Many customers tell us that they need a new approach to monitoring because they cannot "see" what is happening in their environment. The obvious and important questions that follow are ... what do you need to see? What do you want to see? Who wants to see it? And what do you want to do once you can see it?

First of all, if you are not asking these and other questions about your management approach that help you plan and drive results, stop and do it now. When it comes to Application Performance Monitoring (APM), the old saying is a definite reality: "failing to plan is, planning to fail."

Secondly, you may not know the exact answers to these questions, it's important that you can tailor and tweak and adjust your visibility over time. Your approach to monitoring and management will change from the time you start a monitoring project to the time you install, in the months after that, and when teams, leadership, technology changes. Again, I'll paraphrase someone much wiser than me, "one of the only things certain in life is change."

And most importantly, you really should be able to do this simply. If after a little practice, you and your team cannot modify views, dashboards and reports, the total cost of ownership for your monitoring and management approach is going to mushroom. One of the challenges IT teams have with APM and monitoring in general is that it often requires a small army of consultants weeks or months to create and tailor these views. Frankly speaking, don't accept that. Challenge your solution vendors to give you more. Demand more from your solution so it can be YOUR SOLUTION.

Over the past couple releases, Quest's Application Performance Monitoring solution, Foglight has made great strides to rise to this challenge. We've released enhancements to make Foglight's incredibly flexible visualization and dashboarding platform (some of you may know it as WCF) more intuitive and easier to use without the need for Quest consultants. I'm always excited to see customers that are benefitting from this when they show me a cool screen or creative service flow they have set up on their own.

It was this creativity that spawned the Foglight Community Custom Dashboard Contest. It was great to see how our customers are making Foglight work for them! Winners were judged and selected on valuable the dashboard they created was to their organization.

Our two 3rd place winners were Gunther Buschbeck and foglightadmin. They will both receive a $500 USD prize.

  1. Gunther did a great job of creating a very intuitive end to end picture of their Oracle based operations that included how the services were performing for end users, and how the elements of the services were tied in. From this one central dashboard, the IT Ops/Support team can drill in and help resolve incidents quickly.
  2. Foglightadmin was able to pack an enormous ammount of rich info about the virtual infrastructure as well as the directory and database workloads running on the infrastructure all on one dashboard. I can see foglightadmin basically running his day to day world from this one central location. Nice of foglightadmin to provide examples of his dashboard on both the black and white backgrounds to show how they will work in large NOC rooms as well as on smaller screens.

Derick Van Der Merwe was our 2nd place winner of $1500 USD. Derick did an amazing job to create a single dashboard view of a very complex business service called CreateSubscriber. As a Telkom South Africa rolled out its new mobile services, it experienced many of the challenges associated with large scale projects. As Derick states in his submission, "The Support Staff is using this dashboard as the Holy Grail. It enables a very clear and definitive overview of the process and highlights problematic areas in a simple but effective manner. Root cause analysis time is dramatically reduced. The creation of this dashboard also assisted in the process to refine alarms to be effective with a single end point."

And, drum roll please...our Grand Prize winner was Enzo Gaggero. It was a tough choice among all our winners. But as a consultant working with Foglight, Enzo built and submitted multiple custom dashboards that should spark a lot of ideas around the Community. I'll leave you to check out each one, and I'll just summarize quickly some of the capabilities he demonstrated.

  1. Monitoring Storage System HP EVA shows how Foglight can monitor systems beyond just its out-of-the-box cartridges and integrate data from 3rd party monitors.
  2. His JBoss Log Monitoring entry represented very clear organization and interpretation
  3. When you look past the markups on The Virtual Desktop Infrastructure dashboard you can see how it visualizes using dimension and graphics and allows drill down into deeper details.
  4. The University Dashboard is a simple representation of the internet connections showing both performance and availability using synthetic user monitoring and standard capabilities of the Foglight Management Server.

GREAT JOB to all our contest participants. If you have built some dashboards on your own, but didn't want to submit, maybe you will want to add to the Community Garden. All the contest entries will be moved over to the Garden for future access.