Data Visualization for IT: System Center Ops Manager Dashboards

Data Visualization for IT: System Center Ops Manager Dashboards

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One of the most important things an IT department can do for itself is demonstrate its value to business leaders clearly and regularly. The easiest way to do this is with a dynamic, real-time dashboard view of the IT operation.

The bad news is that accurate, functional, and responsive dashboards have historically been difficult to produce, as well as lacking the features necessary to show the range of services, solutions, and operations at work behind the scenes. The good news is that System Center Operations Manager 2012 Dashboards is a huge leap forward – and I think it has gone overlooked by a lot of System Center 2012 SP1 users. This is also one of the many reasons to upgrade to SP1 as soon as you can.

Ops Manager is a technical product and, historically, has been too complex for anyone outside of the IT team to use consistently. In our recent release updates, however, we have created some impressive dashboard functionality which addresses the primary needs for this kind of tool:

  • IT managers and business leaders both need fast access to data about their applications and infrastructure in order to make quick decisions and troubleshoot.
  • To see this data at a glance, users need a one-stop, modular display that can have a customizable level of depth and insight into that data.
  • This modular, customizable view of the data should be able to show any set of metrics, KPI’s, environments, or apps – all without needing to navigate between views.
  • This dashboard needs to be something that can be built and deployed in minutes, and updated or adjusted in seconds.
  • This needs to be easy enough to be used by leaders outside of the IT team, and it needs to be viewable in a multiple formatse.g. via an operations console, a web console, or the common and familiar SharePoint web part.

If this all seems too good to be true, or if you want to see how this modular, single-pane dashboard really works, I recommend reading more about how to build an Ops Manager dashboard and how to add widgets to it.

This tool has gotten a lot of traction under the radar with companies around the world, and its users are benefitting from its functionality. One of these users is Stephen Hall from T. Rowe Price:

“The new dashboards in Operations Manager 2012 SP1 have given some of my older custom management packs new life by dramatically improving the performance of my views and providing better web integration.

I am very excited to see more attractive custom graphical interfaces being developed, like those in the new SQL Server management pack, that are utilizing the new dashboard capabilities.

The biggest advantage I’ve recognized in using the new dashboard capabilities is less reliance on the need to build and schedule reports to access data from the data warehouse.”

Stephen Hall
Systems Management Technology Architect
T. Rowe Price

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Stephen’s experience is echoed by passionate users who are using this tool to graphically demonstrate the operations and performance of their IT infrastructure. If you haven’t used System Center Operations Manager 2012 Dashboards before, there’s no time like the present!

Another important facet of this dashboard tool is that it is distinctly different from an automated report. The primary difference is that a report is processing data for a specific period of time in the past, whereas a dashboard is projecting and visualizing current and future data. Dashboards can also visualize data (which can be invaluable when IT admins need to manage up), and it also allows data to be seen in the context of other work streams operating concurrently.

To learn how to get started and use the Ops Manager Dashboards, check out this video from one of our Senior PM’s, Satya Vel.

Dashboard Images 

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  • Fully agree with your sentiments and comments on the need for Dash-boarding and keeping this simple. A lot of Microsoft customers agree with that to, by using Savision's Live Maps and vital signs products they have also found that they can even author their dashboards to help Application holders and various other teams as well as management understand the real time picture and target specific Live Map views for SLA reporting. Making it even easier for companies as a whole to get the best out of their System Center investments as soon as possible.

    You can also see a few examples of how they have set their dashboards up at www.savision.com as well.

  • Hi Brad,

    Thank you for this interesting insights! Another solution could have been to use Jolicharts. Without coding, you could make some really interesting dashboard and reports, fully embeddable and shareable :

    - Connecting our data or spreadsheets,

    - Designing Dashboards with collaboration possibilities

    - Sharing, Publishing charts or dashboard, in one click.

    - Embedding the dashboards in all our apps

    - Applying information filters depending on the viewer

    Do not hesitate to go and see by yourself!

    https://jolicharts.com/

    Cheers