Are you looking for a way to quickly display key performance indicators (KPI’s) for a group of servers in OpsMgr 2012? Dashboards to the rescue!

Open the OpsMgr console, Monitoring pane, right-click to create a new dashboard (follow through the wizard). For this example, we will use a four cell grid dashboard which will show the top performance for a group of servers as shown below: (before the widgets are added)


Add the various widgets and configure them to represent the four KPI’s: Processor, Memory, Network, Disk using the Objects by Performance widget. For my example I chose a 1 day timeframe to display the averaged data over.

Objects by Performance Widget Notes: The Objects by Performance widget option does not provide history but it does provide a way to display only the highest (or lowest) counters for a group of systems. By labeling each of the cells with what the KPI is and what counter is displayed, it is easier to identify what the performance counter is. (Note on the memory example below, the lowest 10 values are listed as this is the amount of available memory). The Objects by Performance Widget can display the average for the counter for up to a 10 day period of time.

Good Trick to know: Individual counters can be highlighted in this dashboard, right-clicked on and opened in other views in OpsMgr (such as as Health Explorer, Alerts, or State). 

(Note: I’m not sure yet why the network piece is not displaying correctly in this dashboard below – still debugging)


Another option to display more information about what objects are displaying the highest values is to use the details pane as shown below. The highlighted record is displayed in the details pane which includes the server name (which is what we would be looking for to identify what system has the highest processor utilization average in the example below).


We could put these concepts together and use a five cell dashboard for these views as shown below (4 for the KPI’s, one for the details).


Or I can use the existing four cell design and just take one of the existing widgets and replace it with the details widget as shown below.

Another Good Trick to know: Widgets can be moved between cells in a dashboard on the fly. By using the gear controller on the top right of the widget you can choose to swap it’s current location with the widget before or after it. For the screenshot below I deleted the network performance counters which were in the bottom left cell, and added the details widget. Then I switched the location of the disk and details widgets to result in the graphic below.


In the example below, the same dashboard concept was used but the widget added was the Performance widget instead as with a smaller number of objects this option is more intuitive in my perspective and provides a history of the performance counter. This is my preferred dashboard to provide KPI data because it provides history information for multiple systems in a very intuitive view.


Third Good Trick to know: Since the performance widget is not using the OperationsManager database (it is using the OperationsManagerDW) it is not restricted to the default 7 day retention period for performance information in OpsMgr 2012. The example above is showing a 24 day performance graph for these various performance counters.

Summary: Using the new OpsMgr 2012 dashboards provides a quick way to show the KPI’s for a group of servers either for historical purposes or to see the top values for each of the KPI’s within the group.

Additional good links related to this topic:

KPI’s in OpsMgr article in Windows IT Pro for more information on Windows Servers and Key Performance Indicators.

System Center Operations Manager 2012 Dashboards article in Windows IT Pro for information on OpsMgr 2012 dashboards.

Using an OpsMgr report to display performance information in a report format which provides another approach to answering this question.