Getting started with Squared Up

A bunch of useful resources to help you on your way

So you want to create awesome HTML5 SCOM Dashboards and automatically discover and map your applications?

Great, you've come to the right place! You'll find everything you need to hit the ground running with Squared Up and plenty more below. 

If you'd like to skip to a particular section, simply click on the relevant heading in the contents below.

For those of you who read this all in one go - we salute you! - but we think you're probably best off starting at the beginning and then bookmarking the page so you can dip into the relevant resources any time you like.

Once you've made your way through the on-boarding materials, be sure to check out the Beyond Your Trial section, where you'll find useful information about next steps - including a handy 'Persuade Your Boss' presentation - as well as some awesome free SCOM resources like the PowerShell Monitoring MP and Community Answers platform.

Installing Squared Up

4 minute watch

Squared Up is easy to install, taking just 5 minutes and doesn't require any new databases or infrastructure.

In case you don't believe that it's really that simple, the video below takes you through the live installation of a new deployment of Squared Up.

Squared Up can be installed on any Windows Server and will automatically install IIS and any other pre-requisites, so the only requirement is that the server can access your SCOM Management Server and Data Warehouse.

You can see the whole installation and configuration process in the short video below and you can find more detailed instructions and requirements in our KnowledgeBase article

 

 

Behind A Firewall?

If your server doesn't have internet connectivity, don't worry, that's not a problem, just follow these instructions.

 

Software & License

Download the latest version of the software and, if you don't already have a license, one is automatically sent out when you register for a free trial. If you need any help with your trial license, simply drop us a line via [email protected].

 

Powering Visual Application Discovery & Analysis (VADA)

If you want to use our Visual Application Discovery & Analysis (VADA) feature to automatically discover and map your applications, you'll first need to install a very lightweight Management Pack which collects the on-demand data we use to power VADA. There are separate MPs for available Windows and for Linux / Unix respectively. 

Once Squared Up's installed and ready to go, why not check out the video below which provides a brief introduction to the Squared Up UI.

Quick start and first look

2 minute watch

This video provides a brief introduction to the Squared Up home screen, the QuickStart sample dashboards we’ve provided, where to import community dashboards from and how you can start automatically discovering your applications. 

 

This next video tutorial provides a quick orientation in the Squared Up User Interface, so that you'll know where to find many of the basic features and functionality.

  • Universal search
  • Drilldowns
  • Maintenance Mode & actions
  • Changing page timeframe
  • Performance reporting
  • Unique URLs
  • Creating a new dashboard
  • Open Access dashboards
  • Creating a new perspective
  • Mapping your applications
  • Administration area

 

 

You can find lots more detailed resources on all of the above - including elsewhere in this Getting Started Guide and in our Tutorials Playlist on YouTube - but this video is simply designed to allow you to quickly find your way around Squared Up, as we're sure you want to dive in and start exploring right away!

Exploring performance data

2 minute watch

For a quick introduction to performance reporting in Squared Up, why not check out the short video below (2 mins) which introduces you to interactive performance reporting, dashboards and Export to Excel. 

Sitting on a goldmine

You may have come to Squared Up for great dashboards and the ability to automatically map your applications but the good news is that you're also sat on top of a goldmine in the form of the SCOM Data Warehouse.

SCOM records a tremendous amount of both current and historic performance data to the Data Warehouse, where it's typically stored for up to a year. For most organizations this data simply gets buried behind SCOM's horrible reporting experience and non-SCOM admins have little idea just how much awesome data they already have at their finger tips.

Squared Up opens this up to your users with fast, interactive performance reporting straight from the SCOM Data Warehouse, including the ability to run comparisons and one-click Export to Excel functionality.

Now, over to the video to show you how it's done.

 

 

Letting your users explore for themselves

During your trial, we provide unlimited access to Squared Up, so if you want to easily engage your colleagues with SCOM and what it can do for them, there's no easier way than introducing them to Squared Up's performance reporting capabilities.

Squared Up accesses SCOM through its SDK and adheres to Role Based Access Control, so you don't need to do anything new to grant your users access, simply provide them with details of the relevant URL and they can log in using their regular SCOM credentials.

What's more, all pages in Squared Up have their own unique URL, so you can even drop a colleague straight into interactive access to great performance data on their servers.

 

Performance reporting dashboards

When it comes to building rich, performance reporting dashboards, our dashboard designer features a number of different performance tiles, including line graphs, sparklines, Top N bars and Heat Map.

 

Other ways to explore

If for any reason you're not yet able to share access to your own SCOM deployment with your users, why not let them have a play around in our open online demo lab where they can explore a year's worth of live data, including Export to Excel.

Building a dashboard

8 minute watch

Squared Up features a flexible In-GUI dashboard designer to allow you to quickly and easily build custom dashboards and drilldowns for your environment.

The first video (3 mins) in this section shows you how easy it is to create your first Squared Up dashboard.

 

 

The video tutorial below (8 mins) quickly demonstrates how easy it is to use the dashboard designer - showing you how to configure some of the most commonly used Tiles.

 

 

For more details, as well as the Tiles used for some of more advanced use cases (including integrating non-SCOM data into your dashboards and drilldowns) keep reading below.

Tiles: The Basics

  • Status: Displays the health state of Objects (e.g. Servers, Disks, Groups, Distributed Applications), including health state highlighting to surface why exactly an Object is critical or showing up as a warning.
  • Alerts: Puts alerts onto your dashboards, including detailed filtering options, from where they can be easily addressed by you or your users. 
  • Monitors: If you just want to highlight the state of a particular monitor(s) on your dashboard - which can be very useful when there's just one crucial error you want to watch out for - use the Monitors Tile. 
  • Performance: Display current and historic performance data on your dashboards in the form of Bar Graphs, Sparklines, Line Graphs & Heatmaps. For more on performance reporting, check out the following short video (2 mins) tutorial. 
  • Dynamic Table: Produces a handy table, giving you an at-a-glance overview of KPIs like health status, # of CPUs and CPU & Memory usage. Not all objects have an associated Dynamnic Table, so it's generally best suited to displaying the health of servers (Windows & Linux) and disks. 
  • SLA: Easily surface your SCOM Service Level Objectives on dashboards, perfect for creating 'reporting' style dashboards, particularly when used with Page Level Timeframe. For a more detailed look at building SLA dashboards, why not check out our detailed technical walk-through?

 

Tiles: External Data

  • Web Content: Use the iframe functionality to embed other web pages / web apps within your dashboards or the html function to easily add free form html (like simple guidance to your users).  
  • SQL: Allows you to pull data from any arbitrary SQL database into your dashboards and drilldowns, in the form of either Tabular data or large Scalar number, which is great for directly pulling additional insights from the Data Warehouse or integrating data from sources like System Center Service Manager - for which you can check out the following technical webinar (29 mins)
  • OMS: Integrate SCOM and OMS data behind a single-pane-of-glass UI; check out our blog on 7 Great Reasons to Integrate Your SCOM and OMS Data or our technical webinar (25 mins) on integrating SCOM & OMS for more information. 
  • WebAPI: Pull data from RestAPIs into your dashboards and drilldowns, perfect for integrating tools like ServiceNow, Splunk, PRTG, Cisco Prime and many more. For more information, check out our technical webinar (36 mins) on using the WebAPI Tile, featuring ServiceNow.

 

Tiles: Real-Time Data

  • SCOM Task: Enrich your server-level views / drilldowns with 'Data on Demand', allowing you to put vital data that's too expensive to get SCOM to collect all the time in front of your users right when they need it. No longer will your users be able to complain that SCOM can't provide them with real-time data when trying to troubleshoot issues. You can check out this short introductory video (6 mins) for more information or this deep-dive technical masterclass (1 hr 20 mins) if you really want to get stuck in.

 

Sharing your dashboards

5 minute watch

Open Access allows you to easily publish and share non-interactive dashboards with as many users as you want, all without setting up user profiles or putting any additional load on your back-end SCOM infrastructure.

The introductory video below (5 mins) shows you how to make your dashboards available as Open Access dashboards, including easy publishing to SharePoint. You'll be amazed by just how quickly you can share out your dashboards, whether that's directly, embedded in a portal, or onto a mobile or tablet device.  

If you're not familiar with Open Access dashboards already, this blog post provides a great introduction as to what they are, how they work and the benefits of using them. 

 

 

For more useful Open Access tips, check out our Wall Monitor and SharePoint technical webinar (32 mins) - it's a great way to keep all your teams engaged and up to date.

Integrating Visio

6 minute watch

Squared Up allows you to easily turn any Visio diagram into a live dashboard, whether that's a high visibility service status dashboard, a detailed topology diagram or anything in-between. Simply use Visio to create your perfect dashboard in flawless SVG and light it up with your live health states.

The video tutorial below (6 mins) teaches you how to use the Visio Tile, including advanced functionality like using hyperlinks from within Visio. 

 

 

The beauty of our Visio integration isn't that it's an idea no-one's ever thought of before, it's just how easy we've made the whole process for you, from extracting your Object IDs to uploading your finished SVG file.

What's more, because none of the process requires touching SCOM directly, your users can easily prepare the Visio diagrams themselves and simply send them to you to be turned into dashboards, there's no burden on you to carry out the whole process yourself. 

For a more detailed walk-through, why not check out our KB article, including some great examples and FAQs.

Mapping an application

1 minute watch

Visual Application Discovery & Analysis (VADA) is our unique feature for automatically discovering and mapping your applications, all powered by your existing investment in Microsoft System Center Operations Manager (SCOM).

VADA utilises the SCOM agent that's already on your servers to pull lightweight data on demand, allowing you to map your entire application stack with ease, for every single application in your environment, including saving it as a SCOM Distributed Application.

You can also view comprehensive health and performance data across the entire stack, at a glance, allowing you to easily pinpoint the cause of application issues.

You can get a quick taste of the power of VADA in the first of the videos below (1 min) and, if that whets your appetite, you'll enjoy the more detailed video walk-through too (9 mins).

 

 

 

 

A Deeper Dive

To a take a deeper dive into VADA, have a read of this detailed technical blog post and, if you're itching to get to a really advanced level, check out this Masterclass webinar (1 hr 8 mins) hosted by our Product Architect.

 

Installing the MPs

VADA is powered by a lightweight SCOM Management Pack which collects all the real time data VADA uses to build your application maps, with separate MPs for Windows and Linux / Unix respectively, so remember to install these into your SCOM environment before trying out VADA.

Customer Case Study

2 minute read

Purdue University had a problem with monitoring.

There had been numerous failed or languishing attempts at delivering a successful monitoring strategy as the IT organization struggled to overcome internal silos and to get everyone engaged with the same data, as well as difficulties in delivering metrics showing successful application delivery and more. Ultimately, no-one was able to answer the question, "So, what is the health of our applications?"

Driven by an enlightened CIO, engineer Shawn Williams was tasked with delivering successful, end-to-end application monitoring for Purdue University. And using Squared Up, that's exactly what Shawn did.

 

Download Case Study

 

Join Shawn for this live video case study (40 mins) as he walks us through Purdue's environment and shows how they delivered full-stack visibility for their Blackboard Learning application via a single-pane-of-glass, using SCOM and Squared Up. 

The monitoring strategy and delivery shown includes, Outside-In monitoring to provide for an end user availability perspective, F5 Application Delivery Controllers, Linux Severs, Tomcat Databases, VMWare Virtualization, live application topology via VADA and even pulling in Log Analytics data from OMS.

In short, an incredible array of different technologies involved in delivering just one application, but all unified via Squared Up to provide a single picture of application health and availability. 

If you'd like to focus on just the live tour of the customer environment (20 mins), without the preamble, you can just jump straight into the demo.

We think you'll find this real-world example an inspiring example of just what can be achieved using SCOM and Squared Up.

Beyond your trial

What's next once you've finished your trial?

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