Take relationships to a higher ground

by Scott Walsh on April 18, 2018

Get successful – understand your IT stack

Blue Medora’s Professional Services team builds a lot of dashboards for VMware vRealize® Operations Manager. We’re always looking for inspiration from customer use cases to create unique interfaces that solve unique challenges.  But one of the most useful dashboards we’ve created is used to illustrate what happens when you take the concept of object relationships and dependencies to a higher ground. (Queue the Stevie Wonder tune!).

Objects: Individual managed item in your environment for which vRealize Operations Manager collects data, such as a router, switch, database, virtual machine, host, and vCenter® Server® instances.

Note: Throughout this blog post, objects and endpoints are used interchangeably.

Dashboard visualization of relationships

vRealize Operations (vRealize Operations Manager) does a lot of things very well, but one of the most important capabilities is the ability to support dashboard visualizations of relationships between object types.  Blue Medora Management Packs bring in metrics for all sorts of endpoints (50+ and counting as of the writing of this blog) such as Citrix Networking, Cisco UCS, Citrix XenDesktop, Docker, etc.  But as valuable as the metrics are, the real value is in relating these objects—and their behavior—back to your VMware virtualization objects. How is the health of the VM that my SQL instance is running on?  What about the host? This is where Blue Medora dashboards and the customizations built by our team really shine. The key to building a great dashboard is leveraging these relationships, but the out of the box utility for discovering relationships in vRealize Operations Manager is a little lacking.  It shows children of selected objects, but you have to play a bit of a guessing game to get to the parents and to create a full relationship map.

Enter the Diagnostic Dashboard

The Diagnostic Dashboard as we’ve labeled it is quite simple, but every time I show it to a customer, they shriek with delight. OK, maybe they say, “This is really helpful.”  Regardless, it’s worth sharing to help illustrate the power of the concept.

Below is an image of the dashboard.  It consists of three object lists across the top with an Object Relationship widget below.  When choosing an object in the center object list, the list on the left displays that object’s parents and the list on the right displays that object’s children.  The Object Relationship below shows a snapshot of the environment around the selected object. Using this dashboard, I can see child/parent relationships for any object I am working with, and I can use the Object Relationship widget to dig deeper if I need to.  It seems pretty simple, but I can’t tell you the time savings this dashboard has provided when analyzing issues and identifying root cause.

 

Here’s how to create the Diagnostic Dashboard (instructions are from vRealize Operations Manager 6.6, but should be easy to perform in older versions):

  1. On the Dashboards page in vRealize Operations Manager, choose Create Dashboard from the Actions menu.
  2. Add three object lists side by side across the top of your dashboard.
  3. Set the center Object List mode to Self in the widget settings.
  4. Rename the left Object List to Parents and set the mode to Parent.
  5. Rename the right Object List to Children and set the mode to Children.
  6. Add an Object Relationship widget below the three Object Lists and resize it to full width and expand the height.
  7. In Widget Interactions on the left side of your edit dashboard screen, choose Object List to drive the Parent List, Child List, and Object Relationship widget.
  8. Test by selecting an object in the center Object List.

That’s it!  Like I mentioned earlier, it’s a very simple dashboard.  Feel free to make changes. There are other widgets that might be helpful such as the Topology Widget, so customize it to suit you.

Give us a holler – Explore powerful visualizations

I encourage you to explore the wide range of visualizations available through Blue Medora management packs for vRealize Operations Manager. For assistance customizing dashboards to meet your environment’s unique relationships, reach out to Blue Medora Professional Services.

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