I am a big fan of nice looking monitoring dashboards, specifically the ones that are clean and show information that is of real value to the target audience. Many times I see huge (and expensive) wall mounted displays just showing lists of alerts, red and yellow icons and seemingly random performance graphs nobody is really interested in. Most of the time nobody pays attention to the screens since there is always some kind of active alert or unhealthy state. That is… until management walks in and starts asking valid questions when seeing all those warning (yellow) and critical (red) things on that costly monitor while everybody is going about there business.
Management reacts to colors just as we learn kids to respond to traffic lights:
- Green = good (I am happy…)
- Yellow = warning (Please inform me what is going on, explain to me what you are doing to solve it and show me you are in control of the situation…)
- Red = bad (We are in trouble, tell me the business impact so I can take action, and go fix it!)
It is a good idea to create different dashboards based on your target audience. Management wants to know key systems are up and business processes are not impacted (green is fine, yellow means we need to do something, red means we are in trouble). Application managers want in-depth information regarding the status of their applications, while infrastructure managers want to know the status of every aspect of the infrastructure components they manage.
Dashboards should help in identifying issues in the environment in relationship to the service that it provides. Many dashboard solutions allow you to group monitoring objects at either the infrastructure, application or service level (from an end-user perspective). Together these make up the monitored business service and provides the health status of each layer in relation to the service helping assess the impact of component failure on business services.
Mapping monitoring objects to services and creating dashboards seems pretty straightforward but can be very complex and time consuming depending on the environment and requirements. All 3rd party dashboarding tools for Operations Manager alleviate the pain in one way or the other, but most of the time it is hard to obtain the information required and creating and maintaining dashboards remains time consuming.
I am a big fan of SquaredUp. I am not saying other solutions aren’t amazing, but the simplicity, performance and clean look of the SquaredUp dashboards is something I like a lot. At the price point they are at it is a great add on to SCOM specifically for smaller environments that do not have the time or cannot afford spending money that goes into dashboarding.
Recently SquaredUp announced VADA and OMS integration which can show OMS information on the SquaredUp dashboard. Check out the “Introduction to Visual Application Discovery & Analysis (VADA) – YouTube” video:
I am very excited about these developments! Visit the SquaredUp homepage for more information. Also be sure to check out these as well:
Squared Up: a single pane-of-glass for SCOM & OMS
OMS Plugin – Preview Access Now Available
Tao Yang’s System Center Blog
Squared Up Upcoming V3 Dashboard with Distributed Application Discovery Feature