Creating a Single Server Test Environment for Squared Up

Hi everyone,

Recently I was directed to a piece of software called Squared Up, which promises HTML 5 Dashboards for Microsoft System Center Operations Manager, and I could hardly refuse the opportunity for a free trial!

Unfortunatley, its not every day that you keep an Operations Manager environment in your back pocket, and the sheer amount of configuration that can go into a multi server setup, just for a lab is mind boggling! In answer to this, I decided to attempt a single server setup for Operations Manager and Squared Up, and share it with the internet.

Now I know what you are saying, the point of Ops Manager is to monitor servers – you are going to have to set them up anyway ?! While this is true, I wanted to play with some of the more interesting management packs, and not self reference the monitoring environment – and in this instance, I will need all the free RAM I can get to spin up those servers!

Lets take a look at the software…

Company: Squared Up
Vitals: Based in Marlow UK
Licencing: Named User & Feature Based (Brilliant for a powerful tool like this!)
Support: Web KB & Phone

ig 1 – An Example Squared Up Dashboard

And now today’s tutorial…

What ? 
Configure a single server Operations Manager environment, onto which we can install the Squared Up Trial.

Why ? 
Creating and running a distributed Operations Manager environment on a single PC with Hyper-V is a big ask, this will allow us to play with Squared Up and create some separate monitored servers, despite our lack of RAM/CPU.

– Performance is going to be degraded, mostly that of Operations Manager
– This is about as far from a Microsoft Supported Configuration as you will get, and it may go wrong!
– Operations Manager will warn you this isn’t a sustainable environment during install, and its right!

Knowledge and Technical Level
Complex – I am going to assume you know the basics and a little more, of all the technology we are using. This tutorial will only address directly the complexities of an all in one install.

Eg. I am not going to step by step through setting up a basic domain!

Now to the tutorial…

Section One – Create A Hyper-V Guest Server 

To begin this process, you will of course need a Virtual Server. I configured mine extremely simply, 2048MB of RAM & Single Core.

ig 2 – Hyper-V Guest Config

I have also added two network connections:

External Internet – This is shared with my host, and provides web access.
SquaredUpNet – This is an internal adapter, which I can open ports against to allow access to the console.

Once the server is setup, install Windows Server 2012 R2 (or preferred version!) and continue!

ig 3 – Server 2012 R2

 Section Two – Configure A Basic Domain 

When you have installed Server 2012, go ahead and use the server role manager to turn it into a Domain Controller, with a brand new forest a single domain.

This step is relatively simple, and you can neglect DHCP Scope Config, and accept defaults for DNS Config – as there is very little network to look after.

I used the following settings,

Domain: squaredup.local

Section Three – Install SQL Server

In order to use Operations Manager, you must install a SQL database. In this case we will use Microsoft SQL Server 2014 Enterprise.

You can begin the installer in the usual way, and continue with default settings until feature selection.

Warning : You will be strongly advised not to install this on a DC, in this case – we know the risks, so continue anyway.

When you reach feature selection, take the options below – they are the minimum you will need for Operations Manager.

ig 4 – SQL Feature Selection 1

Fig 5 – SQL Feature Selection 2

Now, allow the installation to continue – until the configuration steps!

Big Important Step Below

This is one of the most important parts of the SQL installation!

During configuration, you will be asked to supply user credentials for the database engine and local support. DO NOT allow the setup to continue with defaults, you must enter an Administrators (who has power over this PC) DOMAIN DETAILS and password.

Because we are on a DC, creation of the local accounts will fail if left up to the installer, as it can’t access the local device user groups and permissions, due to the way they are suppressed on the DC.

I used SQUAREDUP\Administrator, my domain admin – as this is a sandbox trial system – really , don’t do this for real!

Section Four – SQL Reporting Services

If the above wizard completes successfully, your reporting services should be installed and configured automatically. I have included my settings pages below however – should you need to make any changes.

ig 6 – SQL Reporting needs named pipe access, switch this on in SQL Server Configuration Manager if needed.

ig 7 – Configure the RS URL using defaults, by clicking “Apply”

Fig 8 – Provide SQL RS with database connection data, make sure you specify the instance!

Fig 9 – Configure the report manager URL using default settings by clicking “Apply”

 Section Five – Install Operations Manager 

Now we have everything in place, we can install Ops Mgr on the server!

As before, begin the installer and work through with default steps, until you reach database configuration.

Warning - Again, Operations Manager will complain about being in an unsuitable environment, we know the risks.

ig 10 – Specify the database connection details, and don’t forget the instance name!

Fig 11 – Do the same for the data warehouse database config.

Fig 12 – For reporting services, you instance will be pre-filled!

Important Step Alert!

This is another part of the install, that again can be problematic because we are on a domain controller. Use the same, or another similarly configured account for all SCOM components as before – or they will fail to start!

Ig 13 – Specify domain credentials for Admin with local power on DC.

ig 14 – Your setup should now complete, don’t worry about the warning – its because we are running under a trial licence.

Section Six – What Next ? 

By now, we have a functioning SCOM environment, with all the tools and parts required to begin using Squared Up.

The only problem with this, is there is nothing in it! Before you continue, use the snapshot you took of the fresh 2012 install to create some servers to be monitored! (You did take one, right..!)

Manually configure these servers, and use the Operations Manager media to install the agent, and begin to collect some data goodness!

Warning: You will need to allow manual agent installs from Global Settings in SCOM before this will work!

Section Seven – Install Squared Up

If you are still with me at this point, well done for reading through the entire post! I will give you a break now, as for the installation of Squared Up, I have created a Video tutorial. Head over to my YouTube channel to see it!


Some Helpful Links

Here are a few things I used along the way, thanks to their authors!