Creating Custom Dashboards with Foglight

Every IT situation is different than others. The differences are in combination of technical stacks used to build solutions, applications deployed, job definitions of the IT users, typical problems faced and various bottlenecks etc.

IT administrators need a monitoring tool that can not only collect the data and information from various platforms but also provide capabilities to intelligently analyze and visualize the data.

Foglight for Virtualization Enterprise Edition has a robust collection of built-in dashboards and also a superb capability of creating custom dashboards.

Dashboards are the entry points into understanding performance of the monitored environment. A user starts here and gets overall information about the environment. Default dashboards are useful for a “typical” user of the product, but depending on the organization and the users, the need for more customized dashboards is likely.

A good dashboard typically provides enough high-level information to paint a complete picture without getting bogged into details. The dashboard would also effectively show problem areas as well as potentially weak spots. The user is then expected to further drill down into the environment – thus get more details only on specific areas of interest - to find source of problems and take remedial action.

Fortunately, Foglight allows for easily creating custom dashboards. Let’s look at some basic steps one can take to create dashboards:

1> Open the right hand pane if hidden and select the General tab as shown. Select “Create dashboard…” menu item from Other Actions pull-down.

2> You can either choose to start from one of the default dashboards or create your own. We will create our own, by selecting “Use All Data”.

3> On the Properties screen, we will name the dashboard. This name will appear in the left-hand pane of the screen under Dashboards/My Dashboards

4> Give your dashboard a name and change any defaults you may wish. By default, the dashboard is allowed for all roles. We will keep the defaults. It’s safe to play with these parameters since dashboards are only reading the data and not impacting Foglight’s collection or performance.

5> Foglight also allows you to select a Background Image for the dashboard. It’s useful if you want to represent a datacenter or geographically show the status of your services etc. You can give your dashboard a customized look by selecting your own graphical files (.jpg, .png etc.) by showing logos, maps etc.

6> Next, you can select layout from 4 options. Select a one-, two-, and three-column or custom layout. If you make a mistake, you can always change the layout from right-hand pane’s “Columns” menu

7> Last step is to select a View template for the dashboard or select one of the metrics from the list provided. A view template is pre-designed template for the dashboard. If you select a metric, you can chose to see the graphics or table. This is just the starting point. You can add/change this once the wizard finishes.

8> Once you click Finish the wizard creates the dashboard. The right-hand pane now shows two tabs: Data and Views.

The Data tab shows all the metrics that can be plotted on the dashboard. The Views show typical views used by various roles.

9> To add a Metric to the dashboard, drag it on to the dashboard. You can select any of the graph types for that metric from Charts, gauges or lists.

This list above should help you create simple dashboards that are tuned to your unique requirements. You can combine metrics that show performance and status of storage with VMware or VMware with Hyper-V VMs and Exchange server etc. Choices are endless.

In the next blog, we will see how to create hierarchical dashboards. Until then, Enjoy!

As always, please send your comments/questions on