Our sixth monitoring dashboard entry

The sixth entry to our Design a Dashboard competition is a submission from Iain Knight. This excellent design consists of four elements: a system overview, a server information dashboard, a performance dashboard and a database information dashboard.

The main system overview contains a graphical display of your key servers, organised into customisable groups, for example by function or version (Production, Test, Dev etc). Iain suggests a default grouping by version out of the box. Servers are color-coded according to their current status, using the familiar traffic light approach; however, in this design, a server without issues is colored green rather than left blank. The accompanying text for each specific alert or piece of information could also be colour coded to indicate its urgency.


Iain’s designs allow the user to quickly access further relevant details without having to navigate away to other pages. Right-clicking on a server displays a context menu containing some server properties and a set of links, one of which allows drilling through to the server information dashboard.

Double-clicking a Server takes the user to the performance dashboard:

The performance metrics show the measured value against the true value. At a glance we can see if ‘business is unusual‘; for certain metrics, perhaps there would be room here for an additional line to indicate the best-practise ‘ideal’ value, if that were useful?

Performance dashboard
The server information dashboard (below) separates the SQL Server instances from the host machines, and again there’s an opportunity for colour coding. As Iain points out, the icons could also be shown as 3D pie charts to indicate data file and log file free space. This is a great example of showing several key metrics while avoiding information overload – the graphics are instantly recognizable and show meaningful information very simply.

Clicking on an instance drills through to the database information dashboard. Here we can see instance properties, and a couple of key metrics. Iain supplied us with a helpful list of suggested counters and services, as well as specific criteria he’d like to be alerted on.

These designs, and the accompanying detailed notes are incredibly useful to us, and we’re very grateful for the time you’ve taken Iain.

Thanks again to Iain and all of our contributors. We’ll be announcing something important about the Design a Dashboard prize draw on Monday…

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