Supporting Disaster Recovery with Dynatrace at NYCM

When disaster strikes, it is important to react fast and get live updates on the recovery progress of the business and mission-critical systems. Dynatrace not only makes it easy to monitor all critical systems (hosts, processes, services, applications, users, network, cloud, custom devices, …) but thanks to the metadata the Dynatrace OneAgent captures for each entity, you can organize, filter, get alerted and get an overview of your system based on data that is relevant to the different stakeholders!

Chad Turner, Dynatrace Certified Associate at NYCM, has reached out to me to share his latest success story on how Dynatrace helped him fulfill a request from their Senior VP of IT. This was the ask: “Can Dynatrace provide me with a dashboard that will show our Business Critical devices and have them in the correct order as if we were in Disaster Recovery?”

After some brainstorming, Chad and team decided to build a dashboard following their VMWare DR-SRM Flow. Each virtual machine on their VMWare private cloud follows a specific naming scheme that reflects the DR-SRM Priority Level (1-21). With an auto-tagging rule, Dynatrace can convert this priority level into a tag. This allows Chad to create the below dashboard showing the health of each Priority Group (bottom left). On top of that they added additional information such as iSeries & current user activity:

Dynatrace gives management a health overview of each host grouped by DR-SRM Priority Level with additional information such as iSeries and User Activity
Dynatrace gives management a health overview of each host grouped by DR-SRM Priority Level with additional information such as iSeries and User Activity

As Dynatrace dashboards can easily be shared with different groups, it enables everyone that needs to get a live update on system status to simply watch that dashboard. As Chad put it in his email to me: “This dashboard completely removes the need of management standing behind the DR team and asking about the status as they work on bringing up hosts and processes in their specific order!”

On the top right, Chad also added a Markdown tile to list those hosts that are currently not yet monitored with Dynatrace. This is a great way to show the progress of rolling out Dynatrace until it covers 100% of their environment!

Tips on Dynatrace Auto Tagging

If you haven’t explored the power of auto-tagging rules, I suggest you check out my 101 Tagging Performance Clinic I recorded with Mike Gibbons.

As mentioned above, Chad uses an auto-tagging rule that creates a tag with the name “DR-SRM Priority Level”. The rule filters on those VMWare Hosts that follow their special DR-SRM Naming scheme (see conditions). Additionally, he gives that tag the priority level number, e.g: 1, 2, 3 …

Auto Tagging Rule for VMWare hosts matching the DR-SRM Naming Convention! Will tag each host with “DR-SRM Priority Level: Level X”
Auto Tagging Rule for VMWare hosts matching the DR-SRM Naming Convention! Will tag each host with “DR-SRM Priority Level: Level X”

In his case, Chad was creating individual rules for each Priority Level. But here is my Pro-Tip to Chad.

I think these individual rules can be optimized into a single rule. Assuming this is a sample VMWare Hostname: HostABC-P1-PRD I can create a rule that extracts P1 and use it as the option tag value. I have to admit that I am not an expert in RegEx – so – maybe there is a better and more efficient way – but – here is how I would create that rule:

Tag rule that extracts part of the VMWare host name and uses it as the tag value
Tag rule that extracts part of the VMWare hostname and uses it as the tag value

My rule above will be applied to all hosts that end with the name -prd. That condition is necessary so that Dynatrace is not evaluating this across all your hosts, but just those where you want this tag to be placed. The optional tag value then starts with “Priority” but will additionally extract the text between the two – (dashes). There are some great blog posts from Michael Kopp on using RegEx’s for Dynatrace Tagging and Naming. There is also a good doc page that explains How to use RegEx in Dynatrace.

Now – once the rule is set the tags will show up on the hosts. Here is a screenshot Chad shared with me showing the tag on one of the VMware hosts:

Every host is now automatically tagged with he DR-SRM Priority Level!
Every host is now automatically tagged with the DR-SRM Priority Level!

And because tags can be used for filtering, alerting rules or management zones we can immediately start using them. Here is another screenshot that Chad sent over showing how to use these tags to filter his host list!

Tags can immediately be used to filter your data in the dynatrace views or in your dashboard tiles
Tags can immediately be used to filter your data in the Dynatrace views or in your dashboard tiles

Try it yourself – and start sharing!

If you have your own special use cases and success stories with Dynatrace, let me know. I am more than happy to write them down as a blog and share it with the larger community!

If you haven’t used Dynatrace, just get your own Dynatrace SaaS Trial. If you happen to be a partner or customer, remember that we recently announced the Dynatrace Developer Instance that you can use to explore Dynatrace and build extensions. Last but not least – check out the rest of my YouTube Performance Clinics to learn more about how to use Dynatrace for different use cases.

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