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Strategic Group Device Groups

Description

OmniCenter uses device groups to organize your monitored devices into administratively manageable sets. This allows you to view, select and edit an entire set of devices as a group. There are three types of device group available to which a device may be added: category, site and strategic group.

Strategic groups are a type of device group that allows you to organize your devices into arbitrary groups based on strategic importance and administrative needs.

Strategic groups are slightly different from other device groups in that they have two operational modes, business workflow and functional group.

  • Business workflows
    A business workflow represents a group of devices related by strategic importance, such as network applications, lines-of-business or “high-priority” devices. These groups are displayed in dashboards and reports.
  • Functional groups
    A functional group is used in the administrative dialogs as a convenient way to filter devices for fast selection. These groups make device administration easier.

A strategic group may operate in either mode at any time, including both simultaneously.

Selecting Strategic Groups in Dialogs

When a dialog for a report or other administrative function asks you to select a busniess workflow or functional group, you are presented with a list of the groups available. Selecting the desired group filters the list of devices in the device selector to only those devices in that group. In addition to the list of groups, you are also presented with the following options:

  • Everything – Shows every device that belongs to any business workflow (or functional group, depending on what type is selected).
  • None – Shows every device that belongs to no business workflows (or functional groups, depending on what type is selected).

Every device monitored by OmniCenter always belongs to exactly one category and one site group. A device may also be added to any number of strategic groups. However, no device is required to belong to any strategic group.

How Strategic Groups Work

Business Workflows

Health Scores

Strategic groups operating in business workflow mode are evaluated for a “health” score representing the combined statuses of the active monitoring checks assigned to the devices in the group.

Host availability service checks, regular service checks and threshold/anomaly checks are each assigned a maximum point value that reflects how relatively important that check is to that particular business workflow. (By default, host availability service checks are worth 500 points each, regular service checks are worth 100 points each and threshold/anomaly checks are worth 20 points each. These values can be customized for each business workflow group.)

These point settings mean that each host availability service check in the business workflow contributes 500 points to the health score when the check is in an OK state. While each regular service check contributes 100 points, and each threshold/anomaly check contributes 20 points.

The full point values for every check on every device in the group are added up to calculate a maximum score point total for the group.

Every time the group is evaluated (roughly every 5 minutes), a current score is calculated based on the current state of the checks of its member devices. Checks in an OK state contribute the maximum (100%) of their point value, checks in a WARNING state contribute 1/5th (20%) of their point value, and checks in a CRITICAL state contribute zero (0) points. The current score is then compared to the maximum score to calculate a percentage indicating a relative “state of health” for the group.

For example, imagine you have a business workflow group with five host availability service checks worth 500 points each (for a maximum score of 2500 points). If one of those checks goes CRITICAL, the next time the group is evaluated you now have only 2000 out of 2500 points, and the group is now at 80% health.

Business workflows displaying their “health” status in the user dashboard. Each group may contain any number of devices and have radically different point values assigned to their various check types, making their maximum scores vastly different. What matters is that the “relative health” of each group is easily visible and quickly understood.

If a specific check type is less important to the group than the others, its point value can be set to a much lower value to reflect its relative importance. If a check is assigned a value of zero (0) points, then checks of that type do not affect the overall group score at all.

The calculated maximum point totals for each check type for a group are shown on the edit page for each strategic group.

The edit page of each strategic group shows the current combined point totals for each check type in that group.

Device-specific Scores

When assigning point values as discussed above, the point values specified as the default for each check type are used for all checks of that type within the group. If a specific device is more or less important to the group than the other members, override values for each check type may be specified per-device to reflect its relative importance.

Custom point values for a device are set in the Devices table on the edit page of a strategic group. Custom override values are identified in the table by not having an asterisk next to the value. Values that do have an asterisk are inherited from the default group values.

A strategic group using custom point values for specific devices. In this case, the Houston-R1 device now contributes 300 points to the group score for its host availability service check, the ICX7150-48P_Switch device now contributes 200 points each for its regular service checks, and the Austin-R1 and -R2 devices now only contribute 10 points each for their threshold/anomaly checks.

Degraded and Failed States

Special threshold values may be set to indicate when a group’s score should be considered degraded and when it should be considered failed. (Think of the degraded and failed state for business workflows as roughly equivalent to WARNING and CRITICAL states for monitoring checks, respectively. These states are then displayed in the user dashboards.)

The “degraded” and “failed” point value thresholds can be set as either a percentage of the group’s maximum score or as an absolute point value. For example, if a group has a maximum score point value of 1000 and you set its degraded threshold value to 80%, when that group’s health score goes down to 800 it will be considered degraded. Similarly, if you set its failed threshold value to 50%, when that group’s health score goes down to 500 it will be considered failed. Conversely, if you set the degraded threshold value to 650 points, then regardless of what the group’s maximum score 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.

Aggregate Business Workflows

Aggregate business workflows are groups of business workflows that are evaluated as a single super group. Their health score is generally an aggregate of the scores of all the business workflows they contain. However, the status for an aggregate group reflects the worst state of any of its member groups. So, if any member group is degraded or failed, the entire aggregate group will show as degraded or failed (even though the actual current score of the aggregate group may be near 100%).

Aggregate business workflows are always displayed more prominently in the user dashboards.

Aggregate business workflows are displayed more prominently in the user dashboards.

Business Workflow Dashboards

Each strategic group with business workflow mode active is provided with its own dashboard for viewing the health of the devices within the group, as well as the group as a whole. The dashboard for a particular device group can generally be opened by selecting the group name anywhere within Netreo.

A business workflow dashboard.

All of Netreo’s default device group dashboards include a Tactical Overview widget, but may be customized as desired. You may also create your own custom dashboard to assign to any individual device group or to use as a replacement for the default dashboard of an entire device group type.

In addition to the Tactical Overview, business workflow dashboards include tabs displaying things such as trending information about a workflow’s health.

Functional Groups

Strategic groups with functional group mode active are used in administrative and report dialogs as a convenient way to filter devices for selection. Put devices that you frequently select together into a functional group. Business workflow health score point settings are ignored by functional groups.

Functional groups are incredibly useful for device selection when generating reports, setting up maintenance windows, performing large-scale device changes and other administrative tasks. They are intended to quickly populate a device selection dialog with a group of appropriate devices.

Device Templates

“Functional Group” is one of the levels in the device template hierarchy at which device templates may be applied to managed devices. Each functional group may have one device template assigned to it on its configuration page. No functional group is required to have a device template assigned to it.

Strategic Group Management

Only users with the SuperAdmin access level may create and manage sites.

OmniCenter provides several default strategic groups for your convenience, but you may wish to create new groups to suit your organizational needs.

The default strategic groups may be deleted, if desired.

Devices may be reassigned to different strategic groups at any time.

A strategic group may be set as either a business workflow or a functional group—or both, or neither—at any time. Strategic groups set as neither type do nothing and appear nowhere except strategic group administration.

Create a new strategic group

  1. Go the the OmniCenter main menu and select Administration > Grouping > Strategic Group to open the Strategic Groups Administration page.
  2. Select Add a Strategic Group.
  3. Enter a name for your new strategic group.
  4. (Optional) If you intend to use this strategic group as a business workflow:
    1. Enter a default point value for host availability service checks or leave the current value.
    2. Enter a default point value for regular service checks or leave the current value.
    3. Enter a default point value for threshold/anomaly checks or leave the current value.
    4. Set a value for the degraded threshold as either a percentage of the maximum score or an absolute point value (select the pulldown menu after the value to change the value type).
    5. Set a value for the failed threshold as either a percentage of the maximum score or an absolute point value (select the pulldown menu after the value to change the value type).
    6. Select the BUSINESS WORKFLOW switch to turn on business workflow mode for this strategic group.
  5. (Optional) If you intend to use this strategic group as a functional group:
    1. Select the FUNCTIONAL GROUP switch to turn on functional group mode for this strategic group.
  6. (Optional) Select a device template to apply device configuration settings to the devices in this group.
  7. Select Create Strategic Group.

Remember that you must activate at least one mode for the group, either business workflow, functional group or both. If neither mode is active, the group will not be available for use.

Edit a strategic group

  1. Go the the OmniCenter main menu and select Administration > Grouping > Strategic Group to open the Strategic Groups Administration page.
  2. Locate the strategic group you would like to edit in the strategic groups table.
  3. Select the edit icon for that group in the ACTIONS column.
  4. Edit the strategic group parameters as desired.
  5. Select Update Strategic Group.

Delete a strategic group

  1. Go the the OmniCenter main menu and select Administration > Grouping > Strategic Group to open the Strategic Groups Administration page.
  2. Locate the strategic group you would like to delete in the strategic groups table.
  3. Select the delete icon for that group in the ACTIONS column.
  4. Select OK at the prompt.

Assign devices to a strategic group

  1. Go the the OmniCenter main menu and select Administration > Grouping > Strategic Group to open the Strategic Groups Administration page.
  2. Locate the group that you wish to edit in the strategic groups table.
  3. Select the edit icon for that group in the ACTIONS column.
  4. On the edit page select the Devices tab.
  5. In the Select Device(s) panel select a functional group to display the devices in that group.
    • None shows devices that belong to no functional groups.
    • Everything shows all devices monitored by OmniCenter.
  6. Select the checkbox for each device to be added to the group.
    • Selected devices remain selected when searching or navigating the table.
  7. Select Add. The selected devices are assigned to this strategic group and appear in the Devices in Strategic Group panel.
  8. Select more devices to assign or simply navigate away from the edit page when finished.

These steps are for assigning devices to a strategic group manually from Strategic Group Administration. In general, you will want devices to be assigned to strategic groups automatically when they are added for monitoring using auto-configuration rules.

Devices may also be assigned to strategic groups manually from the administrative view of the device dashboard.

Remove devices from a strategic group

  1. Go the the OmniCenter main menu and select Administration > Grouping > Strategic Group to open the Strategic Groups Administration page.
  2. Locate the group that you wish to edit in the strategic groups table.
  3. Select the edit icon for that group in the ACTIONS column.
  4. On the edit page select the Devices tab.
  5. In the Devices in Strategic Group panel locate the devices you wish to remove from the group.
  6. Select the checkbox for each device to be removed.
    • Selected devices remain selected when searching or navigating the list.
  7. Select Remove. The selected devices are removed from this strategic group and appear in the Select Device(s) panel.
  8. Select more devices to remove or simply navigate away from the edit page when finished.

Devices may also be removed from strategic groups from the administrative view of the device dashboard.

Disable a strategic group

  1. Go the the OmniCenter main menu and select Administration > Grouping > Strategic Group to open the Strategic Groups Administration page.
  2. Locate the group that you wish to disable in the strategic groups table.
  3. Select the disable icon for that group in the ACTIONS column.
    • The disable icon becomes an enable icon. Select the enable icon to re-enable evaluation.

Strategic groups can also be disabled. Disabled strategic groups will not show up anywhere in OmniCenter except on the Strategic Groups Administration page (so they may be re-enabled). They will not show up in device selection dialogs as functional groups or be evaluated for health scores as business workflows.

Assign a device template to a strategic group

  1. Go the the OmniCenter main menu and select Administration > Grouping > Strategic Group to open the Strategic Groups Administration page.
  2. Locate the group that you wish to assign a device template to in the strategic group table.
  3. Select the edit icon for that group in the ACTIONS column.
  4. In the TEMPLATE field select the device template to assign to this group.
  5. Select Update Strategic Group.

See the entry for Device Templates to learn more about device templates and their use.

Assign a custom dashboard to a strategic group

  1. Go the the OmniCenter main menu and select Administration > Grouping > Strategic Group to open the Strategic Groups Administration page.
  2. Locate the group that you wish to assign a custom dashboard to in the strategic group table.
  3. Select the edit icon for that group in the CUSTOM DASHBOARD column.
  4. Select the custom dashboard to assign to this group from the pulldown menu.
  5. Select Save.

See the entry for Custom Dashboards to learn more about custom dashboards and their use.

Create a new aggregate business workflow

  1. Go the the OmniCenter main menu and select Administration > Grouping > Strategic Group to open the Strategic Groups Administration page.
  2. Select Aggregate Business Workflows.
  3. On the Aggregate Strategic Group Administration page select Add Aggregate Business Workflow.
  4. Enter a name for your new aggregate business workflow.
  5. In the Strategic Group field multi-select the business workflows to be included in the aggregate group.
  6. Select Create.

Business workflows included in an aggregate business workflow no longer display alongside other business workflows. Instead, they display alongside the other business workflows included in the aggregate when the aggregate group is selected.

Set per-device score point values for a business workflow

  1. Go the the OmniCenter main menu and select Administration > Grouping > Strategic Group to open the Strategic Groups Administration page.
  2. Locate the strategic group you would like to edit in the strategic groups table.
  3. Select the edit icon for that group in the ACTIONS column.
  4. On the edit page for the strategic group locate the device for which you would like to set custom point values in the Devices panel.
  5. Select the edit icon for that device in the ACTIONS column.
  6. Set custom point values for the device check types as desired.
  7. Select Save.
Updated on May 21, 2020

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