Squared Up deep-dive

High Availability


What is it?

Once deployed, Squared Up rapidly becomes an essential daily tool for many users, meaning it’s important to make it available 24/7. Setting up Squared Up in HA mode (High Availability) enables you to achieve this, thanks to a free Secondary license that’s automatically included with each Enterprise production license purchase (ESP or EAM).


Why is it cool?

Well, ‘cool’ is probably a bit strong, but Squared Up at least makes HA relatively straightforward, allowing you to load balance connections between multiple servers, each of which read data (such as dashboards and configuration) from a shared location.


How do I get started?

The webinar below (30 minute watch) gives you a great overview of what HA is, how it works, and how you can enable it. Alternatively, this KB article (10 minute read) takes you through configuring HA step-by-step. 

 

 

Alert Management

What is it?

Alerts are the bread-and-butter of SCOM, but there's plenty that can be done to better manage and understand them and get your users more engaged with them.


Why is it cool?

SCOM sends so many alerts that many users simply see it as a spam engine and often misunderstand the distinction between different alerts in any event. You can change all that with better alert management, ranging from getting SCOM to send HTML emails to using the Data Warehouse to easily understand what your noisiest alerts are. After all, who doesn't want less open alerts!?


How do I get started?

Well, for a quick win, you can enable HTML email notifications from SCOM, as covered in this KB article (4 minute read) and this technical webinar (20 minute watch)


For a different approach, you might want to consider sending SCOM alerts into Slack or, for something even more radical, turning off email alerts entirely (!) as covered by Martin Ehrnst in his blog post on How To Get Your Colleagues Engaged With SCOM (4 minute read).  

If you want your users to better understand the distinction between Monitor and Rule alerts, this blog post (4 minute read) is a good place to start, or if you’re looking for additional guidance on making the most of alerts within Squared Up you may find the KB articles on scoping alert criteria (3 minute read) and linking alerts to an external ticketing system (2 minute read) helpful.

Tying everything together for you, we delivered a dedicated technical webinar on alert management (39 minute watch).

 

Please note that some of the Squared Up content in the Masterclass webinar has been superseded in later versions of the product but all of the SCOM content, as well as a significant amount of the Squared Up content, remains completely valid.

Custom Labelling


What is it?

Custom Labelling gives you the ability to re-write / customise object labels on your dashboards and perspectives, using the Status, Image, SLA and Performance Tiles, allowing you to transform this...

into this...!


Why is it cool?

SCOM objects often have some pretty unhelpful names, or names which are simply too unwieldy to put on a dashboard. Custom Labelling allows you to fix that by easily customising labels using either static or dynamic text, including giving you access to other properties of the object.      


How do I get started?

You can get a great overview of Custom Labelling from this blog post (3 minute read) and additional details in our KB article on How To Use Custom Labelling (5 minute read).

For a live demo and walkthrough of custom labelling, check out the webinar recording (25 minute watch) of our dedicated session on the subject:

 

 

Outside-in monitoring

What is it?

Outside-In monitoring allows you to use SCOM’s native Synthetic Transactions / Web Availability monitors to give you a user-centric view of application availability and performance, perfect for surfacing on dashboards and building meaningful SLAs on top of.


Why is it cool?

SCOM’s great at providing detailed monitoring of all your infrastructure components, but that doesn’t necessarily tell you about application availability and performance from an end-user's perspective, it's not typically what your boss wants to know about and it's therefore not necessarily what you want to put on top-level dashboards. Configuring Outside-In monitoring and displaying it on your Squared Up dashboards fixes all that!

 

Application status


How do I get started?

Our dedicated technical webinar (30 minute watch) provides a top-to-bottom view of Outside-In monitoring, including some great additional resources like URLGenie (10 minute read) for setting up web availability monitoring in bulk or details on how to integrate a free external web check tools like Uptime Robot into SCOM (4 minute read):



You should find that getting to grips with Outside-In monitoring dovetails nicely with our webinar on Building Application Dashboards (33 minute watch) and, finally, for a deeper-dive, you may enjoy our Masterclass Webinar on building Top-Level Dashboards (1 hour 15 minutes watch).

Please note that some of the Squared Up content in this webinar has been superseded in later versions of the product but all of the SCOM content, as well as a significant amount of the Squared Up content, remains completely valid.

Perspectives

What are they?

Perspectives are template dashboards that can be applied to any SCOM object, whether that’s servers, disks, groups or Distributed Applications, giving you the ability to customise not just top-level dashboards, but all of your drilldowns too.


Why are they cool?

Driven by our powerful dashboard-templating engine, Perspectives give you the ability to customise the way you view literally anything and everything in SCOM.

Why would you want to do this..?

Well, let’s say you have a group of application servers and want to ensure that whenever a user views one of those particular servers (but only those servers) they’re presented with specific performance counters, advice and even remediation actions relevant to that application, you can do so by creating a custom perspective.

Perspectives also mean you can build template views and apply them very broadly within your environment, with no additional effort; for example, a template dashboard showing key metrics that’s shown every time you drilldown into any Group or Distributed Application.


How do I get started?

Perspectives are incredibly powerful but it can take a bit to wrap your head around the concept, so we recommend starting our KnowledgeBase article on What Is A Perspective? (4 minute read) as well our blog post on building amazing SLA dashboards (5 minute read), which showcases how effective it can be to build a template perspective rather than lots of individual dashboards.

You can take the next steps with our Introduction To Perspectives webinar (30 minute watch):



Once you're ready to get hands-on, take a look at our webinar recording on Scoping Perspectives (29 minute watch).

Perspectives are powered by our Total Dashboard Architecture (TDA) and if you want to take a deep deep-dive into that, check out our masterclass webinar on TDA (1 hour 23 minute watch).

Data on Demand

What is it?

Data on Demand allows you to automatically, on-demand, pull data into your Squared Up drilldowns, meaning you can put real-time data you in front of your users at exactly the right moment.


Why is it cool?

There’s lots of real-time data that’s extremely useful to have in front of you when troubleshooting an issue – let’s say, what processes are currently running on a server or what are the Top 5 CPU consuming queries running on a database – but that it’s simply not practical to get SCOM to collect all the time.

Data on Demand allows you to put this data in front of your users by programmatically pulling that data into your Squared Up views at the exact moment when a user accesses that view.

Best of all, Data on Demand leverages SCOM Tasks, meaning there’s no additional infrastructure configuration, no heavy overhead on SCOM and you can easily write your own tasks to pull back whatever custom data you like.


How do I get started?

For a quick introduction to Data on Demand, check out this short video tutorial (6 min watch):

 



Next, why not check out the recording of our webinar (27 minute watch) dedicated to the subject.

If you want to take a deeper-dive into Data on Demand, then the recording of our special Masterclass webinar (1 hour 20 minute watch) will be perfect for you and, for those all interested in authoring your own Tasks to pull back custom data, you may find that the free Powershell Management Pack provides a lower barrier to entry than some of the other authoring options available.

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