SquaredUp version 2.x and the need of better data representation #scom #squaredup #sysctr


This post is unusual for Quae Nocent Docent, it’s is not strictly about an issue and its solution, but in a very similar way, it’s about a pain every Operations Manager administrator feels. “I have such a great monitoring solution and a ton of collected data, how can I show all this information in an effective way?”

All we know it’s hard, the monitoring console is too heavy weighted to be distributed outside the most operative people in ICT, the web console is Silverlight based and so sluggish that no one really wants to use it, lastly the sharepoint integration well, it’s still based on the web console.

This kind of feedback is what I regularly get after every single Operations Manager deployment. Sometime this lack of user experience is so bad it can even endanger the whole solution.

Luckily there’s a solution, as many of you know, I endorsed this solution for a few years now, but I never blogged about it. The reason why is I had nothing to add on what was already public, well known and received. With the recent release of SquaredUp version 2.0 and a new plugin soon to be released, I thought it was time to add my honest perspective on this solution.

SquaredUp fixes Operations Manager user experience:

          it is a modern multi platform, HTML5 based console

          it makes easy to create NOC like dashboards

          it makes easy to present all the collected data from Operations Manager

          it gives much more context information than the standard monitoring console

          it has a great experience even on mobile devices

          it is fast

          it can be embedded in Sharepoint

          lastly, but not least, it is fairly priced 

For example this is one of my favorites dashboards on my mobile:

clip_image002

The SquaredUp architecture is based on plug-ins or if you want gadgets that are the building blocks of every dashboard, there are many of them, but in this post I want to highlight just three:

          the soon to be released Visio Plugin

          the SQL plugin

          The map or image plugin

The Visio plugin is the last born and not yet released (you can read more here http://squaredup.com/announcing-our-forthcoming-visio-plugin/), its aim is to address one common gap between the graphical representation of the ICT building blocks must of us designed in Visio, and the monitoring data we get from OpsMgr. This same scenario in the past has been managed by the now discontinued Microsoft Visio Plugin for Operations Manager (who required the most expensive version of Visio). Basically the process is:

          Get the list of the monitored objects (at any level) you want to link to your existing diagram. The easiest way is to prepare an excel spreadsheet. SquaredUp can even export the objects from the console for you.

          Link the data to your existing Visio diagram (obviously you can create a new one, but I think many of us already have all what they need)

          Associate the monitored objects to your shapes

          Export the enriched diagram in SVG format

          Import the SVG file into your SquaredUp dashboard

Yes it’s that easy, I would say in less than 30 minutes you’ll have you Visio diagram published (obviously it depends on how many objects you need to link to the diagram).

This is an example of an existing Visio diagram I revived in SquaredUp, it took from start to finish 15 minutes.

clip_image004

The map or image plugin works similar to the Visio plugin, with this one you can import an image file into SquaredUp and drag and drop you monitored objects onto it, anyway it’s very different from Visio where you can rearrange the whole diagram, save and import it again. Here every modification to the background image implies a re-arrange of the contained objects.

The following is a sample dashboard created with the image plugin:

clip_image006

Lastly the SQL Plugin, this is a pretty generic plugin that allows to query any SQL data source, OpsMgr databases included, it can become handy to display objects count or simple tables. I’m starting to work with this one for my new project.

And here we come on what’s next, I will shortly publish a series of posts on Hyper-V virtual machines monitoring and a specific SquaredUp dashboard won’t be missing.

  • Daniele

This posting is provided “AS IS” with no warranties, and confers no rights.

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