This is part 3 of my series about building great dashboards with vRealize Operations Cloud (also applicable to vRealize Operations). In this post we will build a first basic dashboard and have a closer look at “Interactions” within a dashboards and also look at a Resource Interaction XML file. Before you continue to read this article, you first might one to have a look at my previous posts.
In part 1 of this series I introduced some “important questions to ask” before you start building your dashboard. Let’s run through these questions now and provide the answers applicable to the dashboard we’re building.
- What is the purpose of the dashboard?
Basic virtual machines monitoring, provide fast access to all available VM metrics.
- What should the dashboard display?
A list of virtual machines, an option to select one or more metrics, show the actual values for the selected metrics.
- Who is the audience of your dashboard?
vSphere/VM administrator responsible for managing virtual machines.
- Does the dashboard require interaction or is it just displaying information?
Yes, it’s an interactive dashboard with some interaction between included widgets.
- Can you build the dashboards based on the available metrics in vRealize Operations Cloud, or do you need to build custom metrics (supermetrics)?
No supermetrics are required, but they will be available in the list of available metrics.
We will build a basic dashboard using the Object List, Metric Picker and Metric Chart widgets. We also have a look at a Resource Interaction XML File that determines which metrics should be included in the Metric Chart widget.
So first things first, let’s drop the Object List, Metric Picker and Metric Chart widget onto the dashboard canvas. The initial dashboard should look like this:
Just reorder and/or resize the widgets so things look nice.
First we want to change the items that appear in the object list. I’ve actually discussed the exact steps in part 2 of this series, so I recommend to first read this article if you better want to understand available options.
On a high level the following configuration should be applied on the object list:
- Title of the widget = Virtual Machines
- Refresh Content = off
- Self Provider = on
- Auto Select First Row = up to you
- Input Data = All (include all VMs)
- Output Filter (basic)
- Object Type = Virtual Machine
- Output Filter (advanced)
- Depending on your requirements you can select VMs that are managed by a specific vCenter, are in a specific cluster or are contained in a specific Virtual Machine Folder. More info on how this works in part 2. In this example we will not configure an advanced output filter.
- Additional Columns
- No additional columns are required for this dashboard
The object list widget will include a list of Virtual Machines, you can sort them in alphabetical order by selecting the name column. I would also suggest to only select the name column through Show Columns option at the bottom left of the widget.
Also change the title for the Metric Picker and Metric Chart widget to “Select a metric” and “Metric Values”.
Create the interactions
Now it’s time to create the interactions. After we’ve selected a virtual machine, we want to select one or more metrics and display them in the Metric Values widget. This achieved through the following interactions:
After the interacties are configured, you’re able to select a virtual machine, select a metric (or property) and view the metric values. It’s possible to display different metrics for a specific virtual machine, but it’s also possible to compare different metrics of different virtual machines.
The toolbar in the Metric Chart widget (called “Metric Values” in our dashboard) allows you to control date/time span for the widget, zoom in/zoom out, show dynamic thresholds and also allow you to remove all metrics if you want to start all over again.
In this way you can configure want you want to see in your dashboard.
Resource Interaction XML File
Now we know how to setup a dashboard and configure some basic interaction to display the values of the metric in the Metric Chart widget. In the next step we always want to see the same specific metrics in a Metric Chart, for example:
- CPU Usage (%)
- Memory Usage (%)
- Virtual Disk – Aggregate of all instances – Total IOPS
- Network Usage Race (KBps)
There are two ways to configure this, manually in the Output Data option in the Metric Chart widget, or through an Interaction XML file that can be selected in the Output Data option.
Open the new Metric Chart widget, select Output Data and add the required metrics. Your widget should look like this:
You’re already set to always display these specific metrics.
Another, second option is to configure the Resource Interaction XML File. A big advantage of using a Resource Interaction XML File is that is can be used across different widgets. Specifically if there are many different metrics and/or properties that should be displayed, the Resource Interaction XML File is really like “configure once, use many times”.
You can configure a Resource Interaction XML File through Administration -> Configuration -> Configuration Files. Select Add and then select “ReskndMetric” in the inventory tree. Give your XML file a name and now configure the XML file:
- Adapterkind = vCenter Adapter;
- Resourcekind = Virtual Machine;
- Metric = the four metrics we discussed earlier.
Your XML file should look like this:
Save your XML file and proceed to the next step.
Select the newly created XML file as the Default Mode in the Output Data filter in the widget:
At the end the XML file is doing the same as the manual selection, but again: the XML can reused in other widgets and makes your vRealize Operations Cloud life simpler. You can add threshold values to the Output Data configuration as well, we will have a closer look at this in a upcoming post.
Now let’s configure a new interaction between the Object List widget (called Virtual Machines) and the new Metric Chart widget (called VM Core Resources) to get things up and running:
After clicking a VM (note I’ve reordered the widgets) the cores resource values are displayed right away. By using the Metric Picker you can add extra metrics to the Metric Values widget (bottom right in the picture above).
Another option is add the additional metrics to the VM Core Resources widget, this would require a slight update to the dashboard, including an update to the interaction. Things will look like this:
In this example there are two interactions with the VM Core Resources widget. The end result is:
That’s it for now. I hope this post was helpful. Stay tuned for more content or leave a comment below and let me know what you thinks of this post.