Most businesses will be monitoring their IT services from an internal perspective with SCOM. Problems such as SQL service failures, disk failures or a web application pool that has stopped responding foe example but none of these monitoring from an external, customer perspective.
With System Centre 2012 SP1 Microsoft has released its System Centre Global Service Monitor (GSM) service. This new service allows you to test your externally facing websites and even more impressive is that your also able to configure multi step web transaction testing.
With GSM you will be able to test from a true user perspective – GSM can be a customer or user of your external site or service. A good example would be an online shop. You could have GSM login as a user, browse the store and try to preform a transaction on the checkout.
Its likely that you would know if your store was down completely – your internal SCOM monitoring would hopefully alert you to this but how about transactions times? Are customers going to wait if your checkout process is not rapid? With GSM feeding information back into SCOM (think Application Monitoring – APM) drill down into this data and if there is a delay taking place e.g. if there was a SQL query that was slowing your customers down for example you can get SCOM to automatically create a standard SCOM alert and if integrated with SCSM (System Centre Service Manager) get it to raise a service ticket for your development team to look into – very cool stuff!
Microsoft currently has the following 15 locations from around the world that you can test from which should cover the requirements of most users:
- Australia: Sydney
- Brazil: Sao Paulo
- Europe: Amsterdam, London, Paris, Stockholm, Zurich
- Russia: Moscow
- United States: Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, Newark, San Antonio
You can currently sign up for a free 90 day trial from here >> https://orgaccount.microsoft.com/signup?offerIds=BE2A46EF-0639-43a4-8323-BB5E1D4340D3. You will need to use a Microsoft Organisational account (if you use Office 365, Intune, Online Backup, CRM Online for example you already have one of these – if not you can create a new account for the trial period.). It is worth noting that you MUST have an active software assurance policy with Microsoft if you want to extend this into a full blown subscription after your 90 day trial is up.
To use GSM within your environment you need to be using the latest System Centre 2012 SP1 version which has recently gone to GA status so available for download from here >> http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/evalcenter/hh505660
Once you have SCOM SP1 downloaded, installed and configured just download GSM & install into your SCOM server which will install and import the required management packs.
This video from the 2012 European TechNet event shows all this in action >> http://channel9.msdn.com/events/TechEd/Europe/2012/MGT307