4 minute readApplies to: v4

What is VADA?

Introduction

Visual Application Discovery & Analysis (aka “VADA”) allows you to automatically discover and map your applications and troubleshoot server connections.

VADA is used in two areas of Squared Up:

  1. Mapping Enterprise Applications(EAs) in the EA Designer using the Map perspective.

  2. On the VADA perspective on any server or SQL database page.

VADA Analyze Mode

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. It uses the agent task "Get Netstat" for Windows and Unix, and these are run on a node when VADA discovery is performed against it. VADA then uses that Netstat information to dynamically map connections between your nodes, using advanced modelling algorithms.

Netstat Data on Demand

Discover mode

When you first map an Enterprise Application or troubleshoot using the VADA perspective, VADA starts running in Discover mode.

Discovery will automatically run to show you any components, services and processes running.

VADA perspective

VADA Web App Icon The globe indicates a web application.

VADA Database Icon The stack indicates a database.

VADA Service Icon The cog indicates a service.

No icon means it is a process.

Filtering

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 Squared Up 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).

VADA Global Filter

Greyed out processes have already been added to global filters.

Upstream connections are closed by default, but you can expand these if you wish:

Expand Connections

Monitored and unmonitored nodes

VADA is capable of discovering not only nodes that are already monitored by SCOM (shown as a grey, sharp-cornered rectangle) but also unmonitored end-points (shown as a grey 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:

Known SCOM Object

A rounded-end rectangle means it's an unknown / unmonitored endpoint:

Unknown Endpoint

You can also manually remove any discovered nodes or dependencies that you don't want to be a part of your application model.

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.

Analyze

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 dashboard the Map perspective uses Analyze mode.

When you're looking at the VADA perspective on any server page you can toggle between Discover and Analyze modes using the buttons up the top right.

VADA Analyze Mode

In Analyze mode you can drilldown to any graph or object for more information.

Try VADA

VADA is available with the free, 30 day trial and Enterprise Application Monitoring (EAM).

You may also like to take a look at the following webinars:

Troubleshooting Visual Application Discovery and Analysis (VADA)

What are Enterprise Applications?

How to create Enterprise Applications

How to use the VADA perspective

Webinar: An introduction to Visual Application Discovery & Analysis (VADA)

Webinar: Outside-in monitoring for applications

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