Microsoft Operations Management Suite

Microsoft Operations Management Suite

The Microsoft Operations Management Suite (OMS), previously known as Azure Operational Insights, is a software as a service (SaaS) platform that allows an administrator to manage on-premises and cloud IT assets from a central portal. It was introduced in May 2015 as an evolution of System Center.

OMS provides flexible access to the management capabilities a company needs through four key service offerings:

  • Insight & Analytics – includes Azure Log Analytics and 2 additional solutions on OMS Portal (Service Map and Network Performance Monitor), that are not available in regular Log Analytics. This solution will bring these features:
    • Gain visibility across workloads, giving customers all the information needed on what’s happening in the environment
    • Includes log collection and search, application and server dependency mapping, as well as network health monitoring
    • Rights to use System Center Operations Manager*

    It can be used instead of System Center Operations Manager (you can install OMS agents on Windows and Linux machines in the cloud or on-premise), or it can be connected to SCOM to visualize its data and extend it with its own “solutions” (analog of Management Packs in SCOM), whereas Service Map functionality is an analog of “Distributed Applications” in SCOM.

  • Automation & Control – includes Azure Automation (with Desired State Configuration (DSC) and Automation Hybrid Worker functionality) and 2 additional solutions on OMS Portal (Change Tracking and Update Management). This solution will bring these features:
    • Enable consistent control and compliance across environments for both Azure, 3rd-party clouds and on-premises datacenters
    • Includes services to assist with process automation, desired state configuration, change tracking and update management
    • Rights to use System Center Service Manager, System Center Orchestrator, and System Center Configuration Manager*

    Note that, Azure Automation shares a big part of the code with System Center SMA (part of System Center Orchestrator). Change Tracking solutions in OMS has an overlapping functionality with System Center Service Manager, and OMS Update Management in some way overlaps with System Center Configuration Manager.

  • Security & Compliance – includes Azure Security Center and 2 additional solutions on OMS Portal (Antimalware Assessment and Security and Audit). This solution will bring these features:
    • Drive security across every area of the organization, delivering sophisticated threat intelligence capabilities, malware detection, and information on how systems may have been compromised
    • Includes advanced security and audit functionality and malware threat analysis
    • Azure Security Center availability for deep security management of Azure services
  • Protection & Recovery – includes Azure Backup and Azure Site Recovery which provides these features:
    • Ensure availability of important applications and data. Protection and Recovery helps you keep critical data protected through integrated cloud backup, and applications available while minimizing the impact of disruptions to the business
    • Includes both backup and site recovery services for an integrated experience
    • Rights to use System Center Virtual Machine Manager and System Center Data Protection Manager*
*You will only receive System Center 2016 licenses for the period of OMS subscription if you purchase OMS SKUs with an annual commitment. And you won’t get System Center license if you decide to pay for OMS SKUs monthly without commitment or if you purchase OMS solutions through CSP.

In term of licensing, there are currently 6 OMS SKUs which are composed of one SKU for each solution described previously, and two plans:

  • OMS E1 – includes Insight & Analytics and Automation & Control
  • OMS E2 – full bundle, that includes all 4 OMS solutions with a discount

Additionally, all OMS solutions are licenses per node. Node equals to VM or physical (non-virtualized) host. It also requires Azure Storage for backups, log collection and DR data which are charged separately. Note that you can retrieve all details about OMS capabilities, pricing and licensing here.

Usually, there are 3 types of scenario for the implementation of OMS in customer environment:

  • OMS as a management solution instead of System Center suite:
    • Azure Log Analytics (OMS Insight & Analytics) as a comprehensive monitoring solution, that managed Windows & Linux machines on-premise and in the cloud, also including Office 365 monitoring and Windows Telemetry analysis. OMS Agent machines can be used to get monitoring data even from servers, not connected to the Internet
    • Azure Automation as a comprehensive automation solution. It can automate a lot of tasks in the cloud, and Automation Hybrid Worker extends its capabilities to the on-premise environment
    • Azure Security Center audits the security in the cloud and prevents breaches, while OMS Antimalware Assessment and, OMS Security and Audit analyze what’s happening in the on-premise environment
    • Azure Backup can backup VMs in Azure, and Azure Backup Server (which in fact is equal to System Center DPM, but lacks tape support) can be used to backup on-premise VMs (Hyper-V and VMware), Exchange databases, SQL Server databases, file servers, SharePoint farms and a state of Active Directory. In fact, Azure Backup Server can backup on-premise data to local disks and then copy important data to the cloud (which is equal to DPM approach)
    • Azure Site Recovery can be used to make a DR from on-premise Hyper-V and VMware hosts to Azure
  • OMS as an addition to System Center:
    • Existing SCOM analyses what’s happening on-premise, and Log Analytics analyzes what’s happening in the public cloud. SCOM agents send data to SCOM server, and SCOM server can be connected to OMS Workspace. You don’t need to install OMS agents on every server in your environment if you’have already installed SCOM agent.
    • Existing System Center Orchestrator and SMA automate and orchestrate on-premise environment, whereas Azure Automation automates tasks in the cloud
    • Existing DPM can leverage Azure Backup to store backups in the cloud
    • VMM managed Hyper-V-based private cloud and leverages Azure Site Recovery for Site-to-Site and Site-to-Azure DR scenarios
    • Existing System Center Configuration Manager and System Center Service Manager remains powerful tools to manage on-premise environments without real replacement solution from OMS. Though it’s worth to mention Microsoft Intune when it comes to speaking about System Center Configuration Manager in the cloud.
  • Part of management is delivered by OMS, part by System Center. A mix of 2 scenarios, described above. For example, SCOM is not installed because it is a small on-premise environment with cloud resources and OMS Insight & Analytics will be used to monitor the entire environment.

I hope this article helps you to have a better understanding of OMS, what it is composed of and what kind of licensing approach to chose. Next articles will describe more precisely how to add, configure and use these OMS solutions to your environment.

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