I recently completed a PoC for System Center Service Manager 2010 (beta) and thought that I’d share some of my experiences and hopefully provide some insight on just what is necessary to get the latest product up and running from the Microsoft System Center team.

Service Manager items covered in this post:

  • What components are necessary for installing Service Manager
  • Understanding hardware / software / OS requirements
  • Service Manager build out scenarios
  • Service Manager Data Warehouse Database

Future Service Manager posting will focus on:

  • Installing the components of Service Manager
  • How to Register with Service Manager Data Warehouse
  • How to import user accounts with the Active Directory connector
  • Create a Configuration Manager connector
  • Create an Operations Manager connector
  • Configuring Notifications
  • Deploying the Self-Service Portal
  • Configuring Self-Service Software Provisioning

Before we can determine the hardware needed for installing Service Manager, we need to understand the components within Service Manager. This will assist us in determining where each of the components will be installed and if there are any caveates.

Service Manager Management Server: Contains the main software component of a Service Manager installation. You can use the Service Manager management server to manage incidents, changes, users, and tasks.

Service Manager Database: The database that contains Service Manager configuration items (CI) from the IT Enterprise, work items such as incidents, change requests, and the configuration for the product itself. This is Service Manager’s implementation of a Configuration Management Database (CMDB).

Data Warehouse Management Server: The computer that hosts the server component of the Data Warehouse.

Data Warehouse Database: This is the database that provides long-term storage of the business data that is generated by Service Manager. This database is also used for reporting.

Service Manager Console: The user interface component that is used by both the help desk analyst and the help desk administrator to perform Service Manager functions such as incidents, changes, and tasks. This component is automatically installed when you deploy a Service Manager management server. Additionally, you can manually install the Service Manager console as a stand-alone component on a computer.

Self-Service Portal: The self-service portal is installed on a computer that hosts Windows Server 2008 and Internet Information Server (IIS) 7. The self-service portal provides a Web-based console for both end users and analysts. The end user console allows users to submit incidents, search knowledge articles, read announcements, reset passwords (requires Identity Lifecycle Management), and self-service software provisioning (requires System Center Configuration Manager). The analyst console allows users to view change requests.

Seems like a lot huh?

The image below helps breakout the components (click to enlarge):

If you are not interested in reporting nor the Self-Service Portal, you can get away with installing Service Manager on one VM — that should pretty much give you an idea of what the product has to offer.

Since I am interested in seeing everything that Service Manager has to offer, I chose to build out two VMs with dual-processors, 4GBs RAM (got a warning about this during the install) and two VHDs (one for the OS and the other for the database).

The OSes will be Windows Server 2008 R2 (although you can just use Windows Server 2008) and databases will be SQL 2008 w/ SP1 (SQL 2008 SP1 is necessary if installed on R2).

Couple of items to note with the image above:

  • The image is a little dated as you cannot install the Service Manager Database and the Data Warehouse databases (see below for description of these) on the same server — if you attempt to do this, even if you have two SQL 2008 instances on the same server, it will not allow you to install the Service Manager Data Warehouse on the server. It will see that the Service Manager Management Server and Database have already been installed.
  • Missing from this image is the Service Manager Console — this can be installed on the Service Manager Management Server or it can be installed on a separate Server / Workstation.

***Keep in mind that all servers hosting a Service Manager component must be part of a domain.

Microsoft provides their minimum hardware, software and OS requiremets in the Service Manager Deployment Guide, so please make sure you reference this — it will most likely change as this product gets closer to RTM.

Here are a few other items to note:

  • .NET Framework 3.5.1 must be installed before installing SQL 2008
  • Once SQL 2008 has been installed, apply SQL 2008 SP1 — it will prompt you at the end of the install
  • For each VM you build out, change the Windows Server 2008 power schema to high performance (default is balanced) and change the display timeout from 15 minutes to never.
  • If in your Virtual Test environment you don’t have a dedicated SQL Account you use, create one (i.e. – SQL_svc)
  • Create a group that will be designated as a management group administrators; members of this group will have full permission to perform any action within the management group, and they will have access to the Service Manager console.

What components did I install on each of my VMs?

Computer 1:
Service Manager Management Server
Service Manager Database
Service Manager Console

Computer 2:
Data warehouse Management Server
Data warehouse databases

Service Manager Data Warehouse consists of three databases. These databases must run on the same SQL server and are referenced by Microsoft as the ‘Data Warehouse Databases’ — just keep this in mind going forward.

Service Manager Data Warehouse Databases:

  • Data Warehouse Configuration Database
  • Data Warehouse Repository Database
  • Data Warehouse Data Mart

“The Service Manager data warehouse has a management server component that is called the data warehouse management server. Like the Service Manager management server, the data warehouse management server is used to connect to the console, manage configuration data, and run workflows.” – Microsoft

The diagram below provides an overview of the Server Manager and Data Warehouse Components as they would be installed on two different computers.

I hope that this blog posting has assisted in understanding some of the high level necessities for getting Service Manager 2010 up and running. In the next day or two, I’ll post a walk through of getting the Service Manager components installed and setup.

System Center Service Manager 2010 SP1