NetNow Corporate BLOG

Want to move to cloud based services?

How to integrate your existing applications and data and move to cloud based services

NetNow Apps
There are many benefits to cloud computing and businesses want to synchronize data exchange between legacy investments and new applications and processes. Solutions are needed that automate the integration of these data and systems to the cloud. Wouldn’t it be ideal to easily layer a cloud solution on-top of your existing systems and data? Do you want to be able to deliver new systems, processes and interfaces in your projects rapidly using modern cloud based solutions. Do you want to be able to develop and test new systems or solutions rapidly without the need to procure and deploy new hardware and software?

With NetNow you can

  • Use one tool to connect to and from all existing applications and data to instantly integrate without the need for programming.
  • Share data and processes by using integrations that support different environments and platforms
  • Allow legacy systems to easily connect and consume NetNow Web services. This effectively integrates legacy applications with NetNow including those on and off site.
  • Future proof developing business processes by reducing the influence of underlying technology.
  • Retain control over proprietary business systems by keeping them in-house and integrating them with NetNow.

 

What are the benefits of Cloud based software solutions?

  • Reduced Cost – Cloud technology is paid incrementally, saving organizations money.
  • Increased Storage – Organizations can store more data than on private computer systems.
  • Highly Automated – No longer do IT personnel need to worry about keeping software up to date.
  • Flexibility – Cloud computing offers much more flexibility than past computing methods.
  • More Mobility – Employees can access information wherever they are, rather than having to remain at their desks.
  • Allows IT to Shift Focus – No longer having to worry about constant server updates and other computing issues, organizations will be free to concentrate on innovation.
  • Monitor projects more effectively – Stay within budget and ahead of completion cycle times.
  • Less personnel training is needed – It takes fewer people to do more work on a cloud, with a minimal learning curve on hardware and software issues.

 

News

Beta registration now opens

2012 Beta registration

Netnow has announced open enrollment for its Beta

NetNow LIVE Service is now open for beta enrollment. Enrollment is limited meaning first come, first serve… so head over and fill out the form. Of course this is a beta, so know the risks ahead. The new features provided in this initial GA candidate for this preview include:

  • A set of example dashboards has been provided
  • Inclusion of PowerCharts
  • Branding of Login screen
  • Support for Services and Service Models
  • Support for LINUX
  • Support for AIX
  • Support for DB2
  • Support for Solaris
  • Support for Sybase
  • SSL for integration Communications
  • Dashboard Global Variables – providing cross widgets communications.
  • Charts & widgets are available using HTML 5 by default, Flash support also available.
  • Supports Dashboard Templates for widget data formatting

 

Recent Improvements

Some of the improvements over the early BETA Versions include :

  • Improved initialization performance
  • Lower memory consumption
  • 600% Alert throughput improvement over BETA Version 1.6
  • Majority of charts now render HTML5 where flash is unsupported. i.e iPad
  • Alerts retention service configuration from administration interface
  • Access to SSL certificate path, allowed hosts from administration interface
  • Multiple integration support. Permits feeding of multiple NetNow Servers for Resiliency
  • Improved interface for Custom User Field Classes
  • Implementation of URI Date Functions
  • HTTP Authentication for WebService Access
  • Ability to specify a DB Schema in the DB Connection Settings
  • Improved Login interface
  • Improved memory management
  • Improved URI Validation Checks
  • Improved Dashboard Template Validation
  • Sorting for user defined fields
  • Full details for column filtered user defined fields
  • Alert Message now directly available to AID

 

About NetNow

NetNow is a powerful tool you can leverage to rapidly create new solutions. You can extend or improve an existing application by layering the NetNow service on top of it. You can quickly provide your users with new and exciting interface elements. For developers, NetNow App development offers new revenue opportunities. Developers can create extensions that enhance the NetNow platform making it a better for all our users. Partners or solutions providers can create entirely new systems rapidly, that deploy easily anywhere.

Customers, Solutions providers & Partners of NetNow can  :

  • Build interfaces ontop of existing applications
  • SaaS enable existing internal or propriety systems
  • Create Intelligence Real-Time reporting solutions
  • Design beautiful new interfaces & reports for legacy systems
  • Rapidly deploy new monitoring solutions

App Developers may want to earn revenue extending NetNow :

  • Create NetNow dashboard widgets
  • Develop NetNow themes
  • Build NetNow server plug-ins
  • Build NetNow integrations
  • Build entirely new solutions or Applications based on the NetNow service

 

Jonathan Miles

Build Service Models Automatically with Subscription Rules

Is your Configuration Management System (CMS) up to date? 

Keeping configuration management systems up to date can be a high maintenance, high cost activity.  The constant maintenance required to keep up with today’s ever changing IT environments is the reason for most CMDB projects failing or being cancelled.

That’s why at NetNow we have been busy developing a subscription based model which allows relationships to be built and updated automatically as your system data changes.  It’s a low to no maintenance approach, keeping your CMS up to date with the true state of your enterprise and allowing you to concentrate your effort and resources on productive activities and key decision making.

As an illustration, take the following example.  A very simple rule defined to capture all Servers with an OSType of UNIX, will automatically create and maintain relationships for all UNIX servers.  Subscription rules can be defined to query any class of configuration data, based on available attribute data.  The power of these rules is limited only by the quality of your data.

Build automatic service models with subscription rules

Now take this relatively simple rule based concept, allow packages to be built which encapsulate key logic and have these packages dynamically assigned when new services come online and you have self-building, self-maintaining service models.  While admittedly some effort is required upfront to define your required logic, once defined the NetNow server will handle the maintenance burden to ensure your service models are kept up to date.

 

Rob Bradbury

JavaScript in the Dashboard – Part 2

JavaScript Tutorial

Difficulty: BASIC

Estimated Completion Time: 15 Mins

Version 1.8+

In part 2 we will be building on our previous Dashboard by expanding the function to use dashboard variables and also attaching it to multiple widgets. So let’s get started. You will first need to Login to the dashboard builder to start the tutorial.

Step 1 – Add more Widgets to your Dashboard to call the JavaScript

Add another dynamic text box widget to the dashboard using the new widget button in the bottom left hand corner of the dashboard builder. As before click the edit text button.


You will now be presented with a text editor. While inside this editor add the words “Click Me – Part 2″  in large H1 font size and save the text.

 

Add a “HTML Feed” widget from the Widget Gallery by clicking the new widget button in the bottom left, finding the widget in the list and then clicking on its name.

NOTE:THE WIDGET GALLERY CAN STAY PRESENT ON YOUR SCREEN UNTIL YOU CLOSE IT. THIS IS PARTICULARLY USEFUL IF YOU WISH TO ADD MULTIPLE WIDGETS TO YOUR DASHBOARD

 

Step 2 – Modify your JavaScript function

To progress from the previous part to this tutorial, the JavaScript will need modifying so several widgets can use the same function. Access the Edit Dashboard window as you did in Part 1 (press the spanner in the top right hand corner of the dashboard builder screen). Change the JavaScript to the following

[snippet id=”31″]

 

Notice here, we have substituted ‘#widget1′ for ‘.clickme’. This enables us the call the function from several widgets within the Dashboard. Scroll to the bottom and press update. You can now close the dialog.

 

Step 3 – Adding the Function to your Widgets

Now we need to add the ‘clickme’ function to our new widgets. To do this, click the spanner icon on the first Dynamic Text Box widget.

Scroll down the the CSS Classes parameter and enter clickme into the text box. Scroll all the way to the bottom and click Update. Repeat this for the other 2 Widgets and then view your dashboard. Clicking on the widgets should now show a popup box with “Hello World” in there!

TIP:You can press the Enter or return keys instead of scrolling to the bottom of the properties to update the widget.

 

For extra information, guidance and troubleshooting consult:

 

Adam Smith

Using CSS with Widgets

Setting the background colour of a Widget

Difficulty: BASIC

Estimated Completion Time: 5 Mins

Version 1.8+

Setting the background colour of a Widget

In this simple tutorial, you will learn how to set the background colour of a widget using CSS. CSS can be used to style the widgets appearance in many different ways and this tutorial is designed to introduce you to the concepts and show how to get them working. So let’s get started. You will first need to Login to the dashboard builder to start the tutorial.

Step 1 – Add a Widget to change the background colour

Add a dynamic text box widget to the dashboard using the new widget button in the bottom left hand corner of the dashboard builder. From inside the Dynamic Text Box widget locate and press the edit text icon show below


You will now be presented with a text editor. While inside this editor add the words “Change My Color”  in large H1 font size and save the text.

Note: You can style your text using the FORMAT DROP DOWN in the BOTTOM LEFT CORNER OF THE EDITOR.

 

Step 2 – Add CSS to change the colour of the widget

To change the colour of the widget you will need to add the following code snippet in to the CSS Style Sheet property of your dashboard. This property is located in the edit dashboard window. To access the Edit dashboard window press the spanner in the top right hand corner of the dashboard builder screen.

[snippet id=”30″]

 

Scroll to the bottom and press update. You can now close the dialog. That’s all done! Now view your dashboard and see that the widget has changed colour!

 

For extra information, guidance and troubleshooting consult:

 

Simon Marsland

JavaScript in the Dashboard – Part 1

JavaScript Tutorial

Difficulty: BASIC

Estimated Completion Time: 15 Mins

Version 1.8+

In this two part tutorial we will show you how to use JavaScript in your dashboard. In part 1 we will focus of inserting a small javascript function into the dashboard and attaching this function to a widget. Part 2 will build on this tutorial by expanding the function to use dashboard variables and also attaching it to multiple widgets. So let’s get started. You will first need to Login to the dashboard builder to start the tutorial.

Step 1 – Add a Widget to call the JavaScript

Add a dynamic text box widget to the dashboard using the new widget button in the bottom left hand corner of the dashboard builder. From inside the Dynamic Text Box widget locate and press the edit text icon show below


You will now be presented with a text editor. While inside this editor add the words “click me”  in large H1 font size and save the text.

Note: You can style your text using the FORMAT DROP DOWN in the BOTTOM LEFT CORNER OF THE EDITOR.

 

Step 2 – Add your new JavaScript function

To add JavaScript a new JavaScript function to your dashboard you will need to add the following code snippet to the bottom of the HTML HEAD Includes property of your dashboard. This property is located in the edit dashboard window. To access the Edit dashboard window press the spanner in the top right hand corner of the dashboard builder screen.

[snippet id=”29″]

Scroll to the bottom and press update. You can now close the dialog. That’s all done!. Now view your dashboard and please enjoy your new javascript. Now be sure to continue to Part 2 where we will see how to extend your JavaScript function further!

TIP: Using In-Line JavaScript is for demonstration purposes only

Using In-line JavaScript as shown in this tutorial is for demonstration purposes only. A later tutorial entitled “Using JavaScript on production servers” will show you how to include JavaScript files into your dashboard.
.

For extra information, guidance and troubleshooting consult:

 

Grant Glading

The Scottish Database and how to avoid the 4 letter word; CMDB

Lloyd and I were in a meeting with a prospect earlier this week where the topic of CMDBs came up. It really is the case that people working in large enterprises are almost scared of uttering the term Configuration Management Database, CMDB really is a 4 letter word (or acronym) in many circles. One of our long time customers put it well when he said that they call the CMDB the Scottish database, just as superstition and thoughts of impending doom prevent actors from saying the name of the play Macbeth and they instead call it the Scottish play, for this customer (with a good sense of humour) CMDB equals the Scottish database.
Happily for us, our alternative approach to a CMDB called Service Configuration Management (SCM) implements a flexible top down, service-at-a-time deployment methodology in contrast to the “boil the ocean” approach to configuration management that often requires the entire IT estate to be defined in a monolithic CMDB before moving on to the next steps in the service management value chain such as Service Level Agreement.

 

SCM offers a pragmatic approach to delivering on the original promise of the CMDB; the single view of all the configuration items and how they support business services and the ability to visualise dependencies and other relationships. We’ve seen some validation of our approach in ITIL v3 as SCM is more akin to a Configuration Management System (CMS) with import and federation capabilities, however as industry analyst Dennis Drogseth at Enterprise Management Associates said in his article for CIO Update, CMDB More Important than Ever in Lean Times, “the core requirements to define “trusted sources” and the need to commit to a consistent schema for representing CIs and CI attributes won’t go away.”

Colin Griffiths

Service Impact Management

Impact Calculation Engine nears completion

NetNow Apps

Work is now entering the final stages of the Service Impact Management tool for NetNow. Our Impact Calculation Engine (ICE) is expected to be released later in August.

ICE is an autonomous engine developed in Java that calculates the impacts of technology alerts to service models using a number of algorithms.

More about the Impact Calculation Engine

ICE is totally configurable and scalable with any number of engines able to run concurrently on multiple servers giving horizontal scalability. Each ICE engine possesses the ability to manage one or more complete service models or even smaller parts of individual service models. The ICE engine component will be delivering service impact management to NetNow users.

Versions

Meanwhile development of the user interface for building service models is also well under way. NetNow users can use the modelling tools to create the service models that will drive the ICE engine. NetNow users can look forward to full service management capabilities very soon.

Colin Griffiths

Service Summary Widget Taking Shape

A new Service Summary widget is being developed that provides a tabular view consisting of service hierarchical and status data against corresponding technical alerts broken down into zones. It’s a one stop view where you get at a glance information of how you services are performing and the related technical information all in one place. We can see many company’s that operate by service using this new widget as their top level view for their entire business.

 

Jonathan Miles

Search your IT Service Configuration Data as easy as the Web

Have you ever felt daunted by the ever increasing volume of IT service configuration data?

Often just finding a configuration item you already know exists can become a time consuming or cumbersome task.  You may need intimate knowledge of an enterprise specific service infrastructure topology, naming conventions or require expert knowledge of bespoke management tools in order to quickly find what you’re looking for.  I’ve seen it first hand; even domain experts find it difficult sometimes to navigate the masses of services that make up their global operations.

That’s why here a NetNow, when we started development on our new configuration management plugin we insisted on thinking outside the box.  Instantly that meant tree views and other means of manual navigation went out of the window.  We thought long and hard about how we could do it better, how we could provide a simpler more intuitive approach.  Then suddenly it clicked, people should be able to search their IT configuration database as easily as they search the web.  After all, the web is the worlds’ largest configuration repository.

With this idea in mind, we developed the first incarnation of our ‘Google style’ search.  No more complicated search procedures, the user can simply start typing the name or partial name of the configuration item they’re looking for and possible results will appear instantly.

Google style search

As we continue to develop and refine the NetNow platform, we intend to expand these search capabilities to encompass the entire system and everything in it.