Putting metrics and charts on custom dashboards has been an important part of IT and business operations from the earliest days of monitoring. That’s not to say nothing has changed in the past 30-40 years. To the contrary, the concept of creating and maintaining hundreds of dashboards is outdated and we know there are much better ways to implement a dashboarding strategy. The key is to create as few dashboards as needed, with as much automation built in for managing those dashboards. This is the approach that Instana has been working on with our curated/automated dashboard system and now we supplement that strategy with custom dashboards.
Automated Curated Dashboards
Instana has made it easy to create a set of predefined dashboards that require zero maintenance. These predefined dashboards are automatically created whenever a user defines an Application Perspective (AP). By definition, Application Perspectives do not require any maintenance. They are based on regular expressions that automatically and continuously update the contents of an AP. Create the definition once and Instana will keep your curated AP dashboards updated forever.
What do these automated curated dashboards offer?
- Summary dashboard with the Golden Signals and other important metrics and charts
- Dependency map showing all dependent services and how they are connected
- Table of services and key indicators
- Table of all related log and error messages with counts
- Table of all related infrastructure showing Cluster, Container, Process, and Host KPIs
To be clear, you get all of the above by taking 5 minutes or less to create a pattern matching definition – and you never need to do any maintenance thereafter. Instana automatically updates the dashboards when you add new components, remove components, release new code, etc.
Business and IT Performance Metrics on Custom Dashboards
Not everything can be as automated as the AP curated dashboards we discussed above. There are times when you need something a little more traditional and a little more manual. That’s where Instana’s new custom dashboard builder is needed.
Instana collects a lot of data so there is much that can potentially be added to a custom dashboard. A common scenario is to combine business metrics and IT metrics on the same screen so that you can see if a negative impact to your IT systems is causing a negative impact to the business. Also important on any dashboard, is the ability to compare a given metric with that same metric at some point in the past so that you have context for understanding if the current metric state is good, bad, or neutral.
All of this is incredibly easy to accomplish with Instana custom dashboards. The dashboard builder is a live workspace where you can add, organize, and test your dashboards for their intended audience.
Add as many widgets as you want. Each widget has access to all of the data stored within Instana so you can put basically anything you want on your dashboard.
- Want to know how many items were added to a shopping cart? Check
- Want to know how much you sold versus discounts given? Check
- Want to know how many errors were thrown during checkout? Check
Since Instana can collect custom metrics from a variety of sources, and since Instana traces every request from the web browser to the backend, the combinations of data for your new dashboards are nearly limitless (and more important, are always accurate).
If you want to see what Instana is capable of, take a few minutes to get a guided tour of the Instana platform. Of course, you always have the opportunity to try Instana in your own environment at any time with our 2 week free trial.