Monitoring web sites with System Center Global Service Monitor

SCOM is indeed a great product with regards to monitoring but sometime we require external monitoring for products like web applications. If you are familiar with solutions like site24x7 then you know how much you have to pay for those applications just to monitor your website up and and running. If you already have a SCOM deployment in your organization, you don’t need to go for such solutions. We have System Center Global Service Monitor which provides the same services and many more.

GSM is basically a cloud service which utilizes Microsoft Azure points of presence all over the world to give you end user experience of your web applications. This means the monitoring you get is how it would look like to a user in a remote location. This is a huge advantage as for application owners can get more insights regardless of external factors such as network latency, service outages etc… The beauty of this service is it focuses on the application itself not the network health or connectivity. GSM is capable of Web Application Availability monitoring (single URLs) and Visual Studio Web Tests monitoring which can be run from 15 external locations.

Let’s see how we can address the availability monitoring for a URL with GSM scenario.

Prerequisites

You should have either a trial  or paid GSM subscription integrated with your SCOM 2012 installation. For that you need to install and import GSM Management Pack to your SCOM Management server/s. You can refer here if you want to learn how to achieve that.

Configuring availability tests for URLs

  1. Open Operations Manager Console. Navigate to Administration > Global Service Monitor, and then select Configure Web Application Availability Tests.
  2. In the next screen provide name and a description for your testing scenario. Also as usual create a custom management pack to store this custom test. If you already have created one you can select it as well.General
  3. Enter the URLs that you need monitoring in the next screen. Even you can also paste URLs from CSV file which contains the format of “Name, URL”. Make sure to include the correct protocol (http:// or https://) depending on the URL. Click Add to import names and URLs from another source.What to Monitor
  4. In the  Where to Monitor From dialog, you can select the locations from where you want the URLs to be monitored. This includes both external and internal locations. External locations include 15 locations from below countries and regions. Australia (Sydney), Brazil (Sao Paulo) , Europe (Amsterdam, London, Paris, Stockholm, Zurich), Russia (Moscow), Singapore, Taipei, United States (Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, Newark, San Antonio)Where to Monitor FromSelect external locations
  5. As for Internal location you can add from the servers in your environment from which the URLs going to be monitored. Of course these should be internet facing if your URLs are externally hosted.Select internal locations
  6. The next dialog box allows you to view your tests (internal or external) and validate the configuration of only internal tests. To do so select the test you want run and click Run Test. To change the default settings for the tests for internal or externals tests that you created, click Change ConfigurationView and Validate Tests page by using internal and external locations
  7. Once you click Change configuration you can customize the test frequency, alerts, response times etc… For the time being you can leave them as defaults. Once you are done click Apply > then OKChange Configuration 1 Change Configuration 2
  8. If you run a test you will see a test result window that will verify whether your test  was a success or points out for any configuration error if there are any. Go through the details and once you confirm that the test is properly finished click close to return to Step 6Test Results page for internal tests
  9. The next screen provides a summary of your new URL monitor with GSM. Click Create to create the monitor. You can create a dashboard view for this monitor later on for an easier visual representation. Summary

Now you are all set to monitor your websites with GSM integrated to SCOM. Let’s talk about SCOM dashboards in a later post. If you are using a third party solution for website monitoring still now it’s time to go with GSM.