A few weeks ago, Microsoft published a new SQL Server management pack version 188.8.131.52. The new management pack comes with a whole slew of new features and fixes, characteristic of such updates, but what I didn’t see coming was the nice lovely surprise that was conveniently tucked away with the update, in the form of a new management pack for a new set of SCOM dashboards.
This has been out for over a month, and most of you have already seen and used these dashboards, so alas, the euphoria has likely waned, but for those who aren’t quite as familiar with the new visualization library, I’ve played sufficiently with these dashboards to warrant a review of the new dashboards and share my experiences with you guys.
To import the new management pack, you will need to extract the relevant files (Microsoft.SQLServer.Visualization.Library.mpb) from the new SQL Management pack referenced above. Note that this will update your existing SQL dashboards, so don’t be alarmed when you see a different dashboard view for your SQL workloads.
For instance, the Views for your SQL instances will be updated from these:
and upon drilling in, these:
If for some reason, you feel particularly attached to the old views (Exhibit A), and would like to reinstate them while still retaining the great features included in the new dashboard visualization library, you absolutely could do so.
To do this, you will need to delete the version 184.108.40.206 of the following 3 files, and import the same files with a version that precedes the latest version. Files with version 220.127.116.11 from December 2014 will do the trick. Hopefully you have these saved to a MP repo somewhere.
- Microsoft SQL Server 2008 (Presentation)
- Microsoft SQL Server 2012 (Presentation)
- Microsoft SQL Server Generic Dashboards
Ordinarily, you should be able to easily delete these management packs from the console, or using PowerShell without having to worry about any management pack dependencies.
Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s get down to brass tacks.
The new Microsoft SQL Server dashboards management pack will enable you to create and customize visualizations for any of your workloads in SCOM. This SQL dashboards come with 2 distinct views. A datacenter view and an instance view.
The Datacenter view is the first view you see when you open the dashboard. It aggregates displays information about the health of your monitored workloads. I won’t delve into too much detail about that here. You can find detailed information in the management pack guides. This view is comprised of collapsible tiles which allow you to drill in for further detail about the groups and objects that underlie them.
When you drill into a group by double clicking on a tile in the datacenter view, it takes you to the instance view, which will enumerate the objects that exist in that group, and for each object, you’ll be able to see details about the object, active alerts relating to the object, as well as relevant metrics for that object.
As shown below, I have created a dashboard based on a specific subset of AD Domain controllers, with corresponding instance views for the domain controller objects. Notice the panes for details information, active alerts information, and monitoring information, including metrics for the selected object.
The information that you will be able to display in these dashboards will depend on what your group is comprised of. Once you populate your SCOM group with the most relevant set of objects, you will be able to present any data in your dashboards, and customize them to meet your needs.
Another noteworthy feature of these dashboards is the ability it provides you to drill down from a high-level object such as a Windows computer object, down to its constituent parts, and view alerts and metrics at each level as you drill in. That’s the beauty of this new dashboard.
This instance view shows windows computer objects which I can drill into.
The resulting instance view shows the components that underlie the windows computer object and details and active alerts, if any, for the selected object, and metrics where available.
In my opinion, these new dashboards are an excellent addition to an excellent array of visibility templates and dashboards that SCOM has to offer. I hope you find this instructive.
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