For those unaware, the Microsoft System Center suite of products is re-releasing the System Center branded software in a 2012 version. Many of the products had a 2007 main version number and some had 2010 but all products are being released as 2012 now.

The official Microsoft website may be consulted for specific release versions:

The list of System Center products is:

  • System Center 2012 App Controller
  • System Center 2012 Orchestrator
  • System Center 2012 Service Manager
  • System Center 2012 Endpoint Protection
  • System Center 2012 Operations Manager
  • System Center 2012 Configuration Manager
  • System Center 2012 Data Protection Manager
  • System Center 2012 Virtual Machine Manager

The guides for System Center 2012 Operations Manager are available on TechNet Library or downloadable from links within the above site.

To see what you’ll require to install SCOM 2012 Operations Manager in the lab, review the Supported Configurations guide.

Since I have used the product for many years, I skimmed through the deployment docs and away I went. The first obvious change to the SCOM installer is the chained installation of features without needing to run a separate setup component. They are all now part of the same setup wizard. See below:

Figure A

My initial challenge — although I had a fully supported SQL version installed — is that I wasn’t able to get the Operations Manager DB installed.

Figure B

When I installed SQL Server on the new system, I installed it with a minimum number of features as I always do. It turns out, that with SCOM 2012, full text search is a required feature within SQL. This was actually documented in the deployment guide which I skimmed right past -RTFM! –lesson learned.

Full Text Search as a SQL feature is becoming a standard feature requirement in all System Center products to leverage advanced searching capabilities.

The deployment guide is linked right here:

As soon as I re-ran SQL 2008R2 setup and added the full text search feature, I had access to create the Operations Manger DB as expected.

What I saw next was interesting; even though I did NOT select to install the Reporting Server role, I was prompted to provide locations and details for the OperationsManagerDW database, which previously was only required if the Reporting Server installation was run. So now, the Data Warehouse is present by default. See below:

Figure C

The rest of the installation was straightforward where the same information from the previous release needed to be provided in SCOM 2012.

From here there are a few remaining base tasks. Here is a list of some high-level tasks to perform for an effective System Center 2012 Operations Manager environment:

  • Deploy agents to computers that will be monitored (Windows or Unix)
  • Discover network devices that will be monitored
  • Import Management Packs to add monitoring capability
  • Create User Roles
  • Define and configure a notification strategy

Out of the box and by leveraging only freely available Microsoft Management Packs, SCOM can do a lot. SCOM has for many years monitored any Windows workload really well. With the version System Center Operations Manager 2007 R2, it was also possible to discover and deploy agents to some Linux and Unix servers to likewise monitor their workloads.

Now with 2012, there is a large list of network devices which can be discovered out of the box using SNMP. Here is a current list.

Use System Center 2012 Operations Manager to monitor your environment. You’ll be surprised at the information you can get with relatively little configuration.