I’ve gotten a lot of requests for part 2 of my Hey Chart, get in my Report! (Part 1), so this follow-up is certainly long past due. Just as a recap for new readers, we were discussing two highly-requested use-cases:
- Getting the pretty charts in the Orion website into a report that you can send to your boss on a regular basis
- Getting the pretty charts in the Orion website + the detailed data (which Report Writer provides) and send that to your boss on a regular basis
For those who have been following along, you’ll remember that the first use-case was covered in my original post back in September.
So, was there a method to my madness in waiting so long to do part 2? I certainly think so. In case you haven’t heard, Orion NPM v10.1 is currently in Why Should I Care About Release Candidates? phase and provides a number of cool new features that will make creating specialized reporting views much simpler and faster (and not coincidentally, a much easier blog post ;-)
- Custom Object Resource - this resource allows you to select any object in Orion (e.g. node, interface, volume) and choose an associated resource to display. This means you can add resources for different nodes and interfaces to the same page. For example, you may want a page that shows bandwidth utilization charts for all of your WAN interfaces. Now you can do this with a just a few clicks. This should eliminate the need to use the custom HTML resource for this purpose (hopefully, some of you are smiling already).
- Multi-Interface and Multi-UnDP Chart Resources - these highly requested resources give you the ability to chart multiple interfaces or multiple UnDPs respectively in a single chart resource, including the option to display the sum/aggregate.
- Scheduled PDF Reports – this new capability allows you to schedule the export of any page or report in Orion as a PDF. This eliminates the problems with sending HTML pages and the images getting gobbled by your email servers.
So, in this final post in the series, I’ll walk through how you use these new 10.1 features to address the final graphical reporting use-case (#2 above).
1. First, you’ll need to create a new “report” view:
Go to Admin > Manage Views and create a new view. Let’s call this one “Critical Network Links Management View”.
2. Next, you’ll want to add and configure resources on the view to represent the required charts and data:
For this Critical Network Link Management View, I’m going to add several individual interface charts, a multiple interface chart, and a data table report. This will require the resources shown checked below.
As you can see below, I’ve added enough Custom Object Resources to cover my 4 critical WAN links in addition to the Multiple Interfaces Chart and Report from Report Writer resources.
Now, you’ll want to click Preview so you can see what the view will look like and edit the resources. If you don’t like the layout, you can always click Customize Page again and change the column width.
Next, you’ll want to edit each resource to select the appropriate interface or interfaces. I’m not going to walk-through the step-by-step on this because the resources are very straight forward to configure. If you’re interested in seeing what this looks like for the Multiple Interfaces Chart, check out Request for feedback – multiple interfaces and UnDP on charts. As you can see below, I’ve configured all the chart resources. Now, all that’s left is the report resource.
For the Report resource, I’ll select the Top 25 Interfaces by Utilization report. This way, in addition to my 4 critical WAN links, I can see details regarding the health of other interfaces with high bandwidth utilization in my environment. You can always use Report Writer to easily filter this report to specific interfaces, show other columnar data, or create a custom report specific to your environment.
3. Finally, you’ll want to schedule this page to be sent as a PDF report via email to your boss.
To do this, you’ll need to copy the URL from the browser.
Then, open the Report Scheduler app on your Orion Server (Start > All Programs > SolarWinds Orion > Alerting, Reporting, and Mapping > Orion Report Scheduler). Click on the Add+ button to create a new report job. Fill out the job details and paste this URL into the required field when prompted as shown below.
Finally, you’ll want to enter the SMTP server info, your boss’s email address of course, and the appropriate scheduling details. At the end, you’ll see the new option in 10.1 to schedule the page to be emailed as a PDF. Select that, and you’re done!!
Example PDF report below:
We hope you find the new 10.1 features helpful not only for this use-case, but also for creating custom NOC and troubleshooting dashboards to share with all your networking friends. As always, we welcome any feedback you have around the post or the new features, so please comment away!
P.S. While this is the last post in this series, this is only the first step towards our long-term vision for graphical reporting and we’re already exploring ways to make this process even more wizard-like and streamlined post 10.1. We’re going to need your feedback soon, so please stay tuned!