How do the dashboards work?

I currently offer clients the opportunity to test drive my dashboards shown in the video above. If you are interested, please select the following link to download VPN instructions here.You will also need to email info@scom-unity.com and request a username and password. This will allow you access to the Scom-Unity lab and you can test the dashboards for yourselves. If you like what you see, I can train you in 5 days. I only use Microsoft products and you will be able to provide the business with detail beyond your wildest dreams.

In the design, I use the Management Pack objects (Monitors, Rules, Distributed Applications, etc) to design complex SharePoint Dashboards. The Dashboards read the SCOM databases and the results are displayed using a variety of methods. The dashboards are interactive which means you can drill down to the source of the problem and if needed and use the set of tasks to repair the problem. The recovery tasks and access to the dashboard is dependent on your Active Directory and SCOM User Role permissions. A true end to end experience! The dashboards work on any HTML viewer and have been tested on Android and iPhone technology. This takes support to a whole new level as you are now able to provide support to your environment providing you have an internet connection or signal. Automation is the only way forward.

Is it secure?

Security: I configure the sharepoint security of the dashboards to use the Active Directory Groups of the existing User Roles defined in the SCOM console. Simple permissioning using Active Directory groups means there is no high administration overhead and adding a user to these groups immediately grants them access to SCOM and the Dashboard. Depending on their User Role membership, their group scope will determine the information they can see in SCOM and in the dashboard. For instance, if the User Role is only scoped for Domain Controllers in the SCOM Console, the dashboard would only show the user Domain Controller information. If another User Role was scoped for Exchange only, the same Dashboard page would utilise your windows credentials, reference the OperationsManager database and only display the Exchange Server information. My dashboard utilises your Windows Integrated credentials to display your allocated permissions in SCOM only. I do not have to explain the benefit of such a dashboard as we know you are already considering all the possibilities. I designed these dashboards to be as simple as possible as I am a great believer in keeping things simple.


Combine their functionality and security with the fact that they are future proof and will work in any version of SQL Server, Windows Server or Web Server and you start to see the return on your investment. Please be aware that the Executives of the company can choose to see this information and view what is going on in the environment at any time. You are basically allowing them to see your entire infrastructure which we believe is a good thing. The information will be at their finger tips if they want to see and this helps to justify reasons for any expenditure. This gives them the opportunity to see the result of what they have invested in or what the IT Budget has been spent on and how their company functions. The dashboards can also be displayed securely on the web or on the intranet and your users can be given the ability to check the status of the environment and can also see how things are functioning. They are compatible with iPhone and Android technology. This means that your environment can be viewed from anywhere as well as supported from anywhere. This is a massive benefit!!

For those of you who wish to see visual examples of what the dashboards look like in our lab environment, screenshots have been uploaded to a document found here. The screenshots are also documented in detail below.

The Main SCOM Dashboard View: (Refreshes every 1 minute – Timestamp under subtitle)

Below is an example of the dashboards refreshing:

By clicking the green health status on the Main Page of any of the services you are taken to the service breakdown in a new window:

Please note that the status is correct:

The Main Dashboard shows the Exchange Service in Maintenance Mode. In some cases the dashboards require a bit more detail. For instance, we shutdown a node of the cluster monitored on the main dashboard. The channels we use for the subscriptions are Email. When an alert is detected in SCOM it is sent via a channel to the subscribers. When we shutdown the node, the email alerts were received at the helpdesk 37 seconds later so we we were aware of an issue. However the cluster is still showed health because it was functioning and therefore its availability is healthy as was its functionality.

Clicking on the health status takes us to the cluster status page:

We clearly see that there is an issue on the nodes. We can also see the resources have failed over to UEASQL2 which is not the prefered node. This cluster information is updated every 15 minutes but the information displayed is crucial for quick diagnosis. We can immediately see that a failover has occured.

By selecting the warning health status we get taken to a diagram view. By selecting the various drilldown functions, we are able to navigate directly to the root of the problem.

When you select part of the diagram, the Actions list on the right hand side will display a variety of tasks that can be used to fix the issue. This is again determined by your User Role in SCOM. You can customise this list. From a support point of view as well as an incident management point of view, this accelerates the fix time dramatically. The tasks available are dependent on the User Role again. A user cannot just run a task without having the right privileges.

If you look at the main dashboard you will see that Active Directory is critical. By clicking on the critical button the dashboard shown below appears. You will see that this has a variety of tasks available:

By linking the Web Console to the Health Status visual representation in the picture above (yellow light) , we point the user directly to the SCOM Web Console which we have tailored for a graphical output by creating Distributed Applications and custom Views. This functionality allows our customers to see the live alert in the SCOM Web console and depending on their the user sees the entire solution with the click of a button. The link provides the client with endless options. They are also able to close the alert if they believe they have fixed it. SCOM is then designed to re-evaluate the monitor health. Therefore if it is fixed it will not alert again. If it is not fixed it will alert again. This alert will pop up in the SCOM console but we have found a better way to view the latest alerts thanks to. Please see below:

The next dashboard shows the current alerts open as well as who is closing the alerts:

By selecting the gauge, the report accesses the SCOM alerts and provides you with a further breakdown:

Selecting the graph polpulates a futher drilldown. These are the alerts in the Scom Console as we briefly mentioned above, just in a different format. Our solution allows instant information rather than having to look through the SCOM Console for the information. We must make it clear that the information populated is EXACTLY the same information in the SCOM console. It is just grouped using SQL queries and made available for easy access.

Selecting the alert name will drill down further and give more detail. You can see that it is showing us the SQL Cluster node that we shutdown:

The following image is of the above dashboard refreshing:

The next dashboard is one of our favourites. It monitors a variety of important infrastructural components and only alerts if the counter breaches the defined threshold. The counters we normally insert are: Disk Space %, CPU % > 50%, RAM % In Use > 50%, disk space%: Yellow – 30%-10% – Red > 10%, Machines that are down and the NSLookup of the domain controllers that runs every 15 minutes. You can use your SCOM presets or specify your own:

The following image is of the above dashboard refreshing:

The next dashboard is the Audit Collection Services dashboard:

This data is live so you will spot any potential security issues as they will display almost immediately:

You can combine our dashboards shown above with Microsoft’s Service Level Dashboard v2.0 or with any other web based dashboard you may have already. If you see the cluster resources above you will see that it is displaying text files. At Scom-Unity we will go the extra mile to ensure we design you what you want rather than give you an excuse and limit your possibilities. We can monitor anything!

Please see a quick mock up of a combination dashboard below:

Our dashboards were designed to provide secure viewing and easy access to your environment for everyone. Remember that they are free! No licenses are required. You just pay for our design time. The dashboards also provide visibility and instant detection. They are an early warning system if you like and this is useful as it helps reduce calls to the helpdesk and IT department when something happens because it allows the users to see a live status of a situation and an estimated fix time.

The last dashboard is a graphical representation of the Network and Active Directory. As we mentioned before, we can design you your own NASA command room style display with any diagrams you like:

We would like to thank a couple of websites and their owners for providing us with the information we needed to create the virtual dashboards. These websites are:

· http://blogs.technet.com/b/kevinholman/ – Kevin Holman – SQL Queries

· http://www.contoso.se – Anders Bengtsson – Advice and solutions

· http://blogs.technet.com/b/jimmyharper/ – Jimmy Harper – ACS Dashboard

· http://blogs.technet.com/wchomak/ – Walter Chomak

· http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/windowsserver/sharepoint/bb684453

· http://syscenterstuff.blogspot.com/

· http://www.systemcentercentral.com/

· http://www.mssqltips.com/

· http://www.scom2k7.com/ – SCCM

By combining all their brilliant ideas and by using some of our own, we are then able to give our clients live dashboards, that display whatever they request, and we mean whatever! It is a well-known fact that SCOM can monitor anything you fancy. To quantify this statement, a good example is the coffee pot monitor and management pack found here.

If you would like more information, please drop us an email or give us a call. This dashboard was designed to be 100% customisable and 100% robust! It is! Please see our feedback from Confused.com. Let us turn your ideas into a reality!

We are offering an exclusive 5 day deal where we will train your staff on how to create dashboards for your entire organisation.

This will mean that the IT Department can design whatever is needed in-house going forward. You will be able to design any dashboard for any application and display the information on your intranet. We must stress that our dashboards are not only for System Center information but will display information about any metric you define, as well as its availability. This deal is offered on a first come – first serve basis. For more information, please send us an email at info@scom-unity.com