Taking my OpsMgr with me… with Xian Wings
If you are an Operations Manager administrator like me, you probably spend a lot of time looking at consoles like this:
Or hopefully more like this…
But at some point in time you may want to step away from your laptop and spend some time outside of the console (if you haven’t done this recently, go ahead and give it a try – I bet your family and friends would appreciate it!).
In this series I will review several different approaches which are available to take your Operations Manager environment with you on your mobile devices, and to access information from the Operations Manager console from other user experiences. Let’s start this discussion with Xian Wings.
Taking my OpsMgr with me with Xian Wings:
Xian Wings provides a mobile accessible version of the information available in Operations Manager which works on multiple platforms including Android, Windows Phone, iPad and iPhone.
Xian is available from Jalasoft who also make a great SNMP device simulator I’ve discussed or other blogs have discussed at http://blogs.technet.com/b/kevinholman/archive/2013/05/29/simulate-monitoring-of-network-devices-with-jalasoft.aspx, http://www.bictt.com/blogs/bictt.php/2013/05/23/jalasoft-released-the-new-xian and http://blogs.catapultsystems.com/cfuller/archive/2013/07/10/integrating-multiple-monitoring-solutions-for-network-devices-into-a-single-diagram-scom-opslogix-solarwinds.aspx. Xian provides access to state information, alert information, performance graphs and notifications on these various platforms. From my experience installation was straightforward in the Operations Manager environment and installation on the platforms that I tested on was equally intuitive.
For my environment, I focused testing on my iPad device and my Android device to see how well these would work for my environment.
My iPad was able to install the Xian Wings HD application from the App Store without issue.
Health State and Alerts: The screenshot below is from a combination states and alert widget taken from my iPad and shows the health state and alerts for my windows based computers.
Creating your own dashboards: Dashboard creation is simple to do within the iPad version of the application. It is similar to how dashboards are created in Operations Manager. You name the dashboard and choose the design for the frame.
And then you add the dashboard widgets within the design that you chose within the frame that you constructed.
For this example, I am creating an alert view so the next step is to specify which group to scope the dashboard view to.
And then we specify the criteria to display for the alert view.
The alert widget of the dashboard is now showing on the left and the option to add another widget is shown on the right (add alerts, state, performance, general properties).
Next we added a performance view and specified the name, description and time range.
For this view we now add the appropriate counters.
After adding the counters and setting the remainder of the graph preferences we can display the completed dashboard.
The completed dashboard is shown below:
You can open a widget from the dashboard and view it in a larger size as shown below.
Running tasks: One of the most interesting aspects of using Xian Wings was how simple it was to execute actions that I would normally execute from the Operations Manager console on my mobile devices. By using the alert views in the dashboard, it is easy to open an alert and run tasks which are available from Operations Manager. The example below shows how an alert for a windows service is down can be restarted via the Xian Wings console on the iPad.
The task is executed to start the SQL Server Service.
And the results of the task are shown in the task execution pane.
iPad usage Summary: The iPad platform was extremely easy to use and not only gave an easy to use insight into Operations Manager but the ability to execute actions makes it viable to use this interface as more than just a monitoring interface to Operations Manager.
The screenshot below was taken from my Android Galaxy S3 phone which installed the application from the play store without issue.
Health State and Alerts:
The default Xian Wings view on the Android platform shows the health state and alert information for the environment as shown below. These can be drilled into to show more information.
The second screen of the Xian Wings interface on Android provides quick access to States, Alerts, Performance, Task Status, Notifications and Settings pages. These are shown in the screenshots below starting with States:
And then moving to Alerts and Graphs:
And finishing with Notifications and Task status.
Creating your own performance graphs:
Creation of your own performance graphs is straightforward. You start with creating a new graph, choose the graph name and the objects which will be included for the graph.
Next you select the counters. Once you open the view, a sample of these results are shown below displaying % Total Run Time for each of the Hyper-V systems in my lab environment.
Running tasks: As with the iPad version of this application one of the most interesting aspects of using Xian Wings was how simple it was to execute actions that I would normally execute from the Operations Manager console on my mobile devices. By using the alert views in the application, it is easy to open an alert and run tasks which are available from Operations Manager. The example below shows how an alert for a windows service is down can be restarted via the Xian Wings console on the Android.
After choosing the task to start you can see it execute and you also see the results of the task as shown below.
Android usage Summary: The Android platform was easy to use and not only gave an easy to use insight into Operations Manager but the ability to execute actions makes it viable to use this interface as more than just a monitoring interface to Operations Manager. It was not quite as usable as the iPad version partially due to the amount of screen space available and also due to the different usage approaches when compared with using the iPad version (creating dashboards and using widgets).
Xian Wings Summary: If you are interested in accessing your Operations Manager environment via devices such as iPads and Androids I recommend that you check out Xian Wings and see if it’s a fit for what you need!
Information about Xian Wings is available at: http://www.jalasoft.com/xian/wings
And a free trial is also available at: http://www.jalasoft.com/xian/wings/try
Thank you to my daughter Alyssa (my iPad Ninja) and to my son Gavin (my Android guru) for their technical support of me during creation of this blog post J