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by alkin

System Center Opalis 6.3 Unleashed Book is up on Amazon for Pre-order

May 6, 2011 at 7:31 am in 6.3, Amazon, Opalis, system center, Unleashed by alkin

0672335611 front cover - February 4 2011

The System Center Opalsi 6.3 Unleashed book is up on Amazon for Pre-order http://tinyurl.com/OpalisUnleashed !

I hope you will enjoy reading it and find a lot of interesting information in it.

Thanks,
Alexandre Verkinderen

Opalis new IPs and Operator Console installer

January 27, 2011 at 8:54 am in 6.3, Installing, integration packs, IP, Operator Console by mikeresseler

Interessting news I’ve read today… Well actually 2 news items about Opalis got my attention.

1. New Integration Packs

(Original to be found here)

Quest just released an integration packs for Opalis.  The IP contains 3 objects which are FTP, Telnet and HTTP.

The download can be found here

Robert Hearn discusses them in his blogpost on the Opalis Blog

Ow, and did I mentioned they are FREE [:D]

2. New Operator Console installer

(Original to be found here)

The most difficult part of the Opalis installation is the Operator Console installation… While there is already a powershell script to make it a bit easier, there is now a new tool that simplifies and automates the installation.

The tool is written by a company called Kelverion

More info can be found here:

Info: http://www.kelverion.com/news/2011/1/26/kelverion-configuration-utility-for-opconsole-released.html

Demo: http://www.kelverion.com/utility-for-opconsole-demo

Request download: http://www.kelverion.com/utility-for-opconsole-download/

Ow, and did I mention it is free [:D][:D]

Enjoy

Cheers,

Mike

 

Using Computer Groups in Opalis

January 24, 2011 at 4:26 pm in 6.3, Client, Computer Groups, How To, system center, workflows, Workspace designer by mikeresseler

While I was playing around with Opalis this weekend, I noticed the computer groups in the Opalis Integration Client.  When I figured out what they are, I noticed that they can be extremely powerful.

The Computer Groups can be found in the Connections Pane

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What are computer groups?

Computer groups are a way of creating collections of computers by using rules and searches.  They can be used in objects where you need to fill in a computer name.  And that’s what makes them so powerful.  Every time you need to do an activity on a computer, you can do this activity on a collection of computers, so that you do the activity on multiple computers, and that you don’t need to create multiple times the object, or trigger the policy multiple times.  Imagine you have a workflow that needs to do an activity on ALL exchange servers.  Instead of triggering the policy multiple times, you now can trigger it one time, and target the activity to the computer group and you’re done…

How can we create such a computer group?

Computer groups are created in the workflow designer, aka the Opalis Integration Client and are found in the connections pane (see above).

Whenever you have selected the Computer Groups in the Connections Pane, you will see 2 icons appear next to the Connect and Disconnect icons. 

The first icon is the new folder icon.

clip_image001

This icon or button will create a new folder in your computer groups hierarchy.  This is particularly handy when you need to create a lot of computer groups or want to sort the computer groups per workflow or so.  It can be also handy when you want to put different security on the different groups.

The second icon is the new computer group icon.

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This icon or button will create a new computer group in the current folder that is selected.

You can always right click and see also the possibilities

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When we have chosen to create a new Computer Group, this is what we get:

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Fill in the name of your group and a description.  In our example, we are going to create a group that contains all AD servers.  If you are finished, press the Contents tab.

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Now press the Add button to add computers to your group

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In this window, you can choose the method to create your group:

Computer: Select a computer manually.

Active Directory Query: Create an AD query that will be automatically updated.

SMS Collection: If you have SMS or SCCM in your environment, then you can select a SMS Collection that contains the right computers.

A few remarks here:

  • You can use the Add button multiple times meaning that you can create a group based on multiple criteria
  • Using the Computer option allows you to select one computer at a time, so it means a lot of work if you want to create a computer group like that.  It is also static
  • Using the Active Directory Query is already powerful.  Certainly when your AD is well organized according to your automation needs :-)
  • The SMS Collection (if you have this in your environment) is extremely powerful and can be used to create a dynamic computer group.

Finally you press the Finish button and your group is created.

Now you can use the group in your policies / workflows.

Cheers,

Mike

What’s inside an OIP?

January 15, 2011 at 9:03 am in 6.3, integration packs, IP, Opalis, system center, system center IP by mikeresseler

Did you ever wanted to know what’s inside an Opalis Integration Pack file?

Here’s how you can do see it…

1. Select the original OIP file, in our case, we are going to use the System Center Configuration Manager Integration Pack

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2. Rename the file to .zip

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3. Extract the file to a location that suits you

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4. Browse to the folder to see what it contains

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In this case, there’s a cap file, an eula and an MSI.

Those with a bit of packaging / deployment skills can now look at the MSI for more information :-)

Enjoy

Cheers,

Mike

Opalis Support Articles

January 13, 2011 at 9:24 am in Action Server, error, issue, KB, Opalis, Support by mikeresseler

A friend of mine asked if I had a list of Opalis articles (support articles, knowledgebase articles, fast publish…)

As I am working on an Opalis course, I happened to create one.  Figured I could share it with you all…

 Enjoy

cheers,

Mike

 

Legacy Objects

January 12, 2011 at 11:28 am in 6.3, foundation object library, foundation objects, Legacy, Opalis, policy by mikeresseler

As said during the previous post, I’m going to discuss Legacy Objects today.  This is based on the 6.3 version of Opalis.  If you are still running Opalis 6.2.2, you will see a difference in the objects in the Legacy container.

1. Part of the Foundation Object Library

Legacy Objects are part of the Foundation Object Library which means that they are installed by default.  However, when you open the Opalis Client, they won’t be visible.  You need to make them manually visible.  You can do this as following:

In the Client, go to Options -> Configure

In the window that appears (the Configuration window) check Show Legacy Objects (requires Client restart)

Press Finish

The only thing left to do is to restart the client and then they will be visible for you.

2. Objects

Following objects are part of the legacy category

Connect / Disconnect Dial-up, Copy File, Create Folder, Delete File, Delete Folder, Filter Email, Filter Exchange Email, Get Dial-Up Status, Get File Status, Manage Text File, Monitor Event Log Capacity, Monitor File, Monitor Folder, Monitor Performance, Move File, Process Email, Process Exchange Email, Read Email, Read Exchange Email, Rename File, Send Pop-up, Wait

3. Why are they “Legacy”?

There is a great article about it on the Opalis blog: Legacy Means Deprecated

The Legacy objects still exist because of backwards compatibility reasons, but you should avoid using them in your new policies.  And if you have older policies from previous versions still running in your environment, then you should change them and remove the legacy objects as soon as possible.

If you are wondering why these objects shouldn’t be used anymore, here are two reasons:

  • The Legacy object doesn’t work with the pipeline mode.
  • The objects are getting old and don’t work anymore as they should.

For the first reason, here are the objects that don’t play nicely with the pipeline mode:

Filter Email, Filter Exchange Email, Process Email, Process Exchange Email, Read Email, Read Exchange Email, Wait

If you still want to use them, then place them in a separate workflow that uses the non-pipeline mode and trigger the workflow through another workflow. 

For the second reason, almost every object that has gotten old has been replaced by an equivalent.  The details of that are found in the Legacy Means Deprecated post.

4. Conclusion

As most of these objects are replaced by an equivalent it is my advice not to use legacy objects anymore (you never know if they are still going to be there in the next version.)

If you have older workflows, then change them as soon as possible with the newer object.

If for any reason you still need them, then place them in another workflow and trigger them.  And I’m not talking about the non-pipeline mode objects alone, I would advise to place all legacy objects in another workflow.  This will make it easier to change them afterwards.

Whether you like it or not, legacy means deprecated, and in the software world this means that it are features that are still there for backwards compatibility, but nobody knows until which version they will be kept.

Cheers,

Mike

 

 

Integration Pack? Foundation Objects?

January 9, 2011 at 12:33 pm in 6.3, foundation object library, foundation objects, integration packs, Opalis by mikeresseler

I had an interesting discussion with some friends about Opalis yesterday.  We were talking about the difference between an Integration Pack and the Foundation Objects.

Before I give you the details, just a quick overview of the Foundation Object Libary.

This library contains all the objects that come by default when you have installed Opalis Integration Server.  They are divided in a series of different toolbox folders (this is the 6.3 version status and can change with each different version):

1. Email

Send Email: Send_Email  Send Exchange Email:Send_Exchange_Email

2. File Management

Compress File: Compress_File Copy File: Copy_File Create Folder: Create_Folder Decompress File: Decompress_File Delete File: Delete_File Delete Folder: Delete_Folder Get File Status: Get_File_Status Monitor File: Monitor_File Monitor Folder: Monitor_Folder Move File: Move_File Move Folder: Move_Folder PGP Decrypt File: PGP_Decrypt_File PGP Encrypt File: PGP_Encrypt_File Print File: Print File Rename File: Rename_File

3. Legacy (see note below)

Connect / Disconnect Dial-up: Connect_Disconnect_Dial-up Copy File: Copy_File_Legacy Create Folder: Create_Folder_Legacy Delete File: Delete_File_Legacy Delete Folder: Delete_Folder_Legacy Filter Email: Filter Email Filter Exchange Email: Filter_Exchange_Email Get Dial-Up Status: Get_Dial-Up_Status Get File Status: Get_File_Status_Legacy Manage Text File: Manage_Text_File Monitor Event Log Capacity: Monitor Event Log Capacity Monitor File: Monitor_File_Legacy Monitor Folder: Monitor_Folder_Legacy Monitor Performance: Monitor_Performance Move File: Move_File_Legacy Process Email: Process_Email Process Exchange Email: Process_Exchange_Email Read Email: Read_Email Read Exchange Email: Read_Exchange_Email Rename File: Rename_File_Legacy Send Pop-up: Send_Popup Wait: Wait

4. Monitoring

Get Computer / IP Status: Get_Computer_IP_Status Get Disk Space Status: Get_Disk_Space_Status Get Internet Application Status: Get_Internet_Application_Status Get Process Status: Get_Process_Status Get Service Status: Get_Service_Status Monitor Computer / IP: Monitor_Computer_IP Monitor Disk Space: Monitor_Disk_Space Monitor Event Log: Monitor_Event_Log Monitor Internet Application: Monitor_Internet_Application Monitor Process: Monitor_Process Monitor Service: Monitor_Service Monitor WMI: Monitor_WMI

5.  Notification

Send Event Log Message: Send_Event_Log_Message Send Page: Send_Page Send Platform Event: Send_Platform_Event Send Syslog Message: Send_Syslog_Message

 

6.  Scheduling

Check Schedule: Check_Shedule Monitor Date / TimeMonitor_Date_Time

 

7. System

End Process: End_Process Get SNMP Variable: Get_SNMP_Variable Monitor SNMP Trap: Monitor_SNMP_Trap Purge Event Log: Purge_Event_Log Query WMI: Query_WMI Restart System: Restart_System Run .NET Script: Run_.net_Script Run Program: Run_Program Run SSH Command: Run_SSH_Command Save Event Log: Save_Event_Log Send SNMP Trap: Send_SNMP_Trap Set SNMP Variable: Set_SNMP_Variable Start / Stop Service: Start_Stop_Service

 

8. Text File Management

Append Line: Append Line Delete Line: Delete Line Find Text: Find_Text Get Lines: Get_Lines Insert Lines: Insert_Line Read Line: Read_Line Search And Replace Text: Search_And_Replace_Text

 

9.   Utilities

Apply XLST: Apply XLST Compare Values: Compare_Values Disconnect Network Path: Disconnect_Network_Path Format Date / Time: Format_Date_Time Generate Random Text: Generate_Random_Text Get Counter Value: Get_Counter_Value Invoke Web Services: Invoke_Web_Services Map Network Path: Map_Network_Path Map Published Data: Map_Published_Data Modify Counter: Modify_Counter Query Database: Query_Database Query XML: Query_XML Read Text Log: Read_Text_Log Write to Database: Write_To_Database Write Web Page: Write_Web_Page

 

10. Workflow Control

Custom Start: Custom Start Junction: Junction Publish Policy Data: Publish_Policy_Data Trigger Policy: Trigger_Policy

 

As you can see, you get a lot of objects (97) that are included with the standard installation of Opalis Integration Server.  All of these objects can be used to do data manipulation, monitoring, setting data, getting information and so on in your workflows. 

Note: Legacy objects will be discussed in another post, but are preferred not to be used anymore.  But more on that in another post.

 

Now we know what the Foundation Object Library is, and what objects are inside.  Now what are Integration Packs?  Integration Packs are collections of objects that provide product specific activities that can orchestrate tasks.  So Integration Packs will be about specific products, such as the integration packs for the different system center products, or the packs for BMC or CA as examples.

To conclude: The Foundation Objects are objects that come with the base install and that provide basic functionality for data manipulation, monitoring and so on… Integration Packs are product specific objects to manipulate specific products.

 

Cheers,

Mike

Movie: Registering and Deploying Integration Packs

January 6, 2011 at 11:34 am in 6.3, Action Server, Deployment Manager, integration packs, IP, Register by mikeresseler

Hey All,

I just finished my first movie about System Center Opalis.

This movie shows you how to register and deploy Integration Packs:

[View:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ov7ECcVfgmM] 

Here’s the overview:

The deployment manager

The deployment manager is the tool where everything happens.

image

We start with Registering some Integration Packs in the deployment manager

image image image

 

 

 

After that, we deploy the Integration Packs to our Action Server

image image image image image image

Stay tuned for our next movie about Opalis which will handle how to create your first policy

Cheers,

Mike

Opalis Architecture

December 23, 2010 at 7:09 pm in 6.3, Architecture, Management Server, Opalis, Operator Console, stencil, system center, visio by mikeresseler

In the last blog post we presented you with the Opalis Visio stencils.  As I mentioned there, I created those to draw an Opalis architecture.

The reason I wanted to do that, is because I receive a lot of questions lately about Opalis.  This product really gets a lot of attention lately.  It will probably take some time but many large customers are already interested.  Instead of always redrawing the entire picture (although I like to draw :-))… I decided to draw it in Visio and share.

Here it is…

 

Opalis_Architecture

The info:

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This is a workstation connecting to the operator console, which is by default port 5314 (or 8443 when you secure it as a best practice)

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This is a workstation that contains the client installed.  Here you can create your policies (or workflows).  You need port 135 for this (and dynamic ports because of the DCOM behavior)

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This is the server that got the Opalis Operator Console installed.  It listens on port 5314 (or 8443) (see above) and needs to be able to connect to the SQL database (port 1433 default)

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This is the server that got the management service installed.  It needs to be able to receive port 135 for the client(s) that are installed on other machines (see above) and also needs to be able to connect to the SQL database (port 1433 default)

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This is the Opalis Database.  A lot of the components need to be able to connect to this server through 1433 (or other when you have changed the SQL port)

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This is an action server.  These servers need to be able to connect over 1433 to the Opalis Database (it starts to get boring right ;-))

image

And finally we have some servers.  These servers receive their policy from the action servers.  Depending on the poilcy, objects and so on, different ports will be needed.  Therefore I always prefer to put an Action Server in a specific environment (domain, vlan, site…) so that you can have full communication between the action server and the servers.

 

One last thing, when you want to deploy action servers or clients through the console, you also need the ports 135, 139 and 445 from the Management service server to the target servers.  So you’ll probably install these components manually :-)

Enjoy

Cheers,

Mike

PS: I attached the visio also and the stencils can be downloaded from www.infrontconsulting.com/resources

by

Opalis Visio Stencils

December 20, 2010 at 12:10 pm in Architecture, integration packs, IP, Opalis, stencil, system center, visio, vss by

A week ago I had to create an architecture in Visio for Opalis. 

First thing I did was search for existing Opalis visio stencils.  Since it didn’t exist, I figured I would create them myself.

The problem here is that I have never did this before, but luckily, I had some help from a few guys that know their Visio :-)

When I finished the stencil, some of my co-workers asked if it was possible to create also stencils for the objects.

My first thought was that it wasn’t necessary since there is already an automatic visio creator that can translate your policies to visio drawings

See here: http://blogs.technet.com/b/yasc/archive/2010/12/14/opalis-vsd-generator-1-2-now-with-word-document-generation.aspx

But then again, in many cases, I need to create the policy first “on paper” so having these objects in visio stencils would be great for me (and probably not only for me…)

The “bad” thing here is that I needed to “clean” the copies of the icons I took before they would become transparent.

Anyway, I’ve now finished a general Opalis stencil and all the foundation object categories

Download here: http://www.infrontconsulting.com/docs/Opalis.zip

And I’ve also finished the objects for the different System Center Integration Packs

Download here: http://www.infrontconsulting.com/docs/Opalis%20-%20System%20Center%20OIP.zip

(Or go to http://www.infrontconsulting.com/resources.php) and download them from there.

I will continue to create the stencils for the other OIP’s also…

If there are people that make their own OIP’s, and want to share me the icons, then let me know, I’ll be gladly turn them into a stencil.

Enjoy them, they are free 😉

Cheers,

Mike