Ben Nelson

Building Monitoring Visualization & Dashboards That Are Actionable

Blog Post created by Ben Nelson Employee on Oct 6, 2016

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

 

 

 

 

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