Service Manager – Incident “Stop the clock”

Stop the clock – Pause SLA

Hey Everyone,

I have been asked a few times if I can post a blog about my “Stop the clock” solution I put in at my previous job. So, here it is!!

There are a few prerequisites.

You need to create the Incident Status you want to be included for status changes, which will trigger the “Stop the clock” workflow. Once these are created, follow the steps below.

1: Create Custom MP.

2: Create Notification Subscription including queues (Incident P1,P2,P3,”Paused”) and what will kickoff workflow (status change from x to y). Important: Create in Custom MP.

3: Create SLO’s in Custom MP – Resolution Time P1, Resulution Time P2, Resolution Time P3, Response Time P1, Response Time P2, Response Time P3.

4: Export Custom MP.

5: Open in XML Editor.

6: Find line – “NotificationSubscription_’GUID ID of Subscription’ “ – this contains the criteria that will kick off the workflows from above notification subscription.


We need to copy from <UpdateInstance> to </UpdateInstance> – we will be pasting this into the workflow subscriptions for our SLA’s.

7: Below our Notification Subscription we have “Workflow Subscriptions”, these are what occur when the notification subscription workflows are kicked off. As we see below, there are two workflows with “Enabled = false”, these are the “PauseEvent” and “ResumeEvent”, this is what will pause and resume the SLA. These workflows also have no criteria to kick them off. We need to copy the information from Step 6, into where it says <UpdateInstance />


It should now look like this:


We now need to do the same on the “ResumeEvent” workflow, changing where it says “NotEqual” to “Equal” and “Equal” to “NotEqual”, see below:



Once this is changed for each workflow, save the MP and import it. SLA’s will now pause when changing an incident from “Active” to “Paused” and resume when the status is changed from “Paused” to “Active”.


Any problems or questions, please feel free to ask 🙂


Thanks and good luck!

Shayne Ray

Service Manager – Incident “Stop the clock”

Service Manager ‘Task’ – Call Affected User – Microsoft Lync/Skype for Business

As every ServiceDesk knows, phone calls are a very common task, performed up to 100 times a day (total) for ours. Manually typing in phone numbers into your phone/lync/skype for business can consume large amounts of time. Looking at the number, typing it in and clicking call. Maybe 15-20 seconds each? Over a day you could save you an hour or more.

Using Service Manager ‘Tasks’ I have been able to streamline this process to only requiring two clicks. I will guide you through the process below.

Note: Your users will need to have the ‘Business Phone’ field present with their phone number for this to work.

  1. Go to your Service Manage console. Click Library. Click Tasks.7
  2. Click Create Task.8
  3. Name your Task, select the Target Class. You will need a task for each type of Work Item. Incident/Service Request/Problem. Select your custom Management Pack to store your tasks in. (If you don’t have one, make one!)3
  4. Go To Categories. This is where you can scope each task to only show in that work item view by selecting work item task group.7.1.png
  5. Under Command line, paste the path to the lync/skype for business executable on your local PC.1
  6. Now to get the phone number from the ‘Affected User’ and into Lync/Skype for Business ready to dial. Under Command line and ‘Properties’ click ‘Insert Proprty’, scroll down to ‘Affected User’ and search for ‘Phone’ select ‘Business Phone’ and hit Add.9
  7. Now for Lync/Skype for Business to be able to pass it through from command line, we only need to add ‘tel:’ to the front of the property we just inserted and surround it by quotation marks. As follows:10
  8. Select whether you want the task to be logged in the action log when its ran and hit OK.11
  9. Go back to your work item view and you’ll see your task on the tasks pane. 4
  10. Click on a work item(or open the work item) and click the “Call Affected User” task. Lync/Skype for Business will open with the number entered ready to hit call.6

Thats it! You’ve now completed your ‘Call Affected User’ task. This is one of many tasks we use in Service Manager to reduce repetitive manual actions, saving time and money for the business.

I hope you enjoy this guide and please feel free to comment and share 🙂


Shayne Ray.

Service Manager ‘Task’ – Call Affected User – Microsoft Lync/Skype for Business

Configure Service Manager 2012 R2 Management Servers in HA with Citrix NetScaler’s

A few weeks ago, I had the idea of attempting to configure Service Manager 2012 R2 Management servers (Console connections) into HA.

Looking online, there wasn’t a lot available in terms of information or guides from other people on how to do it. So, off I went into my Development environment to see what I could achieve.

To my delight, I was able to achieve HA for console connections/management servers utilising Citrix NetScaler’s load balancing.

Having already built the Service Manager environment and having Citrix NetScaler’s readily available, I could jump straight in and play (so to speak 🙂 )

First thing to do is login to your NetScaler and add both SCSM MGT servers to the “Services” list.

After a quick check on Microsoft’s Service Manager Port Assignment article, I was quick to find that Service Manager Consoles connect via port 5724. So I added both servers as services monitoring port 5724.


After a short period of time, both services come UP and are ready to be added to our Load Balancing Virtual Server. Which we’re about to create.

Over to “Virtual Servers” in the NetScaler.

Click Add and configure a friendly name. Add in your Load Balancing Virtual Server (LBVS) IP and the port to monitor.


Under Services and Service Groups, add in your two Services (Service Manager Servers) as Bindings.


Under Method, choose how you want to configure your failover. For me, we want the analysts to connect to the console “closest” to them, based of IP hash.

So they get the best response. As the two management servers are based in different physical locations. However, you can use load balanced, round robin, lowest ping etc.



After a short period of time, the LBVS will come UP and be ready to service. Ready to connect to our LBVS right? Sure, via the console you can connect to the IP of our LBVS.

However, I wanted to make it easy for our analysts to connect and remember, no one likes remembering IP Addresses.


A quick stop over in DNS, create an A record and we’re good to go!

Create your host name to connect consoles to, add in your IP address of your LBVS and you’re SET.


Time to test it out in the console. Open up SCSM Console, click Tools, Connect. Type in our DNS name and click connect.


After the console does a quick restart, we’re connected via our LBVS. We should probably check that right? Back over to our NetScaler.


Click on Traffic Management, Load Balancing, Virtual Servers, click on our Service Manager LBVS and click Statistics.


We can see both of our services (servers) are UP and ready to accept connections. Using the tiny scroll bar on the bottom, scroll across till you see the header “Current Client Connections”.



Alright! We’re connected to one of our servers through our LBVS name! Now, let’s test that we can connect to the other server at the same time.

Login to a server in the other location, open the console and connect to our LBVS name. Check the LBVS again.



We can connect to both servers at the same time, using the LBVS name. Now lets test some failures 🙂

On one of the servers, stop the System Center Data Access Service and System Center Management Configuration services.

Check in the LBVS in the netscaler, after a short period (30 seconds) we can see the server go Down.


Our console connection should error out now, right? Nope. The NetScaler will automatically move the active connection over to our fail-over partner server.


Once we restart the services, the server will come back UP. However, our active session will still be on the fail-over partner, until we restart the console.


I hope this helps you configure your console connections into HA, I know this has helped us a fair amount with our console connections 🙂


Shayne Ray.

Configure Service Manager 2012 R2 Management Servers in HA with Citrix NetScaler’s

Welcome to SCUC Newcastle

Welcome to the new site of the Newcastle System Center User Community.  We’re looking forward to bringing you new and exciting content on all things System Center.  With the new wave of System Center products around the corner, we figured this would be a great time to engage the Newcastle Community. We hope to provide you with a place you can come to for all things System Center.

Over the coming months, we hope to start engaging the Newcastle Community and preparing for our first Community Meet up.

Please feel free to introduce yourself and have chat.



Welcome to SCUC Newcastle