Have your say – SSMC What’s hot what’s not?

Changing the GUI of a product is a brave decision and can provoke a strong reaction. The introduction of a new GUI in BackupExec 2012 was a classic example of taking a perfectly functional interface and destroying it. More recently of course there has been the disappearance of the Start Menu from Windows, which Microsoft have had to backtrack on. At the beginning of the year HP introduced the SSMC and the good news is that the fundamental concept is good. The SSMC is a clean looking web based console, easy to pick up and use with no training plus integrates block, NAS, reporting and alerting options all in one place. However like any new GUI there is room for improvement and the good news is HP are willing to listen. A sticky post has been setup at 3parug.com where you can leave your feedback. I will be leaving the following feedback:

 

One of the key tests for any new GUI is it should not only be easier to use but quicker as well. On that basis I want to look at the following areas which look at usability in general rather than specific features.

1 Main menu – I can’t think of another application where to bring up the main navigation point you need to click. This creates delay in the form of the click plus in the time it then takes you to look at and process the menu. There needs to be an anchor point from which menus are accessed, always visible.

2 List Pane – Once you have selected a screen the list pane must be expand to view a table summary fr all items, which then compromises the detail pane. The list pane is a compromise at the moment neither just a simple list of devices nor a fully-fledged area of information. To remediate this the list pane needs to stripped back to its most basic function to list out the objects you have selected. The information that is currently exposed by expanding the list pane could be accessed by adding a root container at the top of the list of objects you were listing. For example if you clicked on a top level object called all virtual volumes then the table view you currently see in the list pane could be exposed in the detail pane.

 

I would also like to see a hierarchy introduced in the list pane so you can for example expand a disk shelf to see what disk it has in it.

 

3 Common actions – When you do highlight an object there needs to be a common tasks menu appear or the ability to right click and access it. Having to move over to the actions menu each occasion is time consuming

 

4 Customisation – There needs to be the ability to add and remove and rearrange columns from views

I said I wasn’t going to mention specific features but if there was a way to add a tick box saying use my AD credentials that would be useful.

Have your say by visiting 3parug.com and leaving your comments in this thread.

If you’re looking to get started with SSMC check out my beginners guide to SSMC series:

SSMC 2.1 – What’s new?

Installing 3PAR SSMC

The SSMC Administrator Console

Newbies Guide to The 3PAR SSMC

Threshold Alerts

Threshold Alerts

Threshold Alerts is one of my favourite new features in SSMC and allows alerts to be configured based on defined metrics. These alerts can be defined against logical components such as virtual volumes or physical components such as disks. An alert is triggered when a defined threshold is exceeded, for example you may choose to alert when ports are over 75% busy. Threshold Alerts are integrated with the service processer and will trigger an e-mail being sent. You will see triggered alerts within SSMC from the dashboard view, the below screenshot shows 2 systems with no active alerts if an alert was triggered the donut would turn yellow.

1a alert dashboard

To make setting up Threshold Alerts easier they can be configured through pre-defined templates. Different templates exist for different components and each one can be customised as required. To use threshold alerts the system must be licenced for System Reporter.

To configure a Threshold Alert you need to complete the following steps within SSMC:

1 Select from the Main Menu Threshold Alerts

1 Threshold menu

2 Select the Create threshold alert button

2a create threshold alert

3 In the general section select the system and choose the alert template. Below shows an example of the alerts types you can work with they include ports, disks, nodes plus logical objects such as VV’s and priority optimization.

2 Alert template objects

You will also need to choose the alerting level resolution which is how often the data will be sampled to see if the alert has been triggered. Remember choosing a higher resolution may result in more alerts being generated when there are spikes, to ensure the alert condition is sustained choose a longer sample time. Choose the severity you would like to associate with the alert you are configuring.

3 general

4 In the objects section you can filter against which objects alerts are generated. If for example you only want to monitor certain ports or VV’s this is where you can narrow them down by selecting filter by objects radio button and then clicking add objects button.

4 objects

The screenshot below show an example of objects you can filter on when creating a port alert.

5 add object

5 Finally chose the metric you wish to measure on.

5a metrics

The following screenshot is again for the port objects, you can chose to measure on metrics such as % busy, bandwidth and service time.

6 add metrics

 

Metrics can be combined so that multiple conditions must be met. For example the following alert will only trigger if service time is over 40ms and IOPs are greater than 1000.

7 combine metrics

Up to 64 alerts can be configured and it’s worth noting the alert will be centrally monitored by HP and could trigger support cases. Alerts can also be configured via the CLI using the command createsralertcrit, more on this another time.

If you missed any of my other posts introducing SSMC don’t forget to check them out:

SSMC 2.1 – What’s new?

Installing 3PAR SSMC

The SSMC Administrator Console

Newbies Guide to The 3PAR SSMC

 

The dashboard homescreen of the storeserv management console

Newbies Guide to the 3PAR SSMC

Today I wanted to do a beginners guide to 3PAR SSMC to help learn how best to use it. So far in this StoreServ Management Console 101 series we have covered what’s new in the latest version, how to install SSMC and how to add systems to SSMC.  Today I want to run through the basics of the new interface so you can get up and running fast.

SSMC looks significantly different to the 3PAR Management Console, so the purpose of today’s post is to provide some familiarisation for those moving across to SSMC or starting out with 3PAR for the first time.

Logging onto SSMC

SSMC is a web based console to access it you just need to enter the hostname of your SSMC server and specify the port 8443 in your web browser, for example https://ssmcserver:8443/. Authentication is as before either with local accounts defined on the 3PAR or via LDAP. If you have ben using the IMC previously, the accounts you have used to login to that will continue to work.

The Dashboard

Once you login you are presented with the Dashboard, this is your home page if you like and provides an overview of all your connected systems on areas like health, capacity and performance.

The dashboard homescreen of the storeserv management console

If you want to drill down on any item you can do so by clicking on the donut or by selecting the title (storage systems in the screenshot below) above the donut.

Drilling down on a system panel

Most of the donuts are self-explanatory. The performance donut relates to Threshold Alerts, which are a new feature that allows you to set alerts up for most components of the system. An example of a Threshold Alert  would be when host ports exceed 50% utilisation raise an alarm. When one of these alerts is triggered it will be reflected in the performance donut.

There is no home button for the dashboard view you must go through the Main Menu. As I find myself regularly going here I have created a shortcut to the Dashboard and added it to the links toolbar of my browser. Should you wish to do the same the shortcut is https://YourSSMCServer:8443/#/dashboard

Main Menu

To move around between screens you have what was called the Mega Menu in older version, but now has been demoted to be named the Main Menu. You click on the drop down arrow at the top left to pull down the Main Menu. By default the Main Menu will appear in a minimised form only showing the most common tasks.

To see all the available options you need to click show all and you will then be presented with the view below.

3PAR Console main menu maximised

The available screens are grouped into categories. The block persona category for example contains the screens: hosts, virtual volumes,CPGs this would have been called the provisioning area in the 3PAR Management Console.

Search

Next to the Main Menu at the top of the screen you have the Search function. The Search function allows you to search just on the screen you are in to narrow a list of VV’s for example or searches the entire system.  Below shows an example of where a Search has been performed everywhere for the term WIN and both hosts and virtual volumes have been found.

search 2

The other way Search can be used it by typing create, which again is context sensitive so the results will depend on which screen you are in.  Below I have typed create in the virtual volumes screen.

create virtual volumes via search command

Below I have again typed in create but this time checked the everything box and I can then see all the create options not just those relevant to virtual volumes.

create used but not tied to current scvreen

Getting Help

The online help is pretty good and can be accessed by clicking the question mark on the top right of the console. There are 2 animated help guides that walk you through basic navigation and provisioning listed under screencasts in help. If you are on any screen and not sure what to do you can again click on the question mark and select help on this page.

I also wanted to highlight where you can find documentation online:

HPE 3PAR StoreServ Management Console 3.1 Administrator Guide

HPE Management Console 3.1 Release Notes

HPE 3PAR StoreServ Management Console User Guide

Working with a screen

Once you have chosen a screen to work with it will be split into two halves, on the left is your list pane and on the right the detail pane. The screenshot below is the Virtual Volumes screen. The description of the panes is pretty self-descriptive you see your list of items on the left and then further detail for each on the right.

Rather than have to click through each item individually to see more detail you can click the expand arrow in the list pane (I have highlighted in the above screenshot), this will give you a view like below.

ssmc virtual volume screen

You can filter your list of items either through the search function or through using the drop down filters at the top of the page, in the below screenshot the provisioning filter is displayed.

Filter views available in the virtual volume view

For each detail pane you can choose from several different views, by clicking on the views drop down button. You can think of the views almost like the tabs in the 3PAR Management Console, you have chosen the item you want to work with and are now looking into different elements of it.

views available for vv

To make changes to any item you select the actions menu, this is located in the top right of the details pane. The action menu is context sensitive to which screen you are in.  Below is an example of the available actions from the Virtual Volume screen

Map View

The Map View is something that helps pull it all together by mapping the relationship between components. This is an example of Map View with AO. I think some components suit Map View better than others and AO is an example where it does work and it is useful to see the relationship between objects.

4 AO Map view

To get more of a feel for the console check out these videos:

Calvin Zito – SSMC Overview

HP SSMC Short Take

Related SSMC Posts

Installing 3PAR SSMC

The SSMC Administrator Console

Configuring Threshold Alerts

SSMC 3.1 – What’s new?