Brian Wren (Whom I will continue to dub “the undisputed master of Management Pack authoring training at Microsoft”) & Baelson Duque (presenter at System Center Universe) presented on the new tools which have been added around management pack (MP) authoring in OpsMgr 2012. This was the first session of the day on Friday at MMS which is a tough spot to speak at but Brian and Baelson are both pro’s and ran this session extremely well.

Existing options for MP authoring and where to use them:

  • Operations console: common scenarios, completely wizard driven
  • Authoring console: advanced & custom scenarios, mostly hidden from XML, primary tool for developers and advanced it pros. (Heavy learning curve)
  • XML: Launch for editing custom modules, copying between management packs

New options for MP authoring:

  • IT Pro: Visio Management Pack Designer (completely graphical tool)
  • Dev: Visio Studio Authoring Extensions (professional development environment, templates & wizards)

Visio Management Pack Designer: (V1 tool)

Visual Studio Authoring Extensions: (V1 tool)

  • Leverages existing advantages of visual studio including intellisense, professional editor, build process.
  • Intellisense: From a management pack perspective as an example it displays what the classes are which are available in a management pack.
  • Management pack fragments: Break up the XML into logical areas that you define but they still compile into a single management pack.
  • Snippets: take a piece of XML and tag certain areas that you want replaced with multiple values.

Tech Trivial Pursuit:

  • Where to get documentation? TechNet Wiki for documentation of authoring tools. TechNet Gallery for samples. TechNet Blogs for announcements. MSDN library for Module and SDK reference.
  • There are about 35,000 lines of code in the core monitoring management pack.
  • Partner solution – VIACode: MP Tuner to tune MP’s for production.
  • Partner solution – MP Reporter: To document management packs.

(Brian, I loved the use of the ring graphic from the Lord of the Rings “one tool to rule them all”)