Friday, October 8, 2010

SCOM and Dashboards – Part V – Using SharePoint 2010 Enterprise for integration

Postings in the same series:
Part   ISome Questions
Part  IIThe SCOM Console
Part IIIVisio 2010 Add-In for SCOM R2
Part IVSavision LiveMaps for SCOM R2

In the fifth and last posting of this series I will describe how to use SharePoint 2010 Enterprise in order to integrate the Dashboards, created earlier with Savision LiveMaps and Visio 2010.

But before I start I want you to know that this posting won’t be about how to install the Visio Services data provider, since Microsoft has written a great guide about how to do just that. I had the positive experience that it all worked just fine without any issues what so ever. From a fellow MVP however I heard that he was experiencing some issues.

First of all, lets answer the question why one should decide to show SCOM R2 Dashboards – based on Savision LiveMaps and/or Visio 2010 – in SharePoint? Not just because you simply can. No way. Two good and valid reasons are:

  1. No additional software required
    In today’s world where people and their businesses want to access information with any kind of device, anywhere and anytime, it is neat to have a solution in place which enables you to do just that. Since all is handled by SharePoint it is presented through http(s). So any device capable of handling that protocol is capable to show that data. With TMG and some smart publishing rules in conjunction with SSL certs, this isn’t rocket science what so ever.

  2. Lets hide the SCOM R2 Interface
    Before I started this series I was already a strong believer of KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid). However, while writing this series, doing all the required research and looking at the end-results, I have become an even stronger believer. In such kind of a manner that I really think that some very good built Dashboards, using Savision LiveMaps and Visio 2010, in conjunction with a good Notification Model, can replace the SCOM R2 Console for over 90%!

    This will lower the learning curve of SCOM R2 considerably thus enabling organizations to speed up significantly the adoption of SCOM R2 into the daily routine. Of course, perhaps some additional investments are required (like licenses and time to build the Dashboards), but the ROI will be fast and good. In this kind of setup only a small set of people are required with deep SCOM R2 knowledge. And the rest is covered for by the Operational Departments.

Lets start.

Remember the Visio 2010 based Traffic Light I built? After following the guide as provided by Microsoft about using the Visio 2010 Add-in for SCOM R2, having installed the Visio Services Data Provider and publishing the Visio drawing to SharePoint 2010 (as a VDW file!), this is what I get:

Lets stop the SCOM R2 WebConsole website and hit the refresh button:

And the change of Status is correctly reflected. However, there is a small caveat: hitting F5 (refresh screen) will not do. You must hit the Refresh button or wait until the Visio Drawing is automatically refreshed. This way the most current Status information from SCOM R2 is collected and shown in the Visio Drawing.

Now it’s time to Publish the Main Dashboard – based on Savision LiveMaps – I blogged earlier about, in Visio 2010. Again, I will not show how this is done since I used an article from the website of Savision and in the matter of minutes I had it all up & running. Just follow those instructions and you will be fine. There is a small thing to reckon with though: the mentioned instructions are based on SharePoint 2007. In SharePoint 2010 the menu’s have been changed. But it shouldn’t too much of an issue. The only thing I changed was the fixed height. I changed it to 600 pixels.

This is how the Main Dashboard, based on Savision LiveMaps, looks in SharePoint 2010:




As you can see, the integration of the SCOM R2 Dashboards with SharePoint 2010 Enterprise really works great. With some real SharePoint Admins (which I am not) one could even create much fancier sites.

The PDF file which is included with the SharePoint 2010 Add-In also shows another method in order to integrate Visio 2010 Drawing with SharePoint 2010. So multiple approaches are viable here. Again, use your imagination AND common sense.

With this series I tried to clarify the topic SCOM R2 Dashboard Solutions. Not only some of the available techniques have been discussed (SCOM R2 itself, Visio 2010 Add-In for SCOM R2 and Savision LiveMaps ®) but also the reasons behind it. And these are the most important since the technique is nothing but a presentation layer. And when no one looks at it or – even worse – does not act on it, it is a waste of time and energy.

So first things first. Get the requirements, write them down and verify. After that start with a few Dashboards and do not forget the FREE version of Savision LiveMaps since with even five LiveMaps (for more additional licenses are required) one can build a smart Dashboard which will rock! Also look for ways to integrate it with other technologies like SharePoint. That way you are making the most out of it. And never ever forget KISS.

Now SCOM R2 will become the success story you hoped for and people will even fancy the nice and shiny Dashboards. Goodbye to the 80’s and HELLO 2010+!

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