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2016

Back in March, CA published a great video on Unified Infrastructure Management - Monitoring Governance. Through this video we pose the question, “what should you actually be monitoring?” The intent here is to help our customers focus less on what they are trying to monitor, and more on what value they get from what they are trying to monitor. One of the central points is to not boil the ocean by enabling everything, resulting in unmanageable alarm storms. While I’m sure we can all agree that this makes a lot of sense and is a great practice, we have customers for which thousands, and even tens of thousands of alarms is still a reality.  

 

To this point, earlier this year I started coming across feedback from customers attempting to view and manage greater than 10,000 alarms in the USM Alarm View. The theme was clear and illustrated a need to improve the scale and performance of the Alarm View. We got to work, and I’m excited to share that one of the marquee enhancements due out in Unified Infrastructure Management 8.4.7 is a set of UI and performance improvements within the USM Alarm View. We’ve introduced an alarm load and filter status, and increased the scale and performance by greater than 8x! Not only is the performance improved, but you no longer have to wait for all the alarms to load before interrogating a specific alarm or applying a filter.

 

 

We also implemented a few of your Ideas posted here in the Communities forum. Namely, the ability to export only selected alarms and the ability to view/filter on the Alarm ID.

 

Unified Infrastructure Management 8.4.7 is releasing this fall, and if you are one of those customers for whom managing greater than 10,000 alarms is a reality, I would love to hear your feedback on the scale and performance improvements we have introduced. Feel free to comment here or contact me directly.

It’s hard to believe October is here already, and in a few short weeks I’ll be heading to Las Vegas for CA world. The summer of 2016, for me is synonymous with CA Unified Infrastructure Management (CA UIM) 8.47, which, I’m delighted to say, we have just released. It seems just like yesterday that as a Product Management team we were excitedly discussing the latest cloud monitoring capabilities  UIM Hybrid Cloud probes. The topic of user experience and data visualizations came up one early May morning, and specifically how should we visualize this new data in the rich, appealing and intuitive manner it deserves.

 

A little earlier in the year, I’d been tasked to investigate technologies and techniques which we could utilize, to improve the reporting and dashboarding capabilities of CA UIM.  Having reached out too many customers, partners and others, the asks were clear. Requirements included, improve the data visualization library, be device agnostic, facilitate ad hoc reporting, improve the scheduling and exporting of reports, improve performance, improve aesthetic appeal and others.

 

CA Business Intelligence (CABI) which is currently built on top of Jaspersoft 6.2, was in the running alongside other commercially available Business Intelligence suites. With CABI, it was immediately apparent this was a huge leap forward in terms of capabilities over what we had with Unified Reporter, which was layered on top of Jaspersoft 5.x. In collaboration with our R&D team, we started out with some initial experiments using Jaspersoft Domains in the context of CA UIM. These early investigations showed incredible promise of bringing CA UIM data to life. A Jaspersoft Domain is essentially a data abstraction layer of the source database. The typical database complexities such as table joins and disparate data are greatly simplified to the end user. These domains enable simple, yet powerful and secure web based reporting, using tables, crosstabs and a variety of charts to present intuitive and visually appealing reports. The power and flexibility this would provide for CA UIM ad hoc reporting and data analysis was simply amazing. After following Jaspersoft’s online tutorials, I was quickly able to create inventory and group reports, Top N lists, heat maps to visualize data clustering and a time series chart to identify trends of alarm data over time. Equally impressive were the new dashboarding capabilities via a web based editor. With the new data visualizations, drill down and drill across enablement for dynamic dashboards, report scheduling, email report delivery, web based ad-hoc reporting and custom dashboard creation, it was clear that CABI would provide a feature rich set of new capabilities that would be not only match, but exceed the ask from our customers.

 

As a team, we made the decision to build out of the box CABI dashboards for our new Hybrid Cloud and SAP probes. Before work on this vision could begin, there was an awful lot of complex integration and foundational tasks to be completed by the R&D team. The amount of work completed in such a short window of time is impressive and I'm immensely proud of them all. Items such as Single Sign On, Multi Tennant reporting and data filtering, simple 'drag and drop' installation model, embedded business intelligence support in UMP, database agnostic queries and secure ad hoc reporting capabilities are often too easily overlooked.

 

I'm delighted to say we made it. We now have, out of the box CABI dashboards for AWS, Docker, Nutanix, SAP and more. These dashboards have been seamlessly integrated in our existing UI and can even be customized in the CABI web UI! On top of this we have shipped the initial version of the UIM Domain to enable powerful ad hoc reporting of alarms, devices, groups and QoS data.

 

I can't wait to share with you all the direction we're taking CABI next, all I will say for now is it's awesome. If you’re interested in the current CABI capabilities or if you would like to help define the future direction and provide feedback, please reach out to me (ben.nelson@ca.com) and we’ll get something on the calendar.

 

Out Of The Box AWS EC2 Dashboard

AWS EC2 Dashboard

 

 

CA UIM Ad Hoc Reporting using CABI

UIM Ad Hoc Reporting

 

 

 

 

It seems you can’t turn around without seeing the signs of the growth of containers in general and Docker in particular. At Red Hat Summit in June, Red Hat renamed their Red Hat OpenShift Enterprise solution, based on Kubernetes, to Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform.  At VMworld in August, VMware allocated quite a bit of keynote time and sessions to their vSphere Integrated Container and VMware Photon Platform.  And not to be left out, Microsoft and Docker just announced at Microsoft Ignite event they will make the Commercially Supported Docker Engine (aka CS Docker Engine) available to all customers of Windows Server 2016 at no additional cost.

While Docker containers have seen rapid adoption for development and QA aspects of devops, they have seen slower adoption rolling out into production. One reason for this is the challenges associated with monitoring Docker container environments, as traditional infrastructure management tools often don’t have visibility of containers.  Some key questions that pose a monitoring challenge are - Which containers are utilizing all my resources?  Are my containers available? Do I have more capacity on my Docker Engine nodes?  Am I losing disk space to dangling volumes?  These are the kinds of questions we enable you to answer with the Docker monitoring probe for CA Unified Infrastructure Management (UIM), introduced as part of our Hybrid Cloud monitoring solution in June.

We followed up the June release with a recent update to the Docker probe including a new dashboard based on CA Business Intelligence (CABI), released with CA UIM 8.47, that brings you an at-a-glance view of Docker Key Performance Indicators.

Docker Monitoring Dashboard

This is a rapidly evolving space, so as we look to further enhance our Docker probe and related container management solutions, we want to hear from you! Are containers part of your devops strategy?  What container orchestration tools are you using?  What is your platform of choice for containers – Red Hat, Microsoft, VMware, AWS?  What KPIs would be on your Docker dashboard?

For more information, visit CA UIM for Cloud monitoring.