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Strategic Group Device Groups

Strategic Groups

Strategic groups are a type of device group that allows you to organize your managed devices by completely arbitrary means. Any device can be a member of any strategic group—or even multiple groups. However, no device is required to belong to any strategic group.

Strategic groups are created and managed on the Strategic Groups Administration page (Administration → Grouping → Strategic Group). Only users with SuperAdmin privileges may create strategic groups.

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.

Strategic groups have two operational modes (both of which are explained in more detail in the next sections):

  • Business workflows
    Strategic groups set as a business workflow are evaluated for a “health” score (see below), representing the combined statuses of the active host, service and threshold checks of the devices in the group. These groups are displayed in dashboards and used in reporting.
  • Functional groups
    Strategic groups set as a functional group are used in administrative dialogs as a convenient way to select devices. Health score point settings are not used for functional groups.

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.

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.

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Business Workflows

A strategic group set as a business workflow is intended to be evaluated as a single entity for the purpose of assigning it a “health” score. A business workflow represents a group of devices related by strategic importance, such as network applications, lines-of-business or “high-priority” devices.

If you’re familiar with strategic groups or application groups from previous versions of OmniCenter, business workflows are used in exactly the same way.

Business Workflow Health Scores

The health of any given business workflow 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 host checks worth 500 points each (for a max. total of 2500 points), and one fails, you now have 2000 out of 2500 points—or 80% availability. By assigning a managed device to a business workflow, the states of that device’s host, service and threshold checks contribute to the evaluated health score of that group. Health scores are not evaluated unless the BUSINESS WORKFLOW field is set to ON for a strategic group.

When a strategic group is created, you can assign default point values for the host, service and threshold checks for the members of the group. If a specific check 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, checks of that type will then not affect the overall group score at all. Whatever the values assigned, checks in a CRITICAL state contribute zero (0) points to the group score, and checks in a WARNING state contribute 1/5th (20%) of the assigned point value for that check to the group score.

Strategic group point value configuration

Special threshold values can be set to determine when a group’s score 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 value thresholds 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 point values assigned to each check type 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. The maximum point totals for a group are shown in the Details section of the Overview tab on the strategic group edit page.

Device-specific Settings

If a specific device is more or less important to the group than the other members, different point values can be set for that device’s checks to reflect its relative importance. Customized point values for individual devices are set in the Devices section of the strategic group edit page.

All of the checks of all of the devices in this group are using default point values, as denoted by the asterisks next to their displayed values. Custom point values have no asterisk.

Custom point values for a device are highlighted in the Devices table to make it clear which devices are using custom values and which are using the default values. Custom values are identified (perhaps oddly) by not having an asterisk next to the value.

Aggregate Business Workflows

Aggregate business workflows are groups of business workflows that are evaluated as a single aggregate group. Their health score is an aggregate of the scores of all the business workflows they contain. The status for an aggregate group displayed in a dashboard will reflect 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 score of the aggregate group may be near 100%). Aggregate business workflows are always displayed at the top of the Business Workflows Overview Dashboard Widget.

The business workflows dashboard widget, as seen on the Consolidated dashboard. Aggregate workflows are displayed at the top.

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Functional Groups

Functional groups are strategic groups to which you can add devices that you know you will be selecting frequently in OmniCenter. They are incredibly useful for device selection when generating reports, creating maintenance windows, performing large-scale device changes and other administrative tasks. They are designed to quickly populate a device selection dialog with a group of arbitrarily related devices, allowing for easy selection.

An example of device selection using a functional group.

You can create as many functional groups as you like to cover every combination of devices that you’re likely to select when using OmniCenter’s tools.

Device templates can also be assigned to functional groups in the Strategic Groups Administration Page. Any device belonging to one of these groups will have the assigned device template applied to them in accordance with the device template hierarchy. Note that since a device may belong to multiple functional groups, it is possible to have device templates from all of those groups applied to that device. Because of this, there is an additional, user-managed device template sub-hierarchy specifically for functional groups. This can be managed on the Functional Groups Template Order page, which can be opened by the Assign Template Order button on the Strategic Groups Administration page.

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Updated on February 19, 2020

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