Published: April 24, 2008 | Updated: August 22, 2008
IT departments have ever more sophisticated tools at their disposal to monitor the performance of applications that make the organization run. These tools, despite their sophistication, follow traditional monitoring, which is server-based. As long as the server is in good health, the assumption is that the service is good too.
The performance and availability attributes of the service cannot be measured in just one place, however. Differences in network speed and quality across the company can slow or break functionality for the end user. Furthermore, multiple server and client software components are often combined to provide a service and can each affect its quality. Thus a true picture of the performance and availability of an application can only come from evaluating these attributes from an end-to-end perspective.
IT managers describe their challenge in words such as these:
Our organization is geographically dispersed and we use many common Web-based applications to run critical aspects of our business. The constant availability and performance of these applications has a direct impact on our bottom line. We want to be proactive in securing the performance and availability of these applications and not wait until help desk gets a call from an end user.
Addressing the Challenge
The Service Level Dashboard for System Center Operations Manager is a new Solution Accelerator that addresses the need of IT service managers for near real time, end-to-end reporting on the performance and availability of their line-of-business (LOB) applications. The accelerator provides a unique view of a business application from the user’s perspective by simulating user interactions with the business application and reporting on the experience. A small number of agents are deployed in the enterprise network to provide an accurate sampling of all the different conditions under which the business application operates. The data is then collected and interpreted.
Results are displayed in a single Web-based user interface, providing both top-level and detailed views. The top-level view reports the service level agreement (SLA) status (compliant or non-compliant) for every application being monitored. The detailed views reveal component-level information that can help administrators investigate the possible causes of noncompliance reported at the top level.
Other Microsoft Technologies
The Service Level Dashboard depends upon two Microsoft technologies. It uses System Center Operations Manager 2007 to collect and interpret information and SQL Server® Reporting Services to display results in a dashboard.
The Service Level Dashboard can be used to improve the ability of administrative personnel (ranging from IT support employees to executive-level employees) to work with technology-driven services. This Solution Accelerator can help in business scenarios such as these:
Using the Service Level Dashboard
The Service Level Dashboard integrates with Operations Manager to collect and process performance and availability data, as shown in the following figure.
The Service Level Dashboard uses a distributed application model to compile health information for application components into a service report
The Service Level Dashboard is designed to work with an existing Operations Manager infrastructure that is already configured to monitor business-critical applications. Configuring the Service Level Dashboard involves adding the following components to gather and process additional data:
In addition to viewing report data in the Service Level Dashboard interface, you can display the compliance data on SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS) reports, and publish the reports using Microsoft® SharePoint® products and technologies.
The download includes the following tool and documentation:
You can access the Service Level Dashboard on the Microsoft Download Center.
For more information, or to download an evaluation copy of Operations Manager, see the System Center Operations Manager TechCenter site on TechNet.
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