Squared Up v2.3 – SCOM Dashboards – New features

Hello Everyone,

Today I am going to cover the new release of my favourite SCOM dashboarding product Squared Up.
Here are some of the new features, ordered by usefulness:

  • Open Access Dashboards
    This feature replaces read-only dashboards, and its a pretty big deal. Previously you still required SCOM permissions when logging in to read only.
    Open access allows you to share non-interactive dashboards without having to log in, ideal for sharing dashboards on TV’s. These dashboards also do not consume a named user license.
    It is also a great replacement for performance (or availabililty even)reports. As you may or may not know, creating performance reports in SCOM can be a serious pain in the behind, especially for non-scom guru’s.
    Now you can create a performance dashboard quick and easy with squared up (it literally takes 5 minutes for me to create one), and share it with your colleagues. What’s even more convenient is they can access it any time, anywhere,on any platform, and the data is near real time. Compare this to scheduled reports, where you still need to wait for it to be generated, it really is a thing of the past.
    Furthermore, open access dashboards generates a bitmap, which are then updated every 60 seconds automatically. This means that, regardless of how many people are watching the dashboard, they are watching data that is only being queried in the background once, which makes it very scalable!
    So here’s how it works:

    • You create a dashboard in Squared Up (that one is pretty obvious :))
    • As you can see, on the right you have a ‘share’ button as we all recognize from using our smartphones. Click this button to make the dashboard open access.
      ScreenHunter_231 Dec. 08 16.05
    • This gives us the choice to make it open access with or without authentication, and some view options, for fullscreen, embedded functionalities. Click Generate.
      ScreenHunter_232 Dec. 08 16.07
    • Clicking generate will show you the randomly generated URL. Previous dashboards had a certain suffix, which was easy to predict. Open access eliviates this issue.
      ScreenHunter_233 Dec. 08 16.11
    • The dashboards is generated the first time its opened, this takes about 5-10 seconds depending on the amount of data. Afterwards the dashboard will refresh by itself. The timestamp on the dashboard will show this.
      ScreenHunter_234 Dec. 08 16.14.jpg
      ScreenHunter_235 Dec. 08 16.15.jpg
    • That’s it! You can now share this URL with all your colleagues.
  • Colored lines on performance graphs.
    Maybe you’d say, why is this such a big deal? Well it really compliments the open access dashboards. In the previous release, when using the graph in read-only mode, you had no idea which was what because you had no means to hover over performance counters. The colors are also consistent for the whole dashboard, this means that server X for example will have the same color in every graph section.
    By introducing colors, they also introduced a ‘key’, here’s a screenshot to clarify this:
    ScreenHunter_237 Dec. 08 16.19.jpg
    So now open access dashboards have more contextual information of what the graphs represent. Really neat!
    Plus it adds some ‘flair’ to your dashboards :).

    • Other improvements in the performance section are things like being able to choose your resolution (or data aggreggation), for smaller scopes you might want near real time info, whereas for longer periods you would probably want the hourly or daily data. Remember, real time stuff is a lot more costly on the data warehouse. Previously you had no control over this (as far as I knew)
      ScreenHunter_238 Dec. 08 16.21.jpg
    • Here’s a screenshot of the new ‘coloring’ options of the performance sections:
      ScreenHunter_240 Dec. 08 16.26.jpg
  • Next up, the alert section has been revamped. You have a lot more control over how you want to show your alerts.
    • First new options are being able to choose between error, warning and info or any combination of this, previously this was only possible through the use of criteria. This makes the whole process more user friendly.
      ScreenHunter_241 Dec. 08 16.28.jpg
    • The colums section is also new, here you can choose which columns you want to show regarding your alerts, and shuffle them around by using drag and drop.
      ScreenHunter_242 Dec. 08 16.31.jpg
  • Improved installation user experience.
    The installation has been further simplified.To be honest, it was already very easy to install, but they made further improvements regarding this. Setting permissions on the data warehouse is a thing of the past.

    • After installation you are also introduced to a new page, which navigates you to some very useful squaredup resources.
      ScreenHunter_243 Dec. 08 16.37.jpg

Version 2.3 is another step in the right direction to what I consider to be a console replacement. If you haven’t patched yet, you definitely should. It was a very smooth and painless process for me.




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