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Device counter report the sequel (adding a historical dashboard)

Following on from the sterling work of my colleague Nick Lansdowne, this blog will build upon Nick’s blog to provide a historical view of the device count numbers. This historical view will leverage the work discussed in Nick’s previous blog (Netcool/OMNIbus License Compliance: Easy access to your device counter report). A historical view is useful in large environments as customers can easily pin point the day/days where a sizable number of devices may have been added to an environment.

The previous device counter page has been enhanced with a line chart. The line chart will display the historical view whilst Nick’s device counter report table will display the current device count numbers, both work together to provide the customer with a good perspective on the number of devices that have sent events to an ObjectServer.

Note that in the Orb Data Managed Services customer environment that the device numbers have remained steady at 385 since implementation.

Step 1 Create custom table

The previous blog created a table called “custom.device_count_report”.  An additional table needs to be created to hold historical data, but it will use the same mechanism to populate the table by utilising a customised procedure which in turn is called via an OOTB IBM supplied trigger “device_counter_daily_log_count”. The table itself contains the following columns:

The table is named “custom.device_count_history_report” and has the DeviceHistoryDay as the primary key (the mechanism to populate this table runs once every 24 hours). The table will store the daily values of NetworkDeviceCount, ServerDeviceCount and ClientDeviceCount, these three daily values are added to provide the figure for TotalDeviceCount.

Step 2 Custom Procedure

A custom procedure “orb_device_counter_log_to_hist_db” is created that will populate the custom table created in step 1 “custom.device_count_history_report”.

This custom procedure “orb_device_counter_log_to_hist_db” has three inputs these are:

A call to the custom procedure is  again added to the end of the existing IBM procedure “device_counter_log_nodes” after the call that Nick inserted in his previous blog, as demonstrated in the figure below.

It adds one row to the “custom.device_count_history_report” table every 24 hours (the default frequency of the “device_counter_daily_log_count” trigger).

Step 3 Netcool/Impact data Type

A Netcool/Impact Data Type is used to expose the data from the ObjectServer table to the DASH tables widget. In this example the Data Type is a child of the Data Source “defaultobjectserver”, connecting to the Aggregation ObjectServer. Note that “Access the data through UI data provider” is checked.

You can verify the new Data Type by selecting the menu option “View Data Items” from the right-click menu in the navigator.

Step 4 Modify the existing Dash page

The final step is to modify the existing DASH Page created in Netcool/OMNIbus License Compliance: Easy access to your device counter report. Add the a “Line chart”widget to the new page, and, in the widget editor, search the datasets using the Impact Data Type name.  The X axis field in this example is set to “DeviceHistoryDay” while the Y axis fields are set to:

Expand the “Optional Settings” arrow to show more settings.

Set the widget title appropriately, for example “Device Count Historical Chart”. The colours on the lines representing each device count type can be set, for this example the colour palette was set to “Dynamic” , along with the location of Legend which in this case has been set as “Top”.

A threshold value can also be set, in this example it is set to 500 and  has is represented by the colour red, this is useful as this could be used to represent the number of device licenses that have been purchased from IBM.

On finishing the line chart  was dragged above the existing device counter report table.

Please note that suitable roles should be associated with the page to restrict access as required.

The finished dashboard shows both the historical and current device count side by side.

In summary

This blog shows just how quick and easy it is to configure and display a historical device count dashboard and highlights just how flexible the tools provided by IBM Network Operations Insight (NOI) are.  Obviously, I have built upon the work performed by Nick in his previous blog and no doubt there are improvements to be made upon my work. For example a mechanism could be added to prune the historical device count table where rows older than 365 days are removed. As always in the Netcool world you are only limited by your own imagination and the sky really is the limit.

For any questions on this blog please email me at:


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