Thursday, June 24, 2010

SCOM: System Center Operations Manager R2 Unleashed - Review - A GREAT Supplement

A few weeks ago I got my copy of the supplement to the book 'System Center Operations Manager 2007 Unleashed', called 'System Center Operations Manager 2007 R2 Unleashed'.

I love the 'Unleashed' books for SCCM and SCOM and couldn't wait to get my hands on this one. As I blogged a while ago, this book contains a lot of updates compared to the first book. This blogpost is a my personal review about the contents and as far as I know my first public book review.

This book is writen by the same authors as it's big brother. Along with many other SCOM specialists they managed to create a very useful and practical technical add-on. It's really loaded with in-depth information.

Why I think you should get this book:
  • A lot of best practices & examples
  • A convenient and clear summary of updates/changes on SCOM since its introduction
  • A great chapter about X-plat/Cross-platform monitoring, including a walkthrough and examples with 3rd party management packs!
  • All you need to know about Windows 2008 and System Center Operations Manager R2, it's there
  • Nice writing about upgrading SQL 2005 to SQL 2008
  • Everything you need/wanted to know about the OpsMgr PowerShell Extensions
    Including: practical documentation, examples and performance enhancements
  • A virtualization update about managing virtual infrastructures
  • Nice chapter about MP Authoring. I think this can help a lot of SCOM admins with creating management packs.
  • Many best-practices SCOM admins can find on the web are finally grabbed together in this "fat pocket guide"
  • Nice examples (SQL queries & Powershell)
  • Cross-platform in a nutshell
  • It's clearly visible the authors worked together with the known MVP's and other specialists. The MP cook down practices are a great example of this.
  • The book has answers to most of the questions that can arise with managing SCOM, like performance, scaling, backup & recovery.
  • Nice appendix with more up-to-date MP tuning tips (compilation of which moved to
Small ;) Cons:
  • VMM promo. The virtualization chapter takes the reader along the features of VMM integration with OpsMgr. It's a nice promo & walkthrough, but it would be nice to also see more of Bridgeway's of Veeam's MP. I must say the authors did a great job showing some features of the VMM MP, of which you could benefit when you use VMware virtualization technology without vCenter. (I think this could be an item of the pros list ;) )
  • The pages could use some chapter - paragraph header info. Because of the information load, it's nice to know where you're at :D (like the original book)
  • I think adding extra in-depth information about creating and using Reports is the last item that's missing for a SCOM admin to be fully equiped. This book contains a paragraph about the R2 enhancements and using a linked report in the Authoring Console. It would be nice to add some best-practices/guides about getting more from the Reporting feature like they did in the chapter about the PowerShell Extensions chapter. More examples like in the previous book would be nice!
  • On page 13 it states the R2 version of the Windows Service Management Pack template enables wildcard entry to select multiple, similarly named services. I'm still searching for this, but haven't been able to use wildcards with this template besides using the WmiProviderWithClassSnapshotDataMapper.

Book 'Rollup': Very Healthy

Great book for every SCOM admin and author. I think this is a piece of equipment every SCOM admin should have in his/her toolbox. Along with the 'System Center Operations 2007 Unleashed' book of course.

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