Azure management services and System Center: What's New in January 2019

The new year has begun with several announcements by Microsoft regarding what happened to Azure management services and System Center. The Cloud Community releases a monthly basis article, allowing you to have a general overview of the main new features of the month, in order to stay up to date on these news and have the necessary references to conduct further study.

As already announced in the past few months, monitoring capabilities, management features, and security functionality of Operations Management Suite (OMS) have been included in the Azure portal. From 15 January 2019 the OMS portal has been officially retired, and all the features are accessible from Azure portal.

Azure Monitor

Azure Monitor logs in Grafana

For Monitor Azure was announced a new pluging to integrate with Grafana. Thanks to this pluging you can see in a simple and intuitive way any data collected in Log Analytics. The plugin requires at least version 5.3 of Grafana and by the Log Analytics API retrieves information directly from the workspace, making them available directly from the Grafana dashboard. For more information, please visit the Microsoft's official documentation.

Figure 1 – Log Analytics integration in Grafana

Azure Monitor for containers

During the month of January, the agent of Azure Monitor for Containers (build version 01/09/19) has been updated to introduce improvements in stability and performance. Agent in cluster environments Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS) will be automatically updated. For further details please consult the release notes of the agent.

Azure Security Center

New dashboard on regulatory compliance

In Azure Monitor was made available a new dashboard that shows the status of environmental compliance with respect to specific standards and regulations. Currently supported standards are: Azure CIS, PCI DSS 3.2, ISO 27001, and SOC TSP. The dashboard showsthe overall score of compliance and the detail of the evaluations that reports the status of compliance with respect to each standard.

Figure 2 – Regulatory compliance dashboard in Azure Security Center

Azure Backup

Added support for PowerShell and ACLs for Azure Files

In the scenario of protection ofAzure file shares using Azure Backup the following features have been introduced:

Azure Site Recovery

New Update Rollup

For Azure Site Recovery was released theUpdate Rollup 32 introducing new versions of the following components:

  • Microsoft Azure Site Recovery Unified Setup (version 9.21.5091.1): used for replication scenarios from VMware to Azure.
  • Microsoft Azure Site Recovery Provider (version 5.1.3800.0): used for replication scenarios from Hyper-V to Azure or to a secondary site.
  • Microsoft Azure Recovery Services Agent (version 2.0.9144.0): used for replication scenarios from Hyper-V to Azure.

The installation of this update rollup is possible on all systems running Microsoft Azure Site Recovery Service providers, by including:

  • Microsoft Azure Site Recovery Provider for System Center Virtual Machine Manager (3.3.x. x).
  • Microsoft Azure Site Recovery Hyper-V Provider (4.6.x. x).
  • Microsoft Azure Site Recovery Provider (5.1.3400.0) and later.

The Update Rollup 31 for Microsoft Azure Site Recovery Unified Setup applies to all systems that have installed the version 9.17.4860.1 or later.

For more information on the issues resolved, on improvements from this Update Rollup and to get the procedure for its installation is possible to consult thespecific KB 4485985.

New statement of support

In Azure Site Recovery have recently included the following improvements:

  • Support for physical servers with UEFI boot type. Although Azure VMs are not supported with UEFI boot disks, ASR can handle the migration of these systems by performing a conversion of the type of BIOS boot, also for the physical servers, not just virtual ones. This feature is only for Windows virtual machines (Windows Server 2012 R2 and later).
  • Support for systems that have the system directory ( /[root], /boot, /usr, etc.) even on different disks than the OS and supporting /boot on LVM volume.
  • Extended support for server migration by AWS for the following OSS: RHEL 6.5+, RHEL 7.0+, CentOS 6.5+ and CentOS 7.0+

System Center

System Center Configuration Manager

Version 1901 for the branch Technical Preview of System Center Configuration Manager.

Among the main new features of this release there is a new interactive client health dashboard will report an overview of the client's health and common mistakes in their environment, with the ability to apply filters to exclude obsolete and offline clients.

Figura 3 – New Client Health Dashboard

For full details of what's new in this release you can consult this document. Please note that the Technical Preview Branch releases help you to evaluate new features of SCCM and it is recommended to apply these updates only in test environments.

System Center Operations Manager

Management Packs

Following, are reported the news about the SCOM Management Packs:

  • Microsoft System Center 2016 Management Pack for Microsoft Azure version 1.6.0.7
  • Microsoft System Center Management Pack for SQL Server 2017+ Reporting Services version 7.0.12.0
  • Log Analytics Management Pack forSCOM 1801 version7.3.13288.0 and SCOM 2016 version7.2.12074.0

Evaluation of Azure and System Center

To test and evaluate free of charge the services offered by Azure you can access this page, while to try the various System Center components you must access theEvaluation Center and, after registering, you can start the trial period.