June 28, 2017
v3.2: A new Open Access engine
One of the ‘behind-the-scenes’ enhancements we’ve been working on for v3.2 is a significant rebuilding of the engine that powers our Open Access Dashboards feature. From a functional point of view, not much has changed, but a huge amount of engineering resource has gone into rebuilding the Open Access engine from the ground-up to make it faster and more lightweight than ever.
As a result, we thought this was a good moment to explain what exactly Open Access dashboards are and highlight 7 benefits of using them.
Open Access Dashboards: What are they?
Within Squared Up, absolutely any of your dashboards - whether that’s a custom-built dashboard or one of the many pre-built dashboards provided by the Community – can be published as an Open Access Dashboard.
Doing so creates a non-interactive version of the dashboard, perfect for sharing via wall monitors or with users who just need high-level information, without having the ability to drilldown or interact with the data (for which you’d instead provide them with a Named User license).
Open Access dashboards are ‘Server-Side Rendered’ JPG images, meaning they’re created on your Squared Up web server and pushed out to your users from there.
Whilst each Open Access dashboard is static / non-interactive, they always present your current / live data, automatically refreshing every 60 seconds (although you can easily configure the refresh rate for higher or lower intervals if required).
Open Access Dashboards: The benefits
Cross browser / cross platform
Let’s start with the basics. Because Open Access Dashboards are ultimately just JPG images, they’re accessible from any browser; no more Silverlight dependencies or other complexities. Also, because Open Access dashboards are automatically formatted for mobile and tablet devices, as well as for desktops and wall monitors, the dashboard display is always optimised for the device you’re viewing it from.
The Open Access feature, available from our Enterprise Starter Pack license and above, allows you to publish as many dashboards as you want, to as many users as you want, without any additional costs. Simple. No need to get trapped into a nasty licensing model where costs go up-and-up every time you want to create another dashboard or publish it to additional users.
Each Open Access dashboard is created with its own distinct URL and publishing them via SharePoint or other web portal couldn’t be easier. Simply take that URL and, in the case of SharePoint, use the standard web part to publish the dashboard. Open Access dashboards can even be made available in embedded-mode - allowing you to strip away the Squared Up header / navigation elements and present back only dashboard data.
Accessible by non-SCOM users
Because users don’t have to authenticate against SCOM to view an Open Access dashboard, they can be easily published to non-SCOM users, meaning you no longer need to set up dozens or even hundreds of users in SCOM in order to provide them with the visibility they need.
One of the clever things about Open Access dashboards is – because they’re created once on the Squared Up web server and served up to users from there – they’re highly scalable, ensuring a very low overhead on SCOM. Instead of multiple users drawing resources from SCOM every time they view a dashboard, an Open Access dashboard accounts for the equivalent of a single user connection, no matter how many users are viewing that dashboard, and from there it’s just a simple task of serving up images from a web server. This means that, for example, you could publish a live, high-level Application Status dashboard to every single employee in your organisation (via an intranet-style portal like SharePoint) without creating any excess load on SCOM.
Because Open Access dashboards are ultimately just JPG images, there’s no actual data contained behind them (unlike, say, a live, interactive dashboard), just a flat image, making them extremely secure.
Navigation / Organisation
Squared Up allows you to create a separate navigation experience for your Open Access dashboards / users, meaning you can make many different dashboards available, all whilst maintaining a single, well organised, easily navigable user experience.
If you’re not underway with Squared Up yet and would like to see Open Access dashboards in action for yourself, you can request a free 30 day trial and within 10 minutes you should be ready to publish your first Open Access dashboard.