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Wednesday, March 19, 2008

HP OM8 for Windows - First Review

While at PEG March '08 I've been attending the Operations Manager Windows 8/SiteScope training. I've had the web-delivered "intro to" session a couple of months ago, but there's nothing like the hands-on with the HP experts there to walk you through and answer questions.

Prior to this week, I knew at a high-level what most of the new features/functions to the Windows version of the product would be. A lot of the functionality that was previously only available with the Unix version has been ported. I also knew about Reporter, the HTTPS agents, and Performance being packaged up together in OMW8.

My initial thoughts after three days of instructor-led hands-on is that there are enough significant improvements here for any OVOW 7.x users to start planning their upgrade. And anyone who is going down the path of trying to find an ESM solution should give this product a fair shake in their evaluations.

Nodes Business Like ESM Business
Having the External Nodes feature available for the Windows platform is great. You can use the standard pattern matching syntax for OM to match messages from nodes not in DNS against "catch-all" groups and this is helpful as many organizations don't seem to have their DNS 100% clean... But besides processing messages, the ability (which has been there previously) to have nodes without agents in the node & service topology is quite handy. HP has put a new wrapper around the node config editor which is useful since the addition of the HTTPS agent type makes node config a little trickier than it used to be. However, you can always jump to "expert mode" and do things the "old" way. Obviously, the inclusion of the HTTPS agents is a huge leap forwards for the Windows management world, but beware - it's not just a single port each way to manage through the firewall. Another really nice touch is the ability to push HTTPS agents to UNIX nodes. This function is technically unsupported, but easy and useful.

Service Please!
Version 8 also brings the CLI access to the configuration of service via the service API.

Config This
For anyone who's rolled up their sleeves and dug into the OVOW registry previously, you'll be glad to hear about the Server Configuration editor in OMW8. Many of the settings and configuration that were largely unknown and only available through registry edits are now contained in this powerful GUI. Config items from auditing to database to agent certificates are accessed through this interface. Another long-awaiting config item is the ability to add AD groups to roles in the User Role Config Editor.

Other useful features include the unplanned/scheduled outages, remote action security, and detailed heart-beat polling config options.

All-in-all, if you're an OVOW shop today, start talking to your consultants about the upgrade (it's going to take some planning!) and if you're not using a tool like this yet, check it out. Pricing is still going to be the major issue for anyone new to this market space, and I'm waiting to hear from HP if they'll be offering an "Express" package like they did for OVOW 7.5x to make it more affordable to the mid-tier market.

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