Keep Your Business Critical Apps Soaring with Custom Dashboards

by bluemedora_editor on May 26, 2016

As a systems administrator, you are pulled in a million different directions – monitoring this, ordering that, fixing environment issues, keeping up with endless emails; the list never ends. As much as you hate to admit it, at some point you’ve probably overlooked an important system in your environment and dealt with a firestorm after the system went down. In this post, I’m going to show how to monitor a business critical application — from database to storage — with a custom vRealize Operations (vROps) dashboard.

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Figure 1 – Custom dashboard used to monitor a custom CRM

In this system, I want to monitor four critical components of my company’s custom CRM: a NetApp volume, a Cisco UCS blade, a VM, and a Microsoft SQL server. In Figure 1 we see my complete dashboard; it shows the topology of the four objects, as well as capacity remaining, alerts, alert history, metrics, and an overview of the environment. Using the Topology Graph widget, I can select whether I want to see capacity remaining, alerts, and more on the volume, blade, VM, or server.

The first step to building a concise dashboard is to decide what you need to know about each component. In this case, I wanted to keep track of the capacity remaining and active alerts, and I’ve added a few additional widgets to help me dig into problems when they arise. View the vROps Widget Definitions List to see available widgets for dashboards.

To create your dashboard, navigate to Home and find the Actions drop down along the top of the manager. In the drop down, selectCreate Dashboard and give your dashboard a name and an optional description. Next, go to the Widget List and drag each widget you want into the workspace. You can either take the time to configure your widgets now, or wait until you’re done laying out your dashboard. I prefer to configure them after the fact, so that’s what I’ll do here.

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Figure 2 – The dashboard before the widgets are configured

Once you’ve added all of your widgets, your dashboard should look something like Figure 2. Most of the widgets don’t have a default setting for data population, so they’ll be empty until you have them configured. The next step is to determine any widget interactions. This allows selection of an object to load data about that object on another widget. Since I am interested in monitoring the four elements of this CRM, I have the topology graph feeding data to my other widgets (seen in Figure 3).

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Figure 3 – Configuring widget interactions on my custom dashboard

The final step is to select any destination dashboards for widgets. This allows you to move from certain widgets to other dashboards in your environment. For example, if you wanted to be able to move from an alert to some sort of object details dashboard, you could create that interaction here. Since I want to keep my information isolated to one dashboard, I don’t have any destination dashboards connected to my CRM Monitoring dash.

If you need to make somebody else aware of the information on your dashboard, you can create a report composed of the data from the dashboard. Simply schedule your report to be emailed to keep your administrators updated on your critical systems.

This blog post first appeared on VMware Cloud Management Blog. Read the full post here.

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