Microsoft Azure Operations Insights Preview
Related to all the Microsoft Azure, there are still many improvements. One of the many is Operation Insight, which provides to you combined visualization of all your on premise infrastructure.
With this visualization you have all the overview about:
All your machine data – you can collect and search across all the machines data, logs and more, in one big data collection
Data center resources – you can see all the data center capacities, pinpoint capacity storages, you can investigate all the analysis scenarios, identify over allocated virtual machines and so on.
Updates on servers – you can identify all the missing updates on all the servers, whatever the servers are in on premise, or in the cloud
Servers configuration changes – you can identify all the changes and track/troubleshoot all the incidents on the servers
Because the Operations Insights is connected to System Center Operations Manager, you can see all the information, which you are able to discover using this mighty product.
Another great feature, which provides Microsoft into this solution is that you are able to deploy another “Intelligence Packs” and set this packs related to your infrastructure. At the moment there are only a few available, but almost every week there is one new to deploy for free. Each package provides to you separate functionalities and connections to your infrastructure, so you are able to track new type of information with new type of visualization.
One of the most powerful part is searching and customization of own dashboard. You are able to go to search center using icon on the right side of main menu (Search Data Explorer). If you click on this icon, the product will forward you to the dashboard section, where is predefined most common search queries in relative categories. One way, how to begin is to click on some of the query and you will be forwarded again, this time to result page of current search query. If you don’t want to use this predefined questions, you can search for concrete things using search bar on the top of this page, where you can switch the button to turn off the queries as well.
If you select one of the predefined query you can see it in the search bar on the top of the page, so you can always make some modification or add there some parameters etc. On the left side you have timeline, so you are always able to modify the time scope as well as the rest of the filters on the left side – type of events for example, or additional list of available filters. In the middle of the screen there is search result window and on the right side there is history of search queries grouped by date. Another help part is, that user is able to save queries as favorites (right to search bar).
Now how start to use this Microsoft Azure Operation Insight.
First of all new user need System Center installed on infrastructure.
In the operation manager server, there is need of installation of the Azure Pack (you do not have to own Operations Manager, you can setup only a computers to send data to Operation Insights using agents without Operations Manager management server – more information are HERE. If you want to use Operations Manager, you need to have 2012R2 installed – updates are free for download HERE.
Registration on opinsights.azure.com
Creating of Operational Insights Workspace
In the settings section add organization
If there is some questions please read the FAQ. After all the settings, data from your on premise infrastructure will being transferred to the Operational Insights workspace for the first time – this will take usually couple of hours – In my case it was the whole day (so something about 20 hours). After that all the dashboards being show some of the information – good note is that the reports will start to show information with minimum amount of data from the on premise environment so you can check it continuously how it filling.
If there is a need to put on premise servers without System Center Operations Manager to this product, you need to install agents on these servers, which will collect all the information about it. To do that, please go to Overview section, then click on USAGE icon on the right side and then on CONFIGURE sections, where you are able to download the agent.
My last part of this article is related to dashboard (I mentioned them earlier). If you click on MY DASHBOARD section on the OVERVIEW main page, it will forward you to dashboard page, which looks like this:
For the first time there isn’t any dashboard part on the screen. Only a quick tutorial, which say, that there is a need to save some search first and then these search results are able to be added to this dashboard. So after click on the CUSTOMIZE button on the bottom of the page, we can put there some results.
The good thing is, that after adding of some search queries (predefined and out of box) I am able to modify each of this tile on my dashboard. I will click on the first one and the menu will appear on the right side of the screen, where is the possibility of change type of tile visualization from the graph to number on the tile, then to turn on/off the threshold or to set some highlight conditions for the values.
Microsoft Azure Operational Insights is wonderful product which brings the most important area, which wasn’t provided on all the management tools till now – visualization and reporting. When I first saw separate products from the System Center family and all the reports which were made using reporting services, I was a little bit sad and hope that there will be something new in the R2 version or in some update. Nothing happens till now. Now there is a nice and fully customizable workplace orientated product in the cloud, which should be connected to on premise environment and to the cloud part of it as well. You are able to create as many workplaces as you want, connect each of them to separate environments using separate corporate accounts, or Microsoft accounts, you can customize thresholds and conditions for separate search results and separate dashboards and make things a little bit easier this way. You can manage all your environments from the tablet, from the smart phone, from the laptop, not only using custom reports and many consoles (in System Center case) – you can even use the managing console without System Center which is another money save, especially if you are manager in some small, or midsize company.
Still there is a place for custom reports using PowerBI, PowerView and similar products, but another product is in the world. So happy testing with Preview.