One of the cool new features of System Center Operations Manager 2007 R2 is the possibility to check and update Management Packs from the catalog on the Internet directly from the Operators Console:
Even if the backend for this feature is not yet documented, I was extremely curious to see how this had actually been implemented. Especially since it took a while to have this feature available for OpsMgr, I had the suspicion that it could not be as simple as one downloadable XML file, like the old MOM2005’s MPNotifier had been using in the past.
Therefore I observed the console’s traffic through the lens of my proxy, and got my answer:
So that was it: a .Net Web Service.
I tried to ask the web service itself for discovery information, but failed:
Since there is no WSDL available, but I badly wanted to interact with it, I had to figure out: what kind of requests would be allowed to it, how should they be written, what methods could they call and what parameters should I pass in the call. In order to get started on this, I thought I could just observe its network traffic. And so I did… I fired up Network Monitor and captured the traffic:
Microsoft Network Monitor is beautiful and useful for this kind of stuff, as it lets you easily identify which application a given stream of traffic belongs to, just like in the picture above. After I had isolated just the traffic from the Operations Console, I then saved those captures packets in CAP format and opened it again in Wireshark for a different kind of analysis – “Follow TCP Stream”:
This showed me the reassembled conversation, and what kind of request was actually done to the Web Service. That was the information I needed.
Ready to rock at this point, I came up with this Powershell script (to be run in OpsMgr Command Shell) that will:
1) connect to the web service and retrieve the complete MP list for R2 (this part is also useful on its own, as it shows how to interact with a SOAP web service in Powershell, invoking a method of the web service by issuing a specially crafted POST request. To give due credit, for this part I first looked at this PERL code, which I then adapted and ported to Powershell);
2) loop through the results of the “Get-ManagementPack” opsmgr cmdlet and compare each MP found in the Management Group with those pulled from the catalog;
3) display a table of all imported MPs with both the version imported in your Management Group AND the version available on the catalog:
Remember that this is just SAMPLE code, it is not meant to be used in production environment and it is worth mentioning again that OpsMgr2007 R2 this is BETA software at the time of writing, therefore this functionality (and its implementation) might change at any time, and the script will break. Also, at present, the MP Catalog web service still returns slightly older MP versions and it is not yet kept in sync and updated with MP Releases, but it will be ready and with complete/updated content by the time R2 gets released.
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