OMS View Designer: building custom views

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Despite the fact that infrastructure spans multiple clouds and on-premises data-centers, there’s a noticeable shortage of tools available to manage our mixed hybrid environments from a single place. Typically, we have the often overwhelming task of using several consoles to monitor different pieces of software in the environment. Additionally, the automation is either non-existent or in the form of a series of uncoordinated patches of scripts, without a well-defined automation strategy. According to a 2015 Forrester report, “Current approaches to hybrid cloud management are inconsistent and lack automation.”

Microsoft Operations Management Suite (OMS), an all-in-one cloud and IT management solution for the enterprise, aims to solve this problem. It runs on the cloud and offers Management as a Service capability for better visibility into our operational infrastructure and applications. Let’s take a little time to discuss one of my favorite features in OMS, the View Designer. The View Designer creates nice, customized views of the resources that require further insight.

 

OMS overview

Before we dive in, are you familiar with OMS? If not, take a pause and head over to my course on Getting Started with Microsoft Operations Management Suite. (Definitely check this one out if you’re an IT Ops professional. It’ll teach you everything that you need to know to get started with OMS.)

OMS View Designer

View Designer is used to create the exact same looking tile and detailed view that you would see when you activate Solutions in OMS.

Every solution has a tile on the overview page that, when clicked, takes you to a detailed view page. The only difference is that Solutions are preconfigured and non-customizable, but with View Designer you can customize the data shown on the tile and the detailed view.

To create a new custom view, you can either click on the plus symbol [+] on the left in the workspace, or click on the View Designer tile on the overview page. You should then see a page that looks like this:

The Tile tab defines how the tile looks on the overview page, while the View tab defines what you see once the tile is clicked on the overview page. Consider this scenario: I want OMS to display the total number of records collected by my domain controller DC1 on the main tile. Clicking the tile should display more details about which types of records were collected and how many of each. Let’s see how it’s done.

Configuring the Tile:

  • Click on the tile layout which suits the best for this scenario – Number.
  • In the properties pane on the right, give it the name DC1 Records.
  • Type in any description which helps other co-administrators understand what the view does.
  • Type in the Legend: It describes exactly what the number in the tile represents. Sometimes when the tile displays multiple numbers, each legend helps describe what each number denotes. I’ll type Total records here.
  • Type in the search query, which pulls the information to display on the tile. Since I want the total number of records of all types from DC1, I’ll type the query * Computer=”dc1.serverbaba.loc”.
  • Click on the Apply button in the bottom to apply these changes.

Configuring the View:

  • Click on the view layout which suits the best here: Number and list.
  • In the properties pane on the right, give group title the name DC1 Performance Records.
  • Type in the Legend: For this specific example, it’s Total DC1 Performance Records.
  • Type the Query for the Tile: In our case it’s Type=Perf Computer="dc1.serverbaba.loc". This will display the number on the top of the group on the top.
  • Type in the Query for the List: Type=Perf Computer="dc1.serverbaba.loc" | measure count() by ObjectName.
  • Mark the checkbox for Enable Sparklines.
  • Under that in the Column titles give the name as ObjectName and Value as Count.
  • Click on the Apply button at the bottom.

Note: In this overview, I’m only creating one group under the details view for records of Type=Performance. You can repeat the process by adding more groups to display any other records that you desire to see. The method remains pretty much the same.

After you’re done configuring both the Tile and the groups under the detail View, click the Save button (on the top) to save the entire thing and publish it to the overview page. You should then see a tile on the overview page that looks like this:

Clicking it should take you to the details view, which looks like this:

View Designer benefits

View Designer in OMS lets you design a view and customize it exactly the way you want it, with the data of your choice. This is helpful when there isn’t a readymade solution to graphically display a whole set of data with a single click. Without this feature, you’d have to go into Log Search and type in multiple queries to view details of your infrastructure’s many pieces. Not only is this daunting, but it’s also error prone. 

What’s more, you can import/export the view from one workspace to another, or clone a view to create a new view from an old one using it as a template. You can also define thresholds so that numbers change color automatically when certain thresholds are met; for example, when there are too many error events, you can automatically make the number display in red so that it distinctly grabs the admin’s attention.

There you have it, you now have a solution to building custom views in OMS. Questions? Don’t hesitate to reach out on Twitter. And if you’re eager to learn more about Microsoft OMS, don’t forget to check out my course: Getting Started with Microsoft Operations Management Suite. 

Contributor

Kunal D Mehta

is a Microsoft and VMware certified IT Pro specializing in Core Infrastructure solutions like Windows Server, Active Directory, Exchange, SharePoint, Office 365, Azure, and System Center products. He has trained about half a dozen SI partner companies in India on Server 2012 and Private Cloud solutions covering over two thousand people. When he is not doing his geeky thing, he likes to hang out with friends to play a game of snooker or bowling. He also loves watching all types of movies, going out on long drives on the highway, listening to soothing music, and playing pranks on people.