One of the commonly asked-for dashboards in OpsMgr is a Network Operations Center view (NOC view). Each of these dashboards will need a different look and feel depending upon the requirements of the client. This blog entry is to provide recommendations for approaches to generate dashboards which have a look and feel which are consistent with the organization. First off – let me start with some disclaimers:
1) I am NOT an artist – at all. My 10 year old daughter laughs at my drawings. I’m not sure why as I often find that my stick figures display a stunning level of realism…
2) The goal of this blog entry is not how to harvest graphics for whatever purpose but to gather graphics which are used by an organization for the benefit of their own internal NOC diagram views.
3) This blog entry was created using Savision Live Maps but most if not all of the same concept would apply with a Visio Integrated diagram.
The topics here include:
- Where and how to gather graphics for the dashboard?
- How to customize a wire-frame dashboard into a customer specific dashboard
Where and how to gather graphics for the dashboard?
On the website, view each page with an eye for graphics which can either be saved off or can be gathered with a tool like the snipping tool. Also to discover the color pallet used on the website – Catapult’s is primarily white, red, black and grey with some yellow and blue.
A great place to start to gather graphics for a NOC dashboard is on the company’s website. For many of the graphics to make a copy of them is as simple as right-clicking the graphic and choosing to save the file.
Other graphics cannot be right-clicked and saved off, to gather these use the snipping tool to choose the section of the web page and save the graphic off that way. An example of this (used later in this example) is shown below:
Another great way to gather graphics is through company PowerPoint slides. Review these if possible for potential graphics and often for backgrounds which can be used for the NOC dashboard.
How to customize a wire-frame dashboard into a customer specific dashboard
When we start we can quickly drag and drop items to generate a basic wire-frame look and feel for a NOC dashboard. The example below shows the health of a variety of different OpsMgr entities on a single view which will update as the health of the entity updates. Using this approach makes it easier to determine the approximate layout for the various entities and to get a general look and feel for the dashboard.
Once we have completed the wireframe and attached the entities we can start customizing the dashboard. The quickest change is to add a background. In this case we added the header shown above, sent it to the back, and then changed the background color to more closely match the colors used in the website (grey and white). In this case the top of the NOC view was generated off of the website header, and the background was created by choosing a vertical gradient of white and black with a high level of transparency.
Next we layer on the icons. Each individual application can have a custom icon associated with it making it easier to identify. An example of the same dashboard with icons added to it is shown below.
Next we add any additional images that we want for the dashboard – in this case adding the Catapult brand promise graphic gathered from above.
After we do some shading of the different dashboard items (using colors which match the color palette of the website) and some reorganizing we end up with an entirely different looking dashboard than we started with on the wire-frame.
Or if you prefer, here is the before company customization and after: