OMS offers a way to quickly drop in cloud-based monitoring to Linux servers anywhere. This article covers the user experience with a Preview release of Linux server management using Microsoft Operations Management Suite (OMS).

Introduction

This feature was offered in preview beginning in November 2015: http://blogs.technet.com/b/momteam/archive/2015/11/04/oms-agent-for-linux-now-available.aspx. While OMS in one name or form has been around for a few years, and Microsoft’s System Center Operations Manager (SCOM) has had Cross Platform (Linux/UNIX) monitoring features since the SCOM 2007 R2 release, this is the first time OMS can monitor the Linux OS.

By the end of this article, we will have a computer running Linux in OMS management with performance data and syslog events being collected. We will have installed the OMS app on our phone and used the app to run queries to verify the current health of the Linux computer. Figure 1 shows the OMS Dashboard in a PC browser after configuring one Linux computer successfully.

Figure 1 - The homepage of your OMS workspace in Azure.

Environment Description

A new Linux VM in Azure running Ubuntu 12.04 LTS is our target computer to manage. This computer was created from an image in the Azure gallery. The VM is running on an Azure Virtual Network (VNET) with no other computers on the VNET. Although this VM is running in Azure, the monitoring scenario is identical for on-premises or hosted Linux VMs. The technical goal is to manage this Linux VM directly from OMS over the Internet—leveraging the Microsoft cloud as a platform.

First Steps: Deploy the OMS Agent for Linux

Logon to OMS

Start by logging into the OMS site at URL: http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/server-cloud/operations-management-suite/overview.aspx/a>.. Click the Sign in button. 2.   If you don’t have an OMS workspace associated with your login, you are prompted to create one.

  1.  Workspaces are instances of OMS services and solutions managed together as a group. Your login may be associated with multiple workspaces. You can name your workspace anything convenient to remember and recognize.
  2.  You will also be prompted to Link any Azure subscriptions found that are associated with your login. For example, if you had an Azure subscription tied to an MSDN subscription, during OMS signup the Azure subscription will be pre-selected for binding to your current OMS workspace.

Attach computers

In your OMS console, navigate to Overview -> Settings -> Connected Source s -> Attach Computers Directly and click Download Agent for Linux as shown in Figure 2.

Figure 2 - The Download Agent for Linux button in the OMS portal, settings area.

Get Linux guest package

4.   A link to GitHub will open in a new browser window: https://github.com/Microsoft/OMS-Agent-for-Linux. Figure 3 shows the GetHub page.

Figure 3 - Three simple Linux command lines at GetHub to install the Linux agent.

Installation and configuration

 Installation and configuration of the Linux agent on the remote system is effortless and takes just minutes. The three command lines listed at the GetHub link are run in an SSH client against the Linux computer. They download the agent over the Internet, do a checksum validation, and install the agent using the Workspace ID and Key GUIDs which you copy from the OMS portal. Figure 4 shows the Linux agent being configured in an SSH client terminal window over the Internet.

Figure 4 - Linux SSH terminal window during configuration of the Linux agent.

Initial Configuration: Linux Agent for OMS

Verification proces

 Within five minutes, the OMS console updates to show one connected data source which is the new Linux server. You will need to complete an email verification process, so specify a mailbox you have access to and spam filter control over.

Add monitoring and managing solution

Next you need to add solutions to monitor or manage the type of computer you just added to management. Always return to the Solutions Gallery in the OMS portal to browse all the available solutions.

  1.  In addition to Log Search which is enabled by default (but must be configured) consider the Alert Management, Automation, and Backup solutions to begin with  for a Linux computer. 
  2.  After you install a solution, the gallery will indicate “Owned” when that solution is installed in your workspace.

Performance counters

Finally select which Linux performance counters and/or syslog events you want uploaded to OMS from the Linux computer.

  1.   Navigate to Overview -> Settings -> Data -> Linux Performance counters.     
  2.  Push the Add the selected performance counters button as shown in Figure 5.

    Figure 5 - Selecting to collect performance data from Linux computer.

  3. Consider changing the default collection internal (in seconds) to something reasonable such as 5 minutes as shown in Figure 6. Unselect those performance metrics you don’t need to collect to minimize the storage size (and cost!).

    Figure 6 - Specify a reasonable sampling frequency and remove uninteresting counters.

    Press the Save button at the bottom of the page after making changes.  

Azure Storage Account to collect data

It is not necessary to have an Azure Storage account associated with the OMS workspace in order to store the log data and performance data collected from the managed Linux computer. You only need to provision an Azure Storage account to collect syslog data if an Azure-based Linux VM is running an older version of the OMS Agent for Linux and also is not running the Microsoft Azure Agent for Linux.  In that rare scenario, follow these two steps to provision a storage account.

  • Only after determining you need support for the specific described scenario, and if you don’t have a storage account yet, create one from the Azure portal New -> Data Services -> Storage -> Quick Create as shown in Figure 7. 
  • Make sure the location is correct and specify any name for the URL entry.

Figure 7 - If necessary, creating a storage account is done completely in the Quick Create dialog of the Azure portal.

 After you have at least one storage account, if you have determined you must do so for an Azure-based Linux VM not running the latest agent configuration, connect a storage account to OMS for storing data.  Pre-existing storage accounts that are shared with other Azure services in your subscription can be used, or you can use a storage account dedicated to OMS if you wish. Figure 8 shows the Add Storage Account dialog box in the Operational Insights -> Storage area of the Azure portal.

Figure 8 - Select an existing Storage Account in the Operational Insights space of the Azure portal.

Managed data sources

 If you added a storage account to your OMS workspace, the number of managed data sources will go to two (2), that is the virtual machine and the storage account.

Validation

To experience the cloud power of OMS, download the OMS app from the Windows, Apple or Android stores. Figure 9 shows two Android screenshots that help verify the managed Linux server is running and not in trouble.

Figure 9 - Two screenshots from the OMS mobile client for Android. /p>

Specifically, the first screenshot (on the left of Figure 9) is the dashboard presently showing two saved query tiles: All Computers with their most recent data and All Events. Touching either query tile shifts to the second screenshot (on the right), where in this example Syslog and Perf data events are seen streaming into OMS from the managed Linux computer.

After getting this far with OMS, you would next want to review the performance and syslog data that you started collecting, and determine what your healthy baselines look like. You can then create OMS alerts that fire based on certain thresholds and optionally specify remediation actions using OMS automation.