Review of our Usergroup Meeting in Linz / Austria

We had our Linzer spring System Center and Powershell Usergroup on 28th of April. We managed to get three top speakers for the event. Our next Usergroup event will be at Microsoft Vienna on 30th of June. Register now!

So when you get interested in the user group, the information we share – find us on Xing or follow us on twitter for the newest information. (@scug_at).

As always we have had a nice location. The photos are this time from Stefan Koell.

Session 1: The role of IT operation in times of SaaS and PaaS

Rainer presented us in a really great and enthusiastic way how they see operations in their company timecockpit. He mentioned that they need very little ops and they need ops to know the service level agreements in the cloud.

He also teased, that Powershell is not necessary anymore, because in a SaaS world it should be only necessary to use the Service.

More about his thoughts is here in the Interview and he also recorded the session.

Session 2: SCOOSP – System Center Orchestrator Service Portal

In the second session Michael Seidl (aka Techguy) presented us SCOOSP – an easy to manage Portal for the System Center Orchestrator. With this portal you can do lots of things with less technical effort than using the System Center Service Manager and its portal. So when you are interested – have a look at it.

Session 3: Attack & Defend mit Powershell

In our last session Alexander Graf from Antares showed us their intrusion detection solution. They assumed an usb stick with maleware on it, which communicates with a command server. So their solution found the suspicious behavior.

So we have had three interesting Sessions from interesting speakers with some networking at the end with a really tasty “Mostviertler Bauernjause” including fantastic juices. Thank you Antares!

Service Manger #LyncUp April

This month the recording was available very soon, so I could have a look at it.

This time there were three main points

  1. Service Manager 2016 TP5
    Harsh says, there is a lot of good Feedback from early adopters of Service Manager 2016 TP5. The main focus has been on performance improvements, so for example Incident creation time increased by 4 times. There are more numbers on the slides provided. It seems that the upcoming console will be considerable faster.
  2. Service Manager Portal Update 3
    With the Service Manager Portal Update 3 there are some bug fixes and additional Features. The best updates mentioned in the lyncup were

    1. Attachements are now listed in My Requests and can also be downloaded
    2. Better review for reviewers
  3. Azure Automation vs SMA voting
    Finally there was the discussion about a new connector. Azure Automation vs SMA connector vs fine with Orchestrator. SMA was the winner (23 votes), Azure Automation (19 votes) and Orchestrator (20 votes) where a little behind.

The Service Manager 2016 TP5 and the Service Manager Portal Update 3 will be available on 27th April.

A date for the availability of Service Manager 2016 is not available.

Collection of fixes from the new SCSM Portal with Hotfix 2

Microsoft is busy in helping with the new SCSM HTML5 Portal on TechNet. I hope, that this quick and dirty fixes find their way into the product, but till then, I’ll collect them here.

Issues with workaround

  • Adding user comment when incident is not Active (Link)
  • HTML5 SSP U2 after update don’t show no one service offering (Link)
  • Query Results only load on hitting refresh (Link) – workaround is not really satisfying with dependent queries
  • Self Service Portal Description break (Link)
  • Use of share in service requests somtimes produces an error (Link)
  • Activities do not show up because of ‘ in Activity Title (Link)
  • Service Request: No input into a non required integer field results in an error (Link)

Issues without Workaround

  • Enter submits Request / Incident (Link)

How to customize the portal

  • Larger description text box (Link)
  • Using portal for approvers and information (Link)
  • Basic UI Customization in new Self Service Portal (HTML5) (Link)
  • Customization from Buchatech (Link)

You miss something? Tell me!

 

Hotfix for SCSM Portal – first look

I just downloaded the hotfix for the Service Manager Portal and had a quick look at it.

Lots of fixes – but still showstoppers

There are a lot of fixes in this release but there are also some unfixed issues, some of them are showstoppers for us.

  • Query form element with filter criteria depending on selection from another query in same form does not work
  • Multiple query form elements inside same request offering form cannot add same relationship types

So there are more showstoppers for us, but the did not make it on the known issue list yet. So I’ll post them here:

  1. Datetime control in Service Request I would prefer a calendar control. But the issue with the actual control is, that you simply cannot enter a valid value.clip_image001Even using the international date does not work.
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  2. “The endless list” issue The query result are still in an endless HTML table when there are 1,000 results for example, you need some time to find the next field to enter.
  3. Service requests and activities do not show up. For some reasons no service request and activities show up in the test portal – but they do in the development portal.

A “nice to have” feature would be, if you enter a longer “companyname” in the global settings it could use the whole line without break.

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What’s nice – and more suggestions for improvement

Some words to the nice things of the portal.

Open a Workitem via link

Now it is possible to open workitems with a link – so now it is possible to send links to a workitem.

One suggestion here: It would be nice to send the link from the actual site by copying the link form the browsers link section – or maybe a “share” button like in the Knowledge Base?

Knowledge Base

The Knowledge Base displays the articles as supposed. There can be links to KB articles, too.

One suggestion: The search is only in the description to the KB article, but not in the internal content section. It would be nice to have full text search.

Other blogs about the new self service portal

[Updated 2015-12-12 19:17]

Conclusion

There is progress on the service manager portal. But it is still not for use. I think, it still needs some time to improve – maybe an Easter update will be good enough for production.

System Center Usergroup Meeting in Linz/Austria

On 16th November we have had our second System Center User Group meeting in Linz/Austria and the 11th in Austria. 16 attendees could enjoy 3 great practical sessions.

At first I gave a quick overview about the System Center User Group and upcoming Events (slides). Our next event will be on Januar 19th in Vienna at Microsoft – the simulcast of SCU Texas. The registration is open.

So when you get interested in the user group, the information we share – find us on Xing or follow us on twitter for the newest information. (@scug_at).

Session 1: Operational Management Suite (OMS)

In the first talk Stefan Koell began and showed us the insights what’s OMS for. Impressive were the short improvement cycles in OMS.

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Session 2: Limit the power of Powershell 5 with JEA

Next was Roman Stadlmair who presented the possibility of limiting the Power of PowerShell 5 with JEA – an advanced PowerShell topic. It was an exciting talk from Roman about an interesting upcoming concept in PowerShell. He provides his slides for us.

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Session 3: myOperations IT

In the last session Alexander Becker presented the myOperations IT Management Portal. It is one web portal for some system center products.

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After the sessions we have had in deep technical discussions in the networking part(y) of the meeting. Stefan sponsored the pizzas and I brought the drinks.

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Finally you get some impressions of the meeting room. Thanks for Michael Seirer our professional meeting photograph for shooting and sharing the photos.

So enjoy the photos and let’s see you in our next user group – maybe in Vienna at the System Center Universe Texas 2016 streaming.clip_image010

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System Center Universe 2015 Basel

Some impressions and my take aways from the System Center Universe 2015. My focus was on the sessions about automation and Service Manager. In addition I attended to the Power BI Sessions – and they were very exciting.

Keynote: Microsoft Technology outlook with focus on IoT and machine learning (Sascha Corti)
Sascha showed the example, that Microsoft monitors the power consumptions of the  air condition from the Microsoft campus. So they can react much faster, when the consumptions rises. This results in lower downtime and in addition they can safe about 10% of the power consumption.
The second example for IoT was a movie about the london underground – they also monitor “things”. ( see video ).
He also published his actual pulse measured by a Microsoft band on his wrist to a Website as an example for IoT.
It seems that machine learning gets standardized by Microsoft. Sascha showed an example with 30,000 datasets of an survey with standard data (income, education,  age, sex). Machine learning in azure took several minutes and the aim was to predict if the income is over or under 50k. (Link to Azure Machine Learning). And parnters can build Webservices with this learned methods and offer it to customers. Sounds interessting.
A thing that surprised me was, that Microsoft saves money by monitoring the power consumptions of the  air condition from the Microsoft campus. So they can react much faster, when the consumptions rises. This safes them about 10% of power – and money.

System Center Reporting Hero to Super Hero to Earth to Cloud in Warp Speed
Nice and easy Tool, to create analysis templates. Maybe easier than Microsoft Excel  and for an high level view. (PowerBI)

Minimizing Risk in  Modern Powershell Environments with JEA
Nowadays you are only able to make all powershell functions available – or none. So I could give powershell cmdlets to the servicedesk, but then the servicedesk can also destroy my environment. Since I do not like this – they get nothing. With WMF 5.0 (Windows Management Foundation)  JEA (just enough admin) it is possible to define, witch powershell functions are available the the users. Really nice.

Programming SCSM with c# and Visual Studio
Dieter Gasser presented three ways to use visual Studio to enhance the Microsoft Service Manager. One was to enhance the functionality provided by the  Tasks.
Dieter also mentioned, that CIs in Service Manager only make sence, when they are used by Service Requests.

itNetx Produkte
ItnetX gave a look at upcoming products – there are some really nice improvements.
1. A new Service Manager Portal design – the new Portal v3 is with a standard GUI Framework (Bootstrap)
2. Powershell Activities – this extends the Service Manager with a new activity – you can put powershell commands in it, which are executed
3. There will be an update to the Advanced View Editor (AVE). You will be able to create new  views – including calendar views.
4. Admin Tools – with more (easier) security possibilities for admins

Scoosp – starting runbooks as a service via a portal
Another Portal – but this one is for the admins not for the consumers. So there is only the information provides by Sstem Center Orchestrator. It is possible to start runbooks with the parameters. There is no possibility to provide high level business process management processes. But since there are templates for common admin tasks, that could be really useful. (Link to SCOOSP)