SCOM Review

It monitors each node and advises you that a particular node is unreachable/down in a very short time.


What is most valuable?

SCOM is a very powerful tool if deployed and eventually maintained correctly. It is an improvement over MOM 2005. It no longer monitors just a node like MOM 2005 used to do (eg: a server) but it can be made to monitor a whole service.

How has it helped my organization?

SCOM 2012 monitors each node and advises you that a particular node is unreachable/down in a very short time. This time a.k.a as the polling time is dependent upon number of nodes, network traffic and the speed of the scom servers and network equipment. Having a short time helps to meet the SLA target.

What needs improvement?

Unfortunately, when you need to monitor member servers which are not joined to the same domain as the SCOM servers, you need to go through the certificate route (so that you can have the required trust through the certificate). This is very time consuming and very prone to error.

For how long have I used the solution?

3years.

What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

SCOM requires that all servers are from 2008server upwards. Does not work with Server 2003 or lower. Moreover, the respective service packs need to be installed.

As regards Linux servers, a specific file must be configured so that SCOM is allowed to communicate to.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

No particular issues were encountered. If it is allocated the required resources, service pack installed etc, it should have a reasonable performance.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

SCOM 2012 was implemented and monitored 300+ servers and various network connections. Issues that were encountered is with respect to servers which were not on the same windows domain as the SCOM servers.

How are customer service and technical support?

Customer Service:

Customer service was fine. However, a trained support team is required so that the SCOM is handled correctly and in a timely manner.

Technical Support:

Technical support from Microsoft was always given in a timely manner when required. Technical support advice was analyzed and taken on board when required.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

MOM 2005 was used but this supports up to 2003 Server. Having upgraded all servers to Server 2008 upwards necessitated this switch. Finally it proved to be a good choice.

How was the initial setup?

MOM experience helped a lot since the basics are the same. You have to open the required TCP ports and allocate the required resources so that setup succeeds.

What about the implementation team?

It was implemented in-house. A group of engineers designed, planned and implemented SCOM 2012. Their level of expertise was very high and they were MCSE engineers.

What was our ROI?

The ROI is in the form that the Service Level Agreement (SLA) is met and downtime minimized as possible. This reduced the penalties incurred to us from customers.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

Cannot comment on this. I was on the technical aspect of SCOM. However this was given "for free" as part with the SCCM package.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

There are various other options, like OP5 and Zabbix but being in a Microsoft environment, SCOM was the way to go.

What other advice do I have?

No comments so far. SCOM has a lot of potential and can give a helping hand in maintaining a healthy network.

**Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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author avatarProgrammer Analyst at a leisure / travel company with 10,001+ employees
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I posted my own review of SCOM 2012 a few days ago and for the most part it is parallel to Christopher's review here.

Yes, I do agree that SCOM is a very powerful monitoring system and as long as you "set it up correctly THE FIRST TIME" by fully planning the installation and have a good long term maintenance plan in place and have monitoring processes documented and enforced in your organization, then it will be successful for you. That being said, there were several items that Microsoft really needs to correct in order for SCOM to be a serious contender in my book.

Saying that SCOM requires a trained support team just to manage the system is an understatement. There is constant training needed, as well as constant server administration (monthly patching of SCOM servers can be extremely time consuming).

Development and new feature availability in SCOM are.... slow - when compared to competitors. This isn't really a surprise as on-premise Microsoft services still follow an 'industrial' development lifecycle and fast development is still new and on-going for the SCOM team.

"Monitoring across untrusted boundaries" -- this was my biggest pain when testing out SCOM in my own environment. The process for setting up gateway servers so you can monitor systems in non-trusted domains is very difficult to set up. Most of the issues with non-trusted domains has to do with what Christopher mentioned which is dealing with certificates.

Documentation of SCOM is very extensive. Lots of deployment scenarios exist for SCOM as well. One big tip I can give to someone wanting to plan an installation is to READ, then READ MORE. Then double-check your plan and have it vetted BEFORE starting your first install. Screwing up a SCOM installation is VERY easy to do. If you screw up the install you'll have to start all over again from scratch.

The great thing about SCOM is that once it is set up and running the system is rock solid and is very reliable. You just have to decide if it is worth the cost and effort. For most organizations where they have more Microsoft on-premise services/servers than others, SCOM will most likely be a prime candidate (SCOM is usually 'included' in Enterprise CAL licensing) for licensing cost reasons alone. Just remember that your operational costs may be high due to the need to have well trained SCOM personnel.