vCenter Operations Manager – Configuring Widget Interaction
While VMware vCenter Operations Manager comes with a wealth of widgets to look at data, nothing makes troubleshooting easier (and saves space on the display) than to have the widgets work using information from another widget. For example, say you have a scoreboard widget that displays your host’s CPU usage and you notice one has turned yellow because CPU usage is now over 75%. When did this happen and what caused the CPU usage to spike are questions that can’t be answered by the scoreboard widget alone? But combining a group of widgets gives you powerful tools to quickly answer and respond to problems. Widget interaction gives you the ability to click the problematic host and immediately see a populated line graph displaying CPU usage, giving you the precise time the host starting having an issue. The first example below will display this solution.
Even more powerful is the ability to configure multiple widget interactions (nested interactions?) allowing you to dig deeper into the problem. For example, say that Scoreboard widget shows a host in a warning state for CPU. Wouldn’t it be nice to immediately see what VM(s) were using all this CPU? Furthermore, when did these VMs start using all these resources? A simple configuration would allow you to populate a health tree widget which can be configured to display only VMs. Additionally, this health tree widget can be tied to a Metric Graph to display a line graph of the CPU usage, giving you the exact time it started using abnormal resources. This will be explained in a secondary blog post.
1) To get started with configuring widget interactions, create a new dashboard (or Edit an existing) and drag & drop two widgets from the left column over to the right column. In this example we’re going to select the Generic Scoreboard widget and Metric Graph. Click Ok.
2) Configure your Generic Scoreboard widget with the data you’d like to display. If you’re unsure on how to configure widgets, check our vCenter Operations Manager Custom UI Series. In our example, we’re going to select (4) ESXi hosts and choose the CPU Usage (%) metric. Notice that I renamed the widget to HOST CPU USAGE (%) as well. You can see in the screenshot below that the widget is report the CPU usage for each host as well as the blank Metric Graph below.
3) Now that we have data in the Generic Scoreboard we can configure the widget interaction (technically you can do it before you configure the first widget). Click the Interaction option next to Dashboard Tools.
4) Within the Configure Widget Interactions window you’ll see two columns. The left displays the Providing Widget selection – the widget that will supply the information for the other – and the right displays the Receiving Widget – the widget that will populate based on your selection on the Providing Widget. For this example, the Metric Graph on the right will receive information from the Host CPU Usage (%) widget. Therefore, select the Host CPU Usage (%) on the second drop-down list as shown below. This will populate the graph with ONLY the metric we’re displaying in the Providing Widget – CPU Usage (%).
5) Clicking on a host in the top widget should now populate the graph in the bottom widget like below.
6) Last but not least, when clicking on different hosts in the top graph, the Metric Graph will simply append the new graph to the bottom of the widget underneath the current graph. You can have to close out each graph if you don’t want it to appear using the controls on the top right of each individual graph. I’ve included a screenshot below to highlight what I mean.