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What's New in System Center 2012 SP1 - Operations Manager


Updated: May 13, 2016

Applies To: System Center 2012 SP1 - Operations Manager

System Center 2012 Service Pack 1 (SP1), Operations Manager has a number of new capabilities and changes outlines in this document. We urge you to read the Release Notes for Operations Manager in System Center 2012 SP1 for details about known issues.

New capabilities include improvements to .NET Application Performance Monitoring (APM), Audit Collection Service (ACS), and UNIX and Linux monitoring.

New Monitoring Capabilities

Monitoring Windows Services Built on the .NET Framework

One of the most commonly requested features that was present in AVIcode, but not yet re-implemented in System Center 2012 – Operations Manager was the ability to monitor Windows Services, not just IIS-hosted applications. This is now possible again, and integrated into the APM template.

Automatic Discovery of ASP.NET MVC3 and MVC4 Applications

If the application contains “System.Web.Mvc.dll” in the /bin subfolder, it is now automatically discovered as an ASP.NET Web Application without the need to use the overrides that were documented in the Guide. For more information, see Configuring the Management Pack for Operations Manager APM Web IIS 7.

New Transaction Types: MVC Pages and WCF Methods

New transaction types have been introduced for MVC pages and for MVC methods. This augments the capability to specify more detailed settings for a given feature of your application. How to use this feature is documented in the APM template documentation.

Comparing Transaction Monitoring

Here is a comparison of the transactions you can monitor using System Center 2012 – Operations Manager and those you can monitor using the Operations Manager Beta version of System Center 2012 Service Pack 1 (SP1).

Component type

Transactions you can monitor using System Center 2012 – Operations Manager

Transactions you can monitor using The Operations Manager Beta version of System Center 2012 Service Pack 1 (SP1)

ASP.NET web application

  • ASP.NET webpage

  • ASP.NET web service

  • Function

  • ASP.NET webpage

  • ASP.NET MVC page

  • ASP.NET web service

  • WCF method

  • Function

ASP.NET web service

  • ASP.NET webpage

  • ASP.NET web service

  • Function

  • ASP.NET webpage

  • ASP.NET MVC page

  • ASP.NET web service

  • WCF method

  • Function

WCF service

No transactions allowed

  • ASP.NET webpage

  • ASP.NET MVC page

  • ASP.NET web service

  • WCF method

  • Function

Windows Service

Component type did not exist

  • WCF method

  • Function

Enabled APM of SharePoint 2010

Operations Manager lets you monitor SharePoint web front-end components. You can monitor standard and custom SharePoint webpages for performance degradation and server-side exceptions. You can set up monitoring for SharePoint applications in much the same way you enable monitoring for other .NET web applications. Use the .NET Application Performance Monitoring template to configure SharePoint application monitoring. When monitoring SharePoint applications for exceptions, the exception call stack contains the relevant SharePoint specific parameters for troubleshooting.

Integration with Team Foundation Server 2010 and Team Foundation Server 2012

To speed interactions between operations and development, it is essential to quickly detect and fix problems that might need assistance from the engineering team. System Center 2012 Service Pack 1 (SP1), Operations Manager can integrate with development tools, such as Team Foundation Server (TFS) and Visual Studio, enabling deep troubleshooting and streamlining communications between developers and IT operations. You can synchronize Operations Manager alerts and Team Foundation Server (TFS) work items. Operations Manager integration with TFS introduces a new work item type definition, Operational Issue, which can be embedded into any of your organization’s engineering processes. After enabling synchronization, IT operations can manually assign alerts to the engineering team. Assigning an alert to engineering creates a new work item in Team Foundation Server. The workflow tracks and synchronizes changes made to TFS work items and changes made to associated alerts in Operations Manager.

Compared to the Microsoft Visual Studio Team Foundation Server 2010 Work Item Synchronization management pack, SP1 features include:

  • Shipped as part of Operations Manager, included in the SP1 Media

  • Improved security – synchronization account no longer requires TFS administrative rights

  • Improved design of the Operational Issue WITD

  • Improved design of the configuration Wizard

  • Introduced support for TFS Area Path

  • Support for default Team Projects

  • Synchronization for new APM alert types from IIS8 web applications, WCF, Windows Services, and also for non-APM alerts

  • Localization of Wizard UI and MP elements, and compatibility with localized versions of TFS

  • Synchronize file attachments that can reside on a network file share or appended to TFS work items.

  • Automatically route and close alerts to TFS

  • IT operations can open TFS work items directly from the Operations Manager console using built-in integration with TFS web UI.

Conversion of Application Performance Monitoring events to IntelliTrace format

This new monitoring capability allows for opening of APM exception events from Visual Studio IDE as if the exception was captured during the IntelliTrace historical debugging session. Developers can stay within their familiar environment to examine complete exception call stack, for example: method parameters captured at the time of exception, and can navigate between the source code modules that participated in the exception call chain. Tightly integrated with TFS Work Item Synchronization Management Pack, this capability instantaneously brings generated IntelliTrace logs to TFS work items assigned to engineering. This can result in streamlining communications between IT Operations and Development and enriching the development experience with analysis of root causes of the application failure, reducing the mean time to recovery (MTTR) for the problems detected by APM.

Features include:

  • APM exception events can be saved in IntelliTrace file format directly from Application Diagnostics

  • Debug Symbols can be late-bound in Visual Studio 2012 allowing developers to navigate through source code, even when the production environment has no symbols loaded

  • Developers can see one level of parameters that are converted and visible in the Visual Studio 2012 Ultimate Locals window, and displayed in the context of the selected call stack frame

  • Developers can see additional method specific information (i.e. a connection string for ExecuteReader() method) in the Visual Studio 2012 Locals window in the context of the selected call stack frame

  • Traces are automatically attached to APM exception events and can be automatically added to TFS work items or stored on a network file share. Developers can open traces using Visual Studio 2012 Ultimate and troubleshoot application problems while staying in their development environment.

Collecting Historical Traces Using IntelliTrace Profiling Management Pack

System Center 2012 SP1 – Operations Manager includes IntelliTrace Profiling Management Pack. This management pack lets you capturing historical traces directly from the Operations Manager console. These traces can help developers investigate problems by giving them visibility to application execution history without the developers needing access to the servers where the applications ran. Developers can use Visual Studio 2012 Ultimate to open collected traces.

IntelliTrace Profiling Management Pack automatically deploys the necessary infrastructure, IntelliTrace Collector, to the designated servers. When traces are collected, they are uploaded to a network file share and attached to Operations Manager alerts. Traces are uploaded to the management server using the same secure Operations Manager channel that agents use to communicate with the management servers. By configuring Team Foundation Server (TFS) synchronization, traces can be automatically added or linked to TFS work items.

New Management Packs and Support for Windows Server 2012 and IIS 8

To use APM with Windows Server 2012, you must import the following management packs:

  • Microsoft.Windows.Server.Library version 6.0.6989.0 or newer

  • Microsoft.Windows.Server.2012.Discovery version 6.0.6989.0 or newer

  • Microsoft.Windows.InternetInformationServices.CommonLibrary version 7.0.8862.0 or newer

  • Microsoft.Windows.InternetInformationServices.2012 version 7.0.8862.0 or newer


    If you had previously imported the Microsoft.Windows.InternetInformationServices.6.2 management pack, which was part of the Windows 8 Beta management pack release, it should be removed first.

Also, from the /ManagementPacks folder of the System Center 2012 – Operations Manager media, you should import Microsoft.SystemCenter.Apm.Web.IIS8. This is the equivalent of the Microsoft.SystemCenter.Apm.Web.IIS7 management pack, which was previously (and still is) used for IIS7.

These management pack versions to be used are specific to System Center 2012 Service Pack 1 (SP1) - Operations Manager. Other than these specific prerequisites, how to use this feature is documented in the APM template documentation and the experience is identical to configuring APM for an IIS7-hosted application.

360 .NET Application Monitoring Dashboards

System Center 2012 Service Pack 1 (SP1) - Operations Manager can show you different perspectives of application health in one place—360 .NET Application Monitoring Dashboards. The 360 .NET Application Monitoring Dashboards display information from Global Service Monitor, .NET Application Performance Monitoring, and Web Application Availability Monitoring to provide a summary of health and key metrics for 3-tier applications in a single view. The 360 .NET Application Monitoring Dashboards show where an application is unhealthy and provide a launch point for detail dashboards that highlight component-level issues.

The 360 .NET Application Monitoring Dashboards display data from powerful monitoring tools. .NET Application Performance Monitoring looks deep into the application to get details that can help you pinpoint solutions from server-side and client-side perspectives. Web Application Availability monitoring in Operations Manager monitors internal synthetic transactions. Global Service Monitor monitors the availability of applications from an outside location, measuring availability from where the user is.

The 360 .NET Application Monitoring Dashboards show the following:

Key application metric or action

Type of monitoring used


Web Application Availability Monitoring and Global Service Monitor


.NET Application Performance Monitoring


.NET Application Performance Monitoring and Global Service Monitor


.NET Application Performance Monitoring


The Team Foundation Server (TFS) Connector management pack takes an alert, assigns it to development in TFS with all appropriate detail.

ACS support for Dynamic Access Control

Windows Server 2012 enables business data owners to easily classify and label data allowing access policies to be defined for data classes that are critical to business. Compliance management in Windows Server 2012 becomes more efficient and flexible because access and audit policies can be based not only on user and group information but a richer set of user, resource and environmental claims, and properties from Active Directory and other sources. User claims such as roles, projects, organization, resource properties such as secrecy, and device claims such as health can be used in defining access and audit policies.

Windows Server 2012 enhances the existing Windows ACL model to support Dynamic Access Control where customers can define an expression based authorization access policy that includes conditions using user and machine claims, as well as resource (for example, file) properties. The following illustration is descriptive, and not an actual representation of an expression:

  • Allow Read and Write access if User.Clearance >= Resource.Secrecy and Device. Healthy

  • Allow Read and Write access if User.Project any_of Resource.Project

System Center 2012 Service Pack 1 (SP1) contributes to the fulfilling these scenarios by providing enterprise-wide visibility into the use of the Dynamic Access Control, leveraging Operations Manager’s Audit Collection Services to collect events from the relevant machines (file servers, domain controllers) and providing reporting to enable auditors and compliance officers to report on the use of Dynamic Access Control – for example, audit changes in policies, object access (success and failure), and “what-if” assessment of what would happen if a certain policy were applied.

Additional UNIX and Linux Monitoring Capabilities

Support for CentOS, Debian, Oracle, and Ubuntu Linux

System Center 2012 Service Pack 1 (SP1) - Operations Manager has added support for monitoring of the following Linux operating systems:

  • CentOS 5 (x86/x64)

  • CentOS 6 (x86/x64)

  • Debian GNU/Linux 5 (x86/x64)

  • Debian GNU/Linux 6 (x86/x64)

  • Oracle Linux 5 (x86/x64)

  • Oracle Linux 6 (x86/x64)

  • Ubuntu Server 10.04 (x86/x64)

  • Ubuntu Server 12.04 (x86/x64)

Support for these operating systems is implemented with the “Universal Linux” monitoring packs.  Import the following MP files to enable monitoring of the new Linux operating systems:



  • Microsoft.Linux.UniversalD.1.mpb (to support Debian and Ubuntu Linux agents)

  • Microsoft.Linux.UniversalR.1.mpb (to support CentOS Linux agents)

Improved Heartbeat Monitoring

Heartbeat monitors for Operations Manager UNIX and Linux agents now support configurable “MissedHeartbeats” – allowing for a defined number of failed heartbeats to occur before generating an alert.  Failed heartbeats will now cause Operations Manager to unload rules and monitors for UNIX and Linux agents until the heartbeat is restored.  This makes it very easy to identify UNIX and Linux computers with failed heartbeats in the Operations Manager console.

See Also

.NET Application Performance Monitoring Template [CTP2]
Before You Begin Monitoring .NET Applications [CTP2]