Why not pre-stage the Microsoft Monitoring Agent 2013 Update 1?
If you’ve been reading about the new Microsoft Monitoring Agent 2013, you know that it’ the new agent for Operations Manager 2012 R2, but did you know that the Update 1 version is compatible with ALL versions of System Center 2012 as well as System Center Operations Manager 2007 R2 (latest cu#)? It’s also compatible with Windows 8, Windows Embedded POSReady 2009, Windows Embedded Standard 7 Service Pack 1, Windows Server 2003 SP 2, Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows Server 2008 SP 2, Windows Server 2012, Windows Server 2012 R2, Windows XP SP 2, & Windows XP SP3!
So the idea would be to pre-stage systems that you are upgrading or want to include in your Operations Manager 2012 R2 environment with the MMA 2013 U1, which is free to download for you to distribute throughout your environment. Since the agent is compatible with all 2012 versions of Operations Manager 2012 and 2007 R2, your agents will continue to report into their management groups. For those who are planning to install a clean environment, this would allow you to pre-stage the agents and then simply discover them, and add them to your Management Group once you’ve completed the installation of Operations Manager 2012 R2.
I should note, I’m a fan of pre-staging Operations Manager 2012 Sp1 agents with Configuration Manager so that I can control which systems are brought into a Management Group during the deployment phase. Once you’re in a stable production Operations Manager environment, you should then consider deploying new agents with the Management Group/s already configured. This allows me to ensure that 1) we’re ready, 2) the system is ready to be monitored, as I’ve been fed systems to have agents deployed only to find that they haven’t yet been certified for production (or even been completely built!) and 3) that the appropriate management pack tuning has been done, custom groups have been built, etc.
At this point the light bulb in your head should have exploded and you’re firing up your lab…because you’re going to test in a development environment first, right? (wink and a nod).
NOTE: The TechNet article covering the Microsoft Monitoring Agent hasn’t yet reflected the compatibility of Operations Manager 2007 R2, but the COMPATIBILITY section in the download link below brings us the good news.
Of course, never jump into a preview version without testing for agent and OS compatibility. Also, to ensure a successful upgrade to Operations Manager 2012 R2, make sure you perform the recommended pre-requisites and backup/snapshot your environment.