Operations Management Suite is Microsoft’s Azure-based Cloud monitoring solution. As is the case with all their Azure solutions, OMS has seen tremendous development and enhancements since its evolution from Operational Insights. Over the past couple of years, I have run an Intro to OMS session at least a dozen times, and each and every time the content has been different.

OMS is not System Center Operations Manager in the Cloud, nor is it a replacement for SCOM…at least not yet. It does, however, interface really well with SCOM to augment the solution, providing you with deep analytics and cloud monitoring into your existing on-premises implementation.

While it technically doesn’t remediate most of the issues it can identify, OMS will also tightly integrate with Azure Automation, and when combined can provide a slew of automated responses to identified events.

A new solution in OMS is (at least currently) called Update Management, which provides Patch Automation for organizations that don’t utilize Configuration Manager. It will be the goal of our guide today.

Step 1: Azure Subscription

To deploy Operations Management Suite, you will need an active Azure subscription. No, Office365 is not enough. However, your MSDN/Visual Studio subscription will work great. If you don’t already have one, you can get a 30-day trial by going to https://www.azure.com.

Step 2: Create an OMS Account

From your favourite browser, navigate to https://www.mms.microsoft.com, and log in with the account that has Administrator’s rights to your subscription, either your organization account or Live ID. You’ll receive the following message:

Go ahead and click OK, which will bring you to the Create New Workspace page. Select an appropriate Workspace Name, remembering that it must be unique. Select the region where most of your Azure resources are deployed, if possible, or pick the region that’s closest to your datacenter. Once all the required information has been populated, click Create and go grab a cup of coffee.

Step 3: Deploy OMS Agents

After stretching your legs for a bit, you will come back to a nice, pretty, empty portal. Notice the <workspacename>.portal.mms.microsoft.com URL above…you can redirect to it later.

On the OMS Overview page (the main one), click Settings, and then Connected Sources. This will present you with a list of ways to connect in to OMS. As of the date of this writing, there’s six types of connections available. Selecting one will give you agent download links, if applicable, and connection details like Workspace ID and Key information.

On the Windows Servers blade, click the Download Windows Agent (64-bit) link and save the file to a spot you can easily access from elsewhere. Open up a Notepad window and grab the Workspace ID and Primary Key. You can script the install for deployment to a bunch of servers, but for now we’ll just launch the MSI and run through the wizard.

Initially, I would recommend deploying the OMS agent on at least two Domain Controllers, as this will allow you to run the extremely valuable (and free) AD Assessment Solution. You can also easily connect your Office365 subscription here, and receive some valuable analytics about Office365 usage. Windows Telemetry is also an easy GPO add, and I would recommend it for future use.

Step 4: Add the Update Management Solution

On the left, you will see a tile labelled “Solutions Gallery.” Click it, and then the Add button on the next screen.

Once you launch the Update Management Solution, you will see the patching status for all agents that you deployed. On the far right, you will see a tile labelled “Manage Update Deployments.” We’re going to click here next.

This solution, while very powerful, has a pretty bland home screen. Regardless, we want to click the Add button at the top to launch the New Update Deployment page. Here, we’re going to give the update run a name, select the servers we want to deploy to, and give it a schedule. When everything has been populated, click the Save button.

That’s all there is to it. Since Microsoft has changed its monthly patching process, we just need to tell OMS what servers need to be patched, and the rest is taken care of. Come back to the Update Management Solution in a couple of hours, and the results will be shown in the Completed pane.

As you noticed when adding the Update Management Solution, there are a LOT of items in the Solutions Gallery, and they frequently add more. It’s a good idea to pop in once a month and see if there’s anything new, because the OMS product team is constantly evolving the product.

Hope this helps!

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