It took a while, but Microsoft has finally released a preview instance of SCOM in the cloud: Azure Monitor SCOM Managed Instance. Like all Microsoft products, it's a mouthful, but it's clear where they are going with this and I'm quite pleased with the approach. As I mentioned in my previous article on this subject, OpsMgr (SCOM) in the Cloud? Finally, Azure Monitor was a fundamentally new monitoring tool and despite Microsoft themselves completely replacing their internal OpsMgr instances with it, this wasn't something that appealed to a lot of enterprises.
Azure Monitor is very focused on log aggregation and custom alerting and monitoring. While SCOM has a steep learning curve, once you learned it, new resources get added to your health model automatically and the amount of customization you can do to large groups of monitored objects is just unprecedented in the monitoring space. To me, It didn't (and still doesn't) make sense to throw all that out, rewrite everything from scratch, and then roll that into what are basically templates that have to be redeployed through custom automation you have to create yourself, which is what Log Analytics and the monitoring in Azure Monitor based on it provide to admins. Don't get me wrong, this approach has it's place. It's very tuned into a specific workflow: CI/CD. And for that it makes sense. But the world of enterprise infrastructure is so much more than that. If you are developing an application, this approach works great. If you are back office and supporting infrastructure, I just don't think that works well.
And the market has seemingly spoken as Microsoft was very surprised by how slowly (if at all) OpsMgr users actually migrated to Azure Monitor, continuing even to pay the very high amount of licensing for cloud-based monitoring (you can generally get better VM density on-premises which lowers the effective "per VM" fee for SCOM). In addition, there are dozens of RMM products that essentially use similar monitoring models as what SCOM has perfected.
So this is great news this is public preview. Right now it looks to be very IaaS-oriented. You spin up a managed management server instance, managed SQL instance, and you are good to go. I hope that as time goes on, the model shifts much more to PaaS, where I do not have to concern myself with knowing what the backend even looks like. I also hope the licensing follows this model, giving a choice between using legacy licenses or simply doing a per-resource or per-VM licensing fee, removing the current compute infrastructure fee you pay for the managed instance. If the per-VM model doesn't cover all the cloud hosting costs, they could do what they did with Log Analytics and charge for total storage, retention, and other metrics that aren't based around the underlying compute. A fully cloud PaaS should not concern its customers with the implementation details, just charge a reasonable monthly fee for platform usage based on easy-to-understand and easy-to-predict fee structure. But this is Microsoft we are talking about, so I fully expect the licensing to be ridiculous, but hopefully they listen.
I don't want to end this negative! This is truly a good thing. The best on-prem monitoring platform is now also the best cloud monitoring platform and the future is bright. Moving more of the GUI into Azure's management portal (which they are working on), tighter integration with Log Analytics, so you can have both log-based and probe-based monitoring, and new true innovation on the platform is good for everybody in infrastructure. I'm excited to see where this goes!
Here's a video put out by the great folks at SquaredUp in conjunction with Microsoft about this new preview: