SCOM custom web console examples

For me, the presentation layer is always the most important in any monitoring solution. Besides digesting alerts, I’d look for something that gives a ‘big picture’ view (or at least, as big a picture as is relevant for the operations team). If I can’t glance at a screen and quickly identify hotspots, performance issues then it makes the job a lot harder. Building good dashboards also allows me to display meaningful information at the back of the NOC or even just on the IT department’s wall.

SCOM natively gives us the ability to create delegated dashboards that provide limited views into specific resources. From there I can create or customize dashboards to meet the operations teams needs.

My goal here was to create views that draw me to hotspots in my environment at a glance, or give me that ‘all is well’ feeling on the wall of the NOC. If I am displaying these dashboards on a NOC screen there are some considerations:

  • you might want to consider a ‘NOC Viewer’ role in SCOM so that you can scope the dashboards and displayed appropriately. This will also discourage people from wanting to poke around any other MPs you may have deployed.
  • you might want to consider using a dashboard rotation tool like http://www.dashboardrotator.com. I found this tool doesn’t log me off while it’s rotating dashboards, which is nice (and it’s only $25, which is nicer). If that is an issue then SCOM supports single sign-on too (thanks to @IanNoble for the find.

Below are some sample custom dashboards displayed in web views. These dashboards were built in part with widgets from the Veeam Management Pack for System Center. Bear in mind that natively SCOM requires Internet Explorer and Silverlight to work successfully. See my previous post for some tips on delegated web consoles with SCOM and IE.

Here are the sample dashboards with notes…

prod-clusterdash

This is an example of a state-based dashboard scoped to a single VMware cluster and its resources. This is an example of SCOM delegation (set under the Administration node) and the power of a simple state view. I have purposefully grouped by health state (descending) so resources in a critical condition are always at the top. To create this view I used a Grid layout and simply added State Views to each window.

storage-dash

This is an example of a role-based dashboard. In this example the role is that of a virtualisation storage admin. The central widget gives me capacity planning detail so I can quickly see which datastores are struggling for space and IOPs, now and in the immediate future. To create this dashboard I used a couple of tricks: a grid layout for the dashboard, then added the ‘Column’ layout into the bottom Window. This allowed me to add the Veeam Traffic Light performance widget into each of the windows for the Top 10 datastores for the performance metrics I wanted to view. The central pane in the dashboard uses the Veeam Capacity Planning widget, targeted at the VMware Datastores group and configured to include freeGB and IOPs.

virtadmin dash

This is an example of a role-based dashboard. In this case it is the role of a virtualisation admin that predominantly looks after all clusters. The heatmap in the center shows memory usage (size) and CPU usage (colour). It quickly tells me who are the memory and CPU hogs. The traffic light views underneath are focused on Cluster pressure, giving me ideas on when I my cluster resources will be stressed (note I could use a capacity planning widget for this too). The final widget shows me how balanced my hosts are in terms of VM load. This dashboard uses a grid layout, with a columns embedded in the bottom Window. The central heat map is a widget imported from the Veeam Management Pack for System Center, scoped to a single vSphere cluster (Production, in this example). The class to group the tiles is ‘VMware Cluster’ and each tile represents a ‘VMware Virtual Machine’. Size is memoryActive and colour is CPUUsed%.

flexpodataglance

This is a sample heatmap designed to offer an ‘At a glance’ view of the performance health of a specific vSphere cluster (called Flexpod) in this example. The gray VMs are in a powered-off state. The VM names that appear twice in the dashboard are actually cold-standby replicas (replicated using Veeam Backup and Replication). This view was created using a ‘Column’ layout. In all three columns the heatmaps (from the Veeam Management Pack for System Center) were scoped to a single VMware cluster (called Flexpod in my example). The class to group the tiles were either the Flexpod cluster itself or simply by VMware Host, each tile represents a VM or Host (in the first column).

flexpodperformance

This dashboard uses the Veeam traffic light widget to stack rank VM performance within a specific vSphere cluster (cluster name is Flexpod in this example). The bottom-right widget is the native SCOM performance widget, just to provide a change from the Traffic Light widget. This dashboard was created using a simple Grid view.

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6 comments

  1. Mark · December 19

    Hey Charlie

    I really like these widgets that you’ve put together but I’m struggling to be able to replicate them in my environment and I’m pretty new to both SCOM and the Veeam MP. Could you let me know a bit more about how you did it and which way you configured your widgets please?

    Thanks

    • vmcharlie · December 29

      Hey Mark. Yes, configuring the Heatmaps widgets can be a bit tricky. I have added some additional notes under each screenshot that I hope will help. Feel free to ping me if you have additional questions.

      • Mark · January 4

        Hey Charlie

        Thanks for that. It really helped and I got there in the end with most of them! Ran into some problems trying to use the heatmaps for anything larger than a cluster but I’m assuming that is more because of the sheer amount of data in the back end. Great post!

  2. vmcharlie · January 5

    No worries Mark. You might also want to check out the new Infrastructure Dashboards in Veeam MP 8 update 3. These allow you to group objects together (including multiple clusters) just as you like and give a high level view. I’d also recommend the new SQL Datacenter Dashboards for that kind of visualization, but scoped for VMware or Hyper-V objects. These also allow the creation of virtual groups just for the purposes of the dashboard, which is awesome. I am planning a post on that capability soon. Thanks.

  3. Sean · January 5

    Hey Charlie, Trying to create a custom dashboard with VM snapshots. I can’t quite figure out how to do this correctly… Any tips?

    • vmcharlie · January 31

      Hi Sean. Do you mean a heatmap dashboard? It can be a wee bit tricky but here’s a couple of tips: ensure that the group/scope you are targeting the heatmap for contains the class for both container and instance of an object you want to appear in the heatmap. E.g. you want to see snapshots for all VM’s within a specific cluster? Create a group containing all resources within that cluster (the cluster, hosts and VM’s) and set this to be the scope for the heatmap; set the class to group the tiles to be VMware Host and the Instance class for each tile to be Virtual Machine. In my examples I always set the tile size to be snapshot size in MB and the colour reflects snapshot age. You might also want to try and vary the time interval and set this to a high value so the widget will look further back into the database. Additionally, bear in mind this data comes from the Data warehouse rather than the OpsMgr db so you might want to check health on that. Hope that helps, or point me in the right direction…

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