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SteelCentral Portal Central Manager Enhances Support for AppResponse

Heidi Gabrielson
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I’m sure you know by now that SteelCentral Portal can act as your single source of truth for application performance management. It provides curated data for stakeholders across the organization by integrating data from network, infrastructure, application performance, and end-user experience views. Ultimately, IT teams are better able to efficiently control and optimize applications, data and traffic across the entire hybrid network, keeping key resources focused on strategic projects.

However, did you know that SteelCentral Portal has been continuously adding support for central management of remote SteelCentral AppResponse appliances? It started simply with the ability to connect AppResponse appliances for host groups, general applications support, and to tag and filter sets of these definitions from one place to improve the integration across Response and Portal.

The latest two releases of SteelCentral Portal (version 3.0 and 3.1), with its support for Portal Central Manager, provide a whole lot more…

Multi-data source content

For users looking to find performance data more easily without having in depth knowledge of their AppResponse deployment, the new multi-data source performance search and visualization features can solve that problem easily for you. SteelCentral Portal ‘s new features make it clear if more than one instance of a data source type has data and makes creating dashboards in these complex environments easier. For example, in the screenshot below, there is an AppResponse named nhp1-alloy1 and another named nhp1-alloy2. Each are collecting MS-SQL data and each row in the view gives the user critical performance metrics for MS-SQL broken out by the data source that sees this traffic. Seeing this data separately makes it easier to find the needle in the haystack when triaging problems, and simplifies previous methods of searching for IP addresses and IP-to-IP communications. And for technical users, you can also right-click drill down for the metric to the connected AppResponse appliance to view more detailed insights or access packets for deeper analysis.

An example of the new multi-data source feature where each AppResponse data source type is displayed separately in Portal to make it easy to select an explicit data source.

An example of the new multi-data source feature where each AppResponse data source type is displayed separately in Portal to make it easy to select an explicit data source.

Software upgrade orchestration

Software upgrade orchestration is extremely important to supporting AppResponse 11 migrations and to ongoing administration of large deployments. It allows you to remotely update connected SteelCentral AppResponse appliances (virtual, physical or cloud versions). Simply upload a valid AppResponse update ISO obtained from the Riverbed support site and Portal pushes it out to the selected AppResponse appliances during the remote update procedure. The minimum required version of AppResponse is 11.5.0.

System health status

Another important feature is the ability to monitor system health metrics for connected AppResponse appliances. You can already view these metrics on individual AppResponse appliances today but why not make life easier and monitor system health for your appliances globally using Portal.  These metrics include disk health, chassis health, monitoring interface drops, time sync, and power supply. Typical red-yellow-green LED status values come directly from the AppResponse System Health info while tooltip highlights provide the status reason. Clicking any LED indicator takes you to the corresponding page on the appliance for further troubleshooting.

SteelCentral Portal Central Manager can also monitor system health metrics for connected AppResponse appliances.

SteelCentral Portal Central Manager can also monitor system health metrics for connected AppResponse appliances.

Support for Web apps

Portal Central Manager lets you centrally manage Web applications, in addition to the previously mentioned General and URL apps. From Portal Central Manager, you can create, edit, and delete Web apps; push to or remove them from remote appliances; import them; and tag or filter the Web apps. In short, Portal can do just about everything that AppResponse can on a per appliance basis, the difference is now you can do your tasks fewer times and from a single place.

Performance Inspector workflows

Portal offers four Performance Inspector workflows for AppResponse: Host Group, Application, Host, and IP Conversation. All Performance Inspector workflows are now quick-launch accessible from Dashboards (Performance Inspectors), as well as still accessible via right-click drilldown.

Performance Inspectors have been expanded to include a panel of summary info. The summary panel sits in the upper right and is populated by a selected set of data sources. For instance, the Application Performance Inspector summary panel includes:

  • Name and data sources where application exists
  • Related drilldown dashboards
  • Configuration info, including description and definition by data source
  • Application models that include the app on a relationship
This is an example of an Application Performance Inspector.

This is an example of an Application Performance Inspector.

Launch to packets download

Finally, AppResponse users can launch into packet workflows from within Portal. When viewing data for an IP or IP conversation, you can right-click to access the “Download Packets” menu. Clicking on this menu item brings you to the appliance and IP and gives you a list of capture jobs on the appliance to choose from. Once you select a capture job, the launch takes you to the Insight page for the selected object type and opens/populates the download packets dialog with the time range and filter context from Portal.

As you can see, all these new capabilities are geared toward making it easier to manage your SteelCentral AppResponse data within the Portal framework and to manage your AppResponse appliances across your distributed, hybrid environment. I hope SteelCentral Portal becomes indispensable to your SteelCentral AppResponse administrators and provides relevant data to the various business and IT stakeholders across your enterprise.

Learn more about SteelCentral Portal from the resources below:

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