Device Groups

OmniCenter device groups offer a way for you to organize the managed devices on your network by common device properties. They offer a practical way to view and work with the devices on your network in logical segments, and help get large numbers of devices under control by dividing them into a more organized structure. Device groups play a major role in how OmniCenter provides its information; as dashboard widgets usually display devices by device group and most types of reports use device groups as selection sets when being configured—to allow for convenient mass device selection. Dashboard widgets that display information by device group type will have selection buttons to choose the desired group to display.

There are three different device group types available:

  • Category
  • Site
  • Strategic group

Device groups play an important role in the OmniCenter device template hierarchy.

Category

Categories are for organizing your managed devices based on device class (such as routers, switches, or servers). OmniCenter provides several default categories for your convenience, but you can create any number of new categories to suit your organizational needs.

Every device managed by OmniCenter must belong to exactly one category. Any newly discovered devices not assigned to a category by an autoconfiguration rule—or whose device type cannot be determined by OmniCenter—are placed in the “New Devices” category by default, but can be assigned to another category at any time.

Any category can be deleted, including the defaults. However, if the default “New Devices” category is deleted, OmniCenter will recreate that category and place any newly discovered devices into it that aren’t automatically assigned to a category by an autoconfiguration rule.

Categories are created and managed on the Category Administration page (Administration → Grouping → Category).

See also,

Site

Sites organizes your managed devices based on the concept of location. A site can be a physical geographic location (such as a street address), but it can just as easily be a theoretical system of organizing your network’s equipment (such as a department or building floor).

OmniCenter provides an “Unknown Site” site by default, but you can create any number of new sites to suit your organizational needs.

Every device managed by OmniCenter must belong to exactly one site. OmniCenter will attempt to automatically create sites based on the results of its subnet scanner and place discovered devices appropriately. Any newly discovered devices that OmniCenter can’t determine a site for are placed into the “Unknown” site by default, but can be manually assigned to another site at any time.

If a site is configured with a proper street address, OmniCenter will automatically attempt to geocode the site with a latitude and longitude. This will allow OmniCenter to display the site as a map pin on any dashboard with a geographic map. (OmniCenter must be able to communicate with the external geocoding application for this to work. See OmniCenter Firewall Requirements for more information.)

If desired, automatic geocoding can be overridden, and latitude and longitude settings can be entered manually to position the site’s map pin at any desired location. This is useful if no street address is available for the site (perhaps because the site is theoretical, rather than geographic).

Geocoded sites may also be configured to display connections with other geocoded sites. Geographic maps will then draw lines between all connected sites which will display various information about the connections.

If neither a street address nor latitude and longitude settings are provided, the site will not display on the geographic map. However, it will still be fully functional in every other way within OmniCenter.

You may choose to not use sites at all for organization, if you like. However, defining a list of sites is required for the mapping features in OmniCenter to function properly. So, although this feature is optional, it’s highly recommended.

Sites are created and managed on the Site Administration page (Administration → Grouping → Site).

See also,

Strategic Group

Strategic groups (sometimes referred to as application groups) organize your managed devices by completely arbitrary means (such as network applications, lines-of-business, or “high-priority” devices). A number of strategic groups are created and populated automatically by OmniCenter, but these can be changed or disabled, if desired. You can create any number of new strategic groups to suit your organizational needs.

Since these groups are completely arbitrary, any device can be a member of any strategic group—or even of multiple groups. However, no device is required to belong to any strategic group. Strategic groups are viewed differently from categories and sites, in that the group is intended to be evaluated as a single entity for the purposes of assigning a “health” score. The health of any given strategic group is evaluated by assigning point values to the host, service, and threshold checks of its member devices, looking at the current states of those checks, and calculating a total score. The current score is then displayed as a percentage of the maximum possible score for that group—indicating a relative “state of health.” For example, if you have 5 hosts worth 500 points each, and one goes down, you now have 2000/2500 or 80% availability. By assigning a managed device to a strategic group, the states of that device’s host, service, and threshold checks contribute to the evaluated health score of that strategic group.

When a strategic group is created, the administrator can assign default point values for the host, service, and threshold checks for the members of the group. If a specific device or check is more or less important to the group than the other members, different point values can be set independently for that device to reflect its relative importance. For example, if a particular host, service, or threshold check is unimportant, it can be assigned a value of zero (0) points. It will then not affect the overall group score. Whatever the values assigned, checks in a CRITICAL state contribute zero (0) points to the group, and checks in a WARNING state contribute 1/5th (20%) of the assigned point value for that check.

Special threshold values can be set for each strategic group to determine when it will be considered “degraded” and when it will be considered “failed.” (Think of “degraded” and “failed” as equivalent to WARNING and CRITICAL states for checks, respectively.) The “degraded” and “failed” point values can be set as either a percentage of the group’s maximum point total or as a simple absolute point value. For example, if the group has a maximum total point value of 1000, and you set the degraded threshold value at 80%, when the group’s health score goes down to 800, it will be considered degraded. Similarly, if you set the failed threshold value at 50%, when the group’s health score goes down to 500, it will be considered failed. Conversely, if you set the degraded threshold value to 650 points (absolute), then, regardless of what the group’s maximum total point value is (it could be 5200), when the group’s health score goes down to 650, that is when the group will be considered degraded. The same applies to the failed threshold value.

Since the assigned point values are arbitrarily assigned by an administrator, the maximum point score for any strategic group is not fixed. It is simply the combined maximum point total of all the host, service and threshold checks of all devices currently in the group.

When managing strategic groups, you can also create “aggregate” strategic groups; which are strategic groups that consist entirely of other strategic groups. Their health scores will be the average of all the strategic groups they contain. The state displayed in a dashboard (degraded or failed) for an aggregate group will reflect the worst state of any of its member groups. So, if any member group is failed, the entire aggregate group will show as failed (even though the actual score of the aggregate group may be near 100%). Aggregate strategic groups are displayed more prominently in the dashboards than normal strategic groups for quick identification.

Strategic groups are created and managed on the Strategic Group Administration page (Administration → Grouping → Strategic Group).

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Updated on April 23, 2019

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