December 03, 2015
Squared Up Version 2.3
We’re pleased to announce that Squared Up Version 2.3 is now available for download.
Version 2.3 brings together a number of new features – simplified set-up, open access dashboards and community dashboards - in order to achieve our goal of allowing someone new to Squared Up to go from nothing to being able to share awesome, expert, HTML5 SCOM dashboards to potentially thousands of users within less than 10 minutes.
As ever, we’d urge you to try Squared Up and see all this in action for yourself; what’s important isn’t us being able to describe an awesome experience in a blog but actually delivering that to users in reality.
Keep reading to learn about our new features, including
- Streamlined Setup Experience
- Open Access Dashboards
- Revamped Alerts Plugin
- Revamped Performance Plugin
Streamlined Setup Experience
We have always prided ourselves on making Squared Up simple to get installed and up-and-running but we’re don’t like to rest on our laurels and so have invested a lot of additional effort in making that process even more straightforward.
With the new set-up experience introduced in v2.3 we believe you’ll be hard-pressed to find an easier piece of software to install and configure in a complex enterprise environment.
Included in the initial configuration experience is;
- A new set-up wizard, including one-click Data Warehouse configuration.
- One-click to enable publishing Open Access dashboards
- A welcome page that introduces new users to Community Dashboards and useful ‘getting started’ resources.
Open Access Dashboards
In 2.3 we’ve completely reworked our concept of read-only dashboards and removed the requirement for an additional anonymous access server in order to widely publish Squared Up dashboards (such as to your non-SCOM users).
To do this, we’ve introduced Open Access Dashboards, which hugely simplifies the entire process.
Open Access means that all you need to do when publishing a dashboard is simply check the option to ‘enable open access’.
This dashboard will then be made available as a non-interactive dashboard that you can make available to all your users, both SCOM and non-SCOM users.
You can also choose to add a link to the open access navigation bar. This means that you can effectively create a separate menu structure just for your open access dashboards/users.
When you hit Publish, you’ll find that an Open Access button has been added to the dashboard. Simply click this to view the Open Access version of the dashboard in a new browser tab.
You may notice that we’ve automatically published the dashboard on a randomised URL; this means that your users can’t easily work out the URL that the full-access version of the dashboard is published on.
We’ve also made it easy to manage your Open Access dashboards. Using the menu in the top right corner, you have a couple of options
If you click open access, you can see all the dashboards that you’ve made available via Open Access and can easily disable open access to any of those dashboards.
You can also use the edit navigation bar option to customise the navigation/menu experience that you want for your open access users.
Simply select edit navigation bar, switch users to ‘Open Access’ and then edit the menu position in the normal fashion.
Open Access dashboards are based on Squared Up’s new server-side rendering technology, which fundamentally changes the way read-only/non-interactive dashboards are delivered. Essentially, a snapshot of the dashboard is created on the Squared Up web server and it’s this snapshot (a bitmap image) that’s served up to the client as the Open Access dashboard. As previously, that dashboard will then refresh every 60 seconds by default, but you can configure a quicker or slower refresh rate if required.
The new server-side rendering technique for delivering Open Access dashboards is designed to be extremely high scale: thousands of users will be able to view Open Access dashboards with no additional load on your SCOM infrastructure.
In addition, because Open Access dashboards are a pre-rendered bitmap, they are inherently compatible with a wide range of non-HTML5 browsers. With end-of-life approaching for older versions of Internet Explorer, Squared Up can focus on cutting-edge HTML5 visualisations whilst retaining compatibility with a wide range older browsers through Open Access dashboards.
So, to summarise, the benefits of the new Open Access dashboards are:
- No additional server infrastructure (no anonymous access server)
- One click Open Access publishing and fully integrated management of Open Access dashboards
- Extremely high scalability
- Wide browser compatibility
Revamped Alerts Plugin
In response to customer feedback, we’ve significantly revamped our Alerts plugin for Version 2.3.
Firstly, you now have the option to select multiple filters (i.e., show error and warning but not info)
We’ve also added the ability to fully customise the columns shown, including adding and rearranging columns.
And, best of all, we’ve added the ability to select and update multiple alerts at the same time.
When updating alerts, you’re also given the option of assigning those alerts to yourself, a typical workflow highlighted to us by a number of customers.
Revamped Performance Plugin
Also by popular request, we’ve updated our Performance plugin to included colour lines in the graph visualisation of the performance plugin.
As ever with Squared Up, you’ll find that a lot of attention to detail has gone into the way this feature is implemented, to ensure that your data is clear, attractive, distinct and that you don’t just end up with a huge mess of illegible lines.
A base colour palette for the lines has been selected for data clarity and aesthetic appeal, which is then combined with a specially designed random colour generator to enable the graphs to scale to show many objects.
However, when you have multiple performance sections in a single dashboard, you’ll see that the colour selection is matched across those sections
For example, in the screenshot below, showing CPU and memory usage across a group of servers, you can see that Server 3 is displayed as a purple line in both sections.
We’ve also introduced some very elegant dynamic scaling to the performance graphs. This means that when you have a densely populated graph, the lines will automatically display very thinly, or alternately much thicker when you only have a few.
We’ve also made it easy to resize your performance plugin sections, meaning you can create performance graphs that have a very high visual impact on a dashboard.
However, if you do want to retain the single colour performance graphs, that option’s available to you, as is the ability to add a key to your performance graphs, which is likely to be particularly helpful when publishing as on Open Access dashboard
You’ll also find that the new coloured lines have been applied to performance reporting / performance drill downs
We’ve decided to leave Sparkline and Bar Graph visualisations as single colour but you now have the option to make those multicolour as well
To read about any of these features in more depth you can head over to our online KnowledgeBase but the best way to experience them is simply to try Squared Up for yourself.