Configuring SLAs

SLA Components

You'll need to start the configuration of SLAs by establishing holidays that will define a calendar that is relevant to operations. This includes holidays for the same date every year and also moving holidays which have a different date every year. Holidays are used in Calendars, and Calendars and Operations time are applied within a SLA.

To create holidays, calendar and operation times:
  1. Go to Configuration > BSM and SLAs > SLAs.
  2. Go to the Holidays tab.
  3. Click one of the Create buttons, the top one is to add a holiday for the same day every year such as Christmas, the bottom Create button is for a moving holiday, such as Easter. 
  4. Enter the information for Day, Month, and Description.
  5. Click Create. Enter a few for each category, and you can come back and edit.

    sla holidays

Next, the Calendar option enables you to manage calendar events, such as established holidays.

  1. Go to the Calendar tab.
  2. Click Create.
  3. Enter a Description, and using the Shift and Ctrl keys scroll through the options and select the appropriate repeating holidays and moving holidays for the SLA.
  4. Click Create.

    sla calendar

SLA Definition

The SLA directives include a calendar and an operations time. 

  1. Go to Configuration > BSM and SLAs > SLAs.
  2. Go to the SLA tab.
  3. Click Create.
  4. In the Create SLA dialog box, enter a Description, select a Calendar, and select an Operation time for the new SLA.
    • Operation times allows you to set a period during which a system should work in a manner acceptable to the operators and users. These times are initially created in the Operation time tab, similar to how holidays and calendars are created.
    • You can use Rules for combining conditions to that you want to affect the SLA status, for more information see BSM and SLAs.
  5. Click Create. The SLA will be added to the list of SLAs. To edit an existing SLA, you would start by selecting the pencil icon on the corresponding SLA row.

    create sla

SLA Contract

Contracts define the items to be measured and their target availability associated with a SLA.

  1. Go to Configuration > BSM and SLAs > SLAs.
  2. Go the the Contracts tab.
  3. Click Create.
  4. In the Create Contract dialog enter the various fields described here. The contract items are then associated with a defined SLA and therefore bundling a contract item, with holidays, and operation time.
    • Name: The title of the contract item.
    • Alias: An alternative name.
    • Customer: The name of the SLA customer (internal or external).
    • Host and Service: The items to be measured.
    • Target Availability: An agreed upon percentage targeting the availability of the measured items, e.g., the host bsm-host-training has a 98% target for availability. 
    • Priority: Used for searching and filtering from the list of contracts.
  5. When finished click Create.

    create sla contracts

Configuring SLA Dashboards

The SLA Dashboards feature allows an administrator to configure status and availability dashboards using SLA, status, and other image elements. Dashboards can also be displayed in the SLA Carousel feature, which provides users a glance of each of dashboard on a rotating basis.

  1. Go to Configuration > BSM and SLAs > SLA Dashboards and click Create.
  2. Enter a Title and Description for the dashboard.
  3. Check the Show on dashboard carousel for this dashboard to display when viewing the Dashboards > SLA Carousel feature is used.
  4. Click Create.

    dashboard carousel
  5. Next, add the dashboard elements:
    • SLA elements: These are tied to configured SLA contracts, and offer a quick graphic views for downtime (used, remaining, max), log list (states), pie chart (run, down times...), report table (similar to pie w/availability), Tachometer (availability in %), timeline (periodic color coded status), and availability timetable
    • Status elements: Include a list of services widget and a status widget for a host, host group, service, service group, or custom group.
    • Other elements: Enables the addition of boxes, images, text, or iframes (including Grafana dashboards).

      sla dashboard
  6. For example, add a Tacho element by:
    • Selecting the SLA Elements section.
    • Dragging the Tacho button to the dashboard canvas.
    • Selecting the options including a configured SLA contract.
    • After selecting Create, you should see the image reflecting the selected SLA contract, shown in the image above.
  7. To edit an element, right click on the element and select Configuration. You can also clone and delete an element.
    • If you create more than one dashboard and have check the box to show on dashboard carousel, you can view the rotation of these dashboards by going to Dashboards > SLA Carousel.

Use Case: Creating a Summary SLA Dashboard

In this use case we'll cover how you can use the SLA Dashboard feature to visualize summary data for different monitoring groups and also drilldown to additional information.

We use customers as an example, while in your case you may want to separate the detailed dashboards by function, region, or however you choose. In addition, by using more detailed dashboards, you can:

  • Provide a link to the summary view dashboard to those who need a high-level overview of all customers (Team Leads, Managers, etc.), and also give them capability to drilldown for more detailed information
  • Provide a link to the detailed view of Customer1’s dashboard to the technicians responsible for day-to-day upkeep of that customer’s infrastructure

Additionally, you do not have to have a SLA tied to something in order to visualize it on the SLA dashboard, you can show the status of any:

  • Host
  • Host Group
  • Service
  • Service Group
  • Custom Group

Configuring a Detailed Dashboard

  1. Go to Configuration > BSM and SLAs > SLA Dashboards, then click Create.
  2. Next, provide a Title and Description for the dashboard, then click Create. In this example, we use the dashboard name Customer1Status.
  3. An edit page for the new dashboard will be displayed with SLA Elements along the right side and a dashboard canvas on the left.
  4. Let's start with an image, which is a diagram of Customer 1’s infrastructure. You can use any PNG image in a SLA dashboard, even multiple images if you choose to do so.
    • To add an image, click to expand Other Elements, then drag the Image element onto the dashboard, this will pop up a menu to configure your image.
    • Under Upload an image, click Choose File, and upload the image you wish to use, then click Create
    • Once your image is added, you may need to resize it, you can do this by clicking and dragging the corners of the image.
  5. Since we also want to know the status of each of the systems in this diagram, we need to add a status element by expanding Status Elements, then dragging the element named Status onto the dashboard over one of the systems in the diagram. This will bring up a menu to allow us to assign this status widget to a particular Host, Host Group, Service, Service Group or Custom Group. Also, when selecting Host or Host Group, you can opt to include the state of the services.
    • For the purposes of this example, we add one of Customer1’s network devices to the dashboard by searching for it in this menu, checking the box for the host, checking the box to include service status, and clicking Create.
    • Once the new status widget is in place we can right-click it then click Display Preference to configure the size and title visibility, as shown in the screenshot below.

  6. Now that we’ve created our first status widget, we can repeat the process to create more, or clone the one we just created by right-clicking on the icon, and clicking clone. This will create a copy which you can then right-click, click configuration, and change to a different host.

    • Once complete click to Save your new dashboard, and Cancel to close the editor. This will take you back to the SLA dashboard list. Click on your newly created dashboard to view it, and copy the URL to a text editor, we’ll need this when creating the summary view.
    • For reference, here is what our completed detailed dashboard looks like:

Configuring a Summary Dashboard

Now, we can begin with our summary dashboard

  1. Go to Configuration > BSM and SLAs > SLA Dashboards, then click Create.
  2. Next, we add the same image we used in our detailed dashboard: Click to expand Other Elements, then drag Image into the dashboard, this will pop up a menu to configure your image. The image will be listed, so this time you can just click the image and then click Create.
    • We resize the image to be smaller this time, since this is the summary dashboard. Keep in mind for this summary dashboard, we may later want to add additional summaries for separate hosts, so size this image accordingly. Once you’re satisfied with the size of the image, right-click the image and click Sent to back
  3. Next, we’ll add a box around the image by expanding Other Elements, dragging the box widget onto the dashboard.
    • Here, enter the URL of the detail dashboard we created earlier under the Url section, and check the box to Open in new window, click Create, then size and drag the newly added box widget to surround the summary image just added, it will look something like this:
  4. Now, drag a status element by expanding Status Elements and dragging a status widget onto the dashboard. For this configuration, select Host Group for connection type, check the Include Service Status box, and select the host group from the list by checking the corresponding box.

  5. Once, created, right click on the widget and click Bring to front. You can also right click on the widget and select Display Preference to show/hide the title, or change the icon size. This will provide an overall status for the hosts and services, and you will be able hover over it to see more information on what’s wrong, but still at a high level as far as visualization of where the problem is physically on the network. Place this within the box we just added, perhaps the top-right, but it is a matter of preference.
    • You can also add text to this dashboard. To add text, expand Other Elements, and drag the Text widget onto the dashboard. You’ll be prompted to add text, and can change the size, color, style of the text, and even add a link if you’d like. For our example purposes, we add a title. Once you’re satisfied with your text, drag the next element within the box.
    • Here is what the summary dashboard looks like once completed for this example:
    • If you see a high-level status is something you want more detail on, you can click this part of the dashboard and it will bring up the detailed dashboard.

So, now we’ve covered how to create a detailed dashboard that shows the physical layout of a network, to enable us to not only identify there is a problem and what the problem is, but also where it is. With this, if we have a user with a slow-running query, we can see there are issues with discards along that user's connection path (Access 2 in the example network), and begin addressing that as the possible root cause very quickly.

Adding Additional Summary Dashboards

Not everything is a physical dependency of course, and while we should show logical dependencies in a dashboard, it is usually more appropriate to see that in a summary view, and get the detail of the state of those logical elements from the Status Summary dashboard instead. 

Let’s take for example, a web application. Many web applications require a few things to be in good condition in order for full functionality:

  • A database (for this, my service checks are 2 queries against the MySQL database)
  • A web server (these service checks will be measured synthetic web transactions)
  • A mail server (forgot password, etc.)

What type of image you use to visualize this summary for logical status is of course, up to you. Here is what our example looks like:

By now you should have a good understanding of how to add all of the required widgets to the dashboard, so we won’t describe that step by step this time. For each hex with a white background, we added a state widget for each service that provides that dependency for the web application. Then, we add a host status widget in the center which will give the state of the host itself. 

The primary difference with this summary dashboard is that we don’t have a detailed dashboard to link to in order to get more information - because we really don’t need it, if we need more information on this particular summary, we should link to the Status Summary dashboard instead. So, when adding the link to the box widget for this type of check, simply link to the host status (or host group, custom group, NOC board, whatever you like!) in Status Summary, that will be the URL presented in your browser when viewing the status of a host.

Here’s what our current dashboard looks like after implementing the examples we've shown here:

Generating SLA Reports

See Reports.

Related Resources