Subscribing to IT Analytics Reports through SQL 2008 Reporting Services

By Rob Reyes at 6/16/2011 3:04 PM
Filed Under: ConfigMgr, IT Analytics, OpsMgr

With IT Analytics, not only is it easy for analysts and users to get the System Center data they want on demand, but using the subscription capabilities in SQL 2008 Reporting Services makes sharing System Center data even easier!

In this post, I will walk you thought the process for subscribing to IT Analytics reports.



To make sure the subscription process works smoothly, I want to check the following prerequisites.


Enable SQL Server Agent

Reporting Services uses SQL Server Agent to kick off a subscription and this service must be enabled.  I can check the SQL Server Agent settings in the Services window.  My SQL Server Agent should be set up up to run automatically as a startup service.


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SQL Server Reporting Services E-mail Settings


To send reports via email, I need to have the SQL Server Reporting Services E-mail Settings configured, specifically: Sender Address and SMTP server.


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Data Source Access

For Reporting Services subscriptions and scheduled reports to work, this service must know what account to run as.  To do that, you must specify this account within the Data Source definition.  This can be configured within the "Reporting" tab that is part of the IT Analytics Configuration Manager.

User Access

Next, I need to check my access to the Reporting Services instance.  If I, or any other users, are to subscribe to any IT Analytics reports, we must have the “Browser” assigned.


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Now that I have all the prerequisites in place, Subscriptions can be accessed from SQL Server Reporting Services Report Manager.  The Report Manager URL may be in the following format:



Here is a listing IT Analytics reports on my Report server.  Now that I found a report that I am interested in subscribing to, I click on the dropdown arrow next to the report name and select "Subscribe..."  This will bring up available subscription options.


Emailing a Report

Now, I have two delivery options to choose from: “E-mail” and “Windows File Share.”  Both options are listed in the "Delivered By" dropdown.  For this first example, I want this report sent via email.


I pick “E-Mail” in the “Delivered By” dropdown and a number of new options are listed.  In the screenshot below, I typed in my email address in the "To" field and added a comment.  If I click the "Schedule" button, I can specify how often this report should be sent to me.


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If there is a subset of data I am interested, then I can use the "Report Parameter Values" to refine the data that is included in my report.



Now that I have my subscription set the way I want it, I click "OK" to save the subscription.


When I visit the “My Subscriptions” page, I can review when all my subscribed reports were sent and status of that send.


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Below is an example of a report that was emailed to me:


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Windows File Share


Another requirement I have is to have a monthly snapshot of this reports.  I can use the "Windows File Share" subscription option to make this happen.


When I select "Windows File Share," I am presented with a number of options, including where to save the file, credentials to be used and the schedule.  Just like the email settings, I can edit the parameters to filter the data that will be saved to the file.


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I click "OK" to save the subscription and go to the specified drive to view the saved file.


With a few clicks, my users and I can get the latest Microsoft System Center data when I need it, further empowering me and enabling me to make informed decisions about my environment.


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Configuring a SharePoint 2010 Business Intelligence Center for IT Analytics

By Rob Reyes at 6/8/2011 1:21 PM
Filed Under: Install/Config, IT Analytics, SSRS
In previous posts, Ryan shared how we can provide rich, interactive charts and graphs with SharePoint 2010 and IT Analytics cubes.  In this post, I will show you how to set up a new, basic instance of SharePoint 2010 Enterprise, along with installing and configuring a Business Intelligence Center site that uses PerformancePoint Servces to use with IT Analytics.
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You can find the SharePoint 2010 hardware and software requirements listed at the following link:
I am using a Hyper-V instance of Windows Server 2008 R2 Enterprise with SQL Server 2008 R2 installed with 3CPUs, 3Gb RAM and 40Gb of disk space.  Please note that PerformancePoint 2010 is licensed only with SharePoint 2010 Enterprise. 
SharePoint Installation
Once the Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010 installation dialog box appears, I recommend clicking on "Install software prerequisites" first.  The install is great and installing any updates, roles and settings to ensure the install goes smoothly.  After the software prerequisites installation completes, click on "Install Sharepoint Server."
After entering my SharePoint 2010 Enterprise license, you will be prompted to select Standalone or Server Farm.  Given the available functionality and flexibility, I will be installing a Server Farm.   When promoted for server type on the next page, I will select "Complete" so all components are installed and available.
That is the last step for installing SharePoint 2010 Server.  We will now launch in to configuring my SharePoint 2010 instance.
A few clicks in to the wizard, I am asked if I want to connect to an existing server farm or create a new server farm.  In this post, I'll create a new server farm. 
Next, I specify the server and credentials on the following page.
After setting credentials, I need to create a passphrase that I will use as I add more SharePoint servers to this farm.
The rest of the options, I will leave at default and click through until the configuration is complete.
Next, I must configure the server farm.  A browser comes up and gives me an option to go through a wizard or manually configure the server.  I'll use the wizard.  I'll leave all the services at their default settings and select "Use existing managed account," and click Next. 
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The next page is important.  This is where I will define my PerformancePoint "site" on SharePoint.  I'll give this site a title of "IT Analytics" and have the site run right off the root folder.
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I scroll down to define what sort of site this is.  There are a number of templates out of the box, but the one I am interested in, Business Intelligence Center, is located in the Enterprise tab.  The Business Intelligence Center is where I will use IT Analytics as my datasource for custom reports, dashboards, charts and tables.  I click OK and a processing window appears.  Once that completes, my farm configuration is complete.
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Two critical elements must also be configured:
1. The Secure Store and Unattended Service Account - This must be a shared domain account that will be used for accessing data sources we define within PerformancePoint.
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2. Secure Store Service - PerformancePoint uses this service to store the unattended service account password.  Additionally, the credential database is encrypted by a key.  This key must be created before defining any data sources in PerformancePoint.
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Now that my SharePoint Performance Point site is configured, I can now start creating custom dashboards, charts and tables using IT Analytics, and enabling my users do the same! 
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Using IT Analytics to analyze Hyper-V Performance

By Ryan Stolte at 6/4/2011 11:10 AM
Filed Under: Hyper-V, IT Analytics, OpsMgr, Private Cloud

This post is the next in my series on using IT Analytics to analyze the performance of our Private Cloud at Bay Dynamics. In previous posts I've focused on analysis of my VMware infrastructure, but now I'll turn my attention to investigating the performance of our Hyper-V hosts.

We start with opening our SCOM Performance Cube and refine the metrics to data coming from System Center Virtual Machine Manager by choosing the MP named "System Center Virtualization Reports 2008". Adding the Entity Count and Sample Count to the pivot table gives me a high level picture of how much data I'm collecting from different objects within that MP. We have lots to choose from, including information on virtualization candidate servers, Hyper-V hosts, VM guests, and VMware ESX servers. See below:

In this case, I only want to look at my Hyper-V hosts, so I'll multi-select those five objects, right click, and filter my results to that selection.

Next I add the actual host name to the mix, and I can see the six Hyper-V hosts I'm collecting performance metrics for with this MP.

Now that I have a good set of metrics and hosts, I want to change my measures to show the actual minimum, average, and maximum values of each.

Now I've got some real numbers to chew on. To make the analysis easier, I'd like to see this as a chart. Choosing the Chart option at the top and adjusting the options to split that into three charts by Counter, I now have a much more visually informative perspective.

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I see that one of the hosts, svsfhypv002, has the most available memory as well as good free space, but also has the highest variance in CPU % total run time. I'd like to drill into that further and see that data over time to help me determine if this host is a good candidate for a new set of VMs I need to provision.

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Hmm, looks like things were stable in April with high available space and low CPU utilization, but there was a big change in May. My next thought is to see that % free space broken down by specific day to see the recent trend. Dragging in the date, I see:

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Clearly there was additional load added to this server in early May. Fortunately I still have over 75% of the disk free and this is still a good candidate to host new Hyper-V VMs.

Once again, by leveraging my IT Analytics SCOM Performance cube, I was able to analyze trends in a fluid way, asking and answering my own questions on the fly in a matter of minutes. No guessing and no waiting, I have the information I need to make good decisions about loading and capacity of my virtual infrastructure!