Good Views Bad Views

I am still on a theme of views as I believe they are important. What has come to light is that targeting is just as important for views as it is for reports.

Good views are easy to spot. They help you to identify problems, see patterns or check that everything is OK at a glance. However, bad views do exist and the type that I dislike most are the ones that target Entity and then use a computer group to filter. Some of the ones that do this are the Exchange Alerts view and the IBM Hardware view. This means that you see all alerts related to those computers in that group whether or not they are relevant to Exchange or hardware etc. I can see a situation where this may be useful. If the Exchange team is responsible not just for Exchange but for the whole server including the OS and the hardware then this would be a good view. However in large organisations you generally find that the team supports just the application and there are teams that specialise in Windows and hardware etc.

 view-exchange-alerts

Bad View – All alerts from the computers in the Exchange group are shown.

view-ibm-alerts

Bad view – IBM hardware alerts are linked to Windows Computer object so that all alerts are shown and not just relevant hardware alerts.

A good view is provided by the AD, DNS and SQL MPs. When you look at the alerts from their views you only see alerts that are relevant to that application which in my mind is much better. The difference is that they use a class as the target for the view. This makes it easier to create a view that is focused on one thing.

view-sql-alerts

Good view – only SQL alerts how up in this view.

So why doesn’t the Exchange team do the same? I looked at that and tried to create an Exchange view that showed only Exchange alerts.  The Exchange MP provides many classes but there does not seem to be one that is the “top” that you can use. Very frustrating. The BPA part of the MP gets around this by using Custom Field 6 which means that you can create a view around that. Very neat and good forward thinking by that team.

view-exchange-bpa-alerts

Actually I have found a few other MPs use that but not consistently. The SCCM MP uses it but sometimes it starts ConfigMgr and sometimes SMS Server and occasionally it is blank. If all MPs were to use it it would make life so much simpler. And using the custom field in the MP means that the product group don’t have to change the product. The fact that some MPs do (and always custom field 6) sounds like there was a recommendation to use this but it has not been widely adopted. So getting the classes right in your initial MP is crucial to helping creating good views and reports.

Getting the fields right to show in the view is also important. Look at this IBM state view for physical memory. Actually all the views in this node are the same.

view-ibm-state-pysical-memory

Bad view – you have no idea what any of these are relevant to unless you click on one to see the details. But as you can see from the properties it could have been a useful view out of the box if Path had been ticked. As it is you have to go into each view and tick it to make the view useful by showing the actual server name.

view-ibm-state-pysical-memory-properties

Bad view – the Path column is not ticked so it is not very useful until you do that.

Another pet dislike I have is the fact that each time I create a new custom view I have to go in and personalise it with the fields that I want and groups. It would be much easier if I could cut and past that view and then just amend the target. The other issue I have is with creating a dashboard. Once you create it with the number of panes then you can not change that number. You need to create a new dashboard from scratch. I do hope that the next version does this. I may be surprised when I get R2 installed and find these things are fixed but I am not holding my breath yet. And if not then hopefully the next version will fix those.

Note – This post is relevant to Operations Manager 2007 SP1 with current MPs at this date.

I am going to start adding what version and if required the version of MP I am working with in order to make it clear as changes will probably make this obsolete (I hope).

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