April 17 2013

Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert (MCSE): Private Cloud

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Private Cloud

A few days ago I completed the final exam and achieved my latest industry certification – “Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert (MCSE): Private Cloud”.

The final exam that I undertook was 70-246 – Monitoring and Operating a Private Cloud with System Center 2012. I found this exam easier than the 70-247 exam and it had a heavy focus on SCOM and a lighter focus on DPM, SCSM, SCORC, SCCM & VMM. I recommend a very good working knowledge of SCOM before attempting this exam and at least a good level of knowledge of the functionality and interoperability of the DPM, SCSM, SCORC, SCCM & VMM products.

Good luck!



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April 4 2013

System Center 2012 SP1 resources

I went hunting for the download of SP1 for System Center 2012 today, but as I suspected this isn’t a public download, it’s only available via MVLS, TechNet etc. I came across a great link that summarises a lot of the information and links that you need to know about for Service Pack 1 of System Center 2012. Head to http://systemscentre.blogspot.co.uk/2013/01/system-center-2012-service-pack-1.html for more info.



March 30 2013

Exam 70-247: Config & Deploy Private Cloud with SC2012

Today I took and passed the 70-247: “Configuring and Deploying a Private Cloud with System Center 2012” exam as part of my track to obtain the MCSE: Private Cloud certification.

I found the exam reasonably challenging. The exam focused mainly on VMM & App Controller, a fair bit of DPM, SCSM & SCOM and a little bit of App-V and SCORC.

There is an MVP who has broken down his experience of the exam – http://blog.scsmfaq.ch/2012/07/06/private-cloud-exam-70-247-my-experience/ – I would agree  with the breakdown however my exam was 62 questions and included 2 large case studies.

I’d recommend a very good understanding and experience with VMM & App Controller, and at least a good logical understanding of the remaining technologies before sitting this exam.




September 6 2012

Application Approval Workflow Solution Accelerator

Straight from the TechNet website (http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/hh881789.aspx) – Application Approval Workflow (AAW) takes an application request submitted through the System Center 2012 Configuration Manager Application Catalog and transforms it into a System Center 2012 – Service Manager service request, allowing flexible approval lists and activities.

In my scenario I was interested in having a different approvers for different applications when users were requesting applications through the SCCM Application Catalog (Self Service portal).  It was not sufficient to have SCCM Administrators as application approvers, sometimes we needed department manager to be the approver, sometimes the line manager and sometimes the application owner.  After implementing SCCM, SCSM and SCORC, here are a few of the things I learnt along the way when implementing the AAW Solution Accelerator (mostly for self reference later on!):

  • Even after installing AAW you still don’t have any workflow templates – there are 3 sample ones here (http://blogs.technet.com/b/servicemanager/archive/2012/06/20/application-approval-workflow-sample-templates.aspx) – line manager approval, department manager approval and multistep approval process. Like a lot of Service Manager administration, you need to use PowerShell to import these (Import-SCSMManagementPack cmdlet);
  • The account used in the SCSM Orchestrator connector needs to be a member of the OrchestratorUsersGroup  group;
  • The account used in the Orchestrator Integration Packs configuration needs to be a member of the OrchestratorSystemGroup group;
  • At one stage I was getting ‘The object ‘Get Extended Application Information’ in the Runbook ‘CM-> SM Synchronization’ failed’ error in SCORC, this seemed to be happening because SCORC was installed on the same server as SCCM, I moved SCORC to a different server and the error did not reappear. I believe this is something to with having SCORC on the SCCM primary server as the Orchestrator Integration Packs configuration would not let me use credential to set up the connection to SCCM as it considered this a ‘local’ connection;
  • ‘Selection Criteria’ needs to be created through SCSM to associate the workflow template with the application or user – this then needs to be put into ‘production’ status;
  • Upon first attempt to access the SCSM Self Service portal, ‘Access Denied’ error is shown. Solution is here – http://systemcenter.no/?p=136;
  • You will come across this issue if you are using the default which is to use a self signed certificate – I needed to create a new certificate, ensure the issuing CA was trusted on the client and update the webconfig file – http://blogs.technet.com/b/servicemanager/archive/2012/05/04/faq-why-is-my-self-service-portal-service-catalog-blank.aspx and http://www.code4ward.net/main/Blog/tabid/70/EntryId/139/Service-Manager-2012-Self-Service-Portal-not-working-blank.aspx

Maybe this well assist someone else along the way….