We’ve had another great entry for our dashboard competition, this one from Jonathan Allen. This submission contains some more conceptual designs, looking at possible approaches to representing high-level status information on a dashboard. There are three parts to the entry:
Aero View of Monitored Entities
This view would not be dissimilar to the Aero view in Windows Vista – i.e. a way of easily moving between the detail displays for the different servers. Jonathan explains:
“I think this offers a good surface area for the server you are interested in so plenty of detail can be on display. The view should switch to standard windowed format once a server is selected so that investigation and correction can take place”.
Galileo Thermometer View of Alerts
A key point about this view is that the monitoring application is providing an alert-centric view of current problems rather than a server-centric view. I.e. it is prioritizing alerts by their severity, regardless of which machine they are on. The alerts would rise to the top as they became more severe – the operator would then need to prioritize these items above the lower, less severe alerts.
Spacemonger View of Alert Priority
Again, this is a view prioritising the severity of various alerts over the machines on which they’re found. As Jonathan notes:
“In Response v2 I would suggest the size and colour of the server’s rectangle would indicate its need of attention – large + red = urgent, smaller + green = no rush. Within that rectangle you can then prioritise by type of alert – deadlocks are red and larger than long running sql that is green … All rectangles allow drill-down so that the clicked rectangle becomes that full UI area and more details appear.”
We’re intrigued by these entries; as the name of this website suggests, we’re interested in the future of monitoring, and in particular the problem of how to prioritise different problems across your server space. Many dashboards provide a very familiar interface, for example showing a range of standard charts often featuring the red/amber/green coloring system. Do you prefer a familiar layout so that you don’t need to learn a new user interface or do you think there is a missed opportunity here for something new and innovative?
A key issue raised by these designs is that the last two provide an alert-centric view rather than a server-centric view. Is this what you prefer? Is there a danger that a severe alert on a development box is prioritized over a medium level alert on a production server – even if the problem with the latter should be dealt with first? Is there a need to prioritize different servers (i.e. “Any alert on this production server is more important than even a high-level alert on my dev boxes”).
What do you think? Let us know!