UPDATE: We've updated the Network Troubleshooting View with new resources. If you already have a Critical Path View built, you can get information on adding the new resources on Updates to the Network Troubleshooting View. If not, start here to get your basic view built.
So what exactly is the Network Troubleshooting View?
Simply put, it's a quick customization made to an Orion install that allows you to show multiple resources along a critical network path in one place. So the next obvious question is "what qualifies as a critical network path?" Well, that depends highly on your situation and organizational needs.
- Is your organization running bi-coastal data centers with replication between them?
- Do you primarily rely on branch to headquarter communication to meet your business goals?
- Do your operations require constant uptime between your corporate network, your DMZ, and the Internet?
Each and every one of these has a critical network path defined: be that between data centers, between branch offices, or between your corporate site and the Internet. There is (at least) one network path that is critical to keeping your network infrastructure operating at peak performance. For a great explanation about why you should create custom views, see [VIDEO] Network Troubleshooting Bundle - See it, Find it, Fix it.
As a long-time user of Orion, I've been customizing views and resources for the better part of a decade. I've built views for specific applications, monitoring clean replication between data centers, and keeping en eye on endpoint to central office communications. This particular view is mostly a collaboration between Dez and myself. Her breadth and depth of knowledge on the Orion platform is unparalleled. Everyone, can we get a big hand for Dez? (Hold for applause). So without further ado, here's how you build a quick and easy view which will help troubleshoot your environment from end to end in a single screen.
- View customization requires you to have "Customize View" or higher permissions. For our environment, we are logging in as a full Orion administrator.
- You should have already identified your critical path objects. These can be from a branch office to your headquarters, from one data center to another, or from a set of servers to the Internet. The specifics of the objects in the path are unique to your environment. In our example, we'll use Branch Office to Headquarters communications.
- You have crafted a Map using Network Atlas including all the important elements along this critical path. If you don't have this already, you can add it later, but visualizing your critical network paths helps provide transparency to other teams. If you need help in working with Network Atlas, see the Network Atlas Administrators Guide, the Network Performance Monitor (NPM) Forum on Thwack, or the Getting Started Guide.
- We are building a view which encompasses Network Performance Monitor (NPM), Network Configuration Monitor (NCM), Network Traffic Analyzer (NTA), and Engineer's Toolset on the Web (Toolset). If you'd like to test drive these products together, look into the Network Troubleshooting Bundle, which includes all four products and helps you identify network and configuration problems in just a few clicks.
Creating the Group
If you already have a group created, you can skip right down to the "Building a New View" section.
- Access the Orion Administration pages by clicking Settings in the top-right.
- Under Node & Group Management, click on Manage Groups.
- Verify that no existing groups are selected (checkboxes) and click on Add New Group.
- Provide a name and (optionally) a description of the group. Once satisfied, click Next to select the objects in the group. For more on groups (and using nested groups), see the Orion Platform Admin Guide.
- In the Available Objects pane, select the objects you wish to add to this group and then click Add to Group. The objects will appear in the right-hand pane. Once satisfied with your selection, click Create Group.
- Congratulations! Your group has been created! Let's return to the Main Settings & Administration Page by clicking "Admin" in the breadcrumb trail at the top.
Building a New View
The next step is to create a new blank view on which we can place our selected resources.
From the Admin Page, scroll to the Views section and click Add New View.
- In the Add New View Window, provide a name of the new view and set the Type of View as Summary. We've chosen "Network Path Troubleshooting" for the name. Click Submit to begin creation.
- Click on the Add New Column button to create a third column in your view.
Adding Resources to View Columns
Next we'll add resources to each column.
- Click on the Green Plus Icon in Column 1 to bring up the Add Resource window.
- To add resources quickly, type in a search field, check the box for each resource you want, and then click Add Selected Resources to add it to the column. Repeat this for Column 2 and Column 3.
The parenthetical notation is for the resource category since some resource names span multiple categories. In the view that we created, we added the following resources:
Column 1 Column 2 Column 3 Map (Network Maps) Last XX Config Changes (NCM Common) High Errors & Discards Today (Top XX Lists) NCM Events (NCM Common) Report from Orion Report Writer (Reporting) Last XX Syslog Messages (Syslog)
NetFlow Sources (NetFlowTraffic Analyzer) Current Traffic on All Interfaces (Summary Reports)
When you are complete, your view resources should appear something like this:
Limiting the View to your Group
- Before you submit your view, you'll need to limit this to only the devices that you chose earlier. We can use a feature of Orion called View Limitation to do this. Scroll down on your view customization page and click Edit under View Limitation.
- From the list of possible Limitation Types, select Single Group and click Continue.
- In the Configure Limitation screen, select the group you defined earlier and click Submit. Now, your view should be updated with this change showing up under View Limitation.
- Click Done to add this new View to your list of Orion Views.
Adding the View to the Toolbar(s)
Now you can navigate to your view if you know the View ID and want to build the URL by hand, but to make it easier for everyone to see the view, we're going to add it to the Network Toolbar.
- If you aren't already there, navigate to the Main Settings & Administration screen via the Settings link at the top-right.
- Scroll down to Customize Navigation & Look and click on Customize Menu Bars.
- Click on the Edit icon on the Menu Bar: Network_TabMenu element. This will allow you to add new views to the Menu Bar that's under the "Network" Tab.
- Drag the new View from the list of Available Items to the list of Selected Items.
If you want to rename the menu item or add a description, you can click on the Edit button and make updates. This is completely optional.
- Click Submit (under the Selected Items list) to lock in the changes. Now all users can see this resource on the Network Menu Bar.
Customizing the Resources
Now that you have the view configured and easily accessible, let's adjust the layout and customize some of the resources.
- Click on your newly created Menu Bar Item to jump directly to your view.
- Most of the resources on this page have already been filtered for your needs, but you will need to update a few of the resources. Start by clicking on the Edit button in the Report from the Orion Report Writer resource.
- From the Report Drop Down, select Top 100 CBQoS Drops - Last 24 hours and click Submit.
- From the Map Resource, click Edit.
- Give the resource a new title (optional) and subtitle (also optional) and select the Network Atlas map which you built. We also cleared the Network Atlas link checkbox and checked the box to use a cached map while loading. When you are happy with your selections, click Submit.
- We've also customized the NCM Events Resource. Click on Edit to see all of the options.
- We statically defined the number of events to 5 from the default. Click Submit to lock in the changes.
- Lastly, we customize the Syslog events to match the other events on the view. Click Edit for the Syslog session.
- Alter this to show the same settings for the other resources (Last 5 Events over the Last 24 Hours)
That's it. In just a handful of steps you have created a custom view which can help you troubleshoot issues along your critical network paths.
Need a review?
If you want a review, go ahead and watch [VIDEO] Network Troubleshooting Bundle: How To Create Your View which will go through all the steps in rapid-fire!
Extending the Customization
The Orion Platform is something that I fell in love with years ago. I loved it so much that I made the jump from customer to employee. Part of that was because of the excellent resources that were provided via Thwack. We love seeing what everyone does with the platform and how you implemented it to meet your needs.
- Would you want to see more ways to customize Orion for your needs? Let us know in the comments.
- Did you create a custom view for your own needs? Share it with us! We love seeing the way that people use our tools.
- If you have multiple critical network paths in your environment, I'd suggest that you take this initial view and add Tab Navigation so that you have a Subview for each critical path. This will make a one-stop shop for all of your critical paths in your network.
- Would you like to see alternate views and resource creation? Let us know what you'd like to see!
If you need any more information, I'd recommend looking at the Getting Started with the Network Troubleshooting Bundle and Updates to the Network Troubleshooting View.