New SQL Dashboards – BIG changes in SQL dashboards in the new SQL MP

The new SQL Management Pack has been released, and by far the biggest change that I have noticed is visualization aspects.  The OOB Database Instance and Database dashboards are GONE.  These dashboards have been replaced by a SQL Server x Summary Dashboard and the Datacenter Dashboard and Instance View Dashboards, both of which I will detail below.

You can download the new management pack here.

Note:  When you download the SQL Management Pack you will notice there is a “SQLServerDashboards” document along with the management pack guide and msi.  This document will walk you through the detailed steps of setting up the new dashboards.

After importing the new management packs, I immediately notice that the old dashboards are not populated under the management pack folder.  So, where are they!?

The old instance and database summary dashboards have been replaced by an OOB SQL Server x Summary Dashboard which shows a high level view of SQL Instances, Databases, Agents, Mirroring Groups, etc.

Summary

This dashboard is very cool, but for me, the best aspect of this MP is the ability to create your own dashboards.

To create a new SQL dashboard, navigate to the “New Dashboard and Widget Wizard” from any folder.

1. Right click the folder and choose New –> Dashboard View

2. You will see the new “SQL Server Dashboards” template.  Choose this template and complete the wizard.

Widget

3. Upon completion, you will see a blank dashboard with “No Groups” in the middle of the screen.  This is because you have not yet selected a group to target.  In the upper right corner of the screen, select the icon and “Add Group”.

Add Groups

4. You can either add a OOB group or create a group to add here.  Remember, the group has to be created in the same management pack where you are creating the dashboard or it will not populate.  I will add the SQL DB Engine 2012 group and select “Add”.

DBEngine Group

After selecting the “Add” button, the group health populates on the Home screen of the Datacenter dashboard showing the State tile and Alert tile for the SQL DB Engine 2012 group. You can add multiple groups here.

home

5. If you click the arrow at the far left of the group name, you can expand the view to show more details.  At this point there is not much here, but we will add some performance and monitor tiles in a minute to make it a bit more interesting.

expand home

6. Select the black box to the right of the group name to reveal the “Add Aggregated Tile” drop down menu.  As you can see, we can add Performance or Monitor tiles here.

homegroupandperf

6. Let’s start with a Monitor tile for Buffer Cache Hit Ratio.

Note:  Make sure your group is populated with objects of the right class.  If you choose a group populated with Windows Computers objects no performance collection rules will populate.  I am using the DB Engine class, which is where most of the performance monitors/collection rules are targeted.

Add Buffer Cache

After adding some more Monitor and Performance tiles, you can see that the dashboard starts to take shape.  The Performance tile shows an aggregated view of columns with each column representing the number of objects in the current range of data. Pretty cool!

This is  a finished example of the Datacenter Dashboard.

Finished (2)

But…we’re not done yet!  If you drill into any tile on the Datacenter Dashboard you will open the Instance View Dashboard.  As you can see, I have already configured a few Monitor and Performance tiles for this view.  At this level, the tiles represent the health and performance of each object rather than the aggregate of the group.  As I select different instances in the “SQL Server DB Engine Group Objects” pane, the tiles change to reflect the status of that object.  Once again, pretty cool!

InstanceView

These are some pretty big changes, and I would venture a guess that there will be quite a few surprised SCOM admins out there after updating the new management pack.  Hopefully this will save you some headaches.

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