One of the best things about System Center Operations Manager is the ability to add Company Knowledge to its database. What this means is that, when an error occurs (when a monitor creates an alert) then you can add company knowledge stating why that alert occurs in your environment and how to resolve the situation. The next time that the issue occurs you have to hand the knowledge how to resolve it. In any environment with more than one administrator in IT this can drastically reduce the Time To Fix for any issues as individual administrator do not need to keep re-inventing the wheel every time a situation occurs.
So, how do you configure this ? Well, it’s rather simple really. You just need to install a compatible version of Word (2003, 2007 or 2010 Professional Edition – 32 bit only, no 64 bit Word support – should be latest service pack) and also the Microsoft Visual Studio 2005 Tools for the Microsoft Office System onto any system running the Operations Manager Console. Word needs to have .NET programmability support enabled. If not you will get the error “Failed to launch Microsoft word. Please make sure Microsoft word is installed“.
If you do need to add in programmability support then click on “Add or Remove Programs” or similar in Control Panel, select your version of Office and select Modify or Change as appropriate.
Select Add or Remove Features and click on “Continue“.
Change .Net Programmability Support to Run From My Computer and click on “Continue“.
It’s a best practice to access the Root Management Server using the console remotely rather than on the server itself as this reduces load on the RMS. That is, from a Management Workstation (or an administrators laptop). In this regard, it’s usual that a full / default installation of Office has already taken place and a separate additional license for Word is not required as would be the case if Word were installed directly on the Root Management Server.
Microsoft Visual Studio 2005 Tools for the Microsoft Office System can be downloaded from http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=74969. This is the version you will need to install even if you are installing Office 2010.
To install the SCOM console you will need the .NET Management Frameworks 2.0 and 3.0 installed. If you also want to install the command shell then install PowerShell 2.0 first.
Once the prerequisites, console, Word and Visual Studio Tools have been installed Company Knowledge can be updated. Simply right click the appropriate object and click on Properties
Click on the Company Knowledge tab and click on “New” to create a new management pack if appropriate.
Name the Management Pack in a fashion that will allow you to identify it later and add in some descriptive text. Click on “Next“.
Click on “Create” to create the new management pack.
You will then be returned to the original company knowledge screen. Click on the “Edit” button to edit the company knowledge for this item.
Word will launch and you can enter information in the template.
Ensure that you click on the “Save” button before closing the Word interface. The Company Information will now be held against the individual item. Ensure you click on the “Save” button on the Company Knowledge tab.
If an alert is created for this item in future then the Company Knowledge tab is populated.
As knowledge of items and their resolution increases you can click on “Edit Monitor” to take you to the monitor that fired the alert and update the Company Information. As you can see a little effort means that knowledge of how to maintain the network and services need no longer reside in the heads of individual technicians and engineers but can be immediately available to all members of the team.