Tag Archives: MimboloveSquaredUp

Geo-Location Squared Up Bing Map Dashboard

Written by Tao Yang

bing-maps

Before I started working for Squared Up, the very first project we talked about was producing Bing Maps dashboard in Squared Up.

I started working on this project after I finished the OpsMgr Data Warehouse Health Check script. And I’m please to announce we have just published the Bing Maps Dashboard solution on Squared Up’s website: http://squaredup.com/geo-location-of-scom-objects-within-squared-up-map-dashboards/

These are some of the sample dashboards I produced in my lab:

Example #1: World Map (Multi-Objects):

Map1

Example #2: Australia Map (Multi-Objects):

Map2

Example #3: Melbourne Aerial Map (Multi-Objects):

Map3

Example #4: Single Object Street Map (of my local pub):

Map4

Do you want to know more about this solution? Please head over the Squared Up’s site and read the full post HERE.

Lastly, like I mentioned in the post, if you have any specific requirements, we are more than happy to work with you, so please feel free to contact us.

World and Country Maps for Squared Up Visio Dashboard

Written by Tao Yang

In the recently released Inside System Center Podcast Episode 2: Dashboarding, I have demonstrated few Visio map dashboards in Squared Up.

i.e.

World Map:

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USA Map:

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Australia Map:

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These maps can be easily found via your favourite search engine (i.e. search “SVG maps”). I managed to find a good site where you can download the maps for most of the countries in SVG format: http://www.amcharts.com/svg-maps/

Once the .svg maps are downloaded, you can open it in Visio 2013, and start mapping the data to each shape like you normally wound with Squared Up Visio Plugin:

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Tip:

Sometimes, the shape that you need to map the data to is too small for you to drag and drop the data to. i.e. Australia Capital Territory (ACT) in the map above is just a tiny little dot within another shape (New South Wales). In this case, you can also select the small shape (ACT in this case), and then right click on the data that you wish to map to, and select “Link to Selected Shapes”:

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How to Create a Squared Up Visio Dashboard for an Existing Distributed Application

Written by Tao Yang

Background

OK, it has been over a month since my last blog post. Not that I’ve been lazy, I’ve actually been crazily busy. As you may know, I’ve started working for Squared Up after Ignite. So, this is another blog about Squared Up – this time, I’ll touch base on the Visio dashboard.

If you haven’t heard or played with Squared Up’s Visio Dashboard plug-in, you can find a good demo by Squared Up’s founder, Richard Benwell in one of Microsoft Ingite’s SCOM Sessions here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cUc2RSaoHtI

If you already have a Visio diagram for your application (that’s been monitored by OpsMgr), it is really quick and easy to import it into Squared Up as a dashboard (as Richard demonstrated in the Ignite session). However, what if you don’t have Visio diagrams for aparticular application you want to create dashboard for (i.e. an Off-The-Shelve application such as AD, ConfigMgr, etc.)? If this is the case, you can manually create the Visio diagram – and hopefully you are able to find the relevant stencils for your applications. But, this can take a lot of time. If you are like me, who really hate drawing Visio diagrams, you probably won’t enjoy this process too much.

In this post, I’ll show you how to quickly produce a Visio dashboard in Squared Up for an existing application that’s been monitored by SCOM. I’ll use the Windows Azure Pack Distributed Application from the community WAP management pack as an example (developed by Oskar Landman from Inovativ: http://www.systemcentercentral.com/windows-azure-pack-scom-management-pack/).

Walkthrough

01. In OpsMgr console, open the diagram view for the DA of your choice and export it to a Visio .vdx file:

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Click OK if you get a message warning you there are too many objects included in this DA:

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By default, the diagram view will only show the top level objects. However, you can keep drilling down the diagram, until you get a desired diagram (that you wish to display in Squared Up). In this demo, I will just use the diagram with top level objects:

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As shown above, click the export button to export this diagram to a Visio diagram (.vdx) file.

02. Preparing the Visio diagram (.vsdx) from the .vdx file:

When you open the .vdx file, and zoom in, it looks exactly the same as the OpsMgr diagram view:

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Firstly, you will need to remove the health state icons (the green ticks and red crosses in this case). A .vdx file is read-only in Visio, so after the icons have been removed, Save it as a .vsdx file. The .vsdx file looks like this now:

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Now, we need to import SCOM monitoring objects data into this Visio diagram. Squared Up has written a good user guide on how to generate an Excel spreadsheet for the monitoring object information from Squared Up console. You can find this article here: http://support.squaredup.com/support/solutions/articles/207629-how-to-configure-a-visio-section-using-the-dashboard-designer

However, by using the Squared Up console as mentioned above, you have to manually  lookup every single monitoring object that is displayed in the Visio diagram. This can be very time consuming if you have a lot of objects in your diagram. In order to simplify this process, I have created a PowerShell script called Export-DAMembers.ps1 to get the information for members of a Distributed Application, and export the data to a CSV file.

You can download this script from HERE.

Note: This script does not require the native OpsMgr PowerShell module to run, however, it does require the OpsMgr 2012 SDK assemblies. If you are running it on an OpsMgr management server, web console server, or a computer that has the operational console installed, you don’t need to do anything else, you can just run this script straightaway. But if you are running this script on a computer that does not meet any of these requirements, you will need to copy the 3 OpsMgr 2012 SDK DLLs to the same folder of where the script is located. these 3 DLLs are:

  • Microsoft.EnterpriseManagement.Core.dll
  • Microsoft.EnterpriseManagement.OperationsManager.dll
  • Microsoft.EnterpriseManagement.Runtime.dll

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You can find them on a management server, located at <OpsMgr install directory>\Server\SDK Binaries

I have included a help section for the script, as well as all the functions in the script, so I won’t go through how to use it here. you can simply open the script in a text editor and read it if you like:

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In order to export the information we need for the Visio dashboard, we only need the Display Name and the Monitoring Object Id. I’m running the script with the following parameters:

.\Export-DAMembers.ps1 -SDK “<SCOM Management Server Name>” -DADisplayName “Windows Azure Pack” -ExportProperties (“DisplayName”, “Id”) -Path C:\Temp\DAExport1.csv –verbose

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Note: As you can see, because I’m only going to display the top level objects in the dashboard, so I did not have to use recursive lookup, therefore, only 6 objects returned. If I run the script again with “-recursive $true” parameter, it will return all objects that are member of the DA (143 in total):

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The total number matches the previous warning message in the OpsMgr diagram view:

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Once the CSV is exported, open it in Excel:

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In order for Squared Up to understand the data, we will need to change the title for both columns:

  • Change DisplayName to ScomName
  • Change Id to ScomId

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Now, save it as an Excel Spreadsheet (.xlsx file).

We can now import the data from the Excel spreadsheet into the Visio diagram. The guide from Squared Up’s site has documented it very well, I won’t go through it again here.

After I’ve mapped the data for each object in the Visio diagram, it looks like this:

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I’ve then hidden the data in Visio, exported it as a .SVG file, and produced a Visio dashboard in Squared Up using the SVG file. The final piece looks like this:

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Which is very similar to the diagram view in OpsMgr console:

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Conclusion

If you already have Squared Up in your environment, I hope you find this blog post useful. As I demonstrated, it is really easy to create a Squared Up dashboard for your existing Distributed Applications – and I’ve already done the hard work for you (creating the script for looking up monitoring object IDs).

As we all know, Squared Up is based on HTML 5 and it’s cross platform, You can use it on browsers other than IE, as well as mobile devices such as an Android tablet. The picture below is my Lenovo Yoga Tab 2 Android tablet displaying this Squared Up WAP dashboard I’ve just created Smile

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Using Squared Up As an Universal Dashboard Solution

Written by Tao Yang

Background

I’ve been playing with Squared Up a lot lately – to get myself familiar with the new 2.0 version, thus my recent few posts were all related to it.

few days ago, I was involved in a conversation around from SCOM users / consumers point view, how to bring data from multiple management groups into a single pane of glass. As the result of this conversation, I’ve spent some time and tried the Squared Up SQL Plugin. After couple of hours, I managed to produce 2 dashboards using this plugin, both using data sources that are foreign to the OpsMgr management group the Squared Up instance is connected to.

In this blog, I’ll go through the steps setting up the following dashboards:

  • Active Alerts from another OpsMgr management group (data source: the OperationsManager DB from the other management group).
  • ConfigMgr 2012 Package Distribution Dashboard (data source: ConfigMgr primary site DB).

 

I will demonstrate using the Squared Up 2.0 dashboard installed on the OpsMgr web console server in my home lab.

The foreign OpsMgr management group is hosted in my Azure subscription. All the servers used by this management group are connected to my home lab via a Azure S2S VPN connection. They are located on the same domain as my on-prem lab.

The ConfigMgr infrastructure is also located in my home lab (on-prem).

Pre-Requisites

Setting up DB access in SQL

Since the SQL connection string used by this plugin is stored in clear text, SquaredUp does not recommend using a username and password. Therefore, in the connection string, I’m using integrated security.

Since the SquaredUp IIS Application pool is running using the local NetworkService account, I must grant the SquaredUp web server’s computer account datareader access to the database that’s going to be used as the data source. i.e. for my ConfigMgr primary site DB:

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and for the OpsMgr operational DB:

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Installing Squared Up SQL Plugin

You will need to install the latest version (2.0.2) of the plugin. if you have already installed it before, please make sure you update to this version. There was a bug in the earlier versions, and it has been fixed in 2.0.2.

 

ConfigMgr Package Distribution Dashboard

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This dashboard contains 3 parts (two parts on the top, one on the bottom). the top 2 parts displays the a single number (how many package distributions are in error and retrying states). the bottom part is a list for all the distributions that are in these 2 states.

All 3 parts are using the SQL plugin, the connection string for all 3 parts are:

Data Source=<ConfigMgr DB Server>;Initial Catalog=<ConfigMgr Site DB>;Integrated Security=True;

the top 2 parts are configured like this:

image

Pkg Dist – Error State part (Top left):

SQL query string:

SELECT Count([StateGroupName]) FROM v_ContentDistributionReport where StateGroupName = ‘Error’

Pkg Dist – Retrying State part (Top right):

SQL query string:

SELECT Count([StateGroupName]) FROM v_ContentDistributionReport where StateGroupName = ‘Retrying’

Other parameters:

isscalar: true

scalarfontsize: 120

Pkg Dist – List (Bottom):

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SQL query string:

SELECT [PkgID],[DistributionPoint],[State],[StateName],[StateGroupName],[SourceVersion],[SiteCode],Convert(VARCHAR(24),[SummaryDate],113) as ‘Summary Date’,[PackageType] FROM v_ContentDistributionReport where StateGroupName <> ‘Success’ order by StateGroupName desc

other parameters:

isscalar: false

 

Active Alerts Dashboard for a foreign OpsMgr MG

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Similar to the previous sample, there are 2 parts on the top displaying scalar values. In this case, I’ve chosen to display the active alerts count for critical and warning alerts. Followed by the 2 big scalar numbers, I added 2 lists for active critical & warning alerts.

SQL connection strings:

Data Source=<OpsMgr DB server>;Initial Catalog=OperationsManager;Integrated Security=True;

Active Alert Count – Critical (Top left):

SQL query string:

select count(id) from [dbo].[AlertView] where ResolutionState <> 255 and severity = 2

isscalar: true

scalarfontsize: 120

Active Alert Count – Warning (Top right):

SQL query string:

select count(id) from [dbo].[AlertView] where ResolutionState <> 255 and severity = 1

isscalar: true

scalarfontsize: 120

Active Alerts – Critical (list):

SQL query string:

SELECT Case a.[MonitoringObjectHealthState] When 0 Then ‘Not Monitored’ When 1 Then ‘Healthy’ When 2 Then ‘Warning’ When 3 Then ‘Critical’ END As ‘Health State’, a.[MonitoringObjectFullName] as ‘Monitoring Object’,a.[AlertStringName] as ‘Alert Title’,r.ResolutionStateName as ‘Resolution State’,Case a.Severity When 0 Then ‘Information’ When 1 Then ‘Warning’ When 2 Then ‘Critical’ END As ‘Alert Severity’, Case a.Priority When 0 Then ‘Low’ When 1 Then ‘Medium’ When 2 Then ‘High’ END As ‘Alert Priority’,Convert(VARCHAR(24),a.[TimeRaised],113) as ‘Time Raised UTC’ FROM [dbo].[AlertView] a inner join dbo.ResolutionStateView r on a.ResolutionState = r.ResolutionState where a.ResolutionState <> 255 and a.severity = 2 order by a.TimeRaised desc

isscalar: false

tableshowheaders: true

Active Alerts – Warning (list):

SQL query string:

SELECT Case a.[MonitoringObjectHealthState] When 0 Then ‘Not Monitored’ When 1 Then ‘Healthy’ When 2 Then ‘Warning’ When 3 Then ‘Critical’ END As ‘Health State’, a.[MonitoringObjectFullName] as ‘Monitoring Object’,a.[AlertStringName] as ‘Alert Title’,r.ResolutionStateName as ‘Resolution State’,Case a.Severity When 0 Then ‘Information’ When 1 Then ‘Warning’ When 2 Then ‘Critical’ END As ‘Alert Severity’, Case a.Priority When 0 Then ‘Low’ When 1 Then ‘Medium’ When 2 Then ‘High’ END As ‘Alert Priority’,Convert(VARCHAR(24),a.[TimeRaised],113) as ‘Time Raised UTC’ FROM [dbo].[AlertView] a inner join dbo.ResolutionStateView r on a.ResolutionState = r.ResolutionState where a.ResolutionState <> 255 and a.severity = 1 order by a.TimeRaised desc

isscalar: false

tableshowheaders: true

As shown in the dashboard screenshot above, currently I have 9 critical and 12 warning alerts in the MG on the cloud, this figure matches what’s showing in the Operations console:

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Conclusion

By using the Squared Up SQL plugin, you can potentially turn Squared UP into a dashboard for any systems (not just OpsMgr). The limit is your imagination Smile. I have also written few posts on Squared Up before, you can find them here: http://blog.tyang.org/tag/squaredup/

Lastly, I encourage you to share your brilliant ideas with the rest of us, and I will for sure keep posting on this topic if I come up with something cool in the future.

Accessing OpsMgr Performance Data in Squared Up Dashboard

Written by Tao Yang

squaredup

13/03/2015 Update: Correction after feedback from Squared Up, Squared Up does not read perf data from Operational DB. Thus this post is updated with the correct information.

Yesterday, my friend and fellow SCCDM MVP Cameron Fuller has posted a good article explaining the differences between performance view and performance widget in OpsMgr. If you haven’t read it, please read it first from here: World War Widget: The performance view vs the performance widget and come back to this article.

As Cameron explained, performance views read data from the operational DB and you can access the most recent short term data. The performance widgets read data from the Data Warehouse DB and you are able to access the long term historical data this way.

I’d also like to throw a 3rd option into the mix, however, this is not something native in OpsMgr, but it is via the 3rd party dashboard Squared Up.

To be honest, Access Performance data must be my most favourite feature in Squared Up. In this post, I will show off few features related to this topic in the Squared Up console.

01. Automatically Switch Between Data Sets

Since all performance collection rules write performance data into both databases, Squared Up only reads performance data from Data Warehouse DB. When accessing the performance data in Squared Up, as long as you have already established Data Warehouse DB connection, Squared Up will automatically detect the best aggregation set for the performance data. You can access both long term and short term data from a single view:

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As shown above, the default period is 12 hours, the data displayed is the raw performance data (not aggregated), if I change the period to last 30 days, notice the performance counter name is also updated with “(hourly)” at the end – this means this graph is now based on the hourly aggregate dataset:

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If I change the period again, this time, I select “all”, as shown below, it is showing about a year’s worth of data, and it has automatically switched to the daily aggregate dataset:

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02. Accessing the numeric value from the graph

Other than being able to auto detect and switch to the more appropriate data source and data set, if you move the cursor to any point on the graph, you will be able to read the exact figure at that point of time:

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03. Selecting a Period from the graph:

You can also highlight a period from the graph, and Squared Up will update the graph to only display the period you’ve just highlighted:

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04. Exporting Performance Data to Excel

You can also export the data to Excel using the export button on the top right hand side of the page.

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When you open the exported Excel document, you’ll see 2 tabs – one for the numeric data on a table, one for the graph itself:

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Conclusion

This is all based on my own experience, just my 2 cents on the topic that Cameron has started. I think it would be good to also show the community what a 3rd party product can do in addition to the native capabilities.

If you haven’t played with Squared Up before, I strongly recommend you to go take a look: http://www.squaredup.com, you can access the online demo from their website too. They also have few demo videos that you can watch: http://squaredup.com/resources/videos/

Lastly, please feel free to drop me an email if you want to carry on this discussion.

OpsMgr Dashboard Fun: Server Details Using SquaredUp

Written by Tao Yang

After my previous post on how to create a performance view using SquaredUp, the founder of SquaredUp, Richard Benwell told me that I can also use “&embed=true” parameter in the URL to get rid of the headers. I also managed to create another widget to display server details. Combined with the performance view, I create a dashboard like this:

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The bottom left is the improved version of the performance view (using embed parameter), and the right pane is the server details page:

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This server detail view contains the following information:

  • Alerts associated to the computer
  • Health states of the Distributed Apps that this computer is a part of.
  • Health State of its hosted components (Equivalent to the Health Explorer??)
  • Discovered properties of this computer

Combined with the performance view, it gives a good overview of the current state of the computer from different angles.

Here’s the script for this server detail view:

And here’s the script for the improved performance view (with “&embed=true” parameter):

I’d also like to clarify that my examples are just providing alternative ways to utilise SquaredUp and display useful information on a single pane of glass (dashboards).  I don’t want to mislead the readers of article to have an impression that SquaredUp relies on native OpsMgr consoles and dashboards. In my opinion and experience with SquaredUp, I think it is a perfect replacement to the built-in OpsMgr web console.

OpsMgr Dashboard Fun: Performance Widget Using SquaredUp

Written by Tao Yang

I’m a big fan of SquaredUp Dashboard. I have implemented it for my current “day-time” employer Coles over a year ago on their OpsMgr 2007 environments and we have also included SquaredUp in the newly built 2012 R2 management groups. In my opinion, it is more flexible than the native web console as it uses HTML 5 rather than Silverlight and it runs on any browsers as well as mobile devices.

One of my favourite features is that SquaredUp has the capability to directly read data from the OpsMgr Data Warehouse DB. Traditionally, OpsMgr operators would have to run or schedule reports in order to access aged performance data. Based on my experience, I think in 9 out of 10 times, it’s a total waste of my time, people don’t even open those reports when they arrived in their inboxes. With SquaredUp, you can access the performance data for any given period as long as it’s within the retention period. – So I can direct users to access these data from SquaredUp whenever they want, without having me involved.

I had some spare time today so I have installed the latest version in my home lab today. And I managed to create a dashboard using the PowerShell Web Browser widget for less than 10 minutes:

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This dashboard contains 2 widgets. the left one is a state widget targeting Windows Server class. the widget on the right is a PowerShell Web Browser widget which has been made available since OpsMgr 2012 SP1 UR6 and SP2 UR2.

The script behind this widget is very simple. If you access the performance data of a server. the monitoring object ID and the timeframe are variables as part of the URL. so all I did is to pass these 2 variables. In this sample, I used the default timeframe of last 12 hours. you can specify other values if you like.

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And here’s the script:

Additionally, in order to make SquaredUp work in this dashboard, I had to configure the Data Warehouse DB connection and enable Single Sign-On according to the instructions below:

 

If you haven’t played with SquaredUp yet, please have take a look at their website: www.squaredup.com. there’s an online demo you can access too.