Monthly Archives: January 2016

How Do I: Access SCOM Properties Programmatically

For some background. The question that led to this post was in regard to being able to access properties that SCOM was discovering in order to detect config drift in some networking hardware. Normally when I get a question like this my first answer is don’t use SCOM for this–use OMS, SCCM, or some other tool designed specifically for this purpose. With that said, they had a specific use case that made sense, and SCOM was already collecting all the properties they cared about as part of a 3rd party Management Pack so the primary goal became giving the customer a better picture of where this data gets stored and the easiest way to access it.

First way of getting at discovered property data is via the OperastionsManager Database (The usual caveats about directly querying the OpsDB not being recommended or supported apply.)

There are tables called Dbo.MT which contain the various properties associated with a certain class of object.


If I look at something like SQL 2014 Databases I find the following: (There are more properties, but they get truncated off screen)

Select * from dbo.MT_Microsoft$SQLServer$2014$Database


To make this a little more meaningful we need to pick which tables we are interested in and join FullName from BaseManagedEntityID so we can understand which systems these databases are associated with. For this I wrote the following query:



MT.DatabaseName_3AD1AB73_FD77_E630_3CDE_2CA224473213 As ‘DB Name’,


MT.DatabaseAutogrow_E32D36C4_7E11_62BE_D5B4_B77C841DCCA1 As ‘DB Autogrow’,

MT.RecoveryModel_772240AD_E512_377C_8986_E4F8369BDC21 As ‘DB RecoveryModel’,

MT.LogAutogrow_75D233F6_0569_DB26_0207_8894057F498C As ‘LogAutogrow’,

MT.Collation_4BC5C384_34F3_4C3F_A398_2298DBA85BCD As ‘Collation’,


FROM dbo.MT_Microsoft$SQLServer$2014$Database MT

JOIN dbo.BaseManagedEntity BME On BME.BaseManagedEntityID  = MT.BaseManagedEntityId

Which gives this output:


You could also get at similar data through the SDK via PowerShell (This would technically be the officially supported technique, though sometimes not as flexible as SQL). To do this you would use something like:

Import-Module OperationsManager

$WindowsServerClass= Get-SCOMClass -Name Microsoft.SQLServer.2014.Database

$ServerObjects = Get-SCOMClassInstance -Class $WindowsServerClass | Select Fullname, *.DatabaseName,*.RecoveryModel,*.DatabaseAutogrow,*.LogAutogrow,*.Collation


This will give you results that look as follows: (I just arbitrarily picked a few properties, there are more available that you can look at with either I get-member or | Select *


From there we can make things a little more readable with the following:

Import-Module OperationsManager

$WindowsServerClass= Get-SCOMClass -Name Microsoft.SQLServer.2014.Database

$ServerObjects = Get-SCOMClassInstance -Class $WindowsServerClass

$ServerObjectsB = $ServerObjects | Select *.DatabaseName, *.RecoveryModel, *.DatabaseAutogrow, *.LogAutogrow, *.Updateability, *.UserAccess, *.Collation, *.Owner, *.ResourcePool | FT


From there we started playing around with ways to quickly identify differences:


This is still a work in progress, but I figured I would share in case this can be of use to anyone.

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How do I: Send SMS Text Message Notifications for Heartbeat Failures

Continuing in my series of interesting questions from last year and my answers here is one on Sending SMS Notifications for Heartbeat Failures for a subset of mission critical servers. The added wrinkle to this question was they also needed to be certain (due to the security requirements of their environment) that no information regarding servername, IP address, or other info of that nature which might be part of a typical alert description make it into the text alerts.

Text Alert on Heartbeat failures without Confidential information/Server names

SCOM Heartbeat Failure Chain of events:


Above Diagram pilfered with attribution from TechNet.

First you need to setup a new E-Mail Notification Channel

Select Administration






Select E-Mail (SMTP)


Enter a Channel Name:


Enter a SMTP Server and a Return address (You will likely need an exception that will allow the SMTP server to send messages outside your domain)


Modify the Subject and Message as follows:

E-mail subject:

Alert: $Data[Default=’Not Present’]/Context/DataItem/AlertName$ Resolution state: $Data[Default=’Not Present’]/Context/DataItem/ResolutionStateName$

E-mail Message:

Alert: $Data[Default=’Not Present’]/Context/DataItem/AlertName$

Last modified by: $Data[Default=’Not Present’]/Context/DataItem/LastModifiedBy$

Last modified time: $Data[Default=’Not Present’]/Context/DataItem/LastModifiedLocal$

(Ultimately you could add additional text here as well, the key is that we are pulling out the variables from the Channel that would normally populate the server name when there is a heartbeat failure)


Click Finish


Create a new Subscription


Created by specific rules or monitors — Health Service Heartbeat Failure

With a specific resolution state–New


Add subscribers (If you want it to send text messages you can create new unique subscriber and have an address that consists of the appropriate cell number + service provider combination:





For my example I am just using an internal account in my environment.


Select your newly created notification channel. You may want to delay notifications by 15 minutes.  That way if the server is down for less than 15 minutes you won’t get a text message at 3 AM.


Click Finish


Now if a server goes offline the console will still generate an alert as before with the server name:


But the e-mail or text message will be generic without any confidential information:


For alerts other than heartbeat you might have to check and craft a slightly modified channel to insure no info you don’t want texted is sent out.

A quick example to illustrate this:

Ultimately $Data/Context/DataItem/AlertName$ will map to a different value for each type of alert. So for the alert below:


That variable maps to:


So Alert Name by itself will not map to anything proprietary like IP Address/domain/computername etc unless you have created a custom alert which contains any of this info in the Alert Name field. Though with that said it may still map to info about specific technologies. So one might be able to use the Alert Name to determine what types of applications you are running which could in some cases be a security concern. To get a sense of the type of values that typically show up in your environment the quick and easy method is to just look at your Monitoring Pane – Active Alerts  Name column:


So for my environment you could learn from this info what apps I am running (SharePoint, SQL, ACS), in the case of the Page Life Expectancy you are able to find out the version of SQL etc. If this kind of info isn’t a security concern for your business you could just pass the Alert Name field from any alerts that meet a certain Severity/Priority Criteria. If this type of info is a concern then you need to determine which alerts are ok to pass alert name like Health Service Heartbeat failure and which need to be withheld and then filter your notification subscription criteria accordingly.

If you want a slighter better view of this info you could use PowerShell:

Import-Module OperationsManager



Get-SCOMAlert | Select Name

This will give you possible values that could populate that variable. (Keep in mind this will only pull back values that are currently in the OpsDB so this will be all alerts in that DB based on your grooming/retention settings.)


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How do I: Add Exclusion Criteria to SCOM Notification Subscriptions

By default all filtering criteria in MP Notification subscriptions are specific to inclusion. There is no native ability via the GUI to indicate that the subscription should pick up every alert related by a certain criteria with the exception of a specific subset of alerts. The only way to accomplish this via the GUI is if your inclusion criteria specifically enumerates every other alert instance with the exception of the alerts you want to exclude.


An example where this would cause problems is if you want to have one notification subscription that notifies for every Alert of a Severity of Critical with the exception of alerts from a specific monitor.


The first part is easy with the above config, but the second part (the excluding one specific monitor alert) is not possible. This type of scenario becomes important when you want to have two subscriptions:


  1. One that sends all critical alerts immediately with the exception of one specific monitor alert that has a recovery.
  2. And a second subscription that is on a 5 minute delay and gives the monitor a chance to recover and only sends an alert if post recovery running and health recalc the monitor still shows an unhealthy condition.

So to accomplish this we need to do a little custom work at the XML level.

First please note that according to the following TechNet article


This is of course in reference to what you can and cannot do at the GUI level, but keep in mind that what you are doing is not officially supported and that you need to test carefully because it is very easy to accidentally break your subscription. (Also note that modifying a subscription in this way will require you to change your procedure for future modifications made to the GUI due to the fact that future changes in the GUI will blow away your manual XML changes so if you need to tweak the subscription at the GUI level at a later date you need to remember that you will have to run through the process below again to re-establish the exclusion.)

So to Add an Exclusion to a Notification Subscription

Administration Pane


Management Packs


Export Notifications Internal Library MP


Make a backup copy of this MP XML for safekeeping

Open non backup exported XML in text editor of choice. I am using Visual Studio, but anything including notepad will work.

The Channel Subscription and Subscriber info is all defined within this pack. You need to find the section of XML that corresponds to the subscription you are interested in.

In the case of my environment the Subscription is called Test Subscription:


If I scroll to the end of the Management Pack XML I will hit the <DisplayStrings></DisplayStrings> section where I can find the corresponding ID that will allow me to find the my subscription. (If you only have a few subscriptions you may be able to figure this out without the ID, but just to be safe it can be helpful to make sure you are editing the right subscription.

I Find my Test Subscription and see that it has a unique Element ID of: Subscription7adf1953_5ea7_4f20_85c9_67271662212a


If I then search the XML for references to this Element ID I will find the relevant portion of XML that we are going to want edit.



The important part that we will need to modify is contained within the <AlertChangedSubscription></AlertChangedSubscription>


In the case of this particular notification subscription we will change:


<AlertChangedSubscription Property=”Any”>



<SimpleExpression xmlns:xsd=”” xmlns:xsi=”“>











<ExpirationStartTime>12/11/2015 22:12:44</ExpirationStartTime>







<TimeZone>E001000000000000C4FFFFFF00000B0000000100020000000000000000000300000002000200000000000000|Pacific Standard Time</TimeZone>



<AlertChangedSubscription Property=”Any”>



<And xmlns:xsd=”” xmlns:xsi=”“>








<Value>b59f78ce-c42a-8995-f099-e705dbb34fd4 </Value>


















<ExpirationStartTime>12/11/2015 19:50:38</ExpirationStartTime>







<TimeZone>E001000000000000C4FFFFFF00000B0000000100020000000000000000000300000002000200000000000000|Pacific Standard Time</TimeZone>


This is going to vary depending on the complexity of your existing subscription you have to be careful to take into account existing <And> and <Or> tags when present.

<Value>b59f78ce-c42a-8995-f099-e705dbb34fd4</Value> Needs to be set to the appropriate ID for the alert you want to exclude.

For my example I am using the HealthService Heartbeat failure alert from my environment.

To determine the ID that is associated with a specfic rule/monitor generated alert that is currently present in the console you can use the following PowerShell from a Management server. Keep in mind if testing between a test and prod environment that ID values on custom monitors may be different. Run the PowerShell in both environments to be sure before implementing in prod.

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For my test I will exclude any Health Service Heartbeat failure alerts which have the following ID:


If you don’t have an alert in the console to find the ID you could use the following query which will give you the ID of every Monitor in SCOM:

get-SCOMMonitor | select-object @{Name=”MP”;Expression={ foreach-object {$_.GetSCOMManagementPack().DisplayName }}},DisplayName, Priority, Enabled, Id | Out-GridView




You can use the Add criteria button to filter things down further:


Once the modifications to the management pack are complete you can reimport the newly updated management pack.

*WARNING* Keep in mind that the this UNSEALED MP will replace the existing MP on import so if there is an error in your code you could potentially break all subscriptions in your environment. This is why having a backup copy is extremely important. It is also why you need to test this procedure in a test environment before trying it in prod *WARNING* Again keep in mind that future changes to this notification subscription via the GUI will break your exclusion criteria and require you to manually modify the subscription again.


Click Install

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Once imported generate one of the alerts that correspond with the exclude ID to see if it is properly excluded from the notification. Also test generate alerts that should be picked up by the subscription to confirm they are still being sent and that the subscription is not broken. Also Watch the console for any notification subscription specific alerts. If there are any errors in your syntax it can create a situation where you break all notifications.

Now when I have Critical Alerts The Health Service Heartbeat failures will be excluded from my subscription, but all other alerts including those made by monitors that are created in the future with a severity of critical will get picked up:



Again keep in mind the one caveat to modifying subscription XML in this way is that you lose the ability to edit that subscription via the GUI in the future. If I modify the subscription further during the GUI after making manual XML changes it will blow away the exclusion/Not Equal XML that was added. If you need to edit the subscription via the GUI just remember you need to go through the process above again to manual edit the XML.


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