When it comes to system names there are many schools of thought on how to best approach this – whether it be descriptive, based on a serial number or tag, by function, or even by a theme of some sort; Enterprise, Lexington, Endeavor, Excelsior, Defiant, etc. (Think Star Trek). However, when it comes to viewing lists of systems, especially in larger environments, these cutesy or numerically ordered system names may leave you wondering exactly which one is which and what it actually does.
The same goes for network devices. If DNS or a host file is not setup to handle resolving names, you may be getting a list of IP addresses. Not very helpful.
When viewing this list of systems in ELM there is a way to help clarify what you’re looking at and get past the cryptic names or IP addresses you would otherwise have to reverse engineer. We’ll do this by utilizing the description field in Agent Properties.
To start with we should mention that during Agent Deployment a description field is not part of the wizard that walks you through installation. However, you can break your list of systems down into bite-sized chunks by approaching this task one Monitoring Category at a time if that would help to ease any overwhelming feeling when you first see the long list in the All Agents category.
For demonstration purposes, we’re going to take a look at the systems in our SalesLab. While the naming convention used seems straightforward enough, unless we’re very familiar with each of these systems, it’s hard to tell out of the gate what they are, maybe what they do, or even where they’re located if that is applicable.
What’s the difference between 10.11.1.220 and 10.11.1.230?
Which one of those is the Cisco?
Which Saleslab is our Domain Controller?
To begin we’ll right click on the first Saleslab system, and take a look at it’s Properties.
The first tab on the Agent Properties is the Description field. Here you can put just about anything you want or that makes sense for your environment. If your system names are not descriptive at all, a quick search of the web will yield some ideas for naming conventions that you could benefit by putting into play. Some examples include:
SV – Servers Windows Event Log Monitoring
IIS – Web Servers
WS – Workstations
MSX – Mail Servers
PR – Printers
SQL – SQL Servers
TS – Terminal Servers
SMS – SMS Servers
DC – Domain Controllers
APP– Application Servers
For our example we’re going to use the geographic location and function this Saleslab machine performs.
Continuing on you can see we’ve added descriptions for a few more of our machines in this lab.
You can add descriptions to all of the systems that being are monitored with ELM and it can pay in more ways than first realized..
If the naming convention with abbreviated letters (SV, WS, etc) mentioned earlier was used in your description fields you’ve just opened up another sorting option within the ELM Console by being able to sort the list of systems you are viewing by the Description field. All Servers will be grouped together, all Workstations, all geographical locations, etc. Bonus!
We hope that you found this article on Utilizing the Agent Description Field for Better System Monitoring Organization informative and useful and wish you continued success with ELM.