Inside System Center 3: Best Free System Center Solutions – Show Notes

In this episode, Dan and Pete talk about some of the more robust free solutions for System Center 2012 R2, including a couple of gems you have not seen before! Links to all the resources discussed (and some we didn’t get to) below!

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Video edition –

OpsMgr 2012 R2

While there are thousands of great articles and scripts and related solutions for OpsMgr, here are a few of the more function-rich freebies. A couple of lesson known solutions in here! 

NiCE Log File Monitoring MP

MP Author (Silect Software)
OpsMgr Self Maintenance Management Pack (by Tao Yang)

PKI Certificate Verification MP (by Raphael Burri)

Effective Configuration Viewer (Stefan Roth)

Adding GUI Authoring Support for PowerShell Monitors in OpsMgr (Wei H Lim)

ConFigMgr 2012 R2

While most everyone is familiar with the right click tools, we discussed a couple of other (and in some cases newer)  free solutions.



PowerShell Inventory Script (David O’Brien)

Kent Agerland’s List of Community Tools

Service Manager 2012 R2

Here are a few of our favorites for SCSM.

SCSM Dashboards (by Signature Consultancy)

SCSM Entity Explorer

Free Community Stream (from Cireson Software)


SCOM DPM Dashboard


Automating Software License Reclamation with System Center 2012 SCCM + Orchestrator

Part 1 – Software Metering Deep Dive and Automation Part 1: Use It Or Lose It – The Basics

This installment has a quick overview of the software metering feature in case you’re not familiar.

Part 2 – Software Metering Deep Dive and Automation Part 2: Use It Or Lose It – The Collections

This installment includes the collections of those systems using an application, and another collection with systems where the application is not being used.

Part 3 – Software Metering Deep Dive and Automation Part 3: Use It Or Lose It – The Orchestrator Runbook Automation

Sample Runbooks – Automation Use Cases

Orchestrator Sample Runbooks: Core Examples, PowerShell Examples, and Scenario E


Simple Self-Service App Deployment with ConfigMgr, SCOrch and SCSM

At a recent meeting of the Houston Area Systems Management User Group, I presented a strategy for delivering effective self-service application deployment that would be achievable for System Center 2012 Configuration Manager (ConfigMgr) admins could potentially implement. By intention, the solution does not require custom management pack authoring, extending Service Manager (SCSM) classes or custom PowerShell. However, it is flexible and leverages the rich capabilities of SCSM for publishing a Service Catalog. This way, any ConfigMgr admin with basic Orchestrator (SCOrch) skills who can install a basic SCSM deployment (a Management Server, database and portal server) can configure ITIL friendly self-service with System Center 2012, complete with approval routing and documentation of the request in a proper service request.

By request, I am posting the sample runbooks here for the community members.

There is a variation of my approach HERE, but in this sample I have eliminated the need for custom PowerShell script, thereby further simplifying the solution.

NOTE: You do not have to replace your service desk solution to leverage System Center for self-service. The service requests created here can pretty easily be exported with a bit of PowerShell and imported into your target ITSM system of choice.

Solution Components

Components in the solution as demonstrated were:

  • ConfigMgr 2012 R2
  • SCSM 2012 R2
  • Orchestrator 2012 R2
  • Cireson Portal (optional) – This component is 100% optional, though it reduces the required server count by 1, eliminates the need for SharePoint and provides a self-service experience across mobile devices and is much more responsive than the native portal.

What I demonstrated used User Collections in ConfigMgr.  You could tweak the solution to use computer-based collections instead.

High-level Steps

The following are the high-level

  1. Configure deployments in SCCM
  2. Import runbook in SCO
  3. Connect SCSM to SCO and ConfigMgr
  4. Select the software to make available
  5. Configure the Offering in SCSM (For SCSM newbies, see “Automation and Self-Service with SCSM” on MVA)
  6. Publish to the Service Catalog

Sample Runbook #1

In this example, we used to retrieve the user and application (app) object. The app object is represented in the SCSM database by the Package class, which is populated by the ConfigMgr Connector in SCSM, which brings over the applications you have created in ConfigMgr When you look at the last two activities, you will notice that the runbook assumes that the ConfigMgr application (represented by the Package class in SCSM) and ConfigMgr collection have the same name.

I am not going to walk through the detailed configuration steps of either sample, as you can simply download both sample runbooks, import and see for yourself.


Sample Runbook #2

I was asked if it would possible to extend the solution to allow use of existing packages. The short answer is yes, by simply adding a Map Published Data activity in which you can map the name of your application in ConfigMgr to the name of the collection to populate with the account of the user requesting the software.

Here is a shot of the properties of the Map Published Data activity in the sample runbook.


Download Runbook Samples

The runbook samples are available in a new GIT repository I setup to store community samples in a single, centralized repository. Both sample runbooks can be found at the URL below.