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Dashboard Dos and Don'ts

A custom dashboard lets the user display, on one screen, a specific set of metrics and data points. They can display application, server, and database metrics reported by AppDynamics Agents. 

Custom dashboards can supplement the AppDynamics built-in dashboards to display metrics that are of interest to a particular audience.

 

Sample Custom Dashboards:

Use the JSON file in each of the following links to create a custom dashboard.

 

 

More Information:

 

FAQ:

 
 

Q. What are some best practices when designing custom dashboards?

A. Consider the following approach: 
  1. Identify the list of key metrics that the dashboard should display.
  2. For each metric, determine the appropriate widget to render the metric data.
    • Sometimes a chart representation works best. Other times a metric value will be sufficient. Some data is best displayed in a pie chart.
  3. Design health rules that represent the health of business transaction, service or subcomponent.
    • Consider the appropriate health rule thresholds carefully to avoid false alerts, especially for critical violations.
    • Note that unlike alerts, status lights do not indicate which condition or which node, tier or business transaction violated the health rule.
    • Health rules that will be used for status lights, therefore, need to be specific to a given node, tier or business transaction.
  4. Design the dashboard layout.
    • Consider how to fit all the metrics on the dashboard, and which layout best presents the data.
    • Pick a color scheme, not just for visual appeal, but also to make the data stand out.
  5. Once built, plan for a tuning period.
    • For example, the time range might need to be adjusted, or health rule thresholds changed, to avoid false alerts.
  6. After encountering a production issue, evaluate each dashboard, and identify what additional metrics should be captured, and what changes should be made, in case the same or a similar issue happens again. If needed, design additional dashboards. 
  7. Do create dashboards that watch metrics associated with previous production issues.
 

 

Q. What are some things to avoid?

A. The best dashboards have enough metrics to be informative, but not so many as to cause performance issues or become confusing to the users. The exact number of metrics depends on your team. Additionally:
  • Don't make dashboards larger than your screen resolution. A custom dashboard which requires scrolling is less than ideal.
  • Don't set the refresh timing to 60 seconds as 5 minutes is usually sufficient. 
 

 

Q. What kinds of custom dashboards can a user create?

A. Different custom dashboards are of interest to different teams. 
  • Executive Dashboards - The executive dashboards should include a number of status lights for each key user or system journey step health and performance, as well as any KPI or SLA metrics. These dashboards also show any business metrics or impact information.
 
  • Operations Dashboards - The operations dashboards should include a number of status lights for each service (tier and/or Top BT), to provide a global overview of the health of the application infrastructure. These dashboards can also contain a Events List.
 
  • Application Dashboard - These dashboards target an application and show the health of key business transactions, highlighting call volumes, response times and error rates (for a given application or tier). It also uses status lights to indicate the health of each top business transaction.
 
  • Service Dashboards - These dashboards each target an individual service and show key health metrics for the service (tier), including the call volume, response time and error rate for the service overall as well as for important API calls. The service dashboard can also show CPU and memory consumption as well as garbage collection statistics for each node in the tier. A corresponding status light that provides a visual health indicator can accompany each metric.
 

Q. Can a read-only user edit a custom dashboard?

A. Yes, if the read-only user is given permission to edit a custom dashboard on the Administration page.  
  1. As an Admin, click on the gear icon in the Controller UI.
  2. Select Administration from the drop-down menu.
  3. Click on the Roles tab.
  4. Select the read-only user's name from the list of usernames on the left.
  5. Click on the Custom Dashboards tab.
  6. Use the checkboxes to allow the read-only user to view, edit, or delete custom dashboards.
  7. Click the Save button.
Screen Shot 2016-12-06 at 4.14.52 PM.png   

 

Q. Can a user change a dashboard's name and metric series' color?

A. Yes, anyone with permission to edit custom dashboards can edit the name and colors. 
  1. Click on the Dashboards & Reports tab in the Controller UI.
  2. Click on the pencil icon.
  3. Select Edit Dashboard Properties from the drop-down menu.
Edit dashboard name: Edit-Dashboard-Name-2.png 
Edit metric series colors: Change Series Color.png  

 

Q. Where can I go to learn more?

A. Visit AppDynamics University and sign up for the "Custom Dashboards Best Practices and How-to Walkthroughs" self-paced course to learn how to build your own custom dashboards. Contact your Account Manager for pricing and subscription. AppDynamics also offers the "Dashboards, Reports & Proactive Monitoring" instructor-led course for more insight on creating dashboards, reports, and widgets. 
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Comments

Hi,

 

Is it possible to use the timeseries graph to show multiple Custom Metrics using wildcards? We have created a simple extension that greps the status of multiple SAS servers and sends those to Custom Metrics under some Tier in a path like "Custom Metrics|SAS Servers|<servername>|Status". When I'm trying to show the status of all instances using the timeseries graph by replacing the <servername> with asterisk the graph comes up empty. I can get all statuses through the REST API and even create a health rule targeting the Tier (or Nodes) and giving the wildcard path and it works. Why isn't it working in Dashboards?

Hi, 

Currently custom metric dosen't support wild card and we already have a request with us regarding wild card support to custom metric. But the requirement can be achieved by selecting "Tire/Node health- Hardware ..." and provide the relative path for custom metrics with wild card.

Hi,

 

Your suggested way seems to work in Health Rules but not with Dashboards as I already tried to explain in my previous message. Or do you have an example where this way works with Dashboards as well?

 

Our controller is v4.3.1.2.

Hi, 

We have an ongoing request regarding wild card support for custom metric. Though for few of our customers the above workaround is working. 

How can I bookmark a dashboard so that when I am automatically logged out I can immediately return to the same dashboard?