Create Smarter Tables with Dynamic Tags

Karl Nordström

Helping you turn insights into actions with vScope

Tagging resources is your way of adding notes or comments about your resources. Usually this is done in some kind of spreadsheets or documentation systems that requires manual upkeep. This is manageable with in a smaller scale but is a daunting task for larger IT organizations. What if there’s a faster and automatic way? There is. A solution called “Dynamic tagging”.

Tagging in vScope

“Tags” in vScope can either be:

  1. Created by vScope (these are automatic)
  2. Created by the user

Those tags that are created and managed by the user can be created in two different ways:

  1. Manual
  2. Dynamic

created directly in the Tag Manager or set manually on the specific properties in Table Explorer or on the Properties pages. Tags are delivered with vScope by default, but can also be user-defined. User-defined tags gives you the possibility to tailor vScope to fit your IT organization’s explicit needs. There are no identical IT organizations and this feature allows you to build even more accurate and powerful reports and analysis perfected for your unique situation.

In this guide we will go through the two different types of user-defined tags available in vScope and how we can work with them.

Just started using vScope? You don’t have to start over from the beginning if you already have tags in place in another system/documentation. You can import them via vScope’s open API.

Manual & Dynamic tags

User-defined tags are either Manual or Dynamic. Manual tags are notes that you stick to certain resources in your datacenter, while Dynamic tags are based on set rules and gives you the opportunity to automatically tag your resources.

Manual tags – for micro managing resources

Working with manual tags is like post-it notes that you stick to certain resources in your infrastructe.  You can later use these post-its to document your different resources; what’s their purpose, who’s the owner, what projects do they belong to etc.

To create a manual tag you can simply right click on a resource and click “Add tag“. In this example we’re going to create the tag Site.

Example

1. The company have added a few new machines in vScope that we wish to create a Site tag for to easily be able to separate them from our other sites. I right click the resource and click “Add tag”

manual tag

2. We give the tag its appropiate name (Site) and can also write the value. The new machines in this example belong to a site in Gothenburg, so we write Gothenburg as the value.

manual tag

3. If we want to manage the tags for a resource we can right click the resource in a table or search for it using the Omnisearch. Highlighted in the image below is the current tags for a resource, including the default tags that we can also fill in for a richer documentation.

Now it’s rinse and repeat for the rest of the resources located on our site in Gothenburg. This achieves an accurate but tedious documentation and might work in a smaller scale, but what if we need to tag hundreds of resources at the same time? That’s what dynamic tags are for!

Dynamic tags – automatic tagging

By using dynamic tags we can automatically tag new and old resources in vScope. After setting up criterias we can tag the resources by sites based on IP or Function based on server name.

After specifying the tagging rules, the Dynamic tag’s values can be defined in three different ways:

  1. A fixed value – like mapping a site or a customer to a certain IP range
  2. A value based on another tag – when you want to automatically map customers from a VMware folder structure, but you want to filter some folders out
  3. Value based on a tag from a related resource – version of an installed software tagged directly to a machine

Example

We have two different sites for our machines, Malmö and Gothenburg. We want to tag these automatically for a better overview of the resources with the help of a dynamic tag with a fixed value.

1. We start by opening up the Tag Manager in the menu to the left.

dynamic tags

When opened we can see all the different tags that are currently available, most of them are default tags, but since we want to create a new one we click “Create Dynamic Tag“. (Also possible through the Table Explorer and “+ Create Tag“.)

dynamic tags

2. Once in the Dynamic Tag builder we can see the preview of the tag in action in the Table Explorer.

dynamic tags

We start by creating the tag for our site Malmö. We name the tag “Site” with the fixed value “Malmö“, but we’re not done there. We also have to add the IP range for the site. We do this by filtering the IPv4 in the filter panel to the right, for Malmö this means “192.168.11*”. Now we’re done creating the dynamic tag. Don’t forget to save it!

dynamic tags

We can redo the process for the second site in Gothenburg as well. Now we want to see them in action!

3. Open up Table Explorer and create a new table for All Machines. We can add the dynamic tag in two ways:

1. The first way is by adding the column for the new tag “Site” and we can see where each machine is located.dynamic tags

2. But it’s still kinda messy… We want to separate the two Sites from each other in different sheets for even better documentation. This can be done by grouping the table by tag in the bottom left corner, in this case our tag Site. Voilá!

dynamic tags

We have two sheets in the table for Malmö and Gothenburg. Time to develop the table further and share it with your colleagues!

Importing tags to vScope

There’s no need to fret if you’ve recently started using vScope and already have notes/tags in your previous system and documentation that you want to reuse. Since vScope 3.4, it’s possible to import tags from xlsx documents via the API. These tags will be converted to manual tags in vScope. You can find more information about tag importing here.

Ending notes

Setting up the tags initially in vScope might take a little time but is nothing in comparison to the traditional upkeep of the documentation. A few hours of your time can save weeks in the long run. Enjoy an automated IT documentation configured for your specific infrastructure and spend your valuable time on more important matters.

What unique tags are you using in your organization? Contact us if you want to talk about vScope or discuss what tags you can use.

Karl Nordström

Customer Success

Contact Me

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2018-09-18T07:59:41+00:00