For many of us out there Savision has until now been similar to Live Maps Unity, a Business Service Management solution. This solution is a great product as it gives us a clear visualization of our business services together with SCOM. But wouldn’t it be great to also have some ready-made dashboards along with the possibility to create your own fancy dashboards? That day when that’s available has come as Savision just a few days back made their new product “Dashboards” publicly available.
Savision Dashboards is a free web based HTML 5 solution that gives us all the information we need on several services out-of-the-box. How about ready-made dashboards for services like SQL Server, Internet Information Services (IIS), Exchange Server 2013 or Sharepoint 2013? Those components comes out-of-the-box and is automatically populated based on the information you have gathered from the monitoring of servers in Operations Manager.
The free model comes with the above mentioned dashboards and one (1) additional custom dashboard that you´ll create just the way you want it. If you´re however a Live Maps Unity customer under a current Maintenance & Support contract, you´ll receive the premium version of Dashboards at no extra cost. The premium version gives you the standard dashboards just as in the free version but instead you´ll get an unlimited amount of custom dashboards.
The process of installing dashboards is shown below and I will also show how you can create a custom dashboard by using the information inside SCOM.
In this case, I choose to install the solution on one of my servers in my lab environment 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. Start by downloading the installation files from this link where you will also find an installation guide. Make sure IIS is installed on the server and fire up the setup process.
Choose whether or not you would want to help improving the solution by agreeing or just leaving it blank to not send any information.
At this point I choose “Child Application” instead of creating a new web site. This lets me use the Default Web Site on which I have activated HTTPS using a web server certificate.
The application will be created in the provided folder. Change it if you like.
As you can see, I´m using the Default Web Site and in this case I´m also using HTTPS at my site as previously mentioned. 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 an absolute minimum.
After having clicked configure, we can see that the new application pool have been created as expected.
Go back and finish the installation.
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 on the server where you installed the solution.
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 https://yourserver/Dashboards or just HTTP if you´re not using certificates and if everything is fine you will see the site like below. Log on as 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.
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.
You´ll see a summary of your license, in this case it´s a free license with one custom dashboard valid for a year.
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
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 the computer health view. Sadly, I don’t have any Exchange or Sharepoint servers monitored so I´m unable to show what it looks like in this particular post. One thing here that is new since the Dashboards Beta which I´ve been a part of is the Virtualization part. This one is built on another Savision product called Cloud Reporter which shows you how you´re using the hosts in your environment. Cloud reporter provides information on both the Hyper-V and VMware virtualization platforms. Find out more about Cloud reporter here.
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
If we go into one of the standard views, 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.
In the picture below I´ve clicked right on to one of my servers and I am then presented with the information below. Notice how you will also pick up active alerts from that particular server.
The last view I want to show before creating a custom dashboard is the IIS dashboard that also comes out-of-the-box. This view presents all IIS servers based on memory usage, connections and CPU usage and so on.
Create your own Dashboard
Now that we´ve seen the standard dashboards it´s time to build our own. Seen below is the front page after login, just click Add New to create your own.
This is what we see when creating a new dashboard and we´ve got ourselves 12 squares to fill with information on the environment. One thing that is new in this picture since the Beta is the Preview ability which lets you validate your dashboards before making them available to everyone in the organization (or those with rights to SCOM at least).
To add a SLA status widget, simply click SLA Status to the left and then pick what SLA you want to visualize. This view picks up SLA´s that are set either through SCOM or using the Live Maps Authoring Console when creating your Business Services.
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.
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. As you will see further below, I´ve also created a heat map showing the state of my databases.
Hover with the mouse over the squares to see what server is healthy/unhealthy.
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.
One last thing I want to point out is that in opposite to the Operations Manager Web Console, Dashboards is completely free from Silverlight. It´s pure HTML which makes it possible to check it out in (almost) all of our mobile devices as well. Below is a picture of what the SQL Server dashboard looks like on my Android phone.
Now that Dashboards has been released as well, a completely new world has opened as we no longer have the same need to custom create all the dashboards we want. The standard dashboards shows the information (almost) all of the web server folks for example would want to see to just find out how the servers are behaving. Together with Live Maps, Savision now offers a complete solution from building the business services to presenting the SLA levels in a really nice manner. I´m really looking forward to seeing what will come with Dashboards and I´ve already been using this for a couple of weeks since the beta and now in an upgraded version with the new features.
And by the way, if you´re attending Microsoft Ignite next week in Chicago then don´t miss Savisions booth at place #223.