.\Matthew Long

{An unsorted collection of thoughts}

Referencing MPBs and other SCOM 2012 Management Packs using Visual Studio Authoring Extensions

Posted by Matthew on January 29, 2013

One of the great features of the SCOM Visual Studio Authoring Extension is the ability to easily view the definitions of content in sealed management packs you are referencing.  Sometimes (especially if you are exporting a MP from the SCOM management group for further customization) you’ll need to reference an MP that is installed in your SCOM management group but that isn’t included in the VSAE package, or isn’t available online.  Most likely this is a system MP or a MP that’s only available as part of a bundle (If your MP contains 2012 dashboards, it’s probably got a reference to Microsoft.SystemCenter.Visualization.Library or Microsoft.SystemCenter.Visualization.Internal).  How can you reference these?

Well if you’ve still got your SCOM installation media to hand you can find all of the MPs imported at installation in the ManagementPacks folder.  This can be great if you’ve got a required reference, or even just want to have a look at how the product group implemented some piece of functionality!

Note however that some of the MPs are wrapped up in MPBs (Management pack bundles).  It’s still perfectly possible to reference these in your project:

  1. Make sure you’re editing a 2012 MP project.  If you’ve chosen an Operations Manager Core MP, you’ll be unable to add a reference to MPBs as they didn’t exist at that time.
  2. In Solution Explorer (by default on the right panel) right click on “References”  and choose “Add References from Management Pack bundle…”
  3. Browse to and select your file (Lets say Microsoft.SystemCenter.Visualization.Internal.mpb from the SCOM 2012 install media)
  4. You’ll be then given a dialog detailing the MP(s) that were added from the bundle into the project.
  5. Now you can view the definition of any module you need from that MP via the Management Pack browser (View -> Management Pack Browser) or by selecting the module in-code and hitting F12 (go to definition hotkey).

Pretty simple procedure!  If you have accidentally created your MP project as a Operations Manager Core (2007) MP, you can modify your solution files to upgrade it.  Think carefully about doing this however – would you be better off including the extra functionality you need in an additional “feature” pack?  If you decide to go ahead and upgrade/downgrade, you can follow the steps in this blogpost.

Oh and one final tip: If you don’t want to find yourself having to constantly keep hold of the 2012 install media, you can just copy the MPs into the VSAE installation folder (they will now automatically be resolved when referenced).  You’ll find them in Program Files (x86)\System Center 2012 Visual Studio Authoring Extensions\References\OM2012.  I’d advise not to overwrite any of the existing MPs (you’ll get some conflicts) to be safe.  Also, be careful about copying updated versions of MPs that come from CU’s/SPs into this location, unless you don’t mind all the MPs you create requiring that updated version of the MP in future.  Not all customers have/can install the latest patches..

Hope that helps!

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