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SCOM 2019 Interview
Questions

25 Questions and Answers by William Swansen

Published March 28th, 2020 | William Swansen is an author, job search strategist and career advisor who assists individuals from all over the world.
Job Interviews     Careers     Computer Science    
Question 1 of 25
Is SCOM compatible with other IT environment monitoring tools?
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How to Answer
This is an example of a technical question. Technical questions probe your understanding of the concepts, tools, and techniques utilized in the role for which you are interviewing. Technical questions typically involve a definition of a term or discussion of how the technology is used. Like operational questions, technical questions should be answered directly and concisely. The interviewer will follow up with another question if they need additional information or are especially interested in this topic.
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Answer Examples
1.
Is SCOM compatible with other IT environment monitoring tools?
This is an example of a technical question. Technical questions probe your understanding of the concepts, tools, and techniques utilized in the role for which you are interviewing. Technical questions typically involve a definition of a term or discussion of how the technology is used. Like operational questions, technical questions should be answered directly and concisely. The interviewer will follow up with another question if they need additional information or are especially interested in this topic.

William's Answer #1
"SCOM is compatible with a wide variety of system monitoring tools. So if you already have a tool you use for managing your network, Linux, or other components of your IT environment, you can add SCOM with little impact. Examples of technologies SCOM works well with include SolarWinds (for network monitoring), specialist APM tools such as DynaTrace, log analytics tools such as Splunk, and IT Service Management tools such as ServiceNow."
William's Answer #2
"If your organization is like most, you have a wide variety of system components, operating systems, and applications. You may already be using commercially available monitoring tools to manage these products. SCOM can easily be integrated into the system and will not impact any of the other monitoring tools you are currently using. It is recommended that you purchase the entire Microsoft Service Manager suite, which provides complementary products for SCOM."
2.
What is a SCOM Management Group, and what does it consist of?
The interviewer is continuing to pursue information that demonstrates your knowledge of the SCOM management tool, how it works and its components. If interviewers ask multiple questions about a specific topic, it indicates that it is crucial to the operation of their IT infrastructure. You should anticipate additional questions about the subject as well as followup questions.

William's Answer #1
"A single instance of SCOM is called a Management Group. The Management Group contains everything you need to monitor the IT environment. The individual components are the Management Server, Operational Database, Data Warehouse, and the MMA's."
William's Answer #2
"SCOM consists of several different components, which together are called the Management Group. These components include the Management Server, an operational database, the data warehouse, and the monitoring agents, or MMA's. The Management Server and MMA's are specific to SCOM, whereas the database and data warehouse can be shared with other applications."
3.
What are some common add-ons for SCOM which make it more effective in monitoring your IT environment?
The interviewer is now extending their questions beyond SCOM. They are expressing interest and third-party applications and add-ons, which help to make SCOM more useful and applicable to their environment. This signals that you have been successful at convincing them to use the tool and that you have the capabilities to manage it. By answering this question, you are further demonstrating your expertise in this area.

William's Answer #1
"In its basic form, SCOM is essentially a data collection tool. While skilled operators can view and analyze the data, there are add-ons available, which makes this job easier. One such add-on is from a company called SquaredUp. They provide a console that visually displays the data in a format that provides operators a clear picture of exactly what is going on within the network. Operators can also build a dashboard customized to their specific needs using this tool."
William's Answer #2
"While SCOM is a data collection and monitoring tool, it is only as useful as the information it provides to the system operators. In order to make it more effective, companies often purchase add-ons to SCOM. One of these is available from a company called SquaredUp, which has created a console for the management server. The console displays the information that the server collects in a visual format, which is easily interpreted by the operators. Operators can also create dashboards customized for their specific needs."
4.
What are the limitations of SCOM, and how can they be overcome?
Having just learned about the benefits of the SCOM, the employer is naturally curious about the tool's limitations. You should be able to speak authoritatively about these limitations. However, you want to minimize these to convince the employer to move forward with the adoption of the SCOM. Be prepared in case the employer voices concerns about one of these limitations. You should be able to address how you would overcome it if hired.

William's Answer #1
"While SCOM is a handy monitoring tool, it does have a few limitations. The first is that it produces a great amount of network traffic between the agents and the management server. It can also produce a large number of alerts. However, you can minimize this impact by fine-tuning the alert thresholds and the notices you want to receive. Another limitation is that SCOM reporting is somewhat limited. Experienced operators can overcome this by being able to interpret the reports. The final limitation is that SCOM only works with VBScript of the box. Therefore operators new to program diagnostics or recoveries into the alerts."
William's Answer #2
"Like any technology, SCOM has a few limitations. Overall these are minor compared to the functionality and oversight provided to the operators. The main limitation is the amount of network traffic that SCOM produces. This is generated by alert traffic between the agents and the management server. These alerts can be minimized by fine-tuning the alert thresholds and the notices you're interested in. Another limitation is the type of reports that SCOM can generate. Finally, SCOM only works with VBScript in this native mode. All these limitations can be overcome through customization of SCOM and the skills that a seasoned operator has."
5.
What is required for SCOM to manage applications?
This is an example of a follow-up question. The interviewer will ask this after you've responded to the previous question to gain additional information about the topic under discussion. You can anticipate follow-up questions to any response you give an interviewer. This is why you keep your answers short and concise. It allows the interviewer to decide whether to dig deeper into the topic or move on to something new.

William's Answer #1
"SCOM has the capability to monitor third-party applications. This requires that the operator create a model of the application, which is called a Service in the Distributed Application Designer within SCOM. The service contains all the information about the application and creates a relationship between the application and a management server."
William's Answer #2
"SCOM 2019 as the capability to monitor applications on the network. To do this, operators must create a model of the app called a Service in the distributed application designer, which is a component of SCOM. The service defines the application and creates a relationship between the application and the management server. SCOM will then display the health of the application."
6.
What are some of the alternatives to Microsoft SCOM?
This question indicates that the organization may not be fully committed to implementing SCOM or just wants to understand your knowledge of all the tools available in the marketplace. A qualified administrator should know about alternatives and be able to discuss whether they would be a viable option for the organization.

For exampl: "There are several management monitoring tools available to enterprise organizations. Examples of these are Nagios, which is an open-source to server monitoring program similar to SCOM. The advantage Nagios offers is that it has a very active user and developer community, so it is continually being enhanced. The disadvantage is its reporting and visualization features that require Add-ons. Zabbix is another open-source monitoring platform. It supports both agent and agentless monitoring with SNMP. SolarWinds Server & Application Monitor supports both Windows and Linux. It can monitor up to 12,000 applications, servers, and databases. It also checks the status of Microsoft applications in Azure."
William's Answer #1
"There are several management monitoring tools available to enterprise organizations. Examples of these are Nagios, which is an open-source to server monitoring program similar to SCOM. The advantage Nagios offers is that it has a very active user and developer community, so it is continually being enhanced. The disadvantage is its reporting and visualization features that require Add-ons. Zabbix is another open-source monitoring platform. It supports both agent and agentless monitoring with SNMP. SolarWinds Server & Application Monitor supports both Windows and Linux. It can monitor up to 12,000 applications, servers, and databases. It also checks the status of Microsoft applications in Azure."
William's Answer #2
"System management and monitoring tools are available from a variety of sources, including both open-source and proprietary. Open-source alternatives include Nagios and Zabbix. Both these programs have features similar to SCOM, but since they are open-source, they have a wide support base and are continually being updated. Both of these tools support agent and agentless monitoring. One of the proprietary solutions is available from SolarWinds. Their product supports both Windows and Linux, can monitor multiple thousands of assets and is also compatible with Microsoft applications and Azure."
7.
Do you anticipate that Microsoft will release any improvements to the Office 365 Management Pack for SCOM 2019?
The interviewer is asking your opinion about a future release from Microsoft. They know you can't provide a definitive answer to this question, however they are trying to determine how closely you follow developments with this product. When asked for an opinion, you may want to preface your answer by stating that it is a conjecture, based on your knowledge and the limited information you have access to.

William's Answer #1
"When Microsoft originally released the office 365 management pack, it only offered basic metrics for the product. In my opinion, they may enhance this, but are challenged because of the variety of options users can include with their subscription for office 365. I understand they are continuing to evaluate this."
William's Answer #2
"The management pack for Office 365 currently only offers basic metrics for the product. This is primarily due to the variety of options users can specify when they subscribe to Microsoft Office 365. To expand the items which SCOM 2019 could monitor, Microsoft will need to create a brand new schema for this product. I understand they are currently evaluating this and may have an announcement soon."
8.
Do you believe OMS will fully replace SCOM at some point in the future?
Yet another question in which the interviewer is asking you to project what a third party company will do in the future. The better you can answer these questions, the more you will demonstrate your expertise in this area and differentiate yourself from other applicants. It may be wise to review the Microsoft help forums, and official pages for SCOM 2019 before the interview to better prepare yourself for these types of questions.

William's Answer #1
"It is well known that Microsoft has been gathering customer interest around this topic. There is a consensus that customers would like to leverage their current investment in OMS for alerting and reporting capabilities currently offered by SCOM. I do believe that this will occur in the future, but how long that will be is difficult to know."
William's Answer #2
"There are many customers who currently use both OMS and SCOM 2019 to monitor their IT infrastructure. While these two tools integrate well, it still requires multiple licenses and additional management overhead to use both of them, In my opinion, Microsoft will soon combine the functionality of these two tools into a single product."
9.
Since we already have SharePoint Health Analyzer, do we really need SCOM?
This is a legitimate question an interviewer may ask if they haven't yet committed to SCOM 19. They're looking to you for advice as to whether this makes sense for them. The best way to respond to this question is to point out the differences between these two products. If you're confident enough, you can make a recommendation at the end of your answer.

William's Answer #1
"Both SCOM and SharePoint Health Analyzer are capable of monitoring the health of a SharePoint farm. However, SCOM is more granular and will monitor things that can't be seen by SharePoint Health Analyzer. Moreover, the alerts that you get on SharePoint Health Analyzer contain information that may not be relevant to your situation. I'd recommend replacing Health Analyzer with SCOM 2019 and the appropriate management pack."
William's Answer #2
"While it's true that both SharePoint Health Analyzer and SCOM with the appropriate SharePoint management pack can both provide monitoring services for SharePoint, there are some distinct advantages to using SCOM. First and foremost is that the alerts are much more granular withSCOM and will give you the information you can use to fine-tune the application. The other advantage is that you can consolidate monitoring all of the services on your network under the SCOM console, whereas Health Advisor only monitors SharePoint services."
10.
Can you walk me through the configuration process for SCOM 2019?
By now, you should recognize this as an operational question. The interviewer is trying to determine how you go about doing this job. Your answer will also provide them information on your communication skills and your ability to describe a technical process to someone with little or no technical background.

William's Answer #1
"SCOM 2019 is relatively easy to configure. The first step is to install and set up SCOM on a windows server. Once this is complete, you install the appropriate management packs on the SCOM server. The management packs are specific to each type of component on the network. Next, you need to install SCOM agents on the application servers. The agents gather performance information and logs. This will complete the configuration process."
William's Answer #2
"Configuration of SCOM 2019 can be done quickly by following a prescribed process. The first step is to install SCOM on a Windows server. Once this is done, you need to identify the individual management packs for each of the services you will be monitoring. These are installed on the same server as SCOM. The final step is to install the agents on the individual application servers across the network. The agents are what generate the performance data and alerts which are displayed in the SCOM console."
11.
What do you know about App Insight integration with SCOM 2019?
This is another question the interviewer is asking to determine how closely you follow developments within the SCOM 2019 environment. You may or may not have the answer to this question. If you don't, you should say so and then provide the interviewer with a description of how you would go about finding this information.

William's Answer #1
"App Insight will be publishing a management pack which will enable you to visualize the application's monitoring experience within SCOM. It will provide data about alerts and metrics for the application. Since App Insights is already integrated into Azure, it's metrics and alerts can currently be viewed through the Azure management pack for SCOM 2019."
William's Answer #2
"That's a great question. However, I have never worked with App Insight, so I am not familiar with its management pack stats. If given some time, I can research this and get back to you with the answer. I'm sure the information is available in either the App Insight or Microsoft support forums."
12.
Can you manage the maintenance and versions of software components using SCOM?
This operational question is addressing a very detailed feature of the SCOM product. Again, the interviewer is seeking to understand your knowledge and experience with the product by asking a very specific question. As an experienced SCOM operator, you should be able to answer this question easily.

William's Answer #1
"Since Microsoft has end-of-lifed Silverlight, it has been integrating the Silverlight functionality into its system management and monitoring tools. While this feature currently is unavailable and SCOM 2019, you can anticipate that Microsoft will look at whether it should be added going forward."
William's Answer #2
"The feature you're asking about has been available historically in Silverlight. However, since Silverlight is being eliminated, Microsoft has focused on adding this functionality into HTML5 dashboards. It is yet to be seen whether maintenance mode scheduling will be added to SCOM going forward."
13.
What is the difference between Microsoft SCOM and Microsoft SCCM?
This is a common question which you should anticipate. Many people are confused about the differences between these two Microsoft products and how they are used to manage network infrastructures. Demonstrating your knowledge of this will further cement your value to the organization.

William's Answer #1
"Microsoft SCOM and System Center Configuration Manager, or SCCM are both Windows products that are often confused with one another. SCOM focuses on enterprise monitoring on the server-side, while SCCM focuses on the client-side and is not considered a monitoring application. SCCM's purpose is to combine physical and virtual clients across the network in one infrastructure from a management perspective."
William's Answer #2
"It is very easy to confuse Microsoft SCOM and SCCM. The easiest way to remember their differences is that SCOM works on the server-side while SCCM's focus is on the clients. SCOM is a monitoring tool used to optimize network assets, including hardware, software, and infrastructure. SCCM's main purpose is to combine both physical and virtual assets and allow them to be managed from a single console. Both of these tools can be used in concert with each other."
14.
In addition to what you've already mentioned, what are some of the other changes and updates in SCOM 2019?
This is a follow-up to the previous question. As a reminder, any answer you give could elicit a follow-up question from the interviewer. Typically this is used to extract additional information about the topic and continue to test your knowledge. A good strategy for follow-up questions is to limit your original answer to just the basics, so the interviewer will either move on to a new topic or ask you a follow-up question to which you can provide additional information.

William's Answer #1
"There were quite a few changes released in SCOM 2019. Most of these enhanced the software's monitoring features and capabilities. The first prevents an alert from being closed until the health state of the monitor is corrected. They've also prevented alerts from being replicated if the primary management server fails. Linux support has been enhanced by adding several new versions of Linux service packs. On the client-side, you can now monitor the SCOM using browsers other than Windows Internet Explorer. These include Edge and Google Chrome. Other new capabilities related to monitoring Windows network components have also been added to the software."
William's Answer #2
"The 2019 version of SCOM contains quite a few enhancements. One category of these deals with the alerts and how they are managed. The first update prevents alerts from being deleted until the monitor has been restored. It also prevents alerts from being replicated if the management server fails over to another device. Other updates include Linux enhancements, compatibility with additional browsers, and extending the monitoring capabilities to additional Microsoft components across the network, including SharePoint, Azure, NTFS, and Windows 10."
15.
Can you walk me through the version history of SCOM?
The interviewer will ask this question to again test your knowledge of the software and try to determine how long you've been working with it. Knowing about this will demonstrate your expertise and convince them that you're able to work with older versions of SCOM and, if necessary, upgrade older versions they may already have.

William's Answer #1
"SCOM was originally developed by Serverware Group and was known as SeNTry ELM. A company by the name of Mission Critical Software acquired the rights to this back in the nineties and changed the name of the product to OnePoint Operations Manager. Microsoft acquired the product in 2001 and renamed it Microsoft Operations Manager, or MOM. MOM was very similar to SCOM 2019, except for the number of Service Packs available. In 2007, Microsoft renamed the product to SCOM 2007 and included several new features in this new release. There were two updates to SCOM and 2012, and another in 2016. The product was most recently updated in 2019."
William's Answer #2
"SCOM originated as SeNTry ELM from a company called Serverware Group plc. Mission Critical Software acquired the rights in 1998, adapted it, and changed the name to OnePoint Operations Manager. Mission Critical Software merged with NetIQ and sold the rights to Microsoft in 2000. They renamed the product to Microsoft Operations Manager (MOM) and released it in 2001. MOM worked in concert with two other Microsoft programs: Systems Management Server (SMS) 2.0 and Application Center 2000. Microsoft released MOM 2005 Service Pack 1 in 2005 with several enhancements, including mutual authentication, agent proxy capabilities, a secure communications channel, and secure credential storage. In 2007, Microsoft renamed MOM to System Center Operations Manager (SCOM). The company added the command shell to this update. In 2012, Microsoft released System Center 2012 and introduced high availability, application performance monitoring, dashboards, and network device monitoring. Microsoft released System Center 2016 with more advanced cross-platform infrastructure and workload monitoring, further integrating SCOM with the rest of System Center. SCOM 2019 was released in March and focused on areas of monitoring, such as adding tools for monitoring and managing data centers, adding support and management capabilities to newer versions of Windows server, and enabling hybrid management and monitoring with Azure."
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25 SCOM 2019 Interview Questions
Win your next job by practicing from our question bank. We have thousands of questions and answers created by interview experts.
Interview Questions
  1. Is SCOM compatible with other IT environment monitoring tools?
  2. What is a SCOM Management Group, and what does it consist of?
  3. What are some common add-ons for SCOM which make it more effective in monitoring your IT environment?
  4. What are the limitations of SCOM, and how can they be overcome?
  5. What is required for SCOM to manage applications?
  6. What are some of the alternatives to Microsoft SCOM?
  7. Do you anticipate that Microsoft will release any improvements to the Office 365 Management Pack for SCOM 2019?
  8. Do you believe OMS will fully replace SCOM at some point in the future?
  9. Since we already have SharePoint Health Analyzer, do we really need SCOM?
  10. Can you walk me through the configuration process for SCOM 2019?
  11. What do you know about App Insight integration with SCOM 2019?
  12. Can you manage the maintenance and versions of software components using SCOM?
  13. What is the difference between Microsoft SCOM and Microsoft SCCM?
  14. In addition to what you've already mentioned, what are some of the other changes and updates in SCOM 2019?
  15. Can you walk me through the version history of SCOM?
  16. What is Microsoft's release cadence for SCOM?
  17. Can you define SCOM and how it is used?
  18. What are the benefits of SCOM, and why should system administrators use it?
  19. What are Management Packs, and how do they contribute to SCOM's monitoring capabilities?
  20. How is a gateway server used in a SCOM environment?
  21. What are the databases withing SCOM, and can you describe their characteristics?
  22. How does SCOM work, and what are some of its components?
  23. Can SCOM monitor cloud resources even though it is installed on a network server?
  24. In addition to the Microsoft applications SCOM monitors, what other third-party applications, operating systems, and utilities can SCOM be used for?
  25. What type of organizations can best benefit from SCOM?
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