This is the third part of the series introduced at: https://www.catapultsystems.com/cfuller/archive/2013/07/01/monitoring-and-windows-azure-scom-sysctr-azure.aspx (sorry this took so long, this was a big management pack!). The focus of this blog post is to provide information on what this management pack is, what is included within this management pack, configuring the Azure Fabric management pack, how to use the Windows Azure Monitoring management pack template, what is available for monitoring after using the “Windows Azure Monitoring” template, and using the Windows Azure Distributed Application template.

What is this management pack?

This management pack appears to be the pre-release (preview) version of a replacement management pack for the Azure Applications Management Pack (discussed here and here). I’m basing this assumption on the fact that the Azure Fabric management appears to cover the same functionality and more than the Azure Applications Management Pack. Additionally, the name for the folder structure is the same (Windows Azure) which either makes this really confusing or it indicates that they are expected to not both used be in the same environment. Review of the management pack guide indicates this as well.

Azure SQL Fabric (preview) Management Pack:

To get this management pack download the Azure Fabric (preview) management pack from: http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=38414

The MSI installs to C:\Program Files (x86)\System Center Management Packs\System Center 2012 Management Pack for Windows Azure\

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The management pack versions which are added for these are version 1.0.0.0.

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The management pack guide is available for download at: http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/confirmation.aspx?id=38414

What does this management pack add to Operations Manager?

This management pack includes views, rules, monitors, tasks and a management pack template. This management pack creates the “Windows Azure” folder in the monitoring view.

Views

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Targets:

The following were the targets found from this management pack (used to configure the scope to find rules and monitors included in this management pack).
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Rules

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Enabled rules include:

  • Manageability Test Performance Collection Rule
  • Collect Availability of Manageability Service
  • Collect Aggregated Average Available Memory Megabytes Per Role
  • Collect Role Instance Counter Per Role
  • Collect Aggregated Average Percentage Processor Time Per Role

Monitors

The following are the relevant monitors shown when scoping to targets within this management pack.

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There are a significant number of monitors included for this management pack targeting a variety of objects including:

  • Client Perspective
  • Cloud Services
  • Windows Azure Deployment
  • Windows Azure Distributed Application
  • Windows Azure Hosted Service
  • Windows Azure Role
  • Windows Azure Storage Account
  • Windows Azure Subscription

Templates

This management pack includes the “Windows Azure Monitoring” template.

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Configuring the Azure Fabric management pack:

If you attempt to use the Windows Azure Monitoring template it will require a subscription which needs to be configured on the Administration pane before running the wizard (the Subscription ID field will be blank as no subscriptions have been defined).

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First you need to configure the subscription on the administration pane by using the Add Subscription option in the Windows Azure section of the Administration pane. You will need to have your Azure subscription id (available when you log into the Azure portal when you manage your subscriptions).

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To add the subscription you will need the ID, certificate file and certificate password.
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And add the subscription you will also need to choose a proxy agent. This is the system which will communicate with Windows Azure (this system needs to have Internet connectivity or it will be unable to perform this function).

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When this wizard completes it distributes the run as accounts as required.

Certificate failing?

If you hit an error like the one below, it indicates that the subscription ID is wrong, the computer is not connected to the Internet or there is an issue with the certificate or certificate password.

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For my environment I could validate that the subscription ID is correct.

I could also validate that the computer is connected to the Internet.

So I knew that the issue needed to be either the certificate password, or certificate (or both).

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To monitor Azure I needed to create an upload a management certificate (note that certs must be at least 2048bits ). Details on how to create an upload a certificate for Azure are available at: http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/windowsazure/gg551722.aspx

In Azure to upload the certificate file, go to the Settings section under Management Certificates and upload the certificate.

An example of a functional management certificate is shown below.

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Once the certificates were functional, the Azure Subscription Wizard completed successfully as shown below.

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Using the Windows Azure Monitoring management pack template:

Now that the certificate is available, we can use the Windows Azure Monitoring management pack template. Open the Authoring pane, management pack templates and use the Add Monitoring Wizard.

On starting the wizard you need to provide a name and a management pack to store the Azure monitoring.

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Pick your subscription ID from the list that you created in the Administration pane:

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Next you can add your production and staging cloud services as shown below.

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And add monitoring for virtual machines (IaaS systems among others).

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And add any storage that you have defined that you would like to monitor.

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And then finish the Windows Azure Monitoring wizard.

What is available for monitoring after we complete configuration of the Windows Azure Monitoring template?

Health explorer

Cloud Services:
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Storage:
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Virtual Machines:
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Roles:
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Subscriptions:
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Performance counters

There are several performance views available in this management pack, but no data is collected by default currently in my lab environment:

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The majority of the performance counters in this management pack are not enabled by default. the only ones I found enabled are shown below (the role instance counter):

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It looks like there are some other performance counters which could be activated as shown below (scoped view of rules with the word collect included in the name):

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Distributed Applications

There is also a new Distributed Application type available called the “Windows Azure Distributed Application” as shown below:

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This distributed application template lets us combine client perspectives, cloud services, SQL databases and application dependencies into a single distributed application quickly.

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This application can have pieces which are on-premise or off-premise. The following example shows how Operations Manager can use this Distributed Application template to show an application which has a synthetic test of the website, a cloud service, an on-premise database, and is also dependent upon a network component monitored by Operations Manager.

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Summary: The Azure Fabric management pack shows significant next steps taken by Microsoft to provide monitoring for Azure. The addition for monitoring of storage and virtual machines in Azure is critical. The addition of a management pack template and distributed application template show some real thought was taken in making this management pack easy to use. Next steps which are important for this management pack before release in my opinion are:

1) Collecting the performance counters gathered in the performance views which are already defined in the management pack.

2) Collection of performance information for virtual machines is critical. This was noted as a known issue in the management pack guide. A minimum of the four KPI’s would be required for virtual machines: CPU, Disk, Memory and Network.

From what are you seeing in this article – what else do you think is important that isn’t included yet in the Azure Fabric management pack?