Creating a Catalog, Portlet and Page for the "BSM Dashboard" - BSM Solution Development Series and Demo Development
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With the end in sight in our “BSM Dashboard” series our focus is now on the creation of key TBSM and TIP components that will enable us to showcase the dashboard within a framework ready for self service. These techniques are key to the proper use of what the TIP component of TBSM offers and should be exploited extensively within your BSM Solution.
I pitched the initial vision of “Self Service Dashboards” over three years ago to the technical and executive teams here at Tivoli. One of the greatest pieces of feedback was from a key VP and he literally said “this could make monitoring fun again”. Three years later we have the initial foundation for self service within TBSM with TIP 2.2.x and this is followed up with more self service capabilities in the next release of TBSM v6.1.1 and TIP 3.x which will soon be called the Dashboard Application Services Hub (DASH).
(For more information about TBSM v6.1.1 see:
One of the first new elements provided with TIP 2.2.x in TBSM v6.1 is the concept of the palette and catalog which are two key components enabling super easy page creation in TIP. We’ll start by creating a new catalog. A catalog is nothing more than a role based folder that can be used to store pre-configured portlets or widgets within your BSM Solution. I strongly recommend creating as many catalogs as you can to cover the way things exist in your environment and more importantly in an intuitive way that makes sense to your target end users. At a minimum this could be a catalog for every business service or application, common technology, functional monitoring area (availability, performance, capacity) or similar.
Navigate to the ‘Settings’ task area within the task list and click on the ‘Catalogs’ task link. Within the ‘Catalogs’ panel, click on the ‘New Catalog’ icon to begin creating a new catalog.
Give the new catalog an intuitive name that is meaningful for your end users. This will be shown within the palette for this catalog. Each catalog can be configured for very specific role based access allowing you to create catalogs that one user or group can’t access if they don’t have the proper roles assigned. When creating the catalog you have the opportunity to assign portlets or widgets to the catalog at this time. We’ll be skipping this for now as we’ll add a customized portlet to this catalog rather than any of the generic portlets.
Click on ‘OK’ to save the catalog and review the new catalog within the ‘Catalogs’ panel.
With the new catalog in place we can now create a customized portlet that will contain our “BSM Dashboard” making it available for any of our self-service end users. Navigate to the ‘Settings’ task area within the task list and click on the ‘Portlets’ task link. Within the ‘Portlets’ panel, click on the ‘New Portlet’ icon to begin creating a customized portlet.
Upon clicking on the ‘Create New Portlet’ icon a new wizard based interface is launched to guide you through the process of customizing a base portlet or widget. Click ‘Next’ to begin the process.
The first task is to select the base portlet or widget for customization. As our “BSM Dashboard” is built using TBSM’s custom canvas technology we must use the Service Viewer portlet from TBSM to display the dashboard. In the next release of TBSM v6.1.1, using the TIP 3.1/DASH platform you’ll be able to start using pages, portlets and widgets more extensively as your dashboard building method over the use of TBSM’s custom canvas. Select the “Service Viewer” portlet and click on ‘Next’ to continue.
In the next panel we need to give the customized Service Viewer portlet an intuitive name and description. This is what the end user will see within the catalog so make sure it’s easy to identify the purpose of this portlet. You can select from a list of images for the thumbnail and description to pretty up the portlet. I have tried to figure out how to upload a custom thumbnail image of our “BSM Dashboard” but there doesn’t appear to be an easy, straight forward way to do this. At this point we can assign the customized portlet to one or more catalogs. Select the ‘Online Sales Catalog’ and click ‘Add’ to select that catalog.
Just as in the catalog creation process we can establish various levels of role based control at the portlet or widget level. Below is a summary of the various access control levels and what each allows in the portlet or widget context.
• User: Roles with User access have view access to the configured portlet, when it is subsequently added to a page.
• Privileged: User Roles with privileged user access, have view access and such users can personalize their own experience of a portlet through the Edit options icon in the portlet taskbar. Personalizing a portlet does not affect the experience of other users of the portlet.
• Editor: Roles with Editor access can subsequently edit shared settings for a portlet through the Edit options icon in the taskbar. When an editor modifies shared settings, it affects other portlet user settings for that portlet. Also, roles with Editor access can subsequently edit the portlet's general settings in the Portlet Wizard. Editor access (unlike manager access) does not provide access to portlet-specific customization pages or to the security settings page in the Portlet Wizard.
• Manager: Roles with Manager access can subsequently modify any aspect of the portlet in the Edit Portlet Wizard. As the creator of the custom portlet you are given Manager access by default.
• Note: The access control settings are not observed when using the administrative portlets under the Settings node. Users with access to these pages and portlets will be able to create, edit, and delete all custom pages, portlets, and views. For example, if a user has no access to "Page Two", but has access to Pages, that user can edit all of the properties of "Page Two" and change access control settings. Keep this in mind when granting access to the Settings portlets for a role.
• If a user is assigned to multiple roles, the user acquires the highest access level between these roles for a resource. For example, if a user belongs to the manager role with "Privileged User" access to a portlet and also belongs to the communications role with no access to the portlet, then the user has "Privileged User" access to the portlet.
For the purposes of this demo I’m leaving things as is in the access control and role area.
The next three steps are the actual customization of the TBSM Service Viewer portlet itself. Enter a title for the portlet and click ‘Next’ to continue.
In the next step we’ll set the starting instance for this portlet. What this means is one use of this portlet is to show the traditional structure model and setting the starting instance would be the starting point for what would be displayed. When a custom canvas has been created and anchored to an instance, we want to select that instance as the starting instance. By default, with a custom canvas associated with the instance it will automatically be shown in this service viewer portlet.
Navigate the service tree and select the Online Sales Application. Verify that it’s set as the starting instance and click on ‘Next’ to continue.
In the final step we simply need to uncheck the three boxes so the standard menu bars are not shown in the portlet. We want to have maximum real estate for this portlet to show the dashboard content and nothing else.
The final panel allows for the review the basic portlet customizations. Click on ‘Finish’ to complete configuration of the customized portlet.
The completed customized Online Application Dashboard portlet is now available in the ‘Portlets’ panel. You may need to use the filter box to find the new portlet.
The next steps will be to create a hierarchy of folders that will be used to organized new pages used in our BSM Solution. This folder hierarchy and actual pages shows up in the task list panel on the left hand side of the display. I strongly recommend creating lots of folders that can be used to allow pages to be easily found and launched on-demand. Navigate to the ‘Settings’ task area within the task list and click on the ‘Pages’ task link. Within the ‘Pages’ panel, click on the ‘New Folder’ icon to begin creating our folder structure.
For our demo purposes we’ll create a similar folder structure resembling the structure model we created. The first folder will be one representing “My Company”. I want this folder to appear at the very top of the task list so a quick trick to get it there is to click on the ‘Location’ button and launch the ‘Folder Location’ panel. On this panel, hit the ‘Move to Folder’ button and ‘OK’ to start the folder movement process.
Next, make sure the top level ‘console’ folder is selected and hit the ‘OK’ button. In the next panel, verify that ‘My Company’ is at the top of the list and hit the ‘OK’ button. In the final panel review the configuration options and hit the ‘Save’ button. What we’ve essentially done here is avoided having to hit the ‘Up’ button twenty times or so to move the folder to the top. Note the useful configuration option to hide the folder from the task list.
Continue creating a folder hierarchy that will represent the desired organizational structure “My Company” --> “Online Sales LoB” --> “Online Application”.
After all of the folders have been created we’ll create the new page. Click on the ‘New Page’ button to begin the process. Give the new page an intuitive name and use the ‘Location’ button to select the destination folder for the new page. We have two choices for new page layouts as either ‘Classic’ and the new ‘Freeform’ layouts. The ‘Classic’ option presents you with the rigid column and row based layout similar to a typical newspaper style layout. Introduced with TIP 2.2 is the new ‘Freeform’ option which we also refer to as the “messy desktop” layout option. What this means is that when using this layout option you can simply drag and drop portlets and widgets anywhere on the page. You can also stack them on top of one another using this layout option. This technique will be used extensively to create “BSM Dashboards” in the future versions of TBSM. After configuring the basic page properties click on the ‘OK’ button to move to the next page creation tasks.
After clicking on ‘OK’ you’ll be placed into a basic page editing mode where you can either chose to immediately save the page or begin to add content. Notice the large black panel that has appeared at the top of the page area. This is the new “palette” and is shown when in the page editing mode. Within the palette are catalogs. Notice the catalog we previously created named “Online Sales Application”. This catalog contains our previously customized service tree portlet containing our “BSM Dashboard”. The “All” catalog contains all of the generic portlets and widgets available for customization within this page.
Click on the “Online Sales Application” catalog to see its contents. Here you’ll find the “Online Application Dashboard” portlet we previously created by customizing the configuration of a standard service viewer portlet. Click on the “Online Application Dashboard” and drag it to the main page panel below.
After placing the “Online Application Dashboard” portlet on the page area the portlet will begin to render its content.
The portlet’s size and position can now be customized by simply clicking in the bottom right corner and dragging the portlet to the desired dimensions. To position the portlet, clicking the top portlet header should reveal the “+” icon allowing for moving and placement of the portlet in a new location. The quickest way to get maximum size for the “BSM Dashboard” is to open the menu options for the portlet and select “Fill Work Page” which will maximize the portlet’s size on the page.
Click on the ‘Save’ icon to save the page. The new page is now available within “Online Application” folder within the task list panel.
Over the next few posts I will describe the process for designing and implementing the following key components of the BSM Solution and the "BSM Dashboard".
I look forward to hearing from you soon!