Visual Application Discovery & Analysis (VADA)
VADA (Visual Application Discovery & Analysis) allows you to automatically discover and map your applications and troubleshoot server connections.
VADA is used in two areas of Dashboard Server:
- Mapping Enterprise Applications (EAs) (see Enterprise Applications) in the EA Designer using the Map perspective.
- On the VADA perspective (see How to use the VADA perspective) on any server or SQL database page.
How it works: The Basics
VADA is designed to be as simple and lightweight as possible, powered by SCOM agent tasks which are run on-demand. These agent tasks are run via VADA Discovery Sources and management packs upon which they depend. VADA then uses the resulting information to dynamically map connections between your devices and contained sub-components, using advanced modelling algorithms.
When you first map an Enterprise Application or troubleshoot using the VADA perspective, VADA starts running in Discover mode.
Discovery will automatically run, and show you any components, services and processes running. It uses headings and icons to indicate the kind of sub-component displayed.
A globe indicates an IIS website.
indicates an IIS application pool:
A code sheet indicates an IIS ASP.Net Application.
A stack indicates a database.
A cog indicates a service.
Component level discovery is supported for:
- IIS websites
- IIS ASP.Net endpoints
- IIS application pools
- SQL 2005 to 2019
- Windows services
- Windows processes
- Linux processes (Linux and Windows versions of Netstat are supported, so Linux and Windows machines will show network links and processes. Unix machines cannot show network links and processes).
- Oracle databases
- F5 load balancers
- Kemp load balancers
- NetScaler load balancers
Anything else that is monitored by SCOM as an object, for example logical disks, can be manually added.
If further discoveries are possible then a blue information icon saying Add discovery (see 'Add Discovery' or 'Discovery Error' in VADA) will be shown. This allows you to click through and install any missing management packs, which will enable these objects to be discovered and shown on the diagram.
For any issues with VADA discovery see Troubleshooting Visual Application Discovery and Analysis (VADA) for example SQL servers or databases may not be discovered when used on a failover cluster or Always On Availability group.
Filtering allows you to add or remove components, services and processes from your VADA maps, allowing you to easily exclude commonplace or unrelated services from your map. Obvious examples to leave filtered out would be tools like Configuration Manager, backup software like DoubleTake or Veeam and indeed SCOM itself. In other words, common processes running against your nodes but which don't form part of the application itself.
In Dashboard Server v4 VADA works by allowing you to filter in the components, services and processes you want to see. Click add next to any that you want to include in the map. The filter button allows you to add an item to the global filter which means it will be filtered out of all future discoveries. (You can manage global filters from the right-hand menu ☰ > system > EAM).
Grayed out processes have already been added to global filters.
Upstream connections are closed by default, but you can expand these if you wish:
Monitored and unmonitored nodes
VADA is capable of discovering not only nodes that are already monitored by SCOM (shown as a gray, sharp-cornered rectangle) but also unmonitored end-points (shown as a gray rounded-rectangle); this means VADA is also great for discovering;
- unmonitored nodes that should be added to SCOM
- revealing external dependencies that your app relies upon and which should therefore be incorporated into your monitoring strategy (for example, by setting up a synthetic transaction against a third-party web dependency).
A regular rectangle denotes that it's a known SCOM object:
A rounded-end rectangle means it's an unknown / unmonitored endpoint:
You can also manually remove any discovered nodes or dependencies that you don't want to be a part of your application model.
Undiscovered nodes and components
One limitation of VADA is that, because it's run on-demand, you are reliant on there being active communication between nodes at the point of discovery in order for the connection to be discovered. Clearly, there are certain scenarios where this may lead to a node being excluded from an application topology; for example, if an application includes a server that runs a batch job overnight, or if a server that normally forms part of the application has temporarily been shut-down for maintenance.
However, VADA makes it easy to incorporate these known dependencies into your application topology with the ability to manually add nodes, assisted by a fast, simple search function.
Large number of connections
If 10 or more connections are discovered, then they're kept closed by default, but you can click to view an un-filtered list, and page through discoveries.
There is also a search option which includes wildcard support for * and ?.
You can then click add to add to your map or drag-and-drop to desired location.
The beauty of VADA is that it uses all your existing SCOM data to provide you with a complete picture.
When you're viewing an Enterprise Application (see Enterprise Applications) dashboard the Map perspective uses Analyze mode.
When you're looking at the VADA perspective (see How to use the VADA perspective) on any server page you can toggle between Discover and Analyze modes using the buttons up the top right.
In Analyze mode you can drilldown to any graph or object for more information.
You may also like to take a look at the following webinars: