Azure Operational Insights: What, Where and How?


As a big fan of System Center Operations Manager I’m also interested in the development of Microsoft Azure Operational Insights (OpInsights). But what is OpInsights? What functionality do we get with OpInsights? Well looking at the website we get the following functionality:

  • Log Management – Collect, Combine, correlate and visualize all your machine data
  • Capacity Planning – Manage your datacenter capacity
  • Update Assessment – Ensure you server are up to date
  • Change Tracking – Track server configuration changes

Based on the above list of functionality can we place OpInsights in a solution category like monitoring, server/client management, etc. At this moment it’s a combination different solutions but none of them are fully implemented. In my opinion OpInsights is a great data analyzing tool for analyzing your systems data, with OpInsights you can easily analyze and visualize that data. But at this moment it is not (yet) a monitoring solution which you can use to monitor your environment.

In this blogpost I want to guide you through my setup of OpInsights. I’ve a small server environment in Microsoft Azure hosting a public website. My environment looks like this:


This environment consists of a domain controller, an application server, a web server and a database server. I want to add this environment to OpInsights to get a visualization of the environment what is happing and how I can improve the environment. In the steps below I want to describe all the steps needed to add this environment to Azure Operational Insights:

  1. The first thing you need to do is to create an OpInsights Preview Account which you can do here. When this account is created you need to create a Workspace. When the Workspace is created you will come on this page.
  2. The next step is to download the agent. You can do this by going to -> Servers and Usage -> Configure -> Download Agent (64-bit)
  3. When you have downloaded the agent you need to copy the agent to one of your servers.
  4. Double click on the installation file and click Next
  5. Accept the license agreement with clicking on ‘I Agree
  6. Select the installation directory and click Next
  7. Select the option ‘Connect the Agent to Microsoft Azure Operational Insights’ and click Next
  8. Enter you Workspace ID and Primary Workspace Key (You can find these values on the same page as the download link of the client) and click Next
  9. Choose you update strategy, In my case I allways want control about this, so I select ‘I don’t want to use Microsoft Update’ and click Next
  10. Review your installation options and click ‘Install’ to start the installation
  11. The agent will now be installed and click on ‘Finish‘ when the installation is finished

And now what? We have installed the agent but where can we see if the agent can successfully connect to OpInsights. Lets first take a look in the Operations Manager eventlog of the client. When everything works as expected you should see the following events:





So my agent is now connected to the Management Group of my Operational Insights Workspace. It can take some time before the server will appear in OpInsights. The above steps describe the installation process of the Monitoring Agent. I don’t want to manually execute this on all my servers. Since there is no agent push from OpInsight we have to look to other options. I have created a short PowerShell script which remotely downloads the Agent and installs it:

#Loads an external text file with a list of servers
$servers      = Get-Content C:\_install\Deploy_MMAgent\servers.txt

foreach($server in $servers) {
 Write-Host "Server =" $server
 #Connects remote to the server 
 Invoke-Command -ComputerName $server -ScriptBlock {
  #Downloads the MMAgent from the Microsoft Download Website
  Invoke-WebRequest "" -OutFile "c:\windows\temp\MMASetup-AMD64.exe"
  #Installs the Client, you have to change you Workspace ID and WorkSpace Key
  Start-process c:\windows\temp\MMASetup-AMD64.exe -Argumentlist '/C:"setup.exe /qn ADD_OPINSIGHTS_WORKSPACE=1 OPINSIGHTS_WORKSPACE_ID=<your workspace id>     OPINSIGHTS_WORKSPACE_KEY=<your workspace key> AcceptEndUserLicenseAgreement=1"' -Wait

When you have installed all the agents you should see the number of connected servers in the Overview -> Usage Dashboard:

In coming blogsposts we will look into the Intelligence Packs which we can activate in Operational Insights.


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