Capturing your knowledge/intelligence should be SIMPLE

Lately this blog has been very personal. This post is about stuff I do at work, so if you are not one of my IT readers, don’t worry.

For my IT readers, an interruptions from guitars and music on this blog to share some personal reflection on OpInsights and SCOM.

SCOM is very powerful. You know I have always been a huge fan of 2007 and worked myself on the 2012 release. But, compared to its predecessor – MOM – in SCOM it has always been very hard to author management packs – multiple tools, a lot of documentation… here we are, more than 6 years later, and the first 2 comments on an old post on the momteam blog still strike me hard every time I read it:

whatever happened to click,click,done?

You would think that things have changed, but SCOM is fundamentally complex, and even with the advances in tooling (VSAE, MPAuthor, etc) writing MPs is still black magic, if you ask some users.

I already blogged about me exporting and MP and converting its event-based alerting rules to OpInsights searches.

Well, writing those alerting rules in SCOM needs a lot of complex XML – you might not need to know how to write it (but you often have to attempt dechipering it) and even if you create rules with a wizard, it will produce a lot of complex XML for you.

In the screenshot below, the large XML chunk that is needed to pick up a specific eventId from a specific log and a specific source: the key/important information is only a small fraction of it, while the rest is ‘packaging’:


I want OpInsights to be SIMPLE.

If there is one thing I want the most for this project, is this.

That’s why the same rule can now be expressed with a simple filter search in OpInsights, where all you need is just that key information

EventID=1037 Source=”Microsoft-Windows-IIS-W3SVC” EventLog=System

and you essentially don’t have to care about any sort of packaging nor mess with XML.

Click, click – filters/facets in the UI let you refine your criteria. And your saved searches too. And they execute right away, there is not even a ‘Done’ button to press. You might just be watching those searches pinned to tiles in your dashboard. All it took was identify the three key pieces of info, no complex XML wrapping needed!

Ok, granted – there ARE legitimate, more complex, scenarios for which you need complex data sources/collectors and specialized/well thought data shaping, not just events – and we use those powerful capabilities of the MMA agent in intelligence packs. But at its core, the simple search language and explor-ability of the data are meant to bring back SIMPLE to the modern monitoring world. Help us prioritize what data sources you need first!

PS – if you have no idea what I was talking about – thanks for making it till here, but don’t worry: either you are not an IT person, which means simply ignore this; or – if you are an IT person – go check out Azure Operational Insights!


One thing that we (both me and Jyothi) miss in the States, are markets. Flea markets, 2nd hand markets, veggie markets, spice markets… all kind of open air markets. You must think we are nuts – there ARE markets here, after all!
Well, yeah. Sort of.
I mean, if you consider the various famers markets, thrift stores, garage and yard sales and various other markets (i.e. today we went to the Freemont’s Sunday Market for example), yes there are various places where you can get either the market feeling and/or rummage in between old junk and find hidden treasures.
But… the biggest ‘but’ we have is that all those things are either geographically dispersed (you need to drive miles in between each of them) and even in the case of those markets… they are SMALL. You can see the entire Freemont market above in 20 minutes. It’s nice – I even shopped! – but by the time you start having that cozy market feeling… you reached the end of the street, you have seen it all – that WAS it.
Seriously. EVERYTHING in America is big, but markets here are really nothing for us spoiled Europeans who have been visiting Portobello Road, Porta Portese and the Bazaar in Bewerwijk.
I mean a MARKET. in ALL CAPS.
One that you get there at 10 in the morning, you walk around a section of and around 12 you get some lunch, some tea/coffe, then you walk some more… then by 3 PM you still have not managed to see it all, and you finally give up, happy and exhausted, and head back home…
American friends – where are you keeping the good markets hidden? Do you even know what I am talking about?

I walked all this road (Song)

I have been composing this since February or so… The music has actually been almost ready for a while – in April – , but then things got busy at work (we launched System Center Advisor – Limited Public Preview, I have been responding to feedback, and Contributed some hopefully helpful troubleshooting article), I have not had an occasion to record myself singing and finish the song up.

This is also the first complete song that features both my custom-built guitars: the Plank Telecaster is the one you can hear play the rhythm/chords, while I played the Plank #2 for the melody.

I walked all this road – 2014

Winter (Song)

Well, the name of this is just because I started writing it on December 18th… just before the official beginning of winter, and finished it today, just a few days after spring has begun (again, officially – the weather in seattle doesn’t say the same). Anyway, it’s instrumental (so you don’t hear me ranting there) and a bit trippy.

Winter – 2014

And here’s a trippy doodle to go with it – sketched today in my notebook.

Doodling is meditation

Carmen N.51 (Song)

Another song I have been composing and recording recently. This one has lyrics in LATIN – the verses of Carmen #51 from Catullus, a latin poet who was so amazingly modern in his writing… some of it could have been easily written today. That is what makes masterpieces: their timelessness.

You can find the latin text (with english translation by the side) on this site (and on other sites too, most likely – just look at links in the wikipedia page or search…).

My song probably doesn’t give justice to the poem, but I tried to respect the metre (as much as possible… and if I correctly remember what I studied over 20 years ago, which isn’t guaranteed). In greek and latin the metre isn’t just a matter of defining ‘this verse is supposed to have X number of syllables’, but it really imposes what kind of rhythm and musicality the verses will have when recited (poetry in the ancient world was often accompanied by music, incidentally).

Anyway, enough words, here is the song – I hope you like it!

CarmeN51 – 2014 [audio:CarmeN51.mp3]

PS – This is actually the second time in my life that I write a song with Catullus’ carmina as inspiration and use their lyrics. Many years ago (in high school) I had also composed music around Carme #8, and we even interpreted with the band Ikebana I was playing in at the time. But that is maybe for another time…