In my Meet the Features – Orion NPM 10.1 - Dependencies 2.0 / Basic Root Cause Analysis post, in which I reviewed Dependencies 2.0, I referenced Groups in the creation workflow and told you I would tell you more about them later.  I figured I made you wait long enough, so let’s walk through Groups.

 

So why would I need or use a Dynamic Service Group you ask?  Let’s walk through an example use case.  You currently own NPM and APM to monitor you network and applications.  You provide a service to your end users, in this example, Exchange email.  A user calls in complaining that their email is not working right, how do you go about troubleshooting this?  Is it the app, the server, the connect switch port or the switch itself?  With Dynamic Service Groups, you can quickly identify what is causing the problem.

 

Let’s walk through how you would go about setting this up in Orion.

 

On the Orion Settings page, under Node & Groups Management, select Manage Groups.  One key thing to note here is that you can nest groups within each other.

 

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Create a new group, name it and set the description.  Under the Advanced option there is one key setting to check out and that is Status Rollup Mode.  In essence, what this allows you is to define how we rollup up status and the three choices are Best, Mixed or Worst.

 

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When you click on Add & Remove Objects, there are two primary methods to specify which objects are contained within the group. 

 
      
  1. Manual selection, where you can select which nodes, interfaces and volumes and if you own other modules, APM Component Monitors, Applications and IPSLA operations.    
         
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  3. Dynamic Query, which allows you to specify an object criteria, such as node name, interface description or application monitor name.  This way, if you add or remove anything to Orion, then the Group is automatically updated to reflect these changes.
 

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Now that we have created our group, there is a new sub-menu link underneath the Home tab for Groups.  Within this new Summary view, you can view all of the Groups, their statuses, alerts, etc.

 

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When you drill down into one of the Groups, you can quickly view important details and statistics.  The really important one to pay attention to here is the Group Root Cause resource.  This will allow you to quickly pin-point what is causing the issue within this group.

 

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As you can see, Dynamic Service Groups provide a tremendous set of functionality including, but not limited to, Grouping (no more using custom properties), providing basic root cause analysis and viewing your network infrastructure at not just a network element view, but at a higher level business service context.  Groups will aid you to more efficiently leverage Orion and all it existing capabilities and be more diligent in your troubleshooting.