Working with Azure CLI behind SSL intercepting proxy server

The Azure CLI is one of Azure’s command-line experiences for managing Azure resources (besides Azure PowerShell). Azure CLI is open source and built on Python. The cool thing about Azure CLI is that you can use it with pretty much all known platforms like macOS, Windows and Linux. This means you do not have to learn another command line tool for each platform. When working with Azure CLI on Linux in a corporate environment it might happen to you, that creating a VM fails with the following error message:

Why Microsoft Azure

I had several arguments lately about why a business should consider Microsoft Azure for IaaS and PaaS in place of any other big cloud provider (aka AWS or Google). Let me start with the following: My boss once told me that choosing a cloud provider seems to be like a marriage. The choice you make may (hopefully) be the right one for the rest of your life. Consider that a business which is working with one cloud provider only, establishes a very tight relationship with its services.

Using Policy Initiatives to simplify Azure Policy Management

Policies in Azure are great! They can help you to enforce different rules and actions over your resources, so that they stay compliant with your corporate standards. For example they let you control in which location resources have to be deployed or you can have a policy to allow only certain type of virtual machines. Another policy may require that all resources have assigned a certain tag. Policies are available for quite some time now.

Meltdown & Spectre in public cloud environments

On Wednesday, Jan. 3, security researchers publicly detailed three potential vulnerabilities named “Meltdown” and “Spectre.” A pretty detailed description of the vulnerabilities can be found on Stratechery and a pretty good explanation for non-technical audience can be found on the Cloudflare blog. Exploited Vulnerability CVE Exploit Name Public Vulnerability Name Silicon Microcode Update Required on Host Spectre CVE-2017-5753 Variant 1 Bounds Check Bypass No Spectre CVE-2017-5715 Variant 2 Branch Target Injection Yes Meltdown CVE-2017-5754 Variant 3 Rogue Data Cache Load No In an environment where multiple servers are sharing capabilities (for example virtual machines hosted in a cloud or on premise environment ), these vulnerabilities could mean it is possible for someone to access information in one virtual machine from another.

Circuits, Peerings, Pricing, Latency... All you need to know about Azure ExpressRoute

Since I was dealing with Azure ExpressRoute lately, I will try to summarize some important aspects in a blog post to provide kind of a high-level overview of Azure ExpressRoute. To get started, one should know that there are basically three options to connect on premise networks to Microsoft Azure: Internet Virtual Private Network (VPN) Azure ExpressRoute Both internet and VPN connections may be suitable for you.

Fluentd Sessions at Open Source Summit 2017

Probably all of you know that a vital part of Operations Management Suite Agent for Linux is based on open source data collector Fluentd. Those of you which are interested in OMS Agent for Linux should definitively take a look at the following presentations which were held at Open Source Summit Japan which took place from May 31 to June 2nd 2017 in Tokyo. Fluentd v1.0 in a nutshell by Nakagawa Masahiro

Use Azure CLI 2.0 behind corporate proxy server

There exist different options to script control, modify and automate your Azure environment. The most popular one is probably Azure PowerShell module. However there is another good option to consider using when managing your Azure environment: Azure CLI Azure CLI is open source and built on Python which offers good cross-platform capabilities.The cool thing about Azure CLI is that you can use it with pretty much all known platforms like macOS, Windows and Linux.

Issue with renewal of existing Let's Encrypt certificates

I am a fan of Let’s Encrypt. I think this initiative vastly improved the Internet experience of everyone and brought big progress in terms of securing the entire web. Below graphics are taken from Let’s Encrypt stats page. The process of installing and using Let’s Encrypt on your machines is pretty straightforward and there are plenty of guides out there which explain this in detail for various distributions.

Service Manager Installation by using a PowerShell Script

This is the fifth part of a blog post series called “Installing Service Manager 2016” and will cover how to install a secondary Service Manger 2016 management server and necessary prerequisites by using a PowerShell script. Installing Service Manager 2016 Part 1: What’s new Installing Service Manager 2016 Part 2: Primary Management Server Installing Service Manager 2016 Part 3: Self Service Web Portal Installing Service Manager 2016 Part 4: Data Warehouse Management Server

Speaking at Experts Live Europe 2017

Only few weeks left until Experts Live Europeconference 2017 kicks off. This year Experts Live is taking place from August 23 – 25 in the Berlin Congress Center in Berlin Germany. Six tracks and more than 100 sessions are waiting for you! If you want to learn and network about Microsoft cloud, datacenter and workplace solutions you should definitely book this event! For all of you which do not know Experts Live Europe, Marcel Zehner wrote a nice blog post on why you definitely should not miss this amazing event if you are interested in any Microsoft cloud related topics.

SCSM 2016 UR3 breaks HTML portal Hamburger menu hyperlinks

Update: This has been fixed with Update Rollup 4 for System Center 2016 Service Manager This issue was initially discovered by Jure Jeram and all credits for the workaround below goes to him. His findings are also documented in Service Manger forums. Thanks for sharing your findings! With update rollup 3 for Service Manager 2016 released by the end of May 2017, a small issue seems to pop up after applying it to the out of the box HTML portal of Service Manager 2016.

Microsoft OMS Update Deployment for Linux

About two weeks ago, Microsoft quietly introduced Update Deployments for Linux in Operations Management Suite. The Update Management solution in OMS allows you to manage updates for your Windows as well as your Linux computers. The status of available updates can be quickly assessed and you can initiate installation of required updates for your Windows and since lately also your Linux servers (supported distributions). Cool thing here: it doesn’t matter where your servers are located.

Speaking at Experts Live Switzerland

I am happy to be speaking at Experts Live Switzerland 2017 which takes place place May 17th in Bern, Switzerland. Experts Live Switzerland 2017 is a community event which focuses on Microsoft Cloud-, Datacenter- and Workplace-Management topics. I will speak about how OMS enables modern IT management including real-time insights, control & compliance and security in the world of the hybrid cloud. All sessions expect the welcome and closing keynote are held in German.

Speaking at Global Azure Bootcamp Switzerland 2017

I am happy to speak at this years Global Azure Bootcamp Event in Zürich, Switzerland! Azure Bootcamp Switzerland takes place on April 22nd at Microsoft Switzerland in Wallisellen. All around the world user groups and communities will come together once again in the fifth great Global Azure Bootcamp event! Each user group will organize their own one day deep dive class on Azure. The result is that thousands of people get to learn about Azure and join together online under the social hashtag #GlobalAzure!

Resolving "No x64-based UEFI boot loader was found" when starting Ubuntu virtual machine

I have a small, virtualized Linux lab on my notebook which I only use occasionally. Since I reinstalled my machine some weeks ago I had to recreate all Hyper-V virtual machines which lounge around somewhere on the disk. No big deal I thought, but when starting my Ubuntu virtual machines, I got the following message saying that “No x64-based UEFI boot loader was found”. Hmm… well I am no Hyper-V expert in any way so I was first a little confused when I hit this message.

New User Group: Experts Live Café - Microsoft IT Pro Switzerland

Together with my buddy Stefan Roth I will be organizing a new user group called _Experts Live Café - Microsoft IT Pro Switzerland. _The user group will be part of the Experts Live network which is known for its famous Experts Live events. So what is the idea behind the Experts Live Café? Basically it is all about community members getting together and sharing know-how, socializing, networking and of course having a good time.

Installing Service Manager 2016 Data Warehouse Management Server

This is the fourth part of a blog post series called “Installing Service Manager 2016 Data Warehouse” and will cover how to install a Service Manger 2016 Data Warehouse server on Windows Server 2016 with Desktop Experience. Installing Service Manager 2016 Part 1: What’s new Installing Service Manager 2016 Part 2: Primary Management Server Installing Service Manager 2016 Part 3: Self Service Web Portal Installing Service Manager 2016 Part 4: Data Warehouse Management Server (this post)

Connect Service Manager 2016 management server to Operations Management Suite

You are probably aware that since System Center 2012 R2, Service Manager comes with a pre-installed Microsoft Monitoring Agent (MMA) which is perfectly compatible to System Center 2012 Operations Manager. After completing Service Manger setup, you just have to manually configure the agent to communicate with your Operations Manager management server. However in Service Manager, the Microsoft Monitoring Agent does not just calculate the health state of the monitored computer and reports back to the Operations Manager management server.

Error when installing Service Manager Data Warehouse management server: "The user or group name 'BUILTIN\BUILTIN' is not recognized."

When installing Service Manager Data Warehouse management server you might run into an issue where the installation fails when it comes to configuring SQL server report server. So far I was able to reproduce this with Service Manager 2016 Data Warehouse management server installation but it might be also applicable for Service Manager 2012 version. When you see the above error message, check the setup log (which can be found in ‘C:\Users<User>\AppData\Local\Temp’) if you see the following error:

Installing Service Manger 2016 Self Service Portal

This is the third part of a blog post series called “Installing Service Manager 2016” and will cover how to install a secondary Service Manger 2016 management server and the HTML based Self Service portal on Windows Server 2016 with Desktop Experience. Installing Service Manager 2016 Part 1: What’s new Installing Service Manager 2016 Part 2: Primary Management Server Installing Service Manager 2016 Part 3: Self Service Web Portal (this post)

Installing Service Manager 2016 with SQL 2016 on Windows Server 2016

This is the second part of a blog post series called “Installing Service Manager 2016” and will cover how to install Service Manger 2016 and SQL Server 2016 on Windows Server 2016 with Desktop Experience. Installing Service Manager 2016 Part 1: What’s new Installing Service Manager 2016 Part 2: Primary Management Server (this post) Installing Service Manager 2016 Part 3: Self Service Web Portal Installing Service Manager 2016 Part 4: Data Warehouse Management Server

What's new in System Center Service Manager 2016

Today, Microsoft announced the GA (General Availability) ofWindows Server 2016 and System Center 2016. Those of you interested in System Center Service Manger may wonder what’s new in this long-awaited release. Inspired by the GA of Service Manager 2016, I decided to create a blog post series called “Installing Service Manager 2016” to get you some first impressions on Service Manager 2016 and to create an up-to-date installation guide for this release.

Microsoft MVP Cloud and Datacenter Management

I am excited to share that I have been awarded Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) 2016 in Cloud and Datacenter Management! This is actually the first time I receive this award and I can’t wait to find out what’s in store for me. :-) I am truly honored to be part of this awesome community and I am looking forward to meet a lot of great people! I would like to thank my family, friends, and mentors.

Speaking at E2EVC Rome

Together with my buddy Stefan Roth, I will speak at the Experts 2 Experts Virtualization Conference 2016 which will take place from November 18th-20th in Rome. E2EVC is a non-commercial, virtualization and Citrix community Event. The main goal of the event is to bring the best virtualization and Citrix experts together to exchange knowledge and to establish new connections. After speaking at E2EVC Brussels in 2014 and E2EVC Lisbon in 2015 I am very happy to be back at E2EVC Rome 2016!

Get all Reviewers related to a Review Activity

In the Service Manager world, review activities (RA) and corresponding reviewers are an important part of most deployments. A review activity is kind of an approval item which is used to control execution of a business process. Often when providing items for end users in the service catalog it is necessary to somehow review input of submitted requests. This is where you specify the actual users that must approve a request.

Adding your CollectD metrics to Operations Management Suite

As of version v1.1.0-217 OMS Agent for Linux now has support for CollectD. CollectD is an open source Linux daemon that periodically collects data from applications and system level information. CollectD actually brings a lot of very useful plugins. Example applications CollectD can collect metrics from include the Java Virtual Machine, MySQL Server, Nginx, etc. CollectD is often used in combination with Grafana which enables you to create awesome dashboards to visualize the collected metrics.

Speaking at System Center Universe Europe 2016

Only few days left until System Center Universe Europe conference 2016 kicks off. This year System Center Universe is taking place from August 24 – 26 in the Berlin Congress Center in Berlin Germany. If you want to learn and network about Microsoft CloudOS or Microsoft Datacenter solutions, you should definitely book this event! For all of you which do not know System Center Universe, Marcel Zehner wrote a nice blog post on why you definitely should not miss this amazing event if you are interested in any Microsoft System Center and Microsoft Cloud OS related topics.

Running SCSM 2016 TP5 on SQL AlwaysOn Availability Group - "Execution of user code in the .Net Framework is disabled"

Now that the new Service Manager release is just around the corner, more and more customers are asking to deploy Service Manager 2016 TP5 in production. Benefits of deploying Service Manager 2016 TP5 are listed below. For a complete list of new features in Service Manager 2016 TP5, please see https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/system-center-docs/sm/get-started/what-s-new-in-service-manager New Self-Service Portal Performance improvements Support for Lync 2013 and Skype for Business Changes to Setup supporting SQL AlwaysOn Availability Groups installation

Advanced Cireson Service Manager Portal Customizations

You probably know that Service Manager has some drawbacks when it comes to the Self-Service portal. Microsoft recently released a new HTML 5 Self-Service portal which is actually a big step forward compared to the Silverlight based portal delivered out of the box with Service Manager 2012. However many customers evaluating ITSM tools are still surprised that there is no better out of the box portal available. Compared to the other ITSM product vendors, the Service Manager portal is definitively not what you are expecting from a state of the art ITSM software.

Service Manager Lync Up Summary June 2016 – Migration Issues and Mitigation Plan

For this June LyncUp call, the product team shared some very interesting facts about upcoming migration of Service Manager 2012R2 to Service Manager 2016. This was a very passionate Lync Up call with great feedback from both attendees and product group, so I definitively recommend watching the recording. I probably was not able to cover all comments and feedback made during the call. As always you can download the recording and the slides from here.

Service Manager PrettyPrint Source Code publicly available on GitHub

As you may know, I published PrettyPrint for Service Manager back in 2014. Since then, I got a lot of positive feedback for this Service Manager extension and I thought that it would be a good idea to publish PrettyPrint source code, so everyone can profit from and contribute to the project. You can find the source code on GitHub. It is published under GNU General Public License. Please feel free to check out and extend the code with your own ideas.

Service Manager Self-Service Portal Stylesheets not interpreted

When I recently installed Service Manager 2016 Technical Preview 5, I also installed the new out of the box Self-Service portal. However after installation finished successfully, I experienced an odd behavior: The portal did no show up in it’s usual design. As you can see below, the CSS stylesheets were transferred with the wrong MIME type text/plain which caused the portal to be unusable for users. Luckily the error pretty much tells you everything you need to know to resolve the issue :-)

New features in Gridpro Request Management for Windows Azure Pack version 1.5

Today I attended a great webinar hosted by Patrik Sundqvist. There are some awesome features coming in new version of Request Management for Windows Azure Pack! If you have not yet seen it, I recommend attending the second webinar on May 12th to see some nice demo scenarios. And since I always forget about details which are presented in those webinars I decided to summarize content and share it here :-)

Service Manager Lync Up Summary April 2016 – Technical Preview 5 and SCCM connector support

For this April LyncUp call, the product team shared some interesting facts about upcoming improvements in Technical Preview 5 as well as SCCM support. Actually it was mostly the same as already presented in February LyncUp call. But still interesting to see some pretty cool performance improvements in next version of Service Manager 🙂 As always you can download the recording and the slides from here. Next meeting will take place on May 17th.

Assessment Guide for Public Cloud Workloads

According to Gartner Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies Maps the Journey to Digital Business the Cloud Computing hype seems to be over and we are entering the phase of disillusionment. However when speaking with IT people about Public Cloud, most of the time they are pretty enthusiastic about this whole new level of elasticity which is possible when running workloads on a Public Cloud. But on the other hand people are concerned about security, privacy and legal restrictions when using the Public Cloud.

Service Manager Lync Up Summary February 2016 – UR9 and Technical Preview 5

For this February LyncUp call, the product team shared some interesting facts about upcoming improvements in Technical Preview 5. Seems as if we are going to see some pretty cool performance improvements in next version of Service Manager :-) As always you can download the recording and the slides from here. Next meeting will take place on March 15th. Update Rollup 9 As you may already know, Update Rollup 9 has been pulled since it was resetting the customizations because it replaces some unsealed Management Packs and was causing console crashes while opening forms in non-English Service Manager console.

How to format properties on custom Service Manager forms

When creating your own custom forms in Service Manager you may want to tweak your ListViews, escpecially when working with dates. For example you may want to hide time information for datetime properties. This is actually pretty simple by using BindingBase.StringFormat property The below example shows a ListView definition containing two datetime columns both formatted to show date in the format ‘dd.MM.yyyy’ Properties do not necessary have to be bound to a ListVew column.

Working with Operations Management Suite Agent for Linux (Preview)

Since everyone is talking about Operation Management Suite (OMS) at the moment, I wanted to take a look at this relatively new cloud service on my own. There are several good blog posts out there which explain what OMS does and what it does not. From a personal point of view I was especially interested in the Linux agent which is available in preview since some weeks. Stefan Roth already wrote a great post about basic architecture and installation of the Linux agent.

New blog experience and SSL encryption by default using Let's Encrypt

As some may have noticed I did some changes to this blog recently. First I decided to change the theme of my blog to something more simplistic. After some searching around the web I found a great Wordpress theme named Independent Publisher. I definitively recommend checking out this theme if you are running a Wordpress blog. It’s very reader-focused and also entirely open-source. Besides that, I opted for enabling SSL for the whole site.

Performing fresh installation of Service Manager with SQL Server 2014

Since the release of Service Manager 2012 R2 Update Rollup 6, the use of SQL Server 2014 is officially supported by Microsoft. This probably seems like a pretty good thing because for new installations you probably want to use the newest SQL Server version. And since SQL Server 2014 was released back in April 2015 more and more customers are using latest version for their System Center deployments. Well, this all sounds pretty good in theory.

Service Manager Lync Up Summary December 2015 - UR9 and Technical Preview 4

Long time since my last Service Manager Lync Up summary. Unfortunately I was unable to attend the last Lync Up sessions but this time I could make it work. And it was worth it :-) The product team shared some very interesting facts about upcoming fixes in UR9 as well as Technical Preview 4. As always you can download the recording and the slides from here. Next meeting will take place on January 19th.

Binding Enum Values to a form label

There are several blog posts out there which describe how to extend a default form with other information. One popular example is the indication of VIP users by either binding to a text or boolean value available on the selected user object. If you read through the above noted posts you will notice that extending Service Manager forms is not a big thing and can be pretty handy to put something to attention of the analyst.

Speaking at E2EVC Lisbon

Together with my mate Stefan Roth I will speak at the Experts 2 Experts Virtualization Conference which takes place from November 13th-15th in Lisbon. E2EVC is a non-commercial, virtualisation community Event. The main goal of the event is to bring the best virtualisation experts together to exchange knowledge and to establish new connections. After speaking at E2EVC Brussels in 2014 I am very happy to be back at E2EVC Lisbon 2015!

Overview of Database-as-a-Service offerings available in Public Cloud

When searching for a suitable Database-as-a-Service offering, sometimes one can’t see the wood for the trees. Nearly all of the big players in public cloud business offer some kind of database service. Besides there exist plenty of smaller providers, most of them offering specific database implementations. The above picture is far away from being complete, but it kind of shows how many players are out there offering database as a service.

Service Manager Lync Up Summary August 2015 - New portal sneak preview

Unfortunately I missed the July Lync Up call. But I am back with the Service Manager Lync Up call summary for August. And that is a good one ;-) The call mainly focused on demoing the upcoming new Service Manager portal. Good stuff! As always you can download the recording and the slides from here. Next meeting will take place on September 15th. Sneak preview of new Self-Service Portal Service Manager team is actually working on a new Self-Service Portal.

Speaking at System Center Universe Europe 2015

Only two weeks left until System Center Universe Europe conference 2015 kicks off. This year System Center Universe is taking place from August 24 – 26 at the Congress Center Basel Switzerland. If you want to learn and network about Microsoft CloudOS or Microsoft Datacenter solutions, you should definitely book this event! For all of you which do not know System Center Universe, Marcel Zehner wrote a nice blog post on why you definitely should not miss this amazing event if you are interested in any Microsoft System Center and Microsoft Cloud OS related topics.

Rebranding blog: scsmlab.com is now blog.jhnr.ch

I have been blogging about 1.5 years now mostly about System Center Service Manager, Orchestrator and useful PowerShell scripts related to these products. However since the only constant in IT is change, my expertise changes too :-) Because of the strong focus on Service Manager, I originally decided to use scsmlab as my name for the blog and twitter handle. But since I would like to open scope of this blog to more IT related topics in general instead of only Microsoft System Center Service Manager, I decided to rename my blog to http://blog.

Dynamically update Service Manager enum values from MySQL database by using PowerShell

Lists in SCSM can sometimes be pretty dynamic. As an example it may be the case that you want to publish job titles for an employee joiner offering to the end users. Job titles may change over time and if your company is using kind of an external system to manage these titles together with other employee data, it would be nice to have your list updated dynamically right? Besides many other commands, SMLets module provides you also with the following cmdlets to manage enumerations.

Service Manager Lync Up Summary June 2015

A little late but I was finally able to listen to the recording of the June Service Manager Lync Up call :-) The call mainly focused on key improvements in UR7 which is planned for release on July 28th. As always you can download the recording and the slides from here. Next meeting will take place on July 21st. Recent Service Manager blog posts and recordings Service Manager related blog posts:

E-Mail Communication with Cased Dimensions free Enterprise Email app

Analysts working with Service Manager are sometimes facing problems when it comes down to communication with customers or end users. Although Service Manager Exchange Connector does provide a simple solution for creating and updating tickets by e-mail, this does barley solve the problem from an analysts perspective. Most of you would probably love to see Analysts being able to send messages directly from Service Manager console without having to switch between Service Manager console and Outlook every few minutes…Unfortunately there is no out of the box “messaging” solution in Service Manager.

Service Manager LyncUp Summary May 2015

Unfortunately I missed April LyncUp call. Luckily the Service Manager team already did a great job on summarizing pretty much all the important information which came up in the April call on theofficial Service Manager blog. Overall it was all about Update Rollup 6 which was released April 27th. As always you can download the recording and the slides from here. That’s also where the recording of the May LyncUp call is available.

Build your own "Cancel Incident" task for Cireson self-service portal

Most of our customers replaced the out of the box, Silverlight based Service Manager portal with a more lightwight, more flexible, HTML5 based 3rd party solution. Some of them are using the Cireson Self-Service Portal to enhance their Service Manager environments. The Cireson Portal is a complete replacement of the Microsoft Self-Service Portal for Service Manager. But Cireson is not the only company offering a replacement for the Service Manager portal.

Service Manager PrettyPrint app now supports printing property values of related objects

I just uploaded a new version of PrettyPrint app for Service Manager. I got some feedback from people using PrettyPrint to print out their Service Desk tickets. Of course when using PrettyPrint for such purpose it would be very handy to be able to print contact information of the affected user. This is now possible :-) If you want to print values of properties of a related item, this is now possible by defining a bookmark containing component _Alias _and corresponding property Name separated by underscore.

Service Manager Sessions at Microsoft Ignite 2015

Microsoft Ignite, which is set to take place May 4-8 in Chicago, promises to provide plenty of information, announcements, demos and events of course :-) Unfortunately I will not be able to attend and I am sure I am going to miss a lot of great people and events course. However thanks to Channel 9 I definitively wont miss any sessions :-) Below you can find all the Service Manager related sessions announced so far.

Service Manager LyncUp Summary March 2015

Maybe you already heard about the regular Service Manager LyncUp calls hosted by Kathleen Wilson and the Service Manager product team. I join the calls whenever I can, but often I just can’t make it. Fortunately the calls are recorded! And since I always forget about the stuff which was discussed in the call I decided to summarize the calls and share them here. I will try to do this for future calls too and share these summaries as well.

Recursively get all Review Activities related to a WorkItem

In the Service Manager world, review activities (RA) are an important part of most deployments. A review activity is kind of an approval item which is used to control execution of a business process. Often when providing items for end users in the service catalog it is necessary to somehow review input of submitted requests. This is where you specify the actual users that must approve a request. Think about the following example: One important part of Service Manager is the service catalog which is a collection of catalog items that the IT staff and infrastructure provides and makes available to end users.

Get installed SCSM Version for multiple computers by using PowerShell

I recently worked in a project where people are working with several Service Manager environments. First there is like a development environment where everyone does first steps and sees how it goes. If everything works as expected Management Packs and configuration are imported into the integration environment. Last but no least, there is the productive environment where end users are using Service Manager to choose offerings from a pretty big service catalog :-)

SCSM DWH Installation: Unable to connect to SQL Reporting Services

Today I experienced a kind of Reporting Services configuration problem when installing a new Service Manager Data Warehouse Management Server. When clicking through the install wizard I reached the point where I had to specify SQL Report Server and the corresponding Web Service URL. That was the point where I hit the following error: The request failed with HTTP status 401: Unauthorized. Hmm… The error message seems to be pretty clear.

Service Manager PrettyPrint app now supports Microsoft Office 2010

I just uploaded a new version of PrettyPrint app for Service Manager. In compliance with your wishes the now released version also supports Microsoft Office 2010 besides of Office 2013 :-) Check it out and let me know what you think about it. For those of you who don’t know about PrettyPrint yet, read one of my previous blog posts which explains the functionality and requirements of this free Service Manager extension.

Resolve "SQL Server service not running" when installing Service Manager database on SQL AlwaysOn Availability Group

As you may know, there are some things to remember when installing Service Manager database in a SQL AlwaysOn cluster environment. For example SQL Server AlwaysOn Availability Groups functionality is supported by all versions of Service Manager, but only for the default server instance. Also those of you who tried to install Service Manager in a SQL AlwaysOn environment may have experienced the following error when it comes to configuring the database part in the Service Manager install wizard

HTML encode Incident description when using Orchestrator Send Email Activity

When using the Send Email activity in System Center Orchestrator, one can choose between sending E-mails in “normal” text format or sending them HTML formatted. Well, since HTML offers much more options to format a message this is normally be the way to go. If you would like Orchestrator to use HTML format when sending E-mails, you can simply change the message format in Advanced properties of the corresponding Send Email activity.

Updated Service Manager PrettyPrint app published on Technet Gallery

It’s been a while since my last blog post. I’ve been pretty busy this summer :-) As some of you may have noticed, I published a Service Manager app called PrettyPrint on Technet Gallery. I announced the first release in September at System Center Universe Europe in my session with Marcel Zehner about Service Manager customizations. The SCU session recording can be found on Channel9. The now released version fixes a bug where the PrettyPrint task failed with the following message when starting from a form and if the settings were configured not to show Word print preview.

System Center Universe Europe Session Recording available on Channel9

Together with Marcel Zehner I hosted a session at System Center Universe Europe 2014 which took place in September. Me and Marcel were presenting a collection of useful real-world customizations that we have built for customers during the last years. If you would like to see the session, Microsoft made the session recordings available for you on Channel9.

Fasten your seatbelts - System Center Universe Europe 2014 kicks off in 6 days!

Only one week left until we kick off the System Center Universe Europe conference 2014. This year System Center Universe is taking place from September 17 - 19 at the Congress Center Basel Switzerland. If you want to learn and network about Microsoft CloudOS or Microsoft Datacenter solutions, you should definitely book this event! For all of you which do not know System Center Universe, Thomas Maurer wrote a nice blog post on why you definitely should not miss this amazing event if you are interested in any Microsoft System Center and Microsoft Cloud OS related topics.

How to check if a Service Manager Notification Template is associated to a Workflow or Notification Subscription

Update: As Trang mentioned in the comments, the first version of the script only found templates which are assigned to a Notification Subscription. I updated the script to look for templates which are assigned either to a Workflow or Notification Subscription. Sometimes I come across Service Manager environments which have a whole bunch of notification subscriptions and corresponding templates configured. Normally these environments are productive for some time and several changes have been made to processes and notifications.

Change Service Manager related object properties directly from custom ListView

Don’t you think that sometimes it would be very handy if we could change some properties of a related object directly from a form? Normally you would have to close the active form and edit the related object to make some changes which can be pretty time consuming… As it turns out, there is another way to simplify this procedure by using a custom ListView :-) All you need is a custom Service Manager form which contains a ListView to display related objects.

Coming up: Speaking at E2EVC 2014

I am sure some of you know that the next Experts to Experts Virtualization Conference (E2EVC) will take place in Brussels from May 30th to June 1st. E2EVC is a non-commercial community event since it first took place in 2003. E2EVC is a community event and sessions are hosted both by independent community experts as well as vendor product teams. Products from all the big vendors in the virtualization area are covered.

Updated Service Manager 2012 R2 Upgrade OneNote Checklist available

As I was doing another Service Manager 2012 R2 Upgrade lately, I added some minor improvements to my Upgrade to Service Manager 2012 R2 Checklist. If you have any corrections or thoughts about improving the checklist, please let me know. I would be happy to update the OneNote file so others can benefit from your knowledge. I provide this checklist as-is and cannot guarantee the accuracy or timeliness of information available from the checklist.

Create custom SCSM Console workspace with High-Res folder image on overview page

If you are working with Service Manager you definitively know the default workspaces aka wunderbars which separate for example Work Item views from Config Item views. Sometimes it would be very handy to be able to create your own workspaces which could for example separate your custom CI classes and views from the default Service Manager views. However, creating a new workspace in Service Manager Console is not possible. But guess what: This can be done by manually adding some XML code to one of your Management Packs.

Service Manager 2012 R2 Upgrade OneNote Checklist

As I was doing some Service Manager 2012 R2 Upgrades lately, I created a OneNote page which will guide me through the installation process and help me not to forget anything important :-) Since this checklist may be useful to other people out there who are upgrading from Service Manager 2012 SP1 to Service Manager 2012 R2, I decided to share my Upgrade to Service Manager 2012 R2 Checklist. I provide this checklist as-is and cannot guarantee the accuracy or timeliness of information available from the checklist.

Customize Service Manager User Profiles by using SCSM SDK

As you may know, Service Manager uses so called user roles to allow access to the application. A user which is member of a specific user role is able to perform tasks associated to this user role. As Kurt van Hoecke describes in one of his posts, each user role contains a specific user profile which defines which operations on an object are allowed. Existing work item classes like Incidents and Service Requests do have a default user profile already defined.

Quick Post: Open SCSM Portal Quick Launch Navigation Links in new Tab

One of my customers came up with the request to add some quick launch navigation links in Service Manager portal. Quick launch navigation links are located on the navigation pane on the Service Manager portal and reference, among other things, to My Requests and Help Articles. So far no problem because these navigation links can be added pretty straightforward by editing the portal’s Sharepoint site. I wrote a blog post some time ago about how to localize these links.

Free Advanced Send Email App for Service Manager released by itnetx and Cireson

Probably anyone who has ever used Service Manager knows the pain involved when communicating with customers or end users. Although Service Manager Exchange connector does provide a simple solution for creating and updating tickets by e-mail, this does barley solve the problem from an analysts perspective. Analysts often have to check with someone (mostly the affected user in case of incidents) to get all the information they need or to send instructions.

How to create a custom SCSM console task by using some SDK and XML magic

This blog post is should give you a overview of how to create your own custom Service Manager console task by using some C# and XML magic :-) My example task will show a computer’s IP address in a Popup form. First of all, there are basically two different types of tasks in Service Manager. Travis Wright published a very good overview on Service Manager tasks in a blog post back in 2011.

Working with Windows Azure Pack Service Management API: Creating new users

As you may already know, Windows Azure Pack is a collection of Windows Azure technologies, available for installation into your data center. It runs on top of Windows Server 2012 R2 and System Center 2012 R2 and enables you to offer a portal to your customers which is consistent with the public Windows Azure experience. Windows Azure Pack provides a so called Service Management API which is a collection of REST APIs that provide extensibility for Service Management.

Quick Post: How to find Service Manager database server name in registry

Have you ever wondered how you can find the Service Manager database server which is used in your Service Manager environment? This can be done easily by querying the registry on one of your SCSM management servers. The registry key _HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESOFTWAREMicrosoftSystem Center2010CommonDatabase _leads you to the corresponding values _DatabaseName _and DatabaseServerName The same registry key found on the Data Warehouse Management Server contains the values for the corresponding Data Warehouse databases together with the DWH database server.

SCORCH Web Console not accessible from another Active Directory forest

When I was working on a SCSM project for a customer, IT people were complaining that the Orchestrator Console was not accessible from their workstations. For some reasons they always got an error message from SCORCH when connecting to the Web Console. In this specific environment, Orchestrator was installed in a resource forest Active Directory environment. In a resource forest topology, one forest is dedicated to running server applications, such as Microsoft Exchange Server and in this case System Center components.

Quick Post: Delete SCSM Work Items created before specific date with PowerShell

Based on a post by Pete Zerger on systemcentercentral.com I created a PowerShell command which deletes all Work Items of a specific class in your CMDB when created before a specific date. #Set date $BeforeDate = Get-Date("31/1/2013").ToString("MM/dd/yyy HH:mm:ss") #List incidents which were created before $BeforeDate Get-SCSMClassInstance -Class (Get-SCSMClass -Name System.WorkItem.Incident) | Where {($_.CreatedDate -lt $BeforeDate)} | sort-object CreatedDate | ft -Property Id,Title,CreatedDate #Remove instances Get-SCSMClassInstance -Class (Get-SCSMClass -Name System.WorkItem.Incident) | Where {($_.

SLA icons & Service Level Target time not visible to members of scoped/restricted SCSM user roles

I recently wrote a post about how to create custom views with SLA icons and Service Level Target column. After writing this post I realized, that if a user is member of a scoped/restricted user role, he would not be able to see the SLA icons and Service Level Target times. I noticed that not only custom views are affected by this issue. This happens too for default SCSM views which display SLA icons and Service Level Target column, like the “Assigned To Me” view for Incidents as well as for Service Requests.

SCSM Data Cubes outdated and MPSync Job fails for Cube Library Management Packs

As you probably know, you can do some pretty cool reporting stuff with Service Manager 2012 by using data cubes. Data cubes allow IT staff to get relevant information by using Excel to slice and dice data from SCSM data warehouse. If you like to learn more about data cubes in Service Manager, check out this helpful series of blog posts by Marcel Zehner However, lately I faced the problem that current data was missing.

Installation of SCSM 2012 SP1 Update Rollup 2 fails

Since I always have some troubles installing Service Manager SP1 UR2 I decided to write a post on how to install Update Rollup 2 in case the installation fails with _error occured while executing custom action:Installhealthserviceperfcountersforpatching There already exist several posts on how to solve the problem, like the one from Thomas Ellerman. However, I wanted to document the solution once again for my personal use so I don’t have to look for it time and time again… ;-)

Effective E-Mail Communication with Service Manager - Send Message from SCSM Console

Analysts working with Service Manager are sometimes facing problems when it comes down to communication with customers or endusers. Although Service Manager Exchange Connector does provide a simple solution for creating and updating tickets by e-mail, this does barley solve the problem from an analysts perspective. Analysts often have to check with someone (mostly the affected user in case of incidents) to get all the information they need or to send instructions.

Create custom View with SLA icon and Service Level Target column

When working with SLA’s and Incidents it would be sometimes nice to have some visual aid to see if an Incident SLA is already breached or if everything is alright. Service Manager has some out of the box Incidnet as well as Service Request views which display a shiny icon if the SLA of the corresponding object is breached. In addition to the icon, there is also a column named Service Level Target, which displays date and time when the SLA will breach.

Insert CI property values into Microsoft Word Template and print directly from Service Manager Console

I am always impressed how customizable SCSM can be. Lately I was working for a company who manages their users smartphones and SIM cards in SCSM. That’s already pretty cool but there is always some space for improvements :-) The company process of handing out a new phone together with a SIM card to an employee works as follows: An employee reports the need for a mobile phone to the IT department

SCSM SP1 CU2 Installation Error _StoreActionsAccount

As I was installing CU2 lately on a SCSM management server of one of our customers I experienced a strange error. Since I did not find much about this error on the internet I wanted to share the error and solution in case anyone else came across the problem. I was able to successfully update the Data Warehouse management and Self-Service portal servers, without any issues. However, on the primary management server the update failed and provided the following error.

Custom Task for printing labels with Brother P-Touch device directly from SCSM Console

Do you know these small Brother P-Touch devices with which you can print labels in quite every manner? These devices are pretty widespread in Switzerland and many IT departments use them to print labels which they stick on a device and contain serial number, IP address and/or other key facts of this specific device. A customer for which I am developing a small asset management extension for Service Manager is also using such a device.

Install SCSM Exchange Connector in Resource Forest Environment

Lately I had to deal with a SCSM Exchange Connector Installation in a Resource Forest Active Directory environment. There was a AD forest which contained Exchange Server and the SCSM environment was placed in another forest. Between these two forests, a two-way trust was established. Furthermore there was a requirement to setup two Exchange Connectors with two different mailboxes so that our customer was able to send messages to either a Incident or a Service Request mailbox.

How to Change SCSM Admin Group

Today I ran into a issue where I had to change the SCSM admin group defined at installation time. Since there was accidentally used a Active Directory global security group instead of a domain local security group when installing SCSM, I got curious if it is possible to change the group in SCSM configuration. Well, it is not that easy but there is a pretty handy way of changing the group by altering the SCSM database.

Debugging Custom SCSM Form in Visual Studio

Maybe some of you which sometimes have to create their custom forms for SCSM in Visual Studio were wondering too how to debug a custom form in case something is not working as it should. Which should not happen very often of course ;) However, it is pretty easy to debug your forms with Visual Studio by attaching the SCSM console to the Visual Studio debugger. Unfortunately, since the Visual Studio Authoring Extensions are not yet ready for Visual Studio 2012, I will write this post based on Visual Studio 2010.

Localizing/Changing SCSM Portal quick launch navigation links

In Switzerland a total of four languages are spoken. Beside German, Italian and French there is also a fourth language called Romansh (see also http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Romansh_language) which only a few people speak. However, because there are multiple languages spoken in Switzerland it is common that we have to localize System Center Service Manager portal. There are already many blog posts (including this one from Travis Wright http://blogs.technet.com/b/servicemanager/archive/2012/02/14/how-to-select-the-portal-language-in-scsm-2012.aspx) about localizing Sharepoint by installing the appropriate language packs.

How to create a new SCSM object from custom form

I recently had to create a custom form on which I had to place a button to create a new SCSM object. The goal of the form was that one could create a new Phone object directly by clicking a button on a custom Person object form. This may be not a common requirement but is pretty handy if you want to link an object with another one which does not yet exist.

How to embed Files in Management Pack Bundle with Visual Studio Authoring Extensions (VSAE)

Recently I wrote a post about adding dll resource files to a Management Pack Bundle with Visual Studio Authoring Extensions (VSAE). Now this only works for .mp and .dll files. If you want to include for example an image file to your Management Pack Bundle which is going to be displayed as a Folder Icon, you first have to add the file to your Management Pack Project. Now if you build your Management Pack Project the file is not yet included in the Management Pack Bundle.

How to add a button to edit ListView item on a custom SCSM form

I recently had to work with ListViews on custom forms to represent related CIs. While working on this, I was asked if it would be possible to edit objects in this ListView directly from the form by just selecting the object and then clicking on a button to open the form for this object. The result should look something like this. A click on the Edit button should open the form for the selected object

Include DLL Files in Management Pack Bundle with Visual Studio Authoring Extensions (VSAE)

Since I am mostly using Visual Studio with Authoring Extensions to design Management Packs, I was happy to find an easy way to add external dll resource files to a Management Pack Bundle. Marcel Zehner wrote a nice blog post about creating a custom CI class with VSAE. When I was working on a project for which I had to design some custom Service Manager Console forms I had to bundle a DLL file which contained the custom forms with the Management Pack .