You’ve heard Steve Ballmer talking about developers, developers, developers, but I’m seeing an increasing trend within Microsoft applications around the use of dashboards, dashboards, dashboards.

This isn’t a new concept, and for me, it’s an impressive way of relating business intelligence and useful information from what would ordinarily be quite tabular, and let’s face it, boring, data.  A few months back, I blogged about the Service Level Dashboard, which is a free bolt-on to System Center Operations Manager / System Center Essentials, which presents the information in a much nicer, and richer way.

More recently, the System Center Configuration Manager team popped out a cheeky dashboard too!

SCCMDash

“The Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager 2007 Dashboard lets customers track application and operating system deployments, security updates, the health status of computers, and IT compliance with key regulations—with an easy to use, customizable Web interface.  Because the Dashboard is built on Windows® SharePoint® Services, IT staff can access information without using the Configuration Manager console. The Dashboard is a free Solution Accelerator, and fully supported by Microsoft”

I saw a couple of keywords in that paragraph.  Free (we like this), fully supported (we also like this), and easy to use (very important!).  If you’ve used SCCM before, this will come as a welcome addition to the platform, which, in all honesty, is lagging a little behind, interface-wise, some of the other System Center technologies, like SCOM and SCVMM.  Not a major gripe, and I’m sure it’s one that will be addressed in v.Next.  More info about the SCCM Dashboard here.

So, that’s 2 dashboards down, but what makes up the 3rd in the dashboards, dashboards, dashboards trio?  How about an App-V dashboard?

Justin’s got all the info on this one, and to be honest, it’s looking pretty nifty, just like the SCCM one.

“The Application Virtualization (App-V) Dashboard helps customers monitor virtualized software applications with a graphical display that makes it easy to stay on top of application usage, health, and compliance. Using the Dashboard’s built-in charts, gauges, and tables, customers can track any APP-V dataset in near-real time”

APP-VDash

Nice hey?  You can get all the info on the App-V Dashboard here.

What do you think? Are dashboards a good thing?  Do they help?  Everyone loves colours, right? :-)  I guess there’s argument for the fact they should be part of the product to begin with, and maybe we’ll see that going forward, but right now, they’re a free, integrated bolt on, that can provide some excellent insight into otherwise un-interesting data.

I’m off now to think of the next word I can combine three times and make a relevant post out of.  Xbox, Xbox, Xbox? ;-)