How to use SCSM Entity Explorer
SCSM Entity Explorer is one of the essential tools for a Service Manager admin. This is an amazing tool that makes life a lot easier for Service Manager admins. And best yet it is free.
It is available from Technet Gallery https://gallery.technet.microsoft.com/SCSM-Entity-Explorer-68b86bd2 and not surprisingly, is the second most popular download under the Service Manager category.
What does it do? Entity Explorer lets you browse the structure of Service Manager and it exposes how things are put together.
It provides an easy and graphical way to view: • the properties on any work item class • the relationships for that class • it can load objects • it can view details of the object • it can view enumerations and their properties
When you start as a Service Manager admin it is not obvious how things are stored or related to each other. When using PowerShell it is very important to know the classes and relationships used to store and find data. Entity Explorer provides a way to view this and to learn how data is stored in Service Manager.
This blog from Cameron Fuller indicates it also works with Operations Manager as well, but I have not tested this.
SCSM Entity Explorer
Using the tool is not hard, but at first it can seem a little confusing - more a Service Manager issue, rather than the tool itself. The rest of the blog post will outline the basic steps to use the tool.
Connect to Service Manager
I generally run it on a management server and run as the logged in user. But you can run it from the desktop and provide connection details if required.
Start by adding in your management server name and then click Connect.
Entity Explorer can also open the XML file of the associated work item management pack and allows you to set your preferred XML editor. The default will be notepad and in this example I added in the path to Notepad++.
Expand or Search
Start by expanding the tree view eg under System.Entity\System.WorkItem or use the search function to find a work item, eg Incident.
Incident is actually located under System.Entity\System.Workitem\System.Workitem.TroubleTicket along with Problem.
Clicking on Incident in the search results, will give you the base class information eg the ID GUID, Management Pack and Base class.
Using the "Switch to Class..." on the base row will take you to that class ie to the parent of the displayed class.
Clicking on the "Show MP XML…" will open the management pack in a XML editor (default notepad, in this screen shot configured to Notepad++).
The Properties tab shows all the direct properties on the work item selected eg Incident. It shows the internal name, display name and type of property. It is an easy way to see all the properties quickly.
By clicking on the Relationships tab you will be able to find the relationships associated with the work item. This can be important when dealing with third party products and in this case I have highlighted a relationship used by Xapity Transfer.
Exposing these details is very useful when writing PowerShell scripts when you need to define the relationships for the work item.
Objects Tab - Load Objects
But what is even better than seeing the structure, is to see actual data. I find it easier to relate to the structure when I can see the actual data and it makes it easier to see what a relationship is used for.
Use the Objects tab and the Load Objects button to view all incidents in this case. My data is not great as this is a test lab. In production this will return all incidents from the Operational database - which may be a lot of data.
Objects Tab - View Details
By clicking the View Details button you can see all the properties on the work item (incident in this case).
And you can also all the data connected to the work item by a relationship. You can also click on the object to see what the details and actual data of the object. Again very useful to map this out with real data so that when you are creating scripts or SQL queries you know where the data is and what relationship to use to get to it.
As if that wasn't enough, the Entity Explorer lets you look at the Enumerations used in Service Manager.
Click on the side tab and it opens up a tree view using the internal ID name of all the Enums in Service Manager. I have clicked on a custom value (Help Desk) in the Incident Tier Queue. This provides a nice way to get the Enum ID which again is useful for PowerShell scripting.
Again you can open the management pack XML and switch to the parent object.
Because the example above is a custom value it has a rather difficult Internal name, so you can switch to Display name and click refresh to see a more friendly tree view.
Hopefully this post gives you a better understanding of how to use the SCSM Entity Explorer tool. I find it essential when I am trying to work out why my scripts pull back the wrong information or usually no information.
It has helped me understand how the data is stored in Service Manager and how objects related to each other. Again a big thank you to Dieter Gasser for making the tool.
Xapity - Innovative Software for SCSM - Discover our Products