling communications between the DCAM and the database.

There is no hard-and-fast rule as to how communications must be disabled. You can do something as simple as stop the MSSQLSERVER service, deny DAS login access to the database, or just take the database offline. The choice is yours.

When you have disabled communications between the DCAM and the database (assuming that you've chosen to do so), it's time to run the MOM SP1 Setup program on the database computer. The upgrade procedure is very straightforward. You must simply provide the login credentials for the DAS and CAM accounts when prompted.

One very important aspect to running SP1 Setup, though, is that at some point Setup will ask if you want to back up the original MOM database components. Although you can skip this step, I advise you to take the extra time to perform the backup. If you do not back up the original MOM database components when prompted, you'll be unable to roll back the upgrade should anything go wrong.

After the upgrade to SP1 completes, you can re-enable communications between the DCAM and the database server. In some situations it might be necessary to increase the temporary storage size for the consolidator on the DCAM. If you have done so, it's now safe to set the temporary storage size back to its original value.

Upgrade the DCAM
Once the database server has been upgraded, you can safely upgrade the DCAM to SP1. For the most part, this simply involves running the SP1 Setup program, supplying the login credentials for the DAS and CAM accounts, and backing up the original MOM components when prompted. As with the database server, if you don't backup the original MOM components, you won't be able to roll back the upgrade if anything goes wrong.

Although applying the service pack is designed to be a straightforward process, there are a few issues that you may encounter, depending on your own individual network configuration. One such issue is a notification message during the upgrade that the updated MOM Management Pack (Microsoft Operations Manager.AKM) has been imported. Don't worry about this message. It is simply Setup's way of telling you that the base management pack has been installed. This is done so that a consistent MOM management pack is applied to the configuration group.

Another common issue that you may encounter during the DCAM upgrade is an error message indicating that a whole lot of files are locked and that the upgrade process can't continue until the files are released. If you receive this error message, I recommend clicking the Retry button just in case the error is a fluke. Most of the time, though, you'll have to release the files before continuing.

The easiest way of releasing the locked files is to stop the OnePoint Service. While you're at it, temporarily set the OnePoint service's startup type to Manual. After doing so, return to the Setup program and click Retry. If the files are still locked, abort the upgrade by clicking Cancel and then reboot your server. Since the OnePoint service has been set for a manual startup, it won't load on system startup, and the files should not be locked the next time that you run SP1 Setup. If for some reason the files continue to be locked even after the reboot, Microsoft recommends renaming the locked files and then continuing.

Upgrade the secondary DCAM
If your zone has a secondary DCAM, then the primary DCAM will automatically fail over to the secondary DCAM while you upgrade the primary DCAM. To upgrade the secondary DCAM, just repeat the procedures from the section above. The primary DCAM will take over while you upgrade the secondary DCAM.

Upgrade manually installed agents
If you have agents in a configuration group that were set to None or Scan, or that exist behind a firewall, you must upgrade them manually. It is critically important that you not upgrade these agents until the DCAM has been upgraded to SP1. Furthermore, you must not deploy the MOM SP1 rules until all DCAMs and agents have been upgraded to SP1.

The reason is that pre-SP1 DCAMs and agents have a 16-KB limit on script sizes. Some of the new rules use scripts that exceed this limit. If you install the new rules before the DCAMs and agents have been upgraded, the scripts will be truncated.

Update the base management packs
At this point, you must update the base management packs for the configuration group. To do so, run SP1 Setup against the primary DCAM once again. This time you'll be asked which components you want to install. All of the components will be grayed out, except for management packs, which are selected by default. Click Next and you'll see a screen asking you which management pack modules that you want to install. Make the selection that's appropriate for your network, then choose the option to back up all selected management packs. The management pack modules will now be upgraded. It's only necessary to upgrade these modules on the primary DCAM.

Upgrade application management packs
The next step in the upgrade process is to upgrade the application management packs. You must perform the upgrade first on the MOM database server and then on the DCAM. To upgrade the application management packs, run the Setup program located in the MOM SP1 CD's APPPAKSP1 folder. This will launch a wizard that asks you a few basic questions about the upgrade process.

These questions require you to select which management packs you want to install. You're then asked if you would like to back up the original management packs (which I highly recommend doing). You must then decide if you want to replace or merge the upgraded management packs with the existing management packs.

Upgrade MOM reporting
The last step of the multitiered upgrade is to upgrade MOM reporting. To do so, run the SP1 Setup program on any computer that's running the MOM reporting component. As you upgrade the MOM Reporting component, you must also upgrade any existing application management packs that have not already been upgraded. The reason for this is that if you upgrade the MOM reporting component but not the application management packs, you'll receive an error stating that the MOM Reporting component is out of synch with the database.

A happy healthy MOM
That's all it takes to successfully upgrade MOM to SP1. After you apply SP1, I recommend doing some extensive testing to make sure that everything functions as it is supposed to. Once you have confirmed functionality, I recommend immediately making a backup. This will ensure that you don't have to go through the whole tortuous upgrade path again should you need to reinstall MOM and reapply SP1.

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