Thursday, August 27, 2009

Understanding the Default Management Pack

By:Rik Hoffelder

What is the Default Management Pack in System Center Operations Manager 2007 (and R2) and what purpose does it serve? I am asked that question often and felt it was time to help you understand what it does, how to use it, and why you shouldn't. The Default Management Pack is included as part of the base SCOM installation process and serves as a location to store customizations such as rule and monitor overrides, custom views, custom monitors and recovery processes, and the like..
While this is its intended design, creating customizations and overrides causes the parent management packs to become dependent on the Default Management Pack. This isn't necessarily a bad thing until you go to remove an unneeded management pack. For example, you have created overrides to rules and monitors for the Exchange 2003 management pack. You have implemented Exchange 2007, in the process decommissioned Exchange 2003 and now you want to remove the management pack.
Because the Exchange 2003 management pack is "sealed" changes cannot be saved to it. As a result the SCOM override wizard sets the default destination for the override to the Default Management Pack. While the wizard gives you the opportunity to create a management pack to store the override, it doesn't give you any indication that you should. As a result most administrators will choose to stick with the default setting and save it to the Default Management Pack. This is usually a good practice as Microsoft application wizards typically provide a default setting that is most appropriate for vast majority of installations. However in this case following the defaults causes the dependency which results in complicated removal of old management packs.
So what's the problem? Well the problem is you cannot remove the parent management pack, in this case Exchange 2003, without first removing the Default Management Pack. Because of overrides you preformed with other management pack rules and monitors they too are dependent on the Default Management Pack. As a result removing the Default Management Pack will also remove all of those customizations.

As a best practice I recommend creating a new "unsealed" management pack in parallel to all other management packs as a place to store overrides. This allows for easier removal of old management packs and their customizations without affecting other management packs. For example if you have downloaded the sealed Exchange 2007 Management Pack from Microsoft you would manually create an Exchange 2007 Customizations Management Pack to store any changes you need to make. I strongly recommend you create a parallel management for each sealed management pack, for example I would avoid creating a Performance Monitors Overrides management pack then store all overrides from all other management packs in it. This would result in dependencies from several management packs and essentially lead you to the same issues as using the Default Management Pack
Cleaning the Default Management Pack

Fortunately there is a documented process that will allow you clean the Default Management Pack of a specific parent's dependencies; however it is not for the faint of heart as noted in (and content borrowed directly from) Removing dependencies on the Default Management Pack (Thank you Microsoft MOM Team!). The steps below are used to clean the Default Management Pack and allow the removal of the dependent management packs.

  1. Use the console to delete the overrides you've created for MPToRemove. If you don't remember what overrides you've set, try this:

  2. Go the Authoring pane on the console.
    1. Use Ctrl-M to bring up the scoping dialog and check MPToRemove as your target. Click OK.
    2. In the navigation tree, click Monitors.
    3. Right click on each Monitor listed and select Overrides Summary.
    4. Click each override and then click Delete.
    5. Repeat steps a-e for the other Management Pack objects. For some objects, the right click menu path is Overrides -> Overrides Summary.

  3. Export the Default Management Pack:

    1. In the console, go to Administration pane and click Management Packs in the left tree.
    2. Right click on Default Management Pack and select Export Management Pack...
  4. Make a backup copy of the exported file.
  5. In the console, right click on Default Management Pack and choose Delete.
  6. Rigit click on MPToRemove and choose Delete.

  7. Edit the Default Management Pack to remove Reference tags that point to MPToRemove:

    1. Open the Microsoft.SystemCenter.OperationsManager.DefaultUser.xml file with XML Notepad.
    2. Find the References tags at the beginning of the XML. If you're using XML Notepad, you'll find it on the left side under Management Pack->Manifest->References.

    3. Remove all Reference tags that point to MPToRemove. In this example, I'm unlinking the Active Directory Management Pack, and you can see the text on the right refers to AD.
    4. Save and close the file.

  8. Import the Default Management Pack back into Operations Manager:

    1. In the console, go to the Administration pane.
    2. Right click Management Packs and choose Import Management Packs...
    3. Follow the instructions to import the Management Pack. The file name is Microsoft.SystemCenter.OperationsManager.DefaultUser.xml.
  9. If the import fails, rename your backup copy of the Default Management Pack to its original name, import it, import MPtoRemove , and verify that you've manually deleted all the overrides. Then try this procedure again.

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