People like pictures. And why shouldn’t they? And as you might expect, charts are high on the list of things users like best about Orion. That said, everyone wishes they could do more with charts. So for most of you, here’s more…
There is a little-known feature within Orion that will allow you to draw and label horizontal lines on charts. Why would you want to draw horizontal lines on charts? The most common reason is for some type of Service Level Agreement (SLA). For instance, you might have an SLA that requires response time on a key interface to stay below 100 ms. Beyond SLAs, there may be little idiosyncratic reasons to mark certain values. For instance, maybe you and your fellow engineers play a drinking game where if a device CPU crosses 75% without triggering an alert, you have to drink a shot. Really, we don’t know, but we’ve met a lot of you folks, and it seems like something you might do. Just an observation—not a judgment.
So how do you draw these lines? To create the SLA Line, you first need to add custom properties. If you’ve never created a custom property, you must access the Orion Server directly and launch the Custom Property Editor. Go to Start > SolarWinds Orion > Grouping and Access Control > Custom Property Editor.
When you open the custom property, click “Add Custom Property”. When the Add Custom Properties dialog pops up, be sure that Add Predefined Properties is selected and that then check Show Advanced Properties. Scroll to the bottom of the list. You’ll notice a set of predefined custom properties that come in pairs. So you have “ResponseTime_Marker” and “ResponseTime_Annotation”. Check both. You’ll also see them for Availability, Percent Loss, bps, Percent Memory, Disk Usage, etc. There is one pair for the most common Node, Volume, and Interface charts. Add a marker/annotation pair and click OK. I added Response Time which is a node. property.
After you click OK, then select Nodes. You’ll see a list of nodes. You will see a column for each of the properties you checked. I have a ResponseTime_Marker column, and a ResponseTime_Annotation column. Enter your SLA value for each of the target interfaces. For the RT Marker column, enter the value on the y-axis where you want a line drawn. I chose 50 ms. In the Annotation column, add some text, which will show up as a label for the horizontal line.
Here’s what my Response Time chart looks like with the line at 50 ms with the “RT SLA” text.
Follow the same method for other charts. Here’s one I did using CPULoad_Marker and CPULoad_Annotation.
Note that line’s value is now just a custom property of the node (or interface or volume), so once created, you don’t have to go back to the Custom Property editor. You can click edit in the node admin section of the web console, which will also allow you to quickly edit multiple objects at once.
One critical point: If the value is empty for a given object, no line is shown. So in the example above, for this device, lines will appear only for Response Time and CPU Load charts. This method is flexible enough that you can set up different lines and labels for the same charts on different devices.
Finally, one other use case for this feature. You can use it to control the upper end of the y-axis for a given chart: Just set the “marker” value at something high (e.g., 50 on a Cisco Buffer Failures chart) and set no label. The chart will always go at least to 50, regardless of the data.
And that’s it. Simple, but handy.