The New Devices Page: Getting Beta All the Time

The page-formerly-known-as-Hosts (now Devices) came out a few weeks ago in beta (aka Alpha).  Thank you so much to everyone who bravely waded in, tried it out, and gave us an incredible amount of feedback.  Even as you read this, top men and women are working on the experience to make it faster and better than either the old Hosts page or this current version of the beta Devices page.  Here are some highlights of what’s there now and the new hotness that’s just around the corner.

Compare instances across separate devices faster

Now: Add any group, device, datasource, or instance to the Favorites panel by navigating to that item (Tip: Did you know you can do this entirely with your cursor keys?) and dragging it to the Favorites.  Then click on items in the Favorites panel to quickly switch back and forth between items without having to re-find them in the tree.

Soon: The Favorites panel shall henceforth be called the Compare panel (since that’s what it’s there for).  And you’ll be able to add to it faster with a keyboard shortcut, as well as a link on the main panel.  More importantly, selecting items on the Compare panel will display their information in the main panel without updating the tree.  That means you’ll be able to easily compare items in the tree with items in the Compare panel and back again without losing your place.

Compare instances on a device like you’d expect

Now: In the current, regular UI, navigating a traditional tree control with hundreds or thousands of child nodes is a pretty terrible user experience.  We addressed this by changing the device navigation to an isolation model, where you drill into your target and only one level of the tree is seen at a time.  This works great when dealing with device groups and large numbers of devices, but it greatly limits your ability to easily compare instances within the same device (drill in, back out, next instance, drill in, etc).

Soon: Groups and devices will still use isolation views, but once you drill into a device, all datasource groups, datasources, instance groups, and instances will expand in place like a traditional tree control.  You’ll be able to compare between instances on the same device without re-navigating.

Compare instances on a device like you wouldn’t expect

Now: While it’s true that we’re improving your ability to move between instances on a Device, there’s an even better way.  The Device Data tab allows you to add instance and overview graphs to the device level, which means that, once you set it up, you may not even need to go to the instance level to identify a problem.  The immediate feedback we heard was that this new feature could be awesome, albeit with some important tweaks.

Soon: The Device Data tab will soon have two different modes: the Device view and Device Dashboards.  The Device view is more or less what’s there now, but you’ll be able to add all the graphs within a datasource or instance at once instead of drilling down to pick individual graphs.  The Device Dashboards will allow you to create a Dashboard template that can be applied to any devices that match your criteria (based on device types, group membership, regex match, etc), and any device can have multiple Device Dashboards applied.

Add a few devices to the new Compare panel, flip back and forth between them to view their Data tabs, and you’ve got a way to compare and identify problems faster and smoother than ever before!

But wait, there’s more!!

These are just a few of the important new features that are in the beta Devices page, and the ways in which we’re making them better (largely based on your feedback).  There are also optimizations being made to Device search, the Device SDT tab, the Traffic tab (formerly “Netflow”; it’s pretty cool, if you haven’t seen it yet), and a lot of other small tweaks.  If you haven’t poked around the beta Devices page, take a look at what’s new (or wait a few weeks until all these improvements get made).

Your feedback = Better Beta, Better Product

Try out the new Devices page (and the rest of the new UI), and let us know what you think.  Yes, we eat our own dog food and our TechOps guys gave us a lot of the same suggestions (which only validates how brilliant your feedback was), but a lot of these changes are due to the comments you gave via our support folks.  Please keep it coming – we’d especially like to hear what you think about the upcoming changes once they’re available.