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Monitoring and Operating a Private Cloud with System Center 2012

This course will be retired in 410 days. If you have questions, please contact us.

Learn the details of how each System Center component contributes to Private Cloud operations and get to know some immediately-useful VMM 2012 tricks in building service templates. Learners also come to understand how Operations Manager handles monitoring, Service Manager and App Controller facilitate self-service, and Orchestrator glues everything together....
Learn the details of how each System Center component contributes to Private Cloud operations and get to know some immediately-useful VMM 2012 tricks in building service templates. Learners also come to understand how Operations Manager handles monitoring, Service Manager and App Controller facilitate self-service, and Orchestrator glues everything together.

Private Cloud isn’t so much a technology as a way of thinking. A Private Cloud in operations might look like a virtual environment; it has all of the same actions, buttons, and management tools, but it is the way in which you operate that virtual environment that evolves it into something special, and something far more useful for your datacenter.

The MCSE: Private Cloud certification tests not only your virtual skills, but it also requires a mile-wide-and-inch-deep understanding of the entirety of System Center, including Operations Manager, Virtual Machine Manager, Orchestrator, Service Manager, App Controller, and Data Protection Manager.

We recommend that you complete our Microsoft System Center 2012 R2 Private Cloud 70-247 course prior to this course. By starting with the 70-247, you’ll have the technology underpinnings for a Private Cloud firmly constructed.
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1. Introduction to System Center, the MCSE: Private Cloud, and the 70-246 Exam (26 min)
2. Constructing your System Center Private Cloud (22 min)
3. Managing Cloud Resources: Building Blocks (22 min)
4. Managing Cloud Resources: Service Templates (39 min)
5. Deploying End-to-End Monitoring (38 min)
6. Monitoring Servers (22 min)
7. Monitoring the Virtualization Layer (24 min)
8. Monitoring Network Devices (28 min)
9. Monitoring Application Health (31 min)
10. Configuring End-to-End Monitoring (34 min)
11. Configuring Advanced End-to-End Monitoring (24 min)
12. Creating Monitoring Reports and Dashboards (15 min)
13. Managing Problems and Incidents (23 min)
14. Implementing Service Level Management (20 min)
15. Implementing Service Offerings (36 min)
16. Implementing Workflows: Automatic Remediation (17 min)
17. Implementing Workflows: Capstone (33 min)
18. Managing Compliance and Configuration (22 min)
19. Managing Updates (15 min)
20. Implementing Backup and Recovery (22 min)

Introduction to System Center, the MCSE: Private Cloud, and the 70-246 Exam


OK. Repeat after me. Private cloud is not a technology. It's a mindset. Go on. Go on. Repeat after me. It's a technology, not a mindset. You know, a lot of people have been really confused about private cloud for a really long time. And I think one of the biggest issues with that confusion is the propensity on the part of many IT pros to always focus on the technology.


I mean, that's we do, right? We're IT pros. We're geeks. We're professional geeks. We work with technologies all the time. And so consequently, when this brand new apparently awesome thing that we think of as cloud arrives, we start looking for the bits and bytes.


Nope. You are going to learn, if you have not already, that private cloud is not a technology. In fact, it is a lot of technologies that assemble together. It is not even really the assembly of those technologies, but instead, how you use those technologies.


This is something that no one will ever tell you. This is something that the marketing people are trying to keep from you. But this is something that I think you are going to begin to find when you start taking a look at this 70-246 series on monitoring and operating a private cloud with System Center 2012.


Hello. My name is Greg Shields. So I've done a bunch of these series now for CBT Nuggets. And these series are getting to be where we're just running through these left, right, and sideways. And we're prepping you for the exam. And we're helping you understand all these new technologies.


And we're accelerating your learning via osmosis into all of these technologies. But wait a minute, Greg, you just said that private cloud is not a technology. You're going to hear me say over and over and over again in the series something that I've probably said far too many times in previous series, and that is that there is an art and a science to IT.


And in fact, as we go through this series, I think with private cloud we'll find out that, well, there is an art and a science to private cloud as well. And figuring out how to do things is the science, and figuring out when to do them and why do them is the art.


And I'm hoping that over the next 20 Nuggets, I can give you everything about the science and even a little bit of the art in how you would want to go about managing and operating and just shucking the behaviors on your own private cloud. Now, why are we here?


We are here, ostensibly, to help you develop the skills you need to prepare for, to configure, to do the ongoing maintenance of your private cloud, and also to help you with that 70-246 exam. This is not necessarily an exam test prep course. It kind of is.


But there are a lot of people out there that are not interested in the MCSE private cloud. They're interested in learning how to use the silly thing. So I'm going to help you align what you learn with the exam objectives. In fact, every single one of the Nuggets in this series, as you'll notice, aligns to one of the objective domains that Microsoft has released in its enablement guide.


So if you go through Nugget by Nugget, that will give you essentially what you need to know to prep for that specific objective domain for the exam. So therein lies the secret to how to study, is in mapping things up to those objective domains. But more important than that, once you've finished passing that exam, once you've certified that you know private cloud, you've got to also use the silly thing.


And this is an awesome experience to help you understand how a private cloud is so much more than just a standard virtualization environment. A private cloud is the incorporation of layers of abstraction and automation and self-service and intelligence into a regular virtual environment.


Whereas the virtual environment in its most basic form cares about the virtual machines, the private cloud cares about the services. And you don't have to deploy these services. But it's a service-oriented mindset that's going to help you do better with taking your existing virtual environment and making it something that is that much more usable and beneficial to the business organization that pays you your paycheck every two weeks or every week or every month.


Along the way, I hope to give you some of my personal experiences and best practices in dealing with this private cloud stuff. Because to be perfectly honest, this stuff is new for everybody. If you're feeling like, gosh, this has really evolved very quickly, and I need to keep up, don't worry, because it's evolving quickly for everybody.


When Microsoft released System Center 2012 SP1, well, the world changed again. And it had just changed when they released System Center 2012. The 70-247 exam is the first of the two exams in the private cloud series for the MCSE. Now, Microsoft will kind of hand the fact you should take this one first.


But I honestly think that the first exam you'll want to take is indeed that 70-247. And if you look at that content, if you review that content from CBT Nuggets content that I created over there, I'm going to assume that you actually have reviewed that content first.


And if you're planning on playing along at home, you're going to need to know that. Because 70-247 is all about constructing. I guess, personally, I wonder why they put the 246 first if you can't monitor and operate something until you actually build it.


But that's how Microsoft, I guess, sometimes thinks things, or at least Microsoft learning. So 70-247 kind of comes first. And 70-246 then comes second. Because with a completely constructed private cloud, all the fundamental building blocks in place, all the technologies connected together, how do we actually use the silly thing?


That's what we're going to learn here. Now, before we get into that, I want to spend a little bit of time talking about the exam itself. So again, this is not necessarily an exam prep course. Although it sort of is at the same time. So I've got to talk a little about Microsoft certification as well.


the MCSE Private Cloud, as you probably know if you're doing this in the right order, is one of the now many MCSEs that Microsoft has developed. So we are in MCSE generation, well, two or three, depending on if you think of the MCITP as the intervening years between the old MCSE and the new MCSE.


And what's predominately different with this new MCSE is in the old days we had electives. You would take the core stuff, and then you would take electives to certify your knowledge on a couple of important things. The problems with the electives is that, well, everybody took the easiest electives.


I did. You might have also. Once I get an MCSE, I've got an MCSE, well then, why don't I take the easiest path to get there? Well, that ended up creating a problem. Because suddenly everyone was certified on the same really, really easy stuff. Now what we have are a variety of what I like to term MCSE flavors-- the Server flavor, the Desktop flavor, the SQL Server flavor, Messaging, Communication, SharePoint, and now the Private Cloud flavor as well.


To become cloud Private Cloud certified, you must first get your MCSA on Windows Server 2012. That's the 70-410, 11, and 12 content. That content tests predominately what you need to know in Windows Server. So what the old MCSE taught you on is what the new MCSA teaches you on.


Everything else here, the last two exams, the 247 and 246, teach you almost nothing about Windows Server. And especially with the Private Cloud ones, I would say just about nothing on Windows Server. And also, here's the really interesting thing about these exams.


You would think that there's a whole bunch of this in those exams. Well, these exams also teach you next to nothing about Hyper-V. Hyper-V exists as this almost appliance-like operating system-- that is, this don't-care-- that exists underneath the covers of System Center.


And so we'll be dealing with System Center, and we have to have Hyper-V servers in order to do this. But you're not actually going to spend any time, need to know anything about Hyper-V. And in fact, you will almost never see me in a Hyper-V console at any point during this series.


You didn't see it in 70-247, except for a Nugget or two. Here you're not going to see it at all, because my servers are already deployed, my Hyper-V servers are already deployed. In fact, all the servers are deployed here, because we are monitoring and operating that existing private cloud.


The neat part about this is that this private cloud really almost doesn't really care if you're on '08, R2, or '12. So we all want to be on '12, because '12 is just fundamentally awesome. But if you're not yet, don't worry. Because eventually, you can get there.


And Microsoft makes it easy for you to get there. Now, the 70-416-- or this should be the 70-246's-- intended audience here are candidates that have Windows Server experience. You've got to know Windows Server, obviously. You've got to know System Center.


You should understand 2012. And you should understand security, HA, FT, networking experience-- essentially, you need to know the stuff in 247. I don't know why they want you to have basic Microsoft SQL Server skills, because I don't think we're going to touch it really at all.


There is a SQL server that is what System Center runs on top of. But be aware that you need to know that. I would, however, be a little bit familiar Windows PowerShell. Because part of the monitoring and the operating of your private cloud involves automations, and automations require Windows PowerShell.


I would also least have some basic familiarity with ITIL and MOF. And that's because of System Center Service Manager. When we get into System Center Service Manager a number of Nuggets hence, you're going to see a bunch of activities that look really close to ITIL's activities.


So if you least understand what ITIL's activities are, you've got a leg up on Service Manager. The volumes are-- I don't know. I am holding my hands, like, a foot apart here. So there's a whole lot of content in ITIL I would be familiar with. Maybe that one picture that shows what all those different activities are.


I would be aware on Active Directory. I would be aware of virtualization. And I would even have some basic System Center familiarity, too. If you can spell VMM, that's-- maybe not VMM. If you can spell Ops Manager, you're probably going to do OK. What's interesting about the content for this exam is that what Microsoft intends to teach you on here, there's kind of a priority order for which of these System Center components you need to know.


And there's a whole lot of content on, oddly enough, Operations Manager for this exam. 247 focused mainly on VMM. This one focuses mainly on Ops Manager, and then, to a lesser degree, Service Manager, Orchestrator, and then from then on. There's not that much on VMM.


There is a little bit. In fact, I'll have a picture coming up here in an upcoming Nugget that will help you at least direct your study. Now, if you've taken a Microsoft exam before, I assume you have, you know this, there is no penalty for guessing in an exam.


You're just not going to get points for the item. If a question specifies multiple correct answers, one of those dreaded multi-choice, you must choose all of the correct answers in order to earn the point, so be careful. I hate those questions, and so do you.


Any regular person hates those questions, usually, except for the person writing those questions. You know how that goes. There are occasionally the ridiculous oddball questions on there that are not included in the calculation of your score. And they're there because Microsoft isn't really sure.


They're doing the cyclometrics for the exam and Microsoft is not entirely sure whether or not it's a valid question or not. So they pose it to some people as a sample question and see if it meets their minimum requirements. And if it does, later people might actually get that as an exam question.


So don't sweat it if you get something that's really, really off the wall. This exam, again, is almost entirely about System Center. And I have to tell you, I'm not breaking any NDAs here. This is by no means a brain dump for this exam. But you can absolutely overthink this exam.


You can absolutely overstudy for this exam. This exam is a mile wide and an inch deep. So you need to know a little tiny bit about all the different components that make up System Center, right? So, VMM, Ops, Config Manager SCORCH, or System Center Operations.


You need to know-- gosh. What am I missing here?-- DPM. You've got to know all the different pieces that make up Configuration Manager, and even a little bit on System Center Advisor, too. So don't dig too deep into what you need to know. I would be more concerned about when you would do something than necessarily what you would do.


And I said that before, back with the last exam in the server series. This is less so than that. That was very much on the WAN. But here we're focusing in on some very specific use cases. And I'll try to tailor what we're talking about here to what you need to know.


Again, no brain dumps here. I'm just trying to help you learn about private cloud. I'm here to help you do very well with that exam. The formats can include things like case studies, can include things like simulations, can include things like virtual labs.


I have literally copied and pasted this from Microsoft's website. So I don't know this firsthand. The question types can include multi-choice, hot area, active screen, drag and drop, build list, and reorder. These-- I just absolutely hate those multiple multiple choice questions that are out there.


And you get it through Prometric. I believe, at last look, it was still 150 bucks for an exam, to pass the silly thing. Here is our series outline. And I'm going to tell you, coming up here in an upcoming Nugget, more about the work, at least the background work that I've put into this series.


I've done some 20-plus series now for CBT Nuggets, and I have never put so much effort into all the research that's necessary to put one of these series together. And part of it is because I wanted to be able to give you a real-world example of how you, an IT pro, would be using a private cloud, without the need for developers and their oddball needs.


If you're a developer, you have needs. But I wanted to focus this in on the IT pros. So part of that very long period of research was involved with creating a use case that we will use throughout this series that will be something that you can resonate with.


And that's all I'm going to tell you. I don't want to give away the real fun for later on, because I think you're going to appreciate what you're going to be able to do when you get done with this. It's really awesome. What you're going to do is amazing.


I'm just excited to just know that you're about to go through this. Do me a favor-- let me know if you hit that aha moment. Because I personally hit that aha moment, too, and wow, it's just impressive. We're starting here with number one, the introduction to System Center.


And then in the next one, I will review all the steps you need to go through to actually build that System Center private cloud, all the pieces that you have to integrate together. If you haven't gone through 70-247, well, this will be the very short version of 247 to get all the pieces laid into place.


We will then go through a short, two-Nugget series here on VMM. This will help you understand how private cloud's building blocks approach kind of do the same thing for servers like what the Microsoft Deployment Toolkit did for Ghost. We are going to construct a VM out of whole cloth as opposed to just copying and pasting it.


And that's awesome. We're going to construct service templates also. We've got a couple of nifty, nifty service templates that we're going to work with here. Because we need those service templates to work with the next series of Nuggets, which goes all the way down here to number 12.


And this is Ops Manager. I told you Ops Manager was the largest portion of this whole exam, and probably the largest portion of keeping your private cloud in check. So the first half of things here will be right here to about number eight, where we're going to focus in on the core components of Ops Manager, how to install agents, how to monitor servers, your hypervisor and network devices.


These four are the probably not very interesting parts of Operations Manager. It's the parts that you're probably most familiar with. But it's probably not the most interesting parts of Operations Manager. Because when we get into Operations Manager, you're going to see me draw a little diagram like this, where we begin to construct all these little service models out of a variety of different objects, so that when something turns red, well, then we can bubble that up and go, aha, look, that thing's red.


Well, then we need to drill down and figure out what went wrong. There are 80 gazillion different pieces that make up your private cloud. And so the old way of monitoring things, based at the individual device level, or the individual object, like a network card or a processor, is no longer useful.


Because when something way, way, way down here in this stack of a service model goes wrong. I need to know what it is so that I can fix it before creates a problem. Otherwise, it can be very difficult to identify the root cause of a problem without having that model.


It is the model that we will be creating here, or this distributed application that we will be creating here in our application health. We'll be doing more with it in end-to-end and advanced end-to-end monitoring. And then I'll have kind of a throwaway chapter here on monitoring reports and dashboards.


That is the content for Ops Manager. Stuff gets really, really awesome right here. This is where I think you're going to really love this stuff. Because these four are how you can take Operations Manager and do some amazing stuff with it, just absolutely fundamentally amazing stuff with how you can monitor your systems.


Now, once we deal with that, then we're going to move into a couple of interesting things where the line gets a little fuzzy. So here to here, we're going to work on so System Center Service Manager, a very introductory Nugget here, and then how we deal with service level management.


And then we're going to get little fuzzy here between Service Manager and Orchestrator, System Center Orchestrator. So in and amongst here, I'm going to show you how Orchestrator can glue together the people side that is Service Manager, the monitoring side that is Ops Manager, and then the management side, which is VMM, and how you can do it without the PowerShell, with minimal PowerShell, if you need to do some advanced stuff.


And then we'll back clean up here with a couple of just individual topics. This topic here will be Config Manager. We'll go back to VMM for updates. And then this will be Data Protection Manager down here for number 20. As I said, a mile wide and an inch deep.


And that absolutely makes sense here, because there's no way that we could talk about every piece of every component in 20 nuggets. That's not what this is intending to do. So if you're used to the old ways of studying for an exam, where you learned every possible thing about a particular technology, don't do that here.


Because that's not what Microsoft is intending to do. It is just how you can use these solutions to support your private cloud. It's a much different mindset here with this exam. If you are the person who is writing exam objectives for Microsoft, take note that it is absolutely unfair for Microsoft's stated exam objectives to have five major exam objectives, each of which has 20% of the total percentage wading in there.


That's not cool for the rest of us. Because what it essentially says is that all of these topics are essentially equally weighted. And that makes it really, really hard to study for. So for many exams, you can focus your attentions on one or more topics that are fairly heavily weighted.


You can't do that here, because Microsoft is trying to pretend like there's some differentiation here. Because essentially, it's a peanut-butter across-the-board of all the topics here. So pay attention to all the topics, and pay attention to them. Now, the one thing I am going to try to do in order to make things easier for you is I have linked up these objective domains with the Nugget titles.


In some cases, I broke it out into two different halves. But more or less, you'll see that these map very well-- they map exactly, pretty much-- to the titles for each of these Nuggets. So this should help you understand what you need to know for each of these specific objective domains here.


And that is for you. And it's also helpful for me to figure out what exactly Microsoft is thinking whenever they're creating all these objective domains as well. Now for the bad news. Creating this environment is something that you absolutely can do at home if you have a lot of hardware.


I have built this entire environment. It is-- what is it? One, two, three, six, nine, ten-- 11 virtual machines. And this environment is currently spread across two different hosts as well. So I have two hosts here. Both of these hosts are 4 Proc, 32 gigabytes of RAM machines running, I think it's one's got 500 gigabytes of SSD storage.


That's a lot of hardware. Although, if you build it yourself, you could probably build these two machines for about $1,000 apiece. You don't need to have a lot of video performance, but you absolutely have to have that 32 times 2 gigabytes of RAM. Your DC is going to be two gigs of RAM.


This storage server ends up being the iSCSI target, and also an SMB target for you as well. I believe that's two gigs. It might be four gigs. Your VMM server, I gave that four gigs. Service Manager's two. The Portal is two. Notably, this is the only server that is 2008 R3 because it's running SharePoint Portal, and that doesn't run in Server 2012 right now.


So everything else is 2012 except for this one. DPM is four. Scorch is two. Ops is two. And then these, I gave each of them six gigs of RAM. And that's kind of necessary if you want to demo everything that I'm going to talk about here. So hopefully you have access to some hardware that can support this.


If not, this is why CBT Nuggets is so incredibly useful. Because with CBT Nuggets, you don't have to necessarily demo it yourself. You can just watch. And I can set everything up, film it, and then we move onto the next thing. So you can decide whether you want to follow along at home or not.


I encourage you to, because, at least for me, that's how I end up learning. But these are the servers you'll need to have in place and already up and operational before we begin that next Nugget. And that's really it. That, as you can see, is all of the stuff that you'll need to prep for the exam, to get yourself scheduled for that exam, to get your environment put up and into place so that you can follow along.


This series is going to be a lot of fun. And honestly-- and I'm not just saying this, because I always say this in every series-- I think you're going to exit this series with a newfound appreciation for what cloud is, and absolutely a newfound appreciation for how you can automate things and make your life easier.


I'm not going to guarantee that you'll be able to get yourself back to a 40-hour work week by learning what you learn here. But I will tell you that you're going to get close. Because what you're going to learn here with your private cloud is just impressive.


So once again, my name is Greg Shields. It's an honor to get the opportunity to once again spend some time with you and help you learn about these new technologies. Coming up next, we're going to begin the work in constructing our private cloud. So until then, I hope this has been informative for you, and I'd like to thank you for viewing.

Constructing your System Center Private Cloud

Managing Cloud Resources: Building Blocks

Managing Cloud Resources: Service Templates

Deploying End-to-End Monitoring

Monitoring Servers

Monitoring the Virtualization Layer

Monitoring Network Devices

Monitoring Application Health

Configuring End-to-End Monitoring

Configuring Advanced End-to-End Monitoring

Creating Monitoring Reports and Dashboards

Managing Problems and Incidents

Implementing Service Level Management

Implementing Service Offerings

Implementing Workflows: Automatic Remediation

Implementing Workflows: Capstone

Managing Compliance and Configuration

Managing Updates

Implementing Backup and Recovery

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