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"Corporate" Blog of Daniele Muscetta, Premier Field Engineer.

Operations Manager 2012 SP1 BETA is out, and some cool things you might not (yet) know about it

It has been a couple of months since we released the CTP2 release (I had blogged about that here ) and we have now reached the Beta milestone!

Albeit you might have already seen a number of posts about this last week (i.e. or, I see the information on the blogs so far didn’t quite explain all the various new features that went into it, and I want to give a better summary specifically about the component that I work on: Operations Manager.

Keep in mind the below is just my personal summary – the official one is here – and it actually does explain these things… but since some OpsMgr community reads a lot of blogs, I wanted to highlight some points of this release.

Platform Support

  • Support for installing the product on Windows Server 2012 for all components: agent, server, databases, etc.
  • Support for using SQL Server 2012 to host the databases

Cloud Services

  • Global Service Monitor – This is actually something that Beta version enables, but the required MPs don’t currently ship with the Beta download directly – you will be able to sign up for the Beta of GSM here. Once you have registered and imported the new MPs, you will be able to use our cloud based capability to monitor the health of your web applications from geo-distributed perspective that Microsoft manages and runs on Windows Azure, just like you would from your own agent/watcher nodes. Think of it as an extension of your network, or “watcher nodes in the cloud”

APM-Related improvements

this is my area and what myself and the team I am in specifically works on – so I personally had the privilege to drive some of this work (not all – some other PMs drove some of this too!)

  • Support for IIS8 with APM (.NET application performance monitoring) – this enables APM to monitor applications running on Windows Server 2012, not just 2008 anymore. The new Windows Server 2012 and IIS8 Management packs are required for this to work. Please note that, if you have imported the previous, “Beta” Windows 8 Management packs, they will need to be removed prior to installing the official Windows Server 2012 Management Packs. About Windows Server 2012 support and MPs, read more here
  • Monitoring of WCF, ASP.NET MVC and .NET NT services – we made changes to the agent so that we better understand and present data related to calls to WCF Services, we support monitoring of ASP.NET MVC applications, and we enabled monitoring of Windows Services that are built on the .NET framework – the APM documentation here is updated in regards to these changes and refers to both 2012 RTM and SP1 (pointing out the differences, when needed)
  • Introduction of Azure SDK support – this means you can monitor applications that make use of Azure Storage with APM, and the agent is now aware of Azure tables, blobs, queues as SQL Azure calls. It essentially means that APM events will tell you things like “your app was slow when copying that azure blob” or “you got an access denied when writing to that table”
  • 360 .NET Application Monitoring Dashboards – this brings together different perspectives of application health in one place: it displays information from Global Service Monitor, .NET Application Performance Monitoring, and Web Application Availability Monitoring to provide a summary of health and key metrics for 3-tier applications in a single view. Documentation here
  • Monitoring of SharePoint 2010 with APM (.NET application performance monitoring) – this was a very common ask from the customers and field, and some folks were trying to come up with manual configurations to enable it (i.e. ) but now this comes out of the box and it is, in fact, better than what you could configure: we had to change some of the agent code, not just configuration, to deal with some intricacies of Sharepoint…
  • Integration with Team Foundation Server 2010 and Team Foundation Server 2012 – functionality has also been enhanced in comparison to the previous TFS Synchronization management pack (which was shipped out of band, now it is part of Operations Manager). It allows Operations teams to forward APM alerts ( ) to Developers in the form of TFS Work Items, for things that operations teams might not be able to address (i.e. exceptions or performance events that could require fixes/code changes)
  • Conversion of Application Performance Monitoring events to IntelliTrace format – this enables developers to get information about exceptions from their applications in a format that can be natively used in Visual Studio. Documentation for this feature is not yet available, and it will likely appear as we approach the final release of the Service Pack 1. This is another great integration point between Operations and Development teams and tools, contributing to our DevOps story (my personal take on which was the subject of an earlier post of mine:

Unix/Linux Improvements

Audit Collection Services

  • Support for Dynamic Access Control in Windows Server 2012 – When was the last time that an update to ACS was made? Seems like a long time ago to me…. Windows Server 2012 enhances the existing Windows ACL model to support Dynamic Access Control. System Center 2012 Service Pack 1 (SP1) contributes to the fulfilling these scenarios by providing enterprise-wide visibility into the use of the Dynamic Access Control.

Network Monitoring

  • Additional network devices models supported – new models have been tested and added to the supported list
  • Visibility into virtual network switches in vicinity dashboard – this requires integration with Virtual Machine Manager to discover the network switches exposed by the hypervisor




  • Production use is NOT supported for customers who are not part of the TAP program
  • Upgrade from CTP2 to Beta is NOT Supported
  • Upgrade from 2012 RTM to SP1 Beta will ONLY be supported for customers participating in the TAP Program
  • Procedures not covered in the documentation might not work