A System Center Operations Manager (SCOM) Management Pack is a pre-fabricated rule set intended to extend and configure SCOM for specific services or applications. SCOM handled a suite of basic operating system services by default, but a wide variety of management packs can be installed to monitor other operating systems like SuSE Linux, productivity tools, applications or services such as Apache and Tomcat web servers.
Monitoring and management are critical in most mid-sized and large IT environments where it is impractical for IT administrators to watch every system, service or application. Tools like SCOM automate monitoring and generate alerts when the "health" level defined for a managed object becomes a problem. However, the sheer number of potential objects that can reside across a data center makes it almost impossible for any management product to cover every possible piece of hardware and software out-of-the-box. Platforms like SCOM rely on management packs as extensions to provide support for specific objects in the environment, tailoring SCOM for the particular data center and business.
A management pack is actually composed of several different files including XML (editable) and sealed (non-editable) components such as classes, groups, discoveries, monitors, rules, tasks, dashboards, reports and display output. These components can be mixed and matched in a multitude of ways to develop various types of management packs such as monitoring packs, feature packs, dashboard packs, security packs, language packs and so on.
Some SCOM management packs are provided directly by Microsoft and cover core applications such as SharePoint, Exchange Server, SQL Server, Lync and Microsoft Dynamics CRM, and many others. Other management packs for SCOM can be developed and provided by third-party vendors. For example, Veeam Management Pack for System Center provides monitoring, planning and reporting for businesses using Veeam Backup and Replication. NiCE provides varied management packs for Linux, Oracle, IBM Domino, BlackBerry Enterprise Service (BES) 10, IBM DB2 and SAP.
Although using pre-fabricated management packs can extend SCOM with a minimum of enterprise investment, management packs can also be created in-house. This would allow system and application administrators to support any systems, services or applications that lack a current management pack (or when modifications to an existing management pack are needed). Organizations can use tools, including XML Editor or Notepad, Visio Management Pack Designer, Visual Studio Authoring Extension, and even authoring space within the SCOM console itself to create a management pack.