Savision Dashboards

For some time now, I´ve been blogging both for and about Savision Live Maps on my own blog and Savisions blog which you can find here. If you´ve been following my blogging it may not come as a shock that I´m really into what can be done with Live Maps. It not only offers a great Service Management Solution, but also the ability to (easily) build fancy views over our server racks etc. The latest buzz from Savision is about their up-coming product Dashboards. Since the start of this buzz I´ve been in line to download it as soon as it´s available and last week I got an e-mail about a public beta. Ten minutes later, I had it downloaded.

Savision Dashboards out-of-the-box offers ready-made views for Active Directory, Exchange Server, SQL Server and IIS. With these views, you get a rich overview of the different components of each kind in your environment. What´s nice here is that these dashboards also look into the Data Warehouse so that you don´t have to go and generate reports to gather information ranging more than a week back. Below I will show how it´s installed and configured from scratch and then I will show how you can configure your own dashboard (the beta license comes with one (1) custom dashboard) other than the standard ones. You can request a key for the beta here.

Installing Dashboards

In this case, I choose to install the solution directly on the SCOM Management Server using the Default Web Site. The installation process is (almost) a next-next-finish experience since I choose to use the Default Web Site instead of creating a new one.

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This is where I choose “Child Application” instead of creating a new web site.

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As you can see, I´m using the Default Web Site and in this case I´m also using HTTPS. The account that you specify here needs read rights to both the OperationsManager DB and also the OperationsManagerDW DB. I´ve created a new user here to keep the rights delegated to a minimum.

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After having clicked configured, we can see that the new application pool have been created as expected.

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Before we can start playing around, a Management Pack needs to be imported into SCOM. This MP is used to gather data from the environment so that there is something to present in the dashboards.

Importing the MP into Operations Manager

If you´re familiar with SCOM, this won´t be any science. Just import the Management Pack which can be found under C:\Program Files\Savision\Dashboards.

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Configuring the Dashboards license

Now that we´ve installed the solution and also imported the MP, it´s time to see what we´ve got here. Browse to http://yourserver/Dashboards and if everything is fine you will see the site like below. Log on with a user with administrative rights in SCOM. In this case I´m using my admin account which is an admin in SCOM to log on.

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Yup, now it´s time to pick out your license key which you´ve hopefully received by mail. Just click Add new key and paste your key in the field.

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It didn´t work? In the documentation, it says that the file License.config should be modified to give the dashboards user (OMDashboards_Svc, remember?) the right to edit the file. In my case it still didn’t work as you can see below. I solved this by giving the user rights to edit the complete folder C:\inetpub\Dashboards and then notified the product team at Savision about the issue.

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After having edited the folder rights, the process went a lot smoother.

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The next thing is to edit the recycling settings of the application pool. This is done to stop the page from refreshing when we´ve put it on a monitor screen or something like that. The standard value is 1740 minutes which is 29 hours, meaning every 29th hour the screen will refresh. In this case, I just turned it off as seen below.

Configure Application Pool recycling

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So what is Dashboards and how do we use it?

This is what we first see when logging in to Dashboards. Below you can see the standard views covering AD, Exchange, IIS and SQL Server along with two other computer views. Sadly, I don’t have any Exchange servers monitored so I´m unable to show what it looks like.

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This SQL Server view show us things like which server consumes the most CPU power, most memory usage and average wait time. You see the beauty in this? I´m sure I do J

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If we go into one of the standard views, Basic Computer Health for example the standard view covers All Computers. This can be changed by clicking “All Computer” at the top and choosing “See all…”. This way, you´ll be able to specify what kinds of object you would want to see. In this case I choose to check the “Windows Server 2012 R2 Computer Group”, check it out below.

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Create your own Dashboard

Now that we´ve seen the standard dashboards it´s time to build our own. Seen below, just click My Dashboards and add a new one.

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This is what we see when creating a new dashboard except we´ve got 12 squares and not just 4 as in the picture.

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To add a SLA status widget, simply click SLA Status to the left and then pick what SLA you want to visualize.

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The pluses and minuses is used to size the widget and fit it just as we want to. This is where our 12 squares comes to use. We can resize the widgets and use drag and drop to get the look we want.

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The heat map might seem familiar and it´s really as easy as it seems below. Just name your widget and pick what you want to see. In this case I choose Windows Server to see the health state of my servers.

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Hover with the mouse over the squares to see what server is healthy/unhealthy.

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After having added several widgets I´m left with the below dashboard. This one´s now ready to just go full screen and we´ve got ourselves a new custom dashboard showing the information we need, perfect for the IT helpdesk to help them maintain the good health of the IT environment.

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Summary

So far I´m really excited about Dashboards and I look forward to see what will come next from Savision as it goes into its complete state. What I haven’t mentioned is that paying customers under a current maintenance & support agreement of Live Maps Unity will receive a license for Dashboards with an unlimited amount of custom dashboards. If you´re not a Live Maps customer but still want Dashboards, it seems it will sell per dashboard. I´m going to look more into dashboards down the road so keep coming back if you like what you see.

Any questions about what I´ve shown or just wanting to leave a note? Drop a comment below.

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