Dashboards and Visualization >

Dashboards and Visualization


Dashboards are powerful tools that provide visual representations of data, making it easier to analyze and understand complex information. Dashboard is a collection of panels organized in rows. Each panel is a visualization unit with its own data query editor. This editor is tailored to the panel’s chosen data source, helping you create the right visualizations.

Dashboards make it easy to build the perfect view. You can create queries, adjust visuals, and craft the ideal dashboard. Every panel can pull data from any configured source. However, dashboard snapshots are fixed. Changes to queries won’t update snapshot data since snapshots can’t re-run queries. For instance, if you wish to gain insights into your business journey, you can create a dashboard that incorporates various panels to offer comprehensive observability into the business journey.

  • Simplified Data Interpretation: Dashboards simplify data interpretation, enabling users to quickly identify trends and patterns.
  • Customizable and Interactive: The dashboard’s customizable and interactive features empower users to uncover actionable insights and make informed decisions.
  • Dynamic and Intuitive: Get ready for a dynamic and intuitive data analysis experience with dashboards.
  • Comprehend Data Visualization: Dashboards present data visualization in an easy-to-understand format.
  • Enhance Collaboration: By facilitating data sharing, dashboards enhance collaboration among team members.
  • Facilitate Data-Driven Decision-Making: Dashboards empower users to make data-driven decisions based on real-time insights.
  • Improved Visibility into Key Metrics: Gain improved visibility into essential metrics with dashboard analytics.
  • Swift Access to Valuable Insights: Users can swiftly access valuable insights through the dashboard interface.
  • Real-Time Data Observation: Observe real-time data updates and changes in the dashboard.
  • Effortless Customization: Customize the dashboard display effortlessly for a seamless data experience.

Dashboards Advantages and Applications

Dashboards serve as powerful tools for visualizing data and uncovering patterns or irregularities that contribute to faults or low performance. When faced with a system failure, simply examining the raw numbers may not provide a clear understanding of the root cause. This is where the charts, graphs, and visuals on the dashboard play a crucial role in helping us identify and address the underlying issues more effectively.

Here are the main advantages of a Dashboard in vuSmartMaps™.

  1. Data-driven decision-making: Dashboards enable data-driven decision-making by providing real-time or near-real-time insights into key metrics and performance indicators. 
  2. Cross-functional visibility: Dashboards provide a consolidated view of data from multiple sources, allowing different teams or stakeholders to access and analyze information in a unified way. This promotes collaboration, facilitates communication, and ensures that everyone is working with the same data and metrics, fostering alignment and coordination across various functions.
  3. Quick identification of issuesDashboards help in identifying issues, bottlenecks, or anomalies promptly. By visualizing data and setting up alerts or thresholds, anomalies or deviations from normal trends can be detected quickly, enabling timely intervention and proactive problem-solving.
  4. Improved data accessibility: Dashboards make data more accessible to a broader range of users, including those without extensive data analysis skills. Instead of relying on specialized reports or complex spreadsheets, dashboards provide an intuitive and user-friendly interface that allows users to interact with data and explore insights on their own.
  5. Increased transparency and accountability: Dashboards promote transparency within organizations by making data readily available to stakeholders. By sharing dashboards across teams or departments, individuals can have visibility into the same data, fostering transparency and accountability in decision-making processes.

Apart from that, Dashboards also offer multiple applications such as:

  1. Data visualization: Represent data through charts, graphs, and maps for easy comprehension.
  2. Real-time Observability: Display live data for instant insights and timely decision-making.
  3. Performance tracking: Dashboards allow users to observe and track performance metrics in real time. By presenting Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and other relevant data, dashboards help identify areas that are meeting or exceeding targets as well as areas that require attention or improvement.
  4. Data exploration: Interact with data, apply filters, and drill down for deeper insights.
  5. Reporting and presentations: Create visually appealing reports and share data-driven presentations.
  6. Collaboration and sharing: Share dashboards, grant access, and collaborate with stakeholders.
  7. Mobile access: View dashboards on smartphones or tablets for on-the-go data observability.

Dashboards Basics

The vuSmartMaps home screen looks like this after you log in.

Create a New Dashboard

To create a new Dashboard follow these steps

  1. Open Toggle Menu: Click the menu at the top left and choose “Dashboards.”
  2. Start a New Dashboard: Click “New” > “New Dashboard.”
  3. Add Visualizations: Select “Add visualization” to customize your dashboard.

When creating a new dashboard, you’ll encounter three key sections:

  1. Visualization: Configure the appearance and properties of your graph or visual elements. Adjust settings like table view, graph resolution, time range selection, zoom options, and more to suit your preferences.
  2. Visualization Options: Tailor the visual settings further based on the chosen visualization type. These options vary depending on your selection.
  3. Query: Specify the data source to generate the desired graph output.

Query Selection

Query Selection: Before diving into visualization options, it’s crucial to select an appropriate query as your data source. Your choice defines the data you’ll be working with and how you visualize it. You can also opt for multiple queries to enhance your dashboard’s insights.

Metric and Grouping:

  • Metric: Represents data on the y-axis. Choose from options like count, average, sum, max, min, extended stats, percentiles, unique, raw documents, raw data, or logs.
  • Group By: Categorizes data on the x-axis. Common examples include time intervals like days or months. Use aggregation types like terms, filters, geo hash grid, date histogram, or histogram.

Multiple Metrics and Buckets: You have the flexibility to add multiple metrics and buckets, allowing for a more comprehensive data representation. For instance, you can track CPU usage at various time intervals simultaneously.

Multiple Queries and Configurations: To gain deeper insights, you can add multiple queries with distinct “Group By” options, enabling comparisons across different aspects of your data. Custom labels can be applied to metrics and groups for clarity.

You can configure the various panels and visualizations within vuSmartMaps. Below is a list of all available options, click on any of them to access the detailed guide.

Predefined Panels

Custom Panels

Dashboard Settings

Dashboard Settings: The dashboard settings section provides control over various parameters, including:

  1. General Dashboard Setting: Customize the dashboard’s name, description, tags, folder location, and editing permissions.
    • Time Options: Adjust the dashboard’s timezone, browser time, auto-refresh settings, and more.
    • Panel Options: Fine-tune tooltip behavior and hover highlighting across panels.
  1. Annotations Dashboard Settings: Learn how to add annotation queries that retrieve event data for visualization within graph panels, enhancing the integration of events into your graphs.
  2. Variables Dashboard Settings: Discover how to create interactive dashboards using variables, replacing static values in queries with dynamic dropdown selections.
  3. Links Dashboard Settings: Effortlessly navigate between related content by placing links to other dashboards and websites below your dashboard’s header.
  4. JSON Model Dashboard Settings: Explore the JSON model of your dashboard, containing metadata, properties, panel details, and queries.

Dashboard Options

Managing and configuring dashboards involves various options, as outlined below:

  1. Dashboards: Browse and perform actions like listing, deleting, creating folders, importing, and more on your dashboards.
  2. Playlists: Create playlists with different dashboard settings.
  3. Snapshots: View dashboard snapshots.
  4. Library panels: Access library panels.

When it comes to grouping dashboards, you have two options: you can group them by folders for organized management or group them individually. Additionally, you can choose to sort your dashboards alphabetically, either in ascending order (A-Z) or descending order (Z-A).

Moreover, you can easily manage your dashboards by deleting any unwanted ones – simply select a dashboard and click “Delete.” To make modifications and add notes for future reference, click on a dashboard to edit it further.

When it comes to editing dashboards, you have several options at your disposal. You can enhance your dashboard by adding more panels, saving any modifications you make, accessing dashboard-specific settings, defining the time range, manually refreshing the dashboard, and switching between various dashboard views, including full-screen mode. With the auto-refresh option, you can manually refresh your dashboard at any time or set a refresh interval for regular updates.

Dashboard Filters

Dashboard Filters and Variables 

Dashboard Filters help you refine data in your dashboards based on specific criteria, making it easy to focus on particular data subsets, compare information, and tailor views to your needs. For example, you can use them to analyze the performance of a specific application or network device.

Variables in dashboards are dynamic tools that act as placeholders for values in queries and titles. They allow you to create dynamic filters, adjusting data based on the chosen variable value. For instance, you can filter CPU usage data for a specific server using a variable like “$server_name.”

Variable Types:

  1. Query Variables: Populate dropdown lists with values from data sources, allowing dynamic data refinement.
  2. Custom Variables: Manually define variables with specific values for tailored data display.
  3. Text Box Variables: Enable free-form text input for precise data filtering.
  4. Ad-Hoc Variables: Allow on-the-fly interactive filtering without pre-configuration.

Creating Dashboard Filters  is user-friendly:

  1. Select your dashboard.
  2. Go to Dashboard Settings > Variables > Add variable.
  3. Click +New variable to create a filter.
  4. Fill in details, including name, type, and options.
  5. Click Apply to add the filter to your dashboard, enhancing its interactivity and data refinement.

Downloading and View the Data Statistics

Downloading Data Statistics Made Easy

With vuSmartMaps, getting comprehensive data statistics is a breeze. Sometimes, you need detailed data and stats in a tabular format alongside your graphs. Here’s how to do it:

  1. In the “Edit Dashboard” section, click on “Query Inspector.”
  2. You’ll see options like “Data” (total data units), “Stats” (request time and query count), and more.
  3. Go to “Data” and click “Download CSV.”
  4. Your data, based on the chosen Metric and Group by properties, will be downloaded in CSV format, ready for your analysis and use.

To save your dashboard, simply click “Save” in the top right corner, give it a name, and optionally choose a folder – your saved dashboard will then be ready to use.

Dashboards –  Use Case

Dashboard offers comprehensive insights into IT infrastructure health and performance. Any abnormalities or potential bottlenecks are immediately flagged, enabling you to proactively identify issues before they impact our operations.

  • Intelligent Alerting: With intelligent alerting capabilities, the dashboard promptly notifies your IT team when critical thresholds are breached or anomalies are detected. This ensures immediate action can be taken to prevent disruptions and keep your systems running smoothly.
  • Historical Data Analysis: The dashboard serves as a valuable tool for historical data analysis. It securely stores and visualizes historical data, empowering you to identify patterns, plan for capacity needs, and make informed decisions to optimize your systems’ performance and reliability.
  • Troubleshooting Made Easy: Troubleshooting becomes significantly easier with the dashboard’s interactive and drill-down capabilities. IT administrators can swiftly dive into specific metrics, isolate problematic areas, and resolve issues promptly. By minimizing downtime and improving system availability, your organization can operate more efficiently and effectively.

In summary, this powerful dashboard revolutionizes the way you manage your IT infrastructure, providing real-time insights, proactive alerts, historical data analysis, and efficient troubleshooting capabilities. It ensures uninterrupted operations and empowers your IT team to optimize system performance, contributing to the success of your organization.

You can select various panel types within the same dashboard and arrange them side by side to assess the impact of server health from different components and vice versa. This allows for a comprehensive understanding of the overall server health status.

In summary, our infrastructure observing dashboard empowers us with real-time visibility, proactive alerts, historical analysis, and troubleshooting capabilities. By leveraging this solution, we can ensure a robust and optimized infrastructure, delivering uninterrupted services to our customers and gaining a competitive edge in the market.

Dashboards Secondary Applications

You can export Dashboards from vuSmartMaps for multiple purposes and this feature comes in handy when you need it for external usage. Exporting dashboards to external media formats like images and PDFs in vuSmartMaps offers several useful applications:

  1. Collaborating with Others: Exporting dashboards as images or PDFs allows for easy sharing with colleagues, clients, or stakeholders who may not have direct access to the vuSmartMaps platform. These media formats provide a portable way to distribute the dashboard’s visualizations and insights.
  2. Offline Acces: By exporting dashboards to images or PDFs, users can print them and have physical copies for offline use. This is beneficial when presenting data in situations where internet access or access to the vuSmartMaps platform may be limited or unavailable.
  3. Documentation and Archiving: Exporting dashboards to images or PDFs enables the creation of documentation and archives. Users can capture snapshots of dashboards at specific points in time, preserving a visual record of data insights for future reference, audits, or compliance purposes.
  4. External Analysis and Integration: Exported images or PDFs of dashboards can be used for further analysis in external applications or tools. Users can import the exported media files into other software, such as spreadsheet applications or presentation tools, to combine them with additional data or incorporate them into comprehensive reports.
  5. Presentations and Sales PitchesExporting dashboards as images or PDFs is particularly useful for incorporating them into presentations and sales pitches. Users can leverage the visual appeal and data-driven insights of dashboards to enhance their presentations and effectively communicate system performance, analytics, or other relevant information.

By providing the option to export dashboards to external media formats, vuSmartMaps empowers users to share, utilize, and integrate their dashboards in a variety of contexts, ensuring flexibility and accessibility in data visualization and analysis.

Further Reading



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