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Dashboards are a great way to visualize your data. However, while many solutions have their own built-in dashboard, you can't add other data sources or see how data relates between systems. In addition, some applications or solutions may not even have a native dashboard or are vendor-specific.
What if you could combine data and visualizations from multiple data sources and create your own customized data visualizations? What if you didn't need real programming experience to ingest your data and build beautiful dashboards? This is the perfect use case for a tool called SquaredUp. With SquaredUp Community Dashboard Server, you can build any dashboard with multiple data sources for free. Recent SquaredUp Community Dashboard Server updates add even more features and enhancements.
What is SquaredUp Community Dashboard Server? ^
SquaredUp helps solve the challenge of data visualization across the enterprise. Data, metrics, performance, and other KPIs are often siloed into individual applications, services, and solutions. With this being the case, it can be challenging to aggregate data and visualize KPIs in the environment for a specific application spanning many components.
SquaredUp is a "dashboard anything" solution that allows you to ingest data from various systems and build customized dashboards to meet your organization's monitoring and dashboarding needs. The SquaredUp Community Dashboard Server has native integrations with many powerful data source technologies, including:
- Azure Log Analytics
- Web API
SquaredUp Community Dashboard Server is free to download and use. While the free version will fit the needs of many, you can also choose to upgrade to the SquaredUp Dashboard Server Enterprise plan. This plan includes additional features, such as:
- 10+ named users
- Team folders to manage dashboard access securely
- Splunk, ServiceNow, and Azure App Insights integrations
SquaredUp Community Dashboard Server was born from the paid SquaredUp SCOM Edition and Azure Edition. However, it retains many of the same excellent capabilities, especially with the ability to query Web APIs and run PowerShell scripts. With PowerShell and Web APIs, the possibilities of what you can dashboard and the data you can query are endless.
Installing Community Dashboard Server ^
One of the things I like about the SquaredUp Community Dashboard Server solution, other than the great dashboarding features, is the ability to get up and running quickly. In addition, the download is small and is a "next, next, finish" process.
Once the installation of SquaredUp Community Dashboard Server installs the necessary components, it guides you through configuring the web components, including SSL certificate installation, etc.
After you finish the installation of the SquaredUp Community Dashboard Server components, SquaredUp will take you through an initialization process, allowing you to validate your machine login, activate licensing, and install Dashboard Packs. The Dashboard Packs are prebuilt dashboard templates that add quick and customizable dashboards, so you don't have to "reinvent the wheel." We will look at a new addition to the interface a bit later that makes it easier than ever to integrate community-created dashboards.
After installation, you will see the example dashboard displayed, giving you an idea of the different tiles and data sources. It is an excellent touch with the SquaredUp installation, as it helps to provide you with a view of the various tile types, and you can edit the example code to see how things work. You can think of this as your own personal sandbox environment to play around with data visualizations.
New features in the SquaredUp Community Dashboard Server ^
Recently, quite a few new enhancements and capabilities have been released with SquaredUp Community Dashboard Server. Note the following recent enhancements:
- Dashboard Gallery
- PowerShell execution controls: Run As accounts, interval, timeout, and environment
- Custom timeframe for the dashboard to refresh and update
- Many visualization improvements
- New native ODBC data source
Let's consider these in more detail.
SquaredUp Community Dashboard Server now features sample dashboards available in the dashboard gallery. They are linked to the Community Dashboard Server. You will see these when you click the Next Steps link in the Getting Started menu. When you click the Browse All tile, you will be taken to the SquaredUp gallery here: Enterprise IT Dashboard Examples - Dashboard Gallery - SquaredUp
There are many sample dashboards in the Community Edition dashboard gallery. You can easily import the dashboard pack into your environment and springboard into querying data in your environment with the prebuilt visualizations.
PowerShell execution controls
SquaredUp continues to make PowerShell integration more feature-rich and streamlined for use with your Dashboard Server. With the latest releases of SquaredUp Community Dashboard Server, users have additional PowerShell execution controls, including:
- Run As accounts
Custom timeframe for the dashboard to refresh and update
SquaredUp Community Dashboard Server now allows configuring dashboards to update data automatically. The Dashboard refresh allows selecting the automatic refresh interval for tiles on the dashboard. You can select from 30 seconds, 1 minute, 5 minutes, 15 minutes, 30 minutes, 1 hour, and 6 hours.
Many visualization improvements
SquaredUp continues to provide enhancements to the rich visualizations you can create with dashboards. Note the following visualization improvements added recently:
- New Status Image—The new Status Image visualization allows overlaying status icons from any external data source on top of the image of your choice (e.g., a world map, a data center layout, or a picture from a diagramming tool such as Visio). Statuses can be retrieved and calculated from any data source (Web API, PowerShell script, Splunk, Elasticsearch, etc.)
- Conditional colors on the scalar tile and grid tiles—You can add impact to your key metrics with conditional colors for scalar visualizations available for any metrics or data points from your external data sources. Use the intuitive logic builder to create custom conditions that trigger your scalar visualization to change color. You can also choose from a range of colors with the option of highlighting the background or the text, or use web links so you can drill out to the corresponding tool to see more details about your metric
New native ODBC data source
The new ODBC data source lets you visualize any data from virtually any database. The ODBC data source enables data queries from Oracle, PostgreSQL, MySQL, and others. Using a dynamic SQL query, you can now directly dashboard important metrics from your ODBC databases.
Wrapping up and impressions ^
I have worked with other tools and solutions to create dashboards in the enterprise data center. However, most solutions can only dashboard the specific technology they are designed to work with or are vendor-specific. SquaredUp puts the power of dashboarding in literally anyone's hands. It removes the need to be a web developer or data scientist and places all the tools and capabilities into the solution to provide quick, easy, fantastic dashboards.
Creating customized dashboards that pull information from a wide range of data sources and aggregating them into useful dashboards that fit the needs of your business can easily be accomplished with SquaredUp Community Dashboard Server. It is free to download and use, and with PowerShell and API capabilities, you can pull data from anywhere.
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Learn more about SquaredUp Community Dashboard Server here: Community Dashboard Server - SquaredUp