Authoring in System Center 2012 Operations Manager

I’ve been pretty silent here on the blog in the last few weeks as I was heads down in getting through various milestones.  As we are starting to get some interesting things out there into the public though, I wanted to give everyone some updates on what we’re working on and also to do some clarification on some content that you may be seeing.

System Center 2012 Operations Manager Release Candidate

You should have noticed by now that the Release Candidate for System Center 2012 Operations Manager is available.  There are some outstanding new features in this release, but if you go through the list of improvements you won’t see too much for authoring management packs.  Once you install the product, you may notice that the Authoring pane is essentially the same as it was in Operations Manager 2007 R2. 

There is one very significant addition with the .NET Application Performance Monitoring template.  That comes from our acquisition of AVIcode and provides deep monitoring of .NET applications with just come configuration required on your part.  Rather than help you author management packs, that template will give you a whole lot of great monitoring without you having to author a darn thing.  We also now have dashboards which are going to give you an entirely new set of possibilities for accessing information that your management packs are collecting.

But what about making your life easier when you want to create a custom monitor, or write a script to test some application feature, or design some custom model to represent your application?  Those features have not changed from 2007 R2 to 2012.  BUT, there are some very cool things going on in that area.  You can get a brief preview of what’s coming on our new authoring landing page in the TechNet Wiki.  I admit that’s awfully brief for the moment, but we will be expanding that content as soon as those tools come available.  The bottom line is that you are definitely getting some effective new tools for creating custom monitoring – both for 2012 and for 2007 R2.

System Center 2012 Operations Manager Authoring Guide

Something else that you now have access to is the Release Candidate of the System Center 2012 Operations Manager Authoring Guide.  If you’re familiar with the R2 Authoring Guide, then you may have a bit of confusion with the different type of content here so I wanted to provide some explanation and give some idea of where we’re going.

The R2 Authoring Guide focuses on intermediate to advanced authors who require monitoring scenarios beyond what you can build in the Operations Console.  This is a level of content that we had not provided until that point, and we needed to get that information out there.  The more basic content for features in the Operations Console were kind of hidden inside the Operations Manager 2007 R2 User’s Guide.

We did some significant rethinking for the structure of the documentation for 2012 and have hopefully made the content more accessible.  The Authoring Guide for System Center 2012 Operation Manager fits into that documentation set to provide a complete set of content for your experience in the Operations Console.  It should also be a significant improvement over the User’s Guide for 2007 R2 by providing more context around the different monitoring scenarios.

Authoring Content for 2012

So what about the more advanced content and the content for the new tools?  First, we will be maintaining the Management Pack Development Kit on MSDN.  That will be updated for changes in 2012, and it will remain the reference for modules and data types.  The other content is going to be moving to the TechNet Wiki.  Our rationale for moving this content out of the TechNet Library is to provide a means for the community to collaborate.  We’ve seen a variety of great information and samples out there that we couldn’t possibly create all on our own.  Moving to the Wiki is going to allow the community to add to our content and provide a better set of information than we could create on our own.  This will also allow other Microsoft organizations to get provide their input, such as our field resources in MCS and PFE who have a wealth of information in this area.

We are also going to be doing some additional restructuring of content and samples that we are providing.  One thing that we’re not satisfied with at the moment is the sheer number of places that you have to go looking for stuff when you need some assistance in building some custom monitoring.  We want to try to do a better job of consolidating the information that’s available and providing a single experience to guide you through the content.

I’ll be getting out more information here as these things start taking shape.  In the meantime, comments are always welcome here or send a mail to