Getting hands on with SquaredUp for Azure

October 30, 2019

Getting hands on with SquaredUp for Azure

I am hugely proud of our new product, SquaredUp for Azure. As a dashboarding tool it goes well beyond anything in the market today, and I think this product can be transformative for DevOps and IT teams using Azure everywhere.

In case that sounds like unjustified hype I want to describe in this blogpost why I believe this, mainly by letting the product speak for itself. 

Of course if you have an Azure tenant then you don’t need to take my word for it… you can click here to try it for free. It’s super simple and will take a couple of minutes to set up, as long as you have admin privileges in Azure Active Directory, or know someone who does.

 

What is SquaredUp for Azure?

 

To begin at the end, SquaredUp for Azure lets you build amazing dashboards like the ones below – real-time, interactive dashboards for your applications and services in Azure, so you can visualize and take control of your Azure environment.    

You can summarize the status of your apps overall. Here’s an example I built in a few minutes summarizing the live status of 4 applications on one screen: live views of each homepage, outside in response time, cost, key metrics and active incidents by severity.  This is the kind of dashboard you might want to publish on an intranet page as a summary view for the management team, or as a wallboard for your ops team. You can do that at the click of a button.

SquaredUp for Azure dashboard summarizes the live status of 4 applications on one screen.

As you can see, this dashboard is pulling in data not just from Azure (Azure Cost Management, Azure Monitor Metrics for example) but also from other tools such as ServiceNow, New Relic, and Pingdom – so it’s showing you the mythical “single pane of glass” view without making you switch tools.

 

Application Dashboards

 

You could then build a more detailed dashboard for each application like the ones below. These might be a useful first port of call for each application team for example for a DevOps person needing to drill in to investigate a potential issue or respond to an alert and work out what’s going on.

Use SquaredUp for Azure dashboards to drill in to investigate a potential issue or respond to an alert

This SquaredUp for Azure dashboard could be a useful first port of call for a DevOps person looking to drill in to investigate an issue or find the root cause

 

Real Time and Interactive

 

The dashboards are all interactive – for anyone logged in with an Azure account – so you can click and drill down to investigate and see data for any resources for which your Azure account gives you permissions.

You can drill down into subscriptions, resource groups, and individual resources to see metrics such as highest CPU, or most inbound connections, AppInsights response time, total cost across all your subscriptions, and summary health status. 

This is an automatically generated view I see when I click on the “”Public_Demo-RG” resource group from the dashboard above, showing me the resources of different types in that group, and the same resources sorted by health status with relevant properties.

Application dashboard showing the resources sorted by health status with relevant properties

This is the drill down view I see automatically generated when I click on “OPP-APP01” – one of the virtual machines, showing selected metrics from Azure Monitor.

SquaredUp for Azure's drill down view automatically generated, showing selected metrics from Azure Monitor

You can also drill across to see related data such as Alerts, Log Analytics events, or more detailed Metrics, or to see related data from the other tools you use – such as ServiceNow, Dynatrace, PagerDuty or Pingdom for example, scoped to just the data relevant to that same set of resources.

This is the automatically generated dashboard I see when I select the “New Relic” perspective on that same Public_Demo-RG resource group.  

In SquaredUp for Azure dashboards, drill across to see related data from other tools you use, such as New Relic, Dynatrace, ServiceNow, Pingdom, or PagerDuty.

All of these views are live – SquaredUp doesn’t store data in yet another silo, we always give you live views of data pulled from all your tools in context.

 

Designing Dashboards

 

Let’s show you how easy it is to build these dashboards with SquaredUp. Any user who is assigned the SquaredUp Administrator role in Azure can click on the cog to the top right of any dashboard to start editing and creating their own dashboards.

Our dashboard designer let’s you quickly add and configure tiles, with a large number of different tile types to choose from. As well as a number of different performance metric visualisations, you can show cost, alerts, resource summaries and health, maps and so on, and you can set up simple native integrations with Log Analytics, App Insights or ServiceNow, or pull in data from any third party tool with a published API using our web API tiles. 

The screenshot below shows some of the tiles available in our dashboard designer. Tiles can be dragged and dropped and resized with a click of the mouse.

SquaredUp for Azure's intuitive dashboard designer.

Each tile is scoped to resources in Azure – by subscription, resource group, resource type or tag, by simply selecting from a drop down list of the available options as you type. You see live on the designer what the tile will look like as you change the settings.

Each tile in SquaredUp for Azure's dashboard designer is scoped to resources in Azure, by subscription, resource group, resource type or tag

 

Out of the Box Dashboards – Visualize your Azure Environment Across all Subscriptions

 

When you first install SquaredUp for Azure we don’t just give you a blank canvas, we provide you with some pre-built dashboards and drill-down views that let you explore your entire Azure tenant straight out of the box.

Below are some examples of the built-in dashboards that let you immediately visualize and explore the cost and performance of your Azure environment.

For example here is a dashboard showing all the storage plans across all subscriptions in the tenant…

Out of the box dashboards showing all the storage plans across all subscriptions in the tenant

Another dashboard shows application services and service plans (or web sites and web servers in old school language)…  and we provide similar pre-built dashboards for virtual machines, containers, disks, virtual networks, databases and so on.

SquaredUp for Azure shows you a drillable summary of the subscriptions and resources groups so you can drill down and explore

We also show you a drillable summary of the subscriptions and resource groups so you can drill down and explore.

In the example below I have started with a pre-built view of all resource groups organized by subscription, and clicked to see a view of a particular resource group (Public_Demo-rg). You can see that two resources are marked by Azure as “critical” in the donut chart to the top right. You can hover and click…

SquaredUp for Azure application dashboards to streamline your monitoring

And you are taken to a summary view of just those two resources.  It looks like they have not been running for a while….

You can click from there to each resource and launch straight out to the Azure Portal (deep linking) to see if you can fix them (or remove them if not needed).

This blog post is getting rather long and I feel like I have only scratched the surface of what SquaredUp for Azure can do for you.  But I hope this has given you enough of a taste that you would like to try it in your own Azure tenant. 

Below are some answers to other questions you might have, starting with the most important one.

 

How do I get SquaredUp for Azure?

 

Simply click this link to create a SquaredUp installation in your Azure tenant.

We will automatically email you a free 30 day trial licence to get you started. It will be sent to the account with which you are logged in to the Azure portal.  Find out more about how to get started in our getting started guide.

In case you would like to get a sense of what this will create in Azure, below is a quick description.

 

How does SquaredUp for Azure work?

 

SquaredUp for Azure is deployed as a solution in the Azure MarketPlace.  We install a web application running on a VM and an enterprise application in your Azure tenant, with read only access to the Azure Graph APIs.  Users log-in with their Microsoft accounts, and can only see resources and data defined by their Azure privileges.  This not-so-beautiful diagram sums it up.

Get SquaredUp for Azure in the Microsoft Azure MarketPlace.

 

How much will it cost?

 

SquaredUp for Azure is licensed as a subscription based on the number of interactive users – users with Azure accounts who can edit dashboards or drill down and across to investigate issues.  Non-interactive dashboards can be published and shared with as many users as you like for no additional charge.  Our pricing is simple and transparent, you can see it all at https://squaredup.com/pricing.

 

How does it relate to the SquaredUp for SCOM product?

 

This new product shares a codebase with our long-established SCOM product – both are version 4.4 – and it features a very familiar user interface and set of capabilities for those of you who are current SquaredUp customers.  However it is a separate installation just for Azure, with no dependency on SCOM.  

Of course the backend is very different, and because of the significant differences between Azure/Azure Monitor and SCOM, there are several features that are only available for SCOM (such as VADA) or for Azure (such as Cost Tiles). 

Although SquaredUp for Azure is licensed separately, we do offer an attractively priced bundle license for customers who want to have dashboards for both SCOM and Azure, details can be found in our pricing guide.

SCOM customers will also notice the snazzy new dark theme in our Azure product – before you ask – this will be coming as an option for SCOM customers in the next version.

But the best way to experience this is to try it yourself

Happy Dashboarding

John