Monitoring Magic: Top 10 Things to Keep Your Eye in 2024 with System Center Operations Manager


System Center Operations Manager (SCOM) is a powerful infrastructure monitoring solution from Microsoft. It provides comprehensive monitoring of your IT environment including networks, servers, applications, services and more.

With SCOM you gain full visibility into the health, performance and availability of your infrastructure components. It can automatically discover resources in your environment and start monitoring them without any manual configuration required.

Some of the key capabilities and benefits of SCOM include:

  • Monitoring of Windows and Linux servers, network devices, client computers and more
  • In-depth monitoring of Microsoft applications and services including Exchange, SQL Server, Active Directory, IIS, Hyper-V and more
  • Monitoring of non-Microsoft apps through Management Packs and extensions
  • Alerting and notification when issues are detected
  • Reporting and dashboards for tracking health, utilization and performance
  • Automated responses and remediation actions through integration with System Center Orchestrator
  • Flexible architecture usingManagement Packs for monitoring rules, views and knowledge

SCOM provides a centralized console to view health state, alerts, performance data and reporting for your infrastructure. With its robust monitoring capabilities, SCOM becomes the hub for gaining visibility and control in heterogeneous environments.

Infrastructure Monitoring

Operations Manager provides comprehensive monitoring of your infrastructure components like servers, networks and printers. Keeping a close eye on the health of these critical components allows you to identify and troubleshoot issues before they cause major outages.

Server Health and Performance

Monitor key performance metrics on your Windows and Linux servers to ensure they are running optimally. Operations Manager can track CPU, memory, disk and network utilization to detect performance bottlenecks. Set alerts to notify you when thresholds are exceeded.

Operations Manager also monitors services running on servers and can automatically restart failed services for high availability. Keep tabs on disk space, security logs and other vital server metrics.

Network Device Up/Down Status

Quickly see the operational status of routers, switches, firewalls and load balancers on your network with Operations Manager. If a device goes down, alerts can trigger automatic failover or notify your network team. This helps minimize network downtime and improve reliability.

Printer Monitoring

Don't let a printer outage halt productivity. Operations Manager can monitor network printers and multifunction devices for issues like paper jams, toner levels and connectivity problems. Automated alerts inform your help desk staff when a printer needs attention.

Monitoring your infrastructure with Operations Manager provides visibility into the health and performance of critical components. Proactive monitoring enables you to optimize reliability and uptime.

Application Monitoring

Monitoring business-critical applications is essential for any organization. With SCOM, you can gain deep insights into the health and performance of key apps to identify and resolve issues quickly.

IIS and Web Applications

Set up web application availability monitoring in SCOM to track response times, uptime, and errors for IIS sites and web apps. Create rules to alert if sites go down or response times degrade. Monitor IIS performance counters like requests, errors, queue length, and more.

SQL Server

Enable the SQL Server Management Pack to monitor SQL instances and databases. Track metrics like batch requests, buffer cache hit ratio, page life expectancy, and blocked processes. Set baselines and thresholds to catch performance problems early. Monitor for specific SQL errors in the logs.

Exchange Server

The Exchange Server Management Pack monitors transport queues, mailbox databases, DAG replication health, and more. Gain visibility into mail flow, server resources, and database availability. Configure alerts for service failures, performance degradation, or low disk space.

Other Critical Business Applications

Create custom monitors and management packs to track other line-of-business apps. Monitor Windows services, performance counters, event logs, and application logs. Watch for error codes, failure events, or performance thresholds being crossed.

Log Data Monitoring

System Center Operations Manager (SCOM) provides robust capabilities for centralized logging and log analysis. By funneling log data from across your environment into a central repository, SCOM enables you to gain visibility into application and system activity across domains.

Key capabilities for log data monitoring include:

  • Centralized logging – SCOM provides a centralized logging repository for collecting log data from Windows and Linux systems, network devices, and other sources. This allows you to aggregate log data in one place for analysis and long-term retention.

  • Log analysis and alerts – SCOM includes built-in rules and alerts for analyzing log data and detecting issues. You can set thresholds on event counts or severity to trigger alerts when anomalous activity is detected. SCOM also allows creating custom rules to detect specific log patterns.

  • Search and reporting – The centralized log repository in SCOM enables searching log data across systems to investigate issues. Log data can also be used for reporting on system activity and trends over time.

  • Long-term retention – SCOM provides capabilities for archiving log data for compliance and e-discovery purposes. Log data can be stored long-term while still being accessible for queries and reporting.

Key best practices for log data monitoring with SCOM include:

  • Enabling centralized logging for critical systems and applications.
  • Tuning rules and alerts to avoid alert fatigue.
  • Regularly searching logs and generating reports to identify trends.
  • Archiving logs for sufficient retention based on compliance requirements.

Effective log monitoring provides visibility into system and application activity and ensures issues are rapidly detected and investigated. SCOM provides robust capabilities to harness log data for monitoring and security.

Security Monitoring

Operations Manager provides various capabilities to monitor your environment for security threats and policy violations. Some key things to monitor include:

Unauthorized Changes

  • Monitor for unauthorized changes to critical files, directories, registry keys, and other system components. Operations Manager can watch for changes to file hashes, registry key values, WMI objects, and more. Alert on or report any unexpected modifications.

  • Configure Operations Manager to detect new services being installed or started, which could indicate malicious software.

  • Monitor login failures and lockouts, which may signal brute force login attempts on servers or user accounts.

Policy Violations

  • Operations Manager can check for compliance with organizational policies and best practices related to security configurations, platform hardening, anti-virus protection, and more. Create alerts for any devices that violate defined policies.

  • Monitor for clear text protocols like Telnet, FTP, and use of insecure ciphers. The use of insecure protocols and ciphers could violate security policies.

  • Check firewall settings on servers and ensure inbound connections are only allowed on designated ports and services.

Attack Indicators

  • Configure CPU, memory, and disk usage monitors to detect possible denial of service attacks.

  • Monitor Windows event logs for suspicious activities – failed logins, privilege escalations, system file changes, etc. Use rules to look for sequences of events that match known attack patterns.

  • Check reputation scores of public IP addresses on internet-facing systems. Alert on IPs associated with recent attacks or malicious behavior.

  • Monitor endpoints for connections to known bad domains, botnet command and control servers, and other suspicious destinations.

By thoroughly monitoring your environment for unauthorized changes, policy violations, and attack indicators, Operations Manager can help quickly detect security incidents for investigation and response. Tuning the agent monitoring, rules, and alerts is important to avoid excessive false positives while still catching true threats.


System Center Operations Manager provides powerful automation capabilities to help reduce the burden on IT staff. With automation, you can configure Operations Manager to automatically respond to alerts and events, reducing the need for manual intervention.

Two key automation features in Operations Manager are:

Automated Responses

Operations Manager allows you to create automated responses that trigger actions when specific alerts are generated. For example, you could automatically restart a service when an alert indicates it has stopped running.

Automated responses help resolve issues quickly before they become major problems. They also reduce the need for IT staff to manually respond to common alerts.

When configuring automated responses, it's important to thoroughly test them first to ensure they work as intended. Start with lower priority alerts and simple responses.


Self-healing takes automation a step further by enabling systems to automatically detect and fix problems without any human intervention.

For example, you could configure a self-healing response that restarts IIS when web site performance degrades past a certain threshold. Or have Operations Manager automatically provision additional cloud resources during peak load.

The key is using monitoring data, logic, and APIs to build self-regulating and self-healing systems. This provides huge efficiency and reliability gains.

When implementing self-healing capabilities, extensive testing is critical to avoid unintended consequences from automation. It's best to start small and expand over time.

Overall, automation and self-healing responses in Operations Manager can significantly reduce manual efforts for IT teams. But they require thoughtful design and testing for successful adoption.


Operations Manager provides extensive reporting capabilities to help IT administrators analyze and visualize monitoring data. Reports play a critical role in transforming raw data into actionable insights.

Management Pack Reports

Out-of-the-box management packs include reports targeting specific monitored components like Windows Server, SQL Server, Active Directory etc. These provide information like system status, performance, configuration, capacity planning, security, and more. Management pack reports extract data collected by management packs and present it in easy to understand charts, tables and graphs.

Custom and Analytical Reporting

Beyond OOTB reports, administrators can create custom reports using Log Search queries and Views. Views allow combining data from multiple sources like Windows event logs, SNMP traps, SCOM alerts etc. Transforming raw data into Views enables creating Power BI reports or workbooks for in-depth analysis. Views are also leveraged in PowerShell reporting scripts.

For advanced analytical reporting, Operations Manager integrates with SQL Reporting Services. The data warehouse database collects monitoring data which can be mined using T-SQL queries. These can power interactive visual reports with charts, gauges and maps. Role-based dashboards provide IT executives with department-specific monitoring insights.

Reporting enables extracting maximum value from monitoring data collected by Operations Manager. OOTB and custom reports transform raw data into insights for performance troubleshooting, capacity planning, security auditing and business decision making.

Monitoring Tools Integration

System Center Operations Manager offers powerful capabilities to integrate with other IT monitoring and management tools in your environment. This allows you to unify monitoring data and actions across solutions for more efficient IT operations.

Two key integrations to consider are ITSM (IT Service Management) and SIEM (Security Information and Event Management) tools.

ITSM Integration

Integrating System Center Operations Manager with ITSM solutions like ServiceNow allows bidirectional flow of information. Alerts in OpsMgr can automatically create incidents in the ITSM system. Meanwhile, ITSM tasks like change requests can feed into OpsMgr monitoring rules.

This improves efficiency for IT teams. Issues are automatically documented and routed to the right responders. Monitoring rules adapt to changes made through the ITSM system. All relevant context is available to operators without switching between systems.

SIEM Integration

Feeding OpsMgr alerts and log data into a SIEM like Splunk allows correlated analysis with other security data. The SIEM can uncover broader attack narratives by connecting insights from across the infrastructure.

Operators can pivot from an alert in OpsMgr into the associated logs and security events in the SIEM. This enables rapid investigation of issues.

The SIEM can also feed back intelligence into OpsMgr, creating monitoring rules to hunt for indicators of compromise. This turns OpsMgr into an active layer for threat detection.

Integrating OpsMgr with ITSM and SIEM tools enhances monitoring capabilities and efficiency for both infrastructure and security teams. Choosing platforms with open APIs makes these integrations straightforward to set up and maintain.


Operations Manager provides highly customizable dashboards to give you an at-a-glance view of your environment's overall health and status. The default dashboards are a great starting point, providing an overview of alerts, state, performance, and security.

You can easily customize the default dashboards by adding or removing widgets to suit your needs. Widgets allow you to display charts, lists, timelines, and more for any monitored objects or groups you want quick visibility into. For example, add widgets to view top CPU/memory utilization by host, top alerts by priority, network interface throughput by switch port, and so on. Arrange multiple widgets together to create consolidated health dashboards for applications, locations, departments, or whatever organizational split makes sense.

The dashboard designer allows drag and drop widget creation and layouts to be saved. Dashboards can be scoped to your entire environment or specific groups and objects. Personalized dashboards let each user create their own view into what's most important to them. Dashboards are highly flexible and extensible to meet any use case, making them an invaluable monitoring tool.


System Center Operations Manager (SCOM) is a comprehensive IT infrastructure monitoring solution that offers many capabilities for monitoring your environment. Some of the key things to monitor in SCOM include:

  • Infrastructure components – Servers, network devices, storage systems, etc. SCOM can monitor these components for availability, performance, configuration changes, and more.

  • Applications and services – Transactional monitoring of critical business applications and backend services using synthetic transactions. Alert on performance issues or outages.

  • Log data – Collect and analyze log data from systems and applications. Surface actionable insights and correlations.

  • Security – Monitor security events, policy changes, system hardening baseline drift, and more. Tie into SIEM tools.

  • Automation – Leverage monitoring data to trigger automated actions like auto-remediation and self-healing processes.

  • Reporting – Generate reports on overall IT infrastructure health, capacity planning, SLA compliance, and other management reporting needs.

  • Integration – Tie monitoring data into other systems like ITSM, APM, and business analytics. Provide a unified view.

  • Dashboards – Create customizable dashboards tailored to different stakeholder needs to simplify monitoring and speed root cause analysis.

Overall, SCOM provides a flexible and powerful monitoring solution for visibility across the IT stack. Focus monitoring on business critical systems, security, compliance and generating actionable data to improve IT service delivery.