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Computing custom dashboards data (classic)

Nexthink web interface employs different techniques to retrieve and process dashboard data from the data layer. Depending on their mode of activation, the techniques for computing dashboard data can be classified as automatic or manual:

  • Automatic computations

    • Computation after metric creation

    • Nightly computation

    • Real-time computation (live service data)

  • Manual computations

    • Launch computation of metric from Finder (classic)

    • Launch computation of software metering metric from the Nexthink web interface.

In this article learn about the different types of computations, how to manually launch the computation of metrics from either Finder or the Nexthink web interface and how to track the status of computations from the Nexthink web interface. In addition, discover the consequences of computing the values of a metric for dates in the past.

Automatic computations

Computation after metric creation

When you create and save a new metric in Finder, it automatically launches its computation for the last day which means a newly created metric has one day of history unless you clear the metric manually.

Nightly computation

The nightly computation is the main source of dashboard information for the Nexthink web interface. It usually takes place overnight (hence its name), when the load on the Nexthink web interface is lower because users seldom connect at night. At the scheduled time, the Nexthink web interface starts collecting data related to the enabled services and metrics. The data is then processed and displayed in the dashboards. This automatic computation is scheduled by default at 1 am local time, but this time is configurable.

Thus, every night the Nexthink web interface collects the accumulated data in the data layer for the last day. When a metric is missing the history of a number of consecutive days, including the last day, the Nexthink web interface computes the last day in addition to the number of days configured.

the Nexthink web interface determines the last day individually for the data layer in the following way:

  • the Nexthink web interface gets the time of the last event stored in the data layer.

  • The last day is the whole day before the date of the last event in the data layer (always computed in the time zone of the Nexthink web interface).

Real-time computation

When displaying live data in service dashboards, the Nexthink web interface continuously receives data from the data layer about the current status of the services. This automatic computation requires no special configuration.

Manual computations

Manual computations do not replace the nightly computation of the Nexthink web interface but are a complement to it. Manually computing a metric is especially useful when you create or modify a metric. Instead of waiting for the nightly computation to get the results for the metric, you can manually trigger its computation to see how it looks in the Nexthink web interface.

Metric computation from Finder (classic)

Nexthink Finder is a Windows-only desktop application whose functionality is now available within the Nexthink web interface. Nexthink can now be used directly from a browser and most functions no longer require an additional desktop application.

To trigger the computation of metrics from Finder:

  1. Right-click the name of a metric or a folder holding metrics in the left-hand side accordion.

  2. Select Compute from the context menu:

    • Choose For the last day, to compute or recompute the results of the metric (or metrics) for the day before.

      1. A dialog box warns you that the operation will clear the history of the metric (or metrics) for the last day. Click Yes to proceed.

      2. A final dialog box informs you that the computation of the metric (or metrics) will start shortly. Click OK.

    • Choose Over the maximum available period to compute the metric (or metrics) for all the past days available in the data layer. This option is not available for count metrics that take into account all objects (active and inactive).

      1. A dialog box warns you that the operation will clear all the history of the selected metric. When a folder is selected, all the metrics are listed in the dialog box. This list indicates those count metrics that take into account all objects and are therefore ignored for the computation.

      2. Click Yes to proceed.

      3. A final dialog box informs you that the computation of the metric (or metrics) will start shortly. Click OK.

Beware of the option to recompute a metric over the maximum available period. It really clears all the history of a metric. For instance, if you have three months of historical data in the Nexthink web interface for a particular metric and two weeks of data available in the Engine, asking to recompute the metric over the full period will erase the three months of history and recreate only two weeks. Therefore, use this option with care and only when the modification of a metric completely invalidates previous results. Keep in mind that the recomputation of metrics for past days suffers from some limitations.

Software metering computation from the Nexthink web interface

When creating a new software metering metric in the Nexthink web interface, you are given the option to compute the metric for the last day immediately after its creation.

To compute software metering metrics that have already been created:

  1. Select Administration from the main menu.

  2. Click on Software metering metrics under Content Management in the navigation panel.

  3. In the list of available metrics, tick the box in the first column for each metric you want to compute. Alternatively, tick the box at the top of the list to select all available metrics at once.

  4. Click the sprocket icon located in the upper-right corner of the dashboard. A dialog box informs you that the computation will be completed for the last day.

  5. Optional: Tick the box in the dialog box to overwrite current data; that is, to clear and recompute those metrics that already have results for the last day.

  6. Click OK to schedule the computation. Another dialog box informs you that the computation is scheduled and that you can track it.

  7. Click Done.

As with any other metric, software metering metrics are also computed during the nightly computation of the Nexthink web interface.

Tracking computations

To track the computations of metrics in the Nexthink web interface:

  1. Select Administration from the main menu.

  2. Select Computations under Content Management on the navigation panel.

The Computations dashboard displays a table that includes both the manual and the automatic computations launched today by default. Filter the results by selecting other time frames and the user who initiated the computation from the two lists interleaved in the following text found at the top of the table:

  • Display computations for -time framecreated by -user.

For time frame, choose among:

  • today (default)

  • last week

  • last month

To filter by the user who launched the computation, choose among three options:

  • everybody (default): list all the computations, no matter who initiated them.

  • myself: list only the computations initiated by the current user.

  • The Nexthink web interface: list the computations initiated by the system itself (currently, all computations are indirectly initiated by the system and associated to the Nexthink web interface; even the computations manually triggered from Finder, whose owner is otherwise visible in the audit trail).

The table shows the current status of each computation within the selected time frame, including (when applicable) its start time, end time, progress ratio, duration and owner. The dashboard content is automatically refreshed every 10 seconds.

It is possible to stop a scheduled or running computation. Administrators can stop only those computations initiated by themselves. Central administrators, on the other hand, can stop computations initiated by anyone. If you stop a computation during its execution, the results for those dates that have been fully computed are saved and the rest are discarded.

The following table describes the possible computation statuses:

Icon

Name

Description

Scheduled

When a computation is scheduled, the operation has been submitted and put in the queue. There is no ongoing computation yet; therefore, there are no details about progress, time, or duration, but the computation can be cancelled.

Running

The computation is currently being performed. The start time and progress fields are available. The computation can be cancelled.

Completed (success)

All metrics were computed without error. Details about the computed metrics are available.

Completed (failure)

Errors occurred during the computation. Some metrics may have been computed correctly, but at least one had an error. Details show the completed and failed computations of the metrics.

Cancelled

The computation has been manually cancelled. Details may show some metrics that have been completely computed before cancellation (with or without errors), while other metrics have not been computed.

Display the details of all finished computations (either completed or cancelled) by clicking the information button.

Computation details

To get details about a specific computation in the Computations dashboard:

  • Click the info button in the table when the display mode is all computations.

  • Click any point in the line chart (or the info button to the right of a value) when the display mode is automatic computations.

The details dialog box displays the list of metrics with their individual computation status. You can only see the details of those metrics that fall into your administration domain.

In the all computations mode, the table displays individual computations, including manual computations and separate attempts of nightly computations. Therefore, when you open the computation details from this mode, the date is fixed and there is no selection of attempts. On the other hand, when opening the details of a nightly computation from the automatic computations mode, it is possible to select a different date for convenience. In addition, if multiple attempts were needed for the nightly computation of the selected date, you can also select the specific attempt. Thus, when opening the details dialog box from the automatic computations mode, these additional selectors can be found:

  • Display details for -date: to select a particular date.

  • This computation required multiple executions. Display -attempt: to select a particular attempt.

In both modes, the dialog box lets you choose the metrics for which you want to see the details, depending on the status of their computation:

  • Completed (successfully or not, but not skipped)

  • Skipped

  • Successful

  • Unsuccessful

For unsuccessfully computed metrics, click the cross icon to display the error that stopped the computation.

Widgets with no data

If the Nexthink web interface has not computed data for a metric on a particular date, the widgets that display the value of the metric show it in different ways depending on their visual appearance:

  • In KPI or table widgets, the value of a metric with no data is represented with a dash (-) character.

  • In line charts, hovering the mouse over the points where the metric was not computed displays the message no data computed.

In the widgets of service dashboards, you find the same behavior when there is no data for the service. Similarly, in the overview dashboard of a service module, a dash character representing the status of service indicates a lack of data for that particular service.

Note that you still may see live data in a service dashboard that received no data from nightly computations. For instance, on the first day that service is created, live data for that service may appear. If you then navigate to a previous date, no data will appear.

Computing metrics for dates in the past

You may want to compute the value of a metric for a date in the past if

  • you create a new metric and want to compute its value for a number of days before its creation.

  • you modify a metric in such a way that it completely invalidates previously computed values. You may want to clear the history of the metric and recompute it for a number of days in the past.

  • the nightly computation of the Nexthink web interface failed for some reason at a specific date and you want to have the value of a metric for that date.

You can either trigger the computation of a metric manually from Finder or wait for a new nightly computation of the Nexthink web interface. In the case of newly created metrics, only manually triggering the computation will do, because they automatically compute the last day at the time of creation, preventing the Nexthink web interface from going further into the past. Remember that the nightly computation automatically recomputes the metrics up to the configured number of past days if the data of the metrics are missing for a number of consecutive days, including the last day. The nightly computation will not automatically fill in the gaps if the failed computations are placed between successful computations.

Regardless of computing the metrics manually or automatically, you must be aware of the limitations of computing metrics for dates in the past.

Metrics may include values of objects (or conditions on these values) in their computation. The data layer does not keep a historical record of these. Examples of these values may be the free disk space or the antivirus status of a device. During the nightly computation, the Nexthink web interface takes the current value of those fields to compute the metrics for that day. In this way, the Nexthink web interface always uses the most recent values to compute the metrics for the last day.

When computing the metrics for past dates, however, the Nexthink web interface does not know the values of these fields in the past, so it still uses their most recent values. Since these fields usually do not change quickly over time, the computed values are often a good approximation. If the value has a significant change (for instance, the antivirus real-time protection goes from on to off) the value of the metric may be wrong.

Therefore, be careful when computing metrics for dates in the past when those metrics depend on values of fields for which the data layer does not keep a historical record.

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