How to: Create Dashboards & Widgets

Summary

The purpose of this article is to explain the concept of creating customized Dashboards & Widgets in the NSS Console interface. By pulling existing data from the NSS database, users with 'Customize Dashboard' permissions in NSS can configure their own dashboards and widgets to display exactly the data they need to see, in exactly the way they need to see it. Similarly adminisistrators can customer dashboards and widgets to create view profiles and apply these profiles to users.

One of the most powerful capabilities with this feature is the ability to display the results gathered from specific Path Label queries in different sorts of graphs and tables. This article will focus on the implementation of these results in the graphical interface.

At this point, there are three different Widget types that can be created and customized:

Pre-requisites

Before creating the customized Dashboards & Widgets we strongly recommend you to have completed the initial configuration of the NSS Console. This includes having a Data Scan configured with properly categorized paths and a set of suitable Security Roles & Access Rules for intended users. See the different articles below for more information about each area:

DATA SCANS

PATH CATEGORIES

PATH LABELS                                         


Creating a Dashboard

This section explains the fundamental concept of creating customized Dashboards and Widgets. Walkthroughs for each widget type can be found further down in the article.

  1. Click on the 'Add new' option in the left-sided menu. (If you do not see this option then the account that your are currently logged in to the NSS Console with does not have the Dashboard 'Create' or 'Update' permission.  Edit permissions for this account or contact your help-desk for assistance.)

    Add New Dashboard

  2. A box will appear in the middle of the screen. Here you are able to choose how the widget grid layout should be distributed in the new Dashboard.

    Add Dashboard Layout

    Specify the desired name of your new dashboard in the 'Dashboard name' field and select the appropriate layout. The layout of the dashboard is grid-based. The percentages mark how the area grid is divided in terms of widget width. For instance, the 50-50 selection distributes the width of the two columns evenly over the page. If the 40-60 distribution is selected, the left-sided widgets will be somewhat narrower than the right-sided ones.

    When you've specified the dashboard name and a suitable layout, click on the 'Add Dashboard'-button to create the Dashboard.

Adding New Widgets

Currently, there are three different widget types that can be created; Timeline, Table and Summary.

  1. If you are adding the first widget to a new dashboard, click on the 'Add First Widget' link in the middle of the dashboard. If you are editing an existing dashboard, click on the 'Edit' link in the upper right corner of the dashboard and then chose 'Add Widget'. The image below shows editing a new dashboard. 

    Add First Widget

  2. A box will appear that allows you to specify the widget type and the settings.

    Create Widget

  3. Specify a name for your widget and select a widget type by clicking on one of the icons. Each widget type is explained in more detail below:

TIMELINE WIDGET

The timeline widget type allows you to display graphs that show the usage over time for different areas. Follow the steps below to create this widget type.

  1. Select the Timeline Widget type and select the one of the four options in the drop-down menu.

    Timeline: Select type


    These are the four options available for the Timeline Widget:
  2. Total Usage History: This option displays the historic data for the total usage levels.
    Per Owner History: This option displays the historic data for the users within the organization.
    File Type Group History: 
    This option displays the historic data for the Top X largest file type groups.
    Path Label History: This option displays the historic data for paths associated with a specific Path Label.

    The screenshot below shows an example where a Path Label result has been chosen to be displayed in the Timeline graph. The Path Label used here is the main example in KB-3116. The Path Label used looks at the name of Home Shares (folder name) and matches it with a user in Active Directory through the sAMAccountName. The user's name and department is then retrieved and displayed in the Path Label result.

    Timeline: Path Label

    Below is an illustration of what the inital result looks like. By default, the look-back period is 30 days and the number of entries visible in the graph is 10. This can be changed by clicking on the cogwheel-icon in the upper right corner of the widget. The Path Label value (in this case the name of the user and his/her department), along with the usage level for that specific date is displayed for each growth curve once hovered with the mouse pointer.

    Timeline: Path Label Example

    In the example below we've changed the lookback days to 90 days and the number of entries to 15. We've also chosen to display the Path Label value in a list to the right. This can be done by clicking on the list-icon in the upper right widget corner (marked with a red circle).

    Timeline: Path Label Example 2

  3. Save your new Dashboard layout, with the new widget, by clicking on the Save button in the upper right corner of the Dashboard.

    Save Dashboard

TABLE WIDGET

The Table Widget allows you to create detailed tables displaying information over multiple columns. When creating the table, you're free to choose what information to include and display in it. The tables are a powerful way of displaying essential information in an instant.

  1. Click on the Table icon and select one of the seven options in the drop-down menu.

    Table Example

    An explanation for each option can be found below:
  2. Path                           

    Displays a list of all paths scanned and their current stats.

    Path Label

    Displays a list of the results for a specific Path Label and its current stats.

    Path Category Displays a list of all Path Categories and their current status (usage, growth, etc.).
    Owner

    Displays a list of all users in the organization and their current status.

    Custom Analysis 

    Displays the results from a custom made report using NSS' Data Gathering API

    Largest Files List

    Displays a list of the largest files identified by the Data Scan.

    Oldest Files List Displays a list of the oldest files identified by the Data Scan. Data Age is determined by the Last Accessed date for the file(s).

     

    In the example below, we have chosen to illustrate the general concept of creating a table by creating one for a Path Label. We've selected to sort the results on Usage and the Path Label has been chosen as the source for the table. We've also decided to display four different columns in the table: Path Label Value ("User Name | Department" in this case), Total Usage, Growth, and Share of Total Change.

    It's possible to select how many columns that you want to include in your table. Simply click on the 'Add column' button to add another column. Select the value to display in the drop-down menu for the new column.

    Create Table

    The end result will look like the screenshot below. It's possible to make the table pageable and set the number of lookback days by clicking on the cogwheel symbol marked with a red circle.

    Table Result


  3. Save your Widget by clicking on the Save button in the upper right corner of the Dashboard.

    Save Dashboard

SUMMARY WIDGET

The Summary Widget allows you to create different numerical overviews for the key areas of the NSS Console; Growth, Age, Cost & Accumulated Cost.

  1. Click on the Summary icon and select one of the four options in the drop-down menu.


    Summary Example

    An explanation for each option can be found below:

    Growth

    Growth Summary

    New Data The data growth in capacity during the chosen time period.
    Growth Rate The data growth rate during the chosen time period.
    Annualized Growth Rate                         
    The projected growth per year. This value is based on historical data from the 12-month period leading up to the end date of the chosen time period.
    Growth Rate Change Comparison of growth rate during the current time period and growth rate during the previous time period.

    The number of lookback days (the time interval) can be changed by clicking on the wheel icon marked in red in the upper right corner of the widget. The default value is 30 days. 

    Data Age

    Data Age

    Old Data The percentage of Old Data - The amount of data that hasn't been accessed during the last 18 months.
    Dormant Data  
    The percentage of Dormant Data - The amount of data that hasn't been accessed during the past 18 to 3 months.
    Active Data The percentage of Active Data - The amount of data that hasn't been accessed in the past 3 months.

    The data age definitions above are the default definitions. The data age is based on the Last Accessed date for each file. It is possible to adjust these Data Age definitions to suit your organization. This change can be made in the Age-section that can be accessed in the left-sided menu of the interface.

    Click on the definitions featured in the screenshot below to generate a slider that allows you to set your own definitons:

    Data Age Definitions

    The Data Age definition slider:

    Data Age Slider

    Drag the two blocks to adjust the Data Age definitions. Click on OK to apply the changes.

    Cost

    Cost Summary

    Last Month's Cost The total cost for the last calendar month.
    Change in Cost from Previous Month  
    The change in cost from the last calendar month, calculated by comparing this month to the previous one.
    Projected EOY Cost A projection of what the End of Year (EOY) cost will be; the total cost for the current calendar year.
    Total Cost The total budget for the active Path Categories (categories that have scanned paths in them).

    It is possible to configure the cost settings in the Overview section in the Administrator pages (the same page where the Database Connection is configured). Expand the Cost configuration tab and set the monthly cost per GB (or any other other unit of preference). You can also set the preferred currency. In the screenshot below, the currency is set to US Dollars ($).

    Cost Settings

    Accumulated Cost

    Accumulated Cost Summary

    Cost of Old Data Data size in GB for old data × months since last access date × cost per GB.
    Cost of Dormant Data         
    Data size in GB for dormant data × months since last access date × cost per GB.
    Cost of Active Data Data size in GB for active data × months since last access date × cost per GB.
    Total Cost The sum cost for all data, regardless of age.

  2. Save your Widget by clicking on the Save button in the upper right corner of the Dashboard.

    Save Dashboard

In Practice

Below is an example of a customized 50/50-dashboard, created from scratch where all three widget types are used in different ways in order to deliver insight into how the file service is being used. The number of lookback days has been set to 90 days for all widgets. The Data Age definitions are the default ones ( > 18 months, 3-18 months, < 3 months).

Dashboard Example

These are the active widgets in the screenshot:

The left grid:

  • A Growth Summary Widget
  • A timeline for the Data Growth
  • A timeline for the Usage History for Home Shares (based on the User | Department Path Label - [See KB-3116])
  • A pageable table displaying the following columns for Home Shares:
    • The Path Label value - User | Department
    • The current usage level
    • The volume of data growth within the 90 day time period
    • The share of the total change in percent (how each Home Share has contributed to growth/reduction in overall data volume)

The right grid:

  • A Data Age Summary Widget
  • A pageable table displaying the oldest files (sorted on the Last Accessed date):
    • The name of the file and an option to go directly to its location Go To Path
    • The owner of the file
    • The size of the file
    • The Last Accessed Date of the file
  • An Accumulated Cost Summary Widget
  • A Summary Widget
  • A pageable table displaying the largest departments (based on a Path Label)
    • The Path Label value: Department name (see KB-3141 for more information)
    • The current usage level
    • The volume of data growth within the 90 day time period
    • The share of the total change in percent (how each department has contributed to growth/reduction in overall data volume)

Confirm results

Verify that your widgets display the correct information and that the settings have been configured according to your reference(s). The widgets can be moved around the dashboard layout, which allows you to place them wherever you want. The option to move the widget in its upper right corner. Click on the move icon (Move Widget) and drag the widget to its preferred place. Make sure that all your changes to the dashboard are saved. 

Please direct any questions to the Technical Support team at Northern (support@northern.net). We look forward to assisting you.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

  • KB3119 How to: Configure Data Scans
  • KB3158 How to: Configure View Profiles
  • KB3150 How to: Use the NSS PowerShell Toolkit
  • KB3118 How to: Create Path Categories
  • KB3120 How to: Configure Access Rules
  • KB3143 How to: Create & Manage Security Roles
  • KB3116 How to: Configure Path Labels
  • KB Article: 3139

    Updated: 12/6/2016

    • Category
      • Usage
    • Affected versions
      • NSS 9.7
      • NSS 9.8

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