29 April 2015 blogs Daniel Örneling 7 min read
For many of us, Savision has always been synonymous with Live Maps, a Business Service Management solution. Live Maps is a great solution as it gives us a clear visualization of the health, availability and performance of your business services using data from SCOM. But wouldn’t it be great to also have some ready-made IT-centric dashboards along with the possibility to create your own fancy dashboards? That day has come, as Savision has just made their new solution, Dashboards by Savision, publicly available.
Dashboards by Savision is a free, web based, HTML5 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 come out-of-the-box and are automatically populated based on the information you have already gathered from the monitoring of servers in Operations Manager.
The free version comes with the above mentioned dashboards and one (1) additional custom dashboard that you can create just the way you want it. However, if you´re a Live Maps 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 found in the free version plus you´ll get an unlimited number 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 chose to install the solution on one of the servers in my lab environment using the Default Web Site. The installation process is (almost) a next-next-finish experience since I chose 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 want to help improve the solution by agreeing or leave the check box blank to not send any information.
At this point I chose ”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.
After having clicked configure, we can see that the new application pool has 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 store both your license information and your custom dashboards.
Importing the MP into Operations Manager
If you´re familiar with SCOM, this won´t be difficult. 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 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 in as a user with administrative rights in SCOM. In this case I´m using my admin account which is an admin in SCOM.
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. By default, the application pool recycles every 1740 minutes or 29 hours. When the application pool recycles, all users will be automatically logged out of Dashboards. If, for example, you’re displaying your dashboards on a common screen in a NOC, you’ll want to avoid this behavior. In this case, I just turned application pool recycling off as seen below.
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 SQL Server view shows us things like which server consumes the most CPU power, most memory , as well as average wait time. You see the beauty in this? I´m sure I do.
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 group of computers you would want to see. In this case I choose to select the “Windows Server 2012 R2 Computer Group”, check it out below.
In the picture below I´ve drilled down into 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. As in the Computer Health dashboard, you can also scope the dashboard to only show IIS servers in a particular group.
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.
To add an SLA status widget, simply click SLA Status to the left and then pick which 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 are used to size the widget and fit it just as we want to. This is where our 12 squares come into play. We can resize the widget 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 chose 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 or click on a square to get more information about that server.
After having added several widgets I´m left with the below dashboard. This one´s now ready publish and we´ve got ourselves a new custom dashboard showing the information we need, perfect for the IT helpdesk to help them maintain the health of the IT environment.
One last thing I want to point out is that in contrast 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, a completely new world has opened up. A wealth of information is provided in the system dashboards and we can quickly build out custom dashboards for our own internal applications and processes. 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 in future versions of Dashboards and I´ve been very happy using the product for the last couple of weeks in both beta and official release versions.