Microsoft Drops System Center Operations Manager for Its Own App Monitoring

Microsoft stopped using its System Center Operations Manager (SCOM) product to address operations support for its own applications back in July, the company noted last week.

Instead, Microsoft switched to using its Azure Monitor service for the purpose. Moreover, it put its applications team in charge of handling what once was the concern of Microsoft's IT department. The IT team had been responsible for monitoring applications across "over 16,000 virtual machines and over 750 Azure subscriptions," Microsoft noted.

The switch was done with the aim of using "native Azure services" for the monitoring and management of internal applications, according to Dana Baxter, a senior service engineer in Microsoft's Core Services Engineering and Operations segment, who led the transition.

The change to Azure Monitor allowed Microsoft to dispense with more than 100 SCOM alerts and use just 15 alerts in Azure Monitor. Microsoft's IT team had created multiple alerts over the years in response to incidents, but they just had outlasted their usefulness and added "noise" to the monitoring process, Baxter explained.

Microsoft's application team now handles the monitoring with limited IT controls in place, she suggested.

"We developed the concept of guardrails, just enough control to ensure application teams can be agile, while not running off the road," Baxter says. "This goes against the very fiber of traditional IT operations and our risk averse culture."

Microsoft's description of abandoning SCOM for Azure Monitor comes even as it announced that a new System Center 2019 product will be arriving sometime this month. Many of the improvements described in the new management suite are focused on the SCOM component.

System Center 2019 will no longer get "semiannual channel" feature updates in response to customer feedback. The dropping of that channel, where updates were supported for 18 months, perhaps is an admission that Microsoft's customers can't be, or won't be, as agile with their software operations as Microsoft is itself.

Microsoft also has been consolidating its alert rules in Azure Monitor. Classic alert rules in Azure Monitor will get "retired" on June 30, 2019.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for 1105 Media's Converge360 group.


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