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!

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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.
    clip_image002
  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.

image

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.

Showstoppers on SCSM2012R2/UR8 – the new Service Portal

The new Service Manager Portal is available as announced. Download is in System Center Service Manager 2012R2 UR8. UR7 is required for this update according to System Requirements of the release notes.

There is already lots of Feedback on the announcing site and on Technet.

I just checked the new portal with service requests working on the Silverlight portal. So I found some showstoppers, listed below.

Showstopper 1 – Installation

We installed it on two systems. On the first system there is a problem with the images – see beyond the left side and the heart on the service request.


By the way – clicking the heart shown, opens the service request. By clicking the heart in the opened Service Request the heart is filled.But it is not saved as favorite. So when you go to the Service Request again, the heart is not filled anymore.

Showstopper 2 – Date Field

The date field is no calendar and in addition there is a problem with the time zone.

Showstopper 3 – Endless Query Results

We have a service request with an user picker – with some thousand users. When you hit the refresh button all users return in a html table – so you get thousand lines. There is nothing to search beside the browsers built in search (ctrl-f). And even if you find the entry needed – the search goes on. The search for the next field to enter.

We have a service requests with a query result where only one selection is allowed – but in the new portal you can check all checkboxes.

We have a Service Request with 2 query results. The second query result depends on the first one. This functionality is not provided by the new portal – it just stops working, after clicking “refresh” on the second query.

Showstopper 4 – Did not update changes done in Service Manager

I also did some changes to a service request and the service request did not update. I can not remember, what I wanted to change, but there was no effect, even server restart did not display the changes. It did not help to wait for over 14 hours. Reducing “UserCacheTimeOut” in web.config did not help – but it is not clear, if this value means minutes, seconds or years.

Showstopper 5 – Possibility to start Service Requests without required fields

It is possible to start a service request without entering any data. This is, when you use query result fields.

Noticeable technical behavior

There are some noticeable technical behaviors, which point to an unready direction of the portal – but there is no technical showstopper in sight.

Since the installation guide was not available, I installed it on good luck – and it worked. I installed it on the management server. The also provided MPB was already imported. No other MPs where touched.

A glimpse at the views

I just openend Announcements.cshtml and what I found is a worthless endtag (</span>) and a never used variable (altTxt) – clearly marked in Visual Studio. Of course this works, but there is an “unready” smell with this.

Web.Config

That is the place to change the company name from contoso to your company.

There was a funny default language in web.config: <add key=DefaultLanguage
value=fr-FR/>
– since I do not speak french a word and we only use german and english. So I do not know, how this came.

The definition of the Management Server is also in the web.config – well done.

The File permissions

Somewhat strange was this warning beyond. It appeared, when I changed to the wwwroot in the file system. Seems there is a problem with the permissions after installing the service portal. After clicking “reorder”, the permissions were fine.

Needing external Sites [new content]

The new portal uses the following external sites:

  • http://az416426.vo.msecnd.net – for a Java script file
  • fonts.googleapis.com – for the font used
  • dc.services.visualstudio.com – for no Response – maybe usage data?

 

A glimpse from the user side

My first impression is, that the portal is more user friendly than the old one. I tried announcements – they do not update automatically – perhaps because of the cache (see features). But after a while, it worked fine and you immediately recognize the message.

My second task was searching for a service request – this worked fast and as suspected.

So I was ready to use a service request. At first I was somewhat surprised that the User picker (aka Query results on System.User) does not show users. After clicking the provided “Refresh” button all users appeared. All? Only 2000, since the web.config defines this maximum (<add
key=MaxQueryResults” value=2000/>
).
And all in a single table (see showstopper 3). This behavior is not suspected and better in the old portal. Now you can search in internet Explorer with the IE search (ctrl-f) but you have 2000 lines und you never find the next field to answer – somewhat annoying. Maybe a showstopper, if there is no alternative.

In addition to this, the query result is not sorted in any way – this is not better than sorting descending. The possibility to sort in the request offering would have been nice.

So over all – there are showstoppers – more than one in the new Service Manger Portal. I do not think we get a usefull version this year. And I hope they will fix the Service Requests before thinking on more features.

Reactivate CRs and all related MAs

The following short script will set a specific CR in progress and all related MAs to active.

$smdefaultcomputer = <computer>
$crclass=Get-SCSMClass System.Workitem.ChangeRequest$
$maclass
= Get-SCSMClass -Name System.WorkItem.Activity.ManualActivity$
$maStatusActive
=get-scsmenumeration ActivityStatusEnum.Active$
$crStatus
=get-scsmenumeration ChangeStatusEnum.InProgress$
$cr
=smlets\get-scsmobject -Class $crclass -Filter “Name -eq ‘CR83769′”
$mas
=Get-SCSMRelatedObject $CR | ? classname -eq ‘System.WorkItem.Activity.ManualActivity’
$masu=$mas | %{$i=$_.id;get-scsmobject -class $maclass -Filter “Id -eq $i}
$masu
| Set-SCSMObject -Property status -Value $maStatusActive
$cr
| Set-SCSMObject -Property status -Value $crStatus

How to find out the actual Service Manager version via powershell

It was not that easy to find out the actual Version of our SCSM Installation, since Microsoft does not update the Info Window of Service Manager. So I wrote a powershell line, to find out.

Get-ItemProperty 'HKLM:\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Uninstall\{7B523367-360B-4EB6-9ED4-D2637816DD0F}' | Select Displayname, Displayversion, installdate

There is an other way with SQL:

select * from servicemanager.[dbo].[__PatchInfo__] WITH(NOLOCK) order by appliedon desc