[This is prerelease documentation and is subject to change in future releases. Blank topics are included as placeholders.]

In System Center Essentials 2010, management pack files are XML files that can have either an .mp or an .xml extension and contain monitoring settings for applications and services. After a management pack is imported into an Essentials management server, it immediately begins monitoring objects based on default configurations and thresholds that are already set by the author of the management pack.

Management Pack Formats

The defined schema file for management packs is MPSchema.xsd. The .mp files are sealed, or read-only, and management pack files with the .xml extension are not.

The AKM file format used by Operations Manager 2005 is not an accepted management pack file format in Essentials. However, Operations Manager 2005 AKM management packs can be converted to Essentials management packs. For more information about converting Operations Manager 2005 management packs, see How to Convert an Operations Manager 2005 Management Pack.

Management Pack Libraries and Dependencies

Several management packs are imported as part of the Essentials installation process. These management packs are referred to as "libraries," because they provide a foundation of object types on which many other management packs depend. If your management pack references other management packs, you must first import all referenced management packs before you can import your management pack.

You can obtain management pack files either from the vendor of the management pack or from the System Center Catalog.

The Default Management Pack

One of the management packs that is imported as part of the Essentials installation is the Default management pack. By default, when you create a management pack object such as a monitor, alert, or rule, it is saved to the default management pack. You can choose to save the monitoring object to another management pack in the wizard that steps you through the creation of the monitoring object. In addition, when you create an override to customize a default setting in a sealed (read-only) management pack, that override is saved to the Default management pack by default.

When an override to a setting in a sealed management pack is saved to the default management pack, the sealed management pack becomes dependent on the default management pack. If you need to remove the sealed management pack, you would first have to remove the default management pack. This can cause a problem when multiple management packs are dependent on the default management pack. As a best practice, you should save all changes to a management pack in a new management pack that you create for that purpose.

Management Pack Customizations

The default settings and thresholds contained in a management pack reflect the author's definition of a healthy state for the application, service, or hardware device that you are monitoring. These settings provide a starting point for administrators, who can then make customizations using overrides or by creating additional management pack elements such as rules and monitors.

Sealed management pack files are formatted so that you cannot make changes to them. This means that any customizations you create are not saved to the original management pack. Instead, customizations are saved, by default, to the default management pack.

By default, when a management pack is imported, the monitoring settings contained within the management pack are applied to all managed computers within the management group. If you customize the settings of a management pack, you can apply these customizations to other management groups. To do this, you must first export the customized settings to a management pack file. This management pack is dependent on the original vendor's management pack and can be imported only to management groups that have the original vendor's management pack.

Management Pack Removal

The settings imported from a management pack file are saved to the Essentials database and can be accessed through the Essentials console. When you no longer need these settings, you can delete the management pack file and all associated settings in Essentials by using the Delete action for that management pack.

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