Enterprise Manageability The Definitive Guide To Jeremy Moskowitz

Enterprise Manageability The Definitive Guide To Jeremy Moskowitz
realtimepublishers.com
tm
The Definitive Guide To
tm
Enterprise Manageability
Jeremy Moskowitz
Chapter 6
Chapter 6: MOM Implementation ...............................................................................................179
The MOM Console ......................................................................................................................179
Setting Up Agents ........................................................................................................................181
Automatic Agent Installation...........................................................................................181
The Many Groups of MOM.........................................................................................................185
Computer Groups.............................................................................................................186
Processing Rule Groups...................................................................................................187
Exploring Processing Rule Groups......................................................................187
Event Processing Rules........................................................................................189
Alert Processing Rules.........................................................................................190
Performance Processing Rules.............................................................................190
Notification Groups .........................................................................................................190
Putting It All Together .................................................................................................................192
Leveraging the Alert System .......................................................................................................195
Resolution State ...............................................................................................................198
Performance Processing...............................................................................................................199
Summary ......................................................................................................................................204
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Chapter 6: MOM Implementation
In the last chapter, we examined various ways to keep our data center humming along smoothly.
We first explored the HCL, which ensures that Microsoft can actually support the hardware for
your workstation and server systems. We then explored three monitoring solutions: Task
Manager, Performance Monitor, and the Health Monitor from SMS. As we saw, Task Manager is
great for a quick-and-dirty inspection of what’s going happening on a specific system.
Performance Monitor is great for a longer-term view of what’s happening and lets you configure
alerts that the system sends to you when certain thresholds are met. We also explored Health
Monitor, which watches for certain criteria on several systems at once and keeps you abreast of
the systems’ status from a one-stop shop.
To really start to monitor your systems, however, you’ll need to raise the bar a bit and explore
Microsoft’s latest offering—MOM. In the last chapter, we fulfilled the pre-installation tasks and
the prerequisites for MOM, finally performing an Express install of the product (using MSDE
rather than SQL Server). In this chapter, we’ll explore the MOM console to see how you can use
its functions to get the most out of MOM. Although we won’t explore every MOM feature, by
the end of the chapter you should have a better understanding of its feature set.
The MOM Console
In the last chapter, you installed MOM, and it automatically added an icon to the Start menu, as
Figure 6.1 shows.
Figure 6.1: Starting MOM from the Start menu.
To start our journey, click the icon. When you do, you’ll get a birds-eye view of the MOM
console, as Figure 6.2 shows.
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Figure 6.2: MOM opens to an at-a-glance view of your environment.
From this window, we can perform some important tasks. However, before we jump into
configuring various MOM functions, you need to understand a fundamental principal of how
MOM works using Global Properties. For more information, see the sidebar “Understanding
Global Properties.”
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Understanding Global Properties
Global Properties are simply the defaults that are chosen by the system or that you modify to take effect
when that parameter is used. You may set Global Properties for various categories of items in MOM—
Agents, Agent Manager, Consolidator, general settings, and a bunch of others as Figure 6.3 shows.
Figure 6.3: You can set Global Properties for various MOM items.
Then, when you go to actually manipulate one of these sections in MOM, the properties you set up in the
Global Settings are already set in that section of MOM. However, setting Global Properties doesn't mean
that you are married to these settings. For instance, by default, the time to "go forth and search for new
computers on the network" is 2:05 AM. This setting is controlled by the Agent Managers, as we'll see in
just a minute. If you want to change this time for all Agent Managers, you simply change it in the Global
Settings, Agent Manger section and all new Agent Managers would accept your reflected changes.
However, if you want to make an exception for only one Agent Manager, you simply make the
modification directly on that Agent Manager by clearing the Global Settings check box in the Agent
Manger (as you'll see later).
Setting Up Agents
The first item on your agenda should be to tell MOM which computers you want managed. If
you’ll recall, the way to do so is to have a MOM agent sitting on the machines you want to
monitor. You have two ways of getting an agent loaded on a target system: automatically and
manually.
Automatic Agent Installation
Automatic agent installation evaluates patterns of your systems in your environment. For
instance, if you wanted to monitor every server that has the word SALES in its name, MOM
would oblige. If you wanted to monitor every domain controller in the domain, MOM would
oblige. Likewise, if you wanted to monitor every member server in the domain, you could do so.
This functionality is made possible by the MOM Agent Manager component. To configure
automatic agent installation, in the MOM console, drill down to Microsoft Operations Manager,
Configuration, Agent Managers, and double-click the only entry in the right pane, as Figure 6.4
shows.
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Automatic agent installation works only for systems in NT or Win2K domains.
Figure 6.4: Drill down to the Agent Managers folder.
You’ll next be presented with the Agent Manager Properties. Select the Managed Computer
Rules tab, and click Add. We want to select Include to add more systems, then click Next, as
Figure 6.5 shows.
Figure 6.5: You can Include or Exclude specific computers from getting the agent.
Next, we want to add the name of the domain, and initially specify all computers, as Figure 6.6
shows. (In the window that follows the dialog box that Figure 6.6 shows, we can then limit the
machines we want to exclude.) Specify all computers that match the wild card * (which means
all computers), and click Next.
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Figure 6.6: Set the domain name and set a matching pattern for the computer name.
We then want to limit which systems in our domain will automatically get the agent, which we
do in the dialog box that Figure 6.7 shows. We’ll select only Primary Domain Controllers
(PDCs—includes Win2K domain controllers) and Windows NT member servers (includes
Win2K member servers).
Figure 6.7: Select the type of Windows machines you want to match.
When done, click Finish. By default, new agents are deployed at 2:05 AM, but this setting is
configurable as a global setting. If you want to kick off the deployment, then continue with the
following steps. Specifically, you’ll need to tell the Agent Manager to not use the global settings,
and that you want to make this deployment a manual scan. Start this process by clicking the
Agent Installation tab, clearing the Use global settings check box, and selecting Automatically
install and uninstall agents as required, as Figure 6.8 shows.
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Figure 6.8: You can set up a manual scan to kick off agent installation.
You will be prompted if you want to initiate a scan for computers that match. If you click Yes,
you can skip the next step. If you click No, you can always manually initiate a scan by selecting
the Managed Computer Scan tab, and clicking Scan Managed computers now, which Figure 6.9
shows.
Figure 6.9: Clicking Scan managed computers now will initiate the scan.
After you click Apply, the status on the main screen will change to Agent Manager is starting as
Figure 6.10 illustrates.
Figure 6.10: After the status changes, the agents are being installed.
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Clicking F5 to refresh the console occasionally, you’ll note that the status changes to Agent
Manager is discovering managed computers, then again to Agent Manager has processed, and
finally provides a number of computers, as Figure 6.11 shows.
Figure 6.11: You can see the progress of the Agent Manager in the Status column.
After the status changes back to idle, you can right-click the Agent Manager, and select View
Managed Computers to see which computers it brought into the collective, as Figure 6.12 shows.
Figure 6.12: You can see which computers have the agent loaded.
The Many Groups of MOM
The next stop in your MOM setup is to configure the various MOM groups. To do so, click the
Rules icon to get a description of the various group types, as Figure 6.13 shows.
Figure 6.13: MOM provides a screen that describes each group type.
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Computer Groups
A computer group is a collection of computers that share a similarity that lets you monitor them
as a group. For instance, you would set up computer groups for domain controllers, SQL Server
systems, and Exchange Server systems. You could also set up a computer group for all the
machines on which the Engineering group places files. That way, you can monitor and give extra
attention to those servers.
Computer groups are important because you want to limit how much information MOM is
gathering from any computer group. Indeed, MOM is capable of interpreting events from
Exchange Server, SQL Server, and so on, but do you need your SQL Server to tell you about
Exchange events? Probably not. Therefore, you’ll round up similar computers into computer
groups, then tell MOM which information you want to get from each computer group. This
information is called Processing Rules, and we’ll explore them next.
Microsoft has already predefined a huge number of computer groups that meet a wide range of
criteria, as Figure 6.14 shows. Simply click Computer Groups to see the predefined groups that
you can leverage right away.
Figure 6.14: Dive into the computer groups to see the predefined group types.
MOM will automatically evaluate the computers with the agent software on them and figure out
which group the computer falls into. MOM does this by evaluating certain criteria, found on the
Formula tab of each computer group. By default, at 2:05 AM every night, MOM evaluates all the
machines with agents to see which computer groups they fall into.
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)
If you want to manually kick off an evaluation of all systems that have agents, drill drown into
Microsoft Operations Manager, Configuration, Agent Managers, right-click the Agent Manager, and
click Scan managed computers now.
If you want to go the extra mile to create your own computer groups, you can do so, but you’ll
need to find some unique criteria that make those servers stand out. You can limit a group by
name or by querying the systems for a specific attribute. To create your own custom computer
group, right-click Computer Groups, and select New, Computer Group, and zip through the
wizard.
)
Leverage the information on the Formula tab of the current list of computer groups should you get
stuck on the Query language.
Processing Rule Groups
Processing rule groups are applied to computer groups. That is, after you’ve rounded up
computers based on certain criteria (usually function), you’ll then tell MOM what you want to
get out of those computers: SQL Server systems? SQL Server information. SMS server? SMS
information. Win2K DHCP server? DHCP information. Each of these system types is stored in a
processing rule group that you can apply to one or many computer groups. Moreover, a specific
computer group might have more than one processing group applied to it. For instance, the
Win2K domain controller computer group has two processing rule groups applied to it—
Windows 2000 - Domain Controllers and Microsoft Windows 2000 Active Directory, as Figure
6.15 shows. (These two groups happen to be part of the pre-built rule groups that come with
MOM.)
Figure 6.15: The processing rules for a computer group.
Exploring Processing Rule Groups
Now that you know where processing rules apply, it might be good to know where they come
from. Simply dive into Rules, Processing Rule Groups, then dive into the processing rule group
that you want to examine. Processing rule groups have one major function: determine what is
happening on the monitored computer and let certain administrators know this information. After
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you highlight the processing rule group that you want to inspect, an HTML page is generated in
the right pane to tell you a bit about its function. Figure 6.16 shows an examination of the
Microsoft Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol service processing rule group (the interface also
calls this group a Management Pack).
Figure 6.16: You can read a little about a processing rule group.
Although not immediately obvious, this processing rule groups is set up in a hierarchical fashion
(see Figure 6.17). Underneath the Microsoft Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol service
processing rule group, you’ll see two more folders—one for DHCP for Win2K and one for
DHCP for NT. Open each of those, and you’ll find rules in each of the following categories:
Event Processing Rules, Alert Processing Rules, and Performance Processing rules. Not every
subtree contains its own rules because MOM allows for shared rules between rules of similar
type. In other words, after the rules are built, they can be leveraged again in the hierarchy. In this
instance, there are very similar rules for NT- and Win2K-based DHCP servers. However, each
server type will have some differences, and those differences can be simply set at the exact level
to which they apply.
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Figure 6.17: A rule group is set up in a hierarchical fashion.
Let’s examine some of the rules Microsoft has created for Win2K DHCP servers. We’ll first take
a look at some of the shared rules. Simply drill down to Microsoft Dynamic Host Configuration
Protocol service, DHCP for Windows 2000, DHCP Server shared rules. Here, MOM can find out
what’s happening on a managed computer by inspecting the event logs, detecting alerts, or
checking for certain performance characteristics. Therefore, you may select Event Processing
Rules, Alert Processing Rules, or Performance Processing Rules.
Event Processing Rules
Event processing rules take affect when a certain event ID is found in the event logs on a
managed computer. After the event ID is found, a notification can be sent to administrators to fix
the problem. For example, Figure 6.18 shows a sampling of the event processing rules in the
DHCP server shared rules processing group.
Figure 6.18: Event processing rules are based on NT event logs.
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Alert Processing Rules
Alert processing rules take effect when some corrective action is needed. (We’ll talk about alerts
and processing them in the next section.) Figure 6.19 shows an example alert processing rules
and its conditions.
Figure 6.19: Alert processing rules are based on whether certain conditions are met.
Performance Processing Rules
As Figure 6.20 shows, performance processing rules take effect when certain thresholds are
encountered on a managed computer. After a value is hit, a notification can be sent to
administrators to fix the problem. (We’ll discuss performance processing rules in more detail in a
later section.)
Figure 6.20: Performance processing rules are based on various performance thresholds being met.
Notification Groups
All of these various processing rules are great, but they don’t mean a thing unless someone finds
out that there’s a problem to fix. That is where notification groups come into play. Notification
groups are found under Microsoft Operations Manager, Rules, Notification Groups. You simply
add members (who have permissions to take some action) to either a predefined notification
groups or one that you create. To add a user to a notification group, simply right-click the
Notification Group, and select New, Operator, as Figure 6.21 illustrates.
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Figure 6.21: You can specify specific operators in a notification group.
You’ll then be able to input information about how to contact the operator by providing his or
her email address, pager information, or some external method (for example, batch file process
that sends a fax). You can also specify the times that the operator is on duty so that only the
people that are working their shirt are notified of the problem. In the following example, which
Figure 6.22 shows, I’ve created an operator called John in the in the Help Desk notification
group. I’ve set his email address to [email protected]
Figure 6.22: Configuring the email address and times for an operator to receive alerts.
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Putting It All Together
Let’s take a look at an actual case in which we can put together all this information—the agent,
computer groups, rules processing group, and the notification group. A typical problem might be
that an administrator brings a new DHCP server online, but when the server starts, it’s not
authorized in AD. Doing a quick search in TechNet, we can find that this problem corresponds to
Event ID 1051—The DHCP/BINL service has determined that it is not authorized to service
clients on this network for the Windows domain. Let’s set up MOM so that the Help Desk
notification group gets an email if a DHCP server comes online but is not authorized in AD. That
way, the Help Desk staff can phone the network administrator on duty to fix the problem.
)
You can quickly and simply create your own rules by right-clicking any events, alerts, or other items
that show up in the MOM console. Learn how to gain finer control through the following example.
First, we need to find Event 1051. To do so, drill down into Microsoft Operations Manager,
Processing Rule Groups, Microsoft Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol service, DHCP for
Windows 2000, DHCP Server Shared Rules, Event Processing Rules. Then, simply click the ID
column to sort by ID, and find ID 1051. Double-click ID 1051 to open it, as Figure 6.23 shows.
Figure 6.23: Find the event ID for which you want to configure an alert.
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In the resulting dialog box, which Figure 6.24 shows, select the Responses tab, click Add, select
Send a notification to a notification group, and select the Help Desk group (which we know
contains John).
Figure 6.24: Selecting the Help Desk notification group.
Click OK, then click OK again to close the Event Processing Rule Properties window. To test
our new relationship between the computer group, processing rule group, and notification group,
we need to make the event happen. Simply bring up a new DHCP server in your domain and try
to start the service. Figure 6.25 shows the result of trying to start an unauthorized DHCP server
on SMSSERVER2.
Figure 6.25: Inspecting the event logs to see the error.
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Next, in MOM, drill down to Microsoft Operations Manager, Monitor, All Computer Groups,
then double-click Windows 2000 DHCP Server. When you do, you’ll see some statistics about
the numbers of alerts, as Figure 6.26 shows.
Figure 6.26: You can see the number of alerts for this server.
Double-click the entry to get the list of alerts the system has generated, which Figure 6.27 shows.
Figure 6.27: You can see the specific alerts for this server.
Because the alert was found by MOM, MOM will be performing the action we specified on the
alert. Specifically, we wanted MOM to send an email to the Help Desk notification group, which
contains John. Opening John’s email, we find the email notification from MOM, as Figure 6.28
shows.
Figure 6.28: The email result after an Alert is triggered.
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Leveraging the Alert System
An alert is meant to grab your attention, and for you to do something about it. The event we saw
in the previous example automatically generated an alert. Because our DHCP server was down, it
was a critical problem that required immediate attention. But not every event will necessarily
create an alert, which is a good thing, because if every event caused an alert, we’d be doing
nothing but fighting “fake” fires all day long. Therefore, only the most important events are
automatically tagged as alerts. (For more information about events vs. alerts, see the sidebar
“How Events Become Alerts.”) To see the current list of alerts, which Figure 6.29 shows, that
require your attention, drill down into Microsoft Operations Manager, Monitor, All Open Alerts
(or click the giant alerts icon from the main screen).
Figure 6.29: You can inspect all open alerts.
As Figure 6.29 shows, several warnings were generated on SMSSERVER2. One specific alert
corresponds to event 1051—the unauthorized DHCP server, as Figure 6.30 illustrates.
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Figure 6.30: You can see the event generated by ID 1051.
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How Events Become Alerts
As I stated, not every event automatically becomes an alert. However, you should know how to make an
event an alert so that you can leverage the alert system. You can see events that are tagged as alerts by
drilling down into the Processing Rule Group, into the event, and selecting the Alert tab, as Figure 6.31
shows.
Figure 6.31: Making an event an alert.
After you select the Generate alert check box, an event is designated as an alert and is part of the alert
management system.
The alert we've been using has an alert severity of Warning, though it can be any of seven levels. Out of
the box, the management packs have events preset to a level, though you can certainly change these
levels:
Service Unavailable—Most critical problem; something is unavailable and people cannot use the service
you are trying to provide.
Security Breach—Security might have been compromised.
Critical Error—Something is likely down and needs immediate attention
Error—A condition with a problem.
Warning—A Potential problem.
Information—Information, not necessarily a problem.
Success—Event occurred successfully.
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Resolution State
Not all alerts can be fixed right away. In large environments, some tasks have higher priority
than others. As we discussed in Chapter 1, SLAs dictate how fast a problem needs to be resolved.
MOM can help you manage those SLAs. By right-clicking an alert, you can set the state of the
alert, as Figure 6.32 shows.
Figure 6.32: You can use MOM to help you manage your resolution status.
Alternatively, if you double-click the alert and select the State tab, you can do the same thing. In
addition, you can add comments about the current state, as Figure 6.33 shows.
Figure 6.33: You can add current information into the history of the status of this alert.
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After click Apply, you can click the History tab, which Figure 6.34 shows, to see your changes
reflected in this specific alert.
Figure 6.34: You can see the complete history of this item.
Lastly, you’ll want to check out Microsoft’s Knowledge Base, which might contain clues about
how to fix an error. The Knowledge Base has two major sections: pre-populated information
(which usually links back to a Microsoft article) or information others in your company have
gathered that might rectify the problem. Microsoft likes to call this Tribal Knowledge because
what you do at your company to fix a specific problem may be different than what others do at
their companies to fix their specific problems. Utilize this comment space. The next time this
alert appears, someone will have the knowledge of what you did to help them fix it.
Performance Processing
The last type of alert you should become familiar with is the alerts that result from performance
processing. These alerts are similar to what you’ve already seen with both the Performance
Monitor (Perfmon) and Health Monitor (Healthmon) that we explored in the last chapter. Here,
we’ll use a performance processing rule to notify us when the CPU of a specific server is greater
than 80 percent. To do so, first we need to create a new rule processing group, as Figure 6.35
shows.
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Figure 6.35: You can create your own processing rule group.
At the next screen, you’ll get to name the processing rule group. We’ll name this example group
Check CPU. At the next screen, you can enter some information for the company Knowledge
Base. For now, leave this space blank, and click Finish. Next, as Figure 6.36 shows, you’ll be
prompted to deploy these new rules (which you haven’t yet created) to a group of computers.
Figure 6.36: Continue by pressing Yes.
Click Yes, and you’ll be placed into the Computer Groups tab of the rule processing group. Click
Add, then select Windows 2000 Servers, as Figure 6.37 shows.
Figure 6.37: Select a computer group to process this rule.
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Click OK in the Select Item dialog box, and click OK in the Processing Rule Group Properties
window. Now, drill down again to Processing Rule Groups, Check CPU, Performance
Processing Rules. You want to create a new processing rule. To do so, right-click Performance
Processing Rules, and select New, Performance Processing Rule, as Figure 6.38 shows.
Figure 6.38: Creating your own performance processing rule.
When you do, you’ll be prompted with two choices, as Figure 6.39 shows.
Figure 6.39: Choose the type of performance processing rule you want.
In this example, we’ll be creating a threshold rule. This type of rule lets us be notified when
certain performance conditions are met, such as when the CPU is greater than 80 percent. Select
Compare Performance Data (Threshold), and click Next.
)
The other type of performance data that can be gathered is for long-term trending analysis. You could
use this information to find out, for example, how the CPU is utilized over the course of an entire day
or week or longer.
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In the Data Provider page, which Figure 6.40 shows, change the provider name, and select
Process - % Processor Time - LSASS - 1 minute.
Figure 6.40: Choose the provider name you want to inspect.
As the provider settings shows, this setting will sample the processor every 1 minute. Many of
the providers will sample with longer intervals. The shorter the processing interval, the more
accurate the data is; however, the more taxing the work on both the MOM console and the box
you want to monitor. Additionally, the inverse is true: the longer the processing interval, the less
useful the data sample is; however, this option is less taxing on the MOM console and the
monitored machine.
The next screen is the scheduling screen in which you can limit when the processing occurs. For
instance, you can configure this setting to not process on Saturday and Sunday or only between
business hours. For now, just click Next.
When you do, you’ll be prompted with the Criteria page, which Figure 6.41 shows. This window
lets you limit which computers will be sampled. For this example, select the RTP domain (or
whatever your domain is called), and select the one computer we want to sample (in this case
SMSSERVER2).
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Figure 6.41: Enter the domain name and the computer name pattern you want to use.
After filling in the domain and computer names, click Next. You’ll then be presented with the
Threshold screen, as Figure 6.42 shows.
Figure 6.42: Enter a value for the threshold you want to measure.
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In this window, you can specify the value that you want to check (in this case 80, for 80 percent
of CPU utilized). Additionally, you can specify that nothing will happen unless the value is hit a
specific number of times (that is, every sample for 5 samples). In this case, enter 80 for the
Greater than value, and select the sampled value so that we’ll be notified only at this sample.
At the next screen (Alert), select the Generate Alert check box and keep the defaults. This setting
will alert you when the value is hit. At the next screen (Alert Suppression), clear the Suppress
Duplicate alerts check box to ensure that we are made aware of every time the CPU is elevated
past 80 percent. At the next screen (Responses), click Add, and in the Notification tab, select
Send a notification to a notification group. Also on the Notification tab, select Help Desk (which
should already contain John), and click OK. Back at the Responses screen, click Next. At the
next screen (Knowledge Base), click Next. Finally, you can name the processing rule. Name it
Alert for CPU for SMSSERVER2 when 80% or more and ensure that the Enabled check box is
selected. Finally, click Finish. When you do, a new processing rule will be created, as Figure
4.43 shows.
Figure 6.43: You now have a new processing rule.
When this rule triggers, you will receive an email notification similar to the one we saw in Figure
6.28.
Summary
This chapter gave you an overview of the major features of MOM. You learned about MOM’s
different groups, and you were able to set up various methods to get events and processing rules
into triggers for emails. In the next chapter, we’ll learn about some of MOM’s built-in reporting
features as well as some third-party add-ons that extend MOM’s monitoring and reporting
capabilities.
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