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CA Unified Infrastructure Management - 8.31
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The Relationship Viewer Portlet

Last update November 1, 2017

Note: This article assumes that you have already configured UIM Configure Topology and Root Cause Analysis.

The Relationship Viewer portlet in UMP provides a graphical view of managed elements and their relationships to one another. Managed elements appear as icons, connected by lines that represent the relationships between them.

The Relationship Viewer displays information that is created by various applications -- you might have any number of them. With this flexibility, the Relationship Viewer can depict almost any kind of objects and their relationships:

  • Computers and network device icons, with the relationship line indicating a network connection between two of them.
  • User and service icons, with the relationship line indicating a user's subscription to a service.
  • Physical locations, with the relationship line indicating perhaps a direct transportation route or some other link between locations.

In addition, the icons and lines may each have visual attributes that depict the state of the element or relationship. For example, if the underlying data provides it, the operational status of a router may be shown as in a "Normal" state, "Failure" state, or other states.

Controls in the Relationship Viewer let you navigate the view in various ways, such as zooming, panning, altering the layout, and so on.

Clicking the mouse on an icon or connecting line causes a descriptive panel to pop-up. For example, clicking on a router icon will display a panel that includes key information about the router including its name, state, address, and so on. Some descriptive panels may offer buttons or links to further detail about the object.

Content

Access the Relationship Viewer

There are three ways to access the Relationship Viewer:

  • Portal access via the USM Actions menu
    The most common way to access the Relationship Viewer is by choosing Launch Relationship Viewer from the Actions menu in the Unified Service Manager (USM) portlet.

    Note: The Launch Relationship Viewer menu option is present only if the relationship_services probe is running and at least one relationship exists for the selected group or group member.

    If you first select a group or specific managed element, the Relationship Viewer opens with the selected element(s) centered and with the radius slider visible. If you do not make such a selection first, the Relationship Viewer opens with all managed elements visible at the lowest zoom level.
    If multiple relationships are available, a sub-menu of your choices is displayed when you click Launch Relationship Viewer; click your preference to open the Relationship Viewer using that relationship.

  • Adding the Relationship Viewer to a Portal page
    You can add the Relationship Viewer to any page in your portal in the same way you add any other application. See Add Pages and Portlets in UMP.
  • Adding a Web Content application to a Portal page
    Using the UMP WebContent portlet, you can create a URL that opens the Relationship Viewer. This lets you place multiple Relationship Viewers on a single portal page, which can be useful if you want to have separate views for different contexts (say, Building-1 and Building-2).

Change What You See

By clicking on a managed element or relationship line in the Relationship Viewer, you can get further details about the element or relationship. The specific details depend on the underlying application, and will vary accordingly.

Navigate Within the Picture

You navigate within the view by zooming in on a part of it, or by panning the view port to various areas when the entire view is too large to fit within the boundaries of the window.
To zoom in or out, you can do any of the following actions:

  • Drag the Zoom slider right or left to zoom in and out, respectively.
  • Drag the handle of the view port indicator in the Radar View.
  • Use the mouse wheel (providing you have one).

To pan across a view that exceeds the size of the view port, you can either drag the view port indicator in the Radar View or use the scroll bars along the edges of the view port. There is also a "magnifier" tool that simulates a circular magnifying glass that follows your mouse over the view. This can be helpful when a region of the view is especially detailed.

Change the Layout Style

There are several kinds of layouts available:

  • Circular
  • Organic
  • Orthogonal
  • Hierarchic

Each one displays the same managed elements and relationships, but different layouts are more natural for different situations:

  • Circular Layout
    A circular layout emphasizes group and tree structures among related elements, arranging significant groups as separate circles. These separate circles are presented in as a radial tree, with connections between them.
    This layout emphasizes group and tree structures within the relationships.
  • Hierarchical Layout
    A hierarchical layout is primarily used when the relationships being modeled are directed. The elements are placed a hierarchy, and most relationship lines are similarly oriented. For example, the lines may generally run from top-to-bottom.
    The hierarchical layout style is good for showing dependency relations between elements, particularly any chain of dependencies between the elements. It is not a particularly good layout for symmetric relationships, such as network connections.
  • Organic Layout
    An organic layout is a general purpose layout for symmetric relationships. It can be used with complex networks, including enterprise networking or system management.
    In essence, elements are treated as physical objects with a repulsive force, while connections are treated as springs attached to each pair of elements. The springs produce repulsive or attractive forces between their end points depending on their degree of stretch or compression. In the end, this layout arranges the elements in a way that balances all these pseudo-forces.
    Depending on the relationships involved, this layout can help you visualize inherent symmetries and clusters within the data, and show a well-balanced distribution of elements with a minimum of edge crossings
  • Orthogonal Layout
    An orthogonal layout produces a "bus-oriented" layout. Common connection lines are shown in parallel. This layout can be used to visualize commonalities across relationships.

Change the Relationship

If the underlying applications model more than one type of relationship, you can select which type of relationship you want to view for the current managed elements.

Change the Radius

If the Relationship Viewer is launched with the context of specified elements (including groups of elements), it includes the "Radius" slider. Such context is most frequently seen when launching the Relationship Viewer from the Unified Service Manager (USM) portlet. The Radius slider lets you adjust the radius of relationships shown from those elements.

View Object Details

By clicking on a managed element or relationship line in the Relationship Viewer, you can get further details about the element or relationship. The specific details depend on the underlying application, and will vary accordingly.

Managed Element Details

Click on any managed element to display a panel of information about that element.

This panel includes the following information:

  • The primary name of the element.
  • A symbol for the element, chosen to represent its type.
  • A block of information about the element, including its class, manufacturer, and type.
  • A logo that quickly identifies the manufacturer of the element.
  • A button that lets you quickly access any alarm information about the element.
  • A state indicator, which shows you the current state of the element is at a glance.
  • At the bottom of the panel there is an arrow pointing downwards. Click this arrow to display a table of the elements properties and values according to data stored for it.

Relationship Details

Click on any relationship line that connects managed elements to display a panel of information about that relationship. This panel includes the following information:

  • The type of the relationship.
  • A symbol representing the status and type of relationship.
    • A blue arrow with two points indicates a symmetric relationship.
    • A blue arrow with one point indicates directional relationship.

For each of the related elements, the panel includes the following:

  • A symbol chosen to represent the element's type.
  • The primary name of the element.
  • The class of the element.
  • Port information for each element with respect to the relationship. In this instance, the word "port" should be taken to be generic. That is "port information" is information about the means by which the element is related to the other.

Launch the Relationship Viewer Using the WebContent Portlet

This section shows you how to form a URL that will launch the Relationship Viewer using the WebContent portlet.

Note: A URL constructed according to the information in this section can be used to open the Relationship Viewer in any browser at any location. For example, you could use such a URL from your computer at home. To accomplish this, simply prefix the Source URL as defined below with http://< host> [: port ]. You can use the link icon in the Relationship Viewer to obtain most of the URL; remember that the username and userspass parameters are mandatory. You will have to add them after copying the URL.

First, add a Web Content application to your target page. Once the Web Content application is added, a link prompts you to configure it. Click the link to open the the WebContent editor, where you will enter the URL information.

The format of a full Source URL is as follows:

/relationshipviewer/jsp/standalone.jsp?type=type&relationship=relationship_name&elements=id&radius=integer&user=username&password=userpass
Note: All URL parameters except username and userpass are optional. The parameters can be in an arbitrary order. Also note that you should use URL encodings for certain characters of the values. See, for example, the W3schools web-site (not affiliated with CA UIM).

As shown in the above example, the parameters for the URL are separated by an ampersand character -- &. They are defined as follows:

type=type
  • type
    The type of managed element or elements to display.
    Options: computer, group, or configuration_item
    Default: computer

Example:

 ...&type=group&...
relationship=relationship_name
  • relationship_name
    The relationship type, e.g., physical_connection, which is the relation type used for modeling topology.
    Other options depend on what other relationships are available with your installed applications
    Default: physical_connection

Example:

...&relationship_name=physical%5Fconnection&...

Note that the underscore character is encoded in the value.

elements=id
  • id
    Obtaining group IDs and/or device IDs to use in the elements parameter(s) requires that you inspect your database to find the necessary identifiers. You will need to look for identifiers of these types:
    • csId: the unique id of a computer system. csIds constitute a column in the CM_COMPUTER_SYSTEM table.
    • ciId: the unique id of a configuration item. ciIds constitute a column in the CM_CONFIGURATION_ITEM table.
    • grp_id: the unique ID of a group. grp_ids constitute a column in the CM_GROUP table.
    There can be any number of elements parameters, separated by ampersands. That is, you can have multiple elements parameters, but each can specify only one id.

Example:

...&elements=256&elements=257&elements=4572&...
user=username
  • username
    The user's login identification in clear text. This is a required parameter, with no default value.

Example:

...&user=TimA&...
password=userpass
  • userpass
    The user's login password in clear text.This is a required parameter, with no default value.

Example:

...&password=piAlaMode4me
radius=integer
  • integer
    The desired radius (number of hops from specified systems or group members) to show in the view.
    Options: any integer value.
    Default: unconstrained radius.

Example:

...&radius=1&...

The Relationship Viewer Control Bar

The controls for the Relationship Viewer are all located at the top of the screen.

  • Show/Hide Radar View (button)
    Toggles the radar view (an overlay with a small representation of the whole) on or off.
  • Layout Style (selection list)
    Lets you select which style of layout you prefer.
  • Magnify (button)
    Toggles the magnifier (a simulated magnifying glass that follows the mouse) on or off.
  • Zoom (slider)
    Dragging the indicator right zooms in on the view; dragging it left zooms out.
  • Radius (slider)
    Visible only when the Relationship Viewer is launched with a context (system, or group), dragging this slider changes the radius of visible relationships.
  • Relationship (selection list)
    Lets you select which kind of relationship you want displayed, providing that the underlying applications support multiple types of relationships.
  • Search (button)
    Activates a search for the entity in the text field.
  • Search entry (field)
    Enter an identifier for the managed element you want to locate, and click the "Search" button.
  • Clear
    Clears the search field, removes the "matched element" glow, and resets the zoom to show everything.
  • Get Link URL
    Opens a small window that displays the URL of the current view. You can copy this and use it as the basis for a building a URL to use in the WebContent portlet, or to launch the Relationship Viewer from an arbitrary browser.

The Radar View Button

The Radar View, a small representation of the whole view, is the key to easy navigation within the Relationship Viewer. It is an overlay in the top left corner of the main window, as shown below.

Use the "Show/Hide Radar View" button to alternately show or hide the Radar View. The shaded rectangle within the boundary of the Radar View. It shows the dimensions and location of the current view port with respect to the main view.

You can click anywhere within the shaded rectangle and drag it to a new region of the main view. The view port reflects the change as you drag.

Also note the small black square, or handle, at the lower right corner of the view port locater. You can drag that handle to resize the view port indicator, which at the same time zooms the view in the main window accordingly.

Change Layout Style Selector

This selector looks like a labeled button, with a drop-down arrow on the right-hand end. The label indicates the current layout style.

Click the drop-down arrow to open a list of available layouts. Each layout style displays the same managed elements and relationships, but different layouts are more natural for different situations.

Magnify Button

The Magnifier simulates a circular magnifying glass on the view port, as shown below. You can click on an element or relationship to view its details panel even when using the magnifier.

Use the "Magnify" button to turn the Magnifier on or off.

Zoom Slider

Drag the Zoom control to zoom in or out of the main view. Dragging the indicator left zooms out; dragging it right zooms in.

Radius Slider

Drag the Radius control  to set the maximum radius visible from selected elements in your view.

Note: Because radius is based on hops from specific managed elements, this control is only available if you select a specific managed element or group of elements when opening the Relationship Viewer.

Example:
Providing you have the CA UIM topology application installed, one useful application of this control is to launch the Relationship Viewer with a context such as, say, "Servers". Setting the radius to zero places all the servers in the view. By incrementally increasing the radius, you can observe how and where their connections are related.

Relationship Selector

This selector looks like a labeled button, with a drop-down arrow on the right-hand end. The label indicates the current relationship being depicted. For example, the CA UIM infrastructure models network topology; in this case, the label is Network Connectivity. If applications that create elements and relationships model multiple different relationships, click the drop-down arrow of the Relationship Selector to choose which type of relationship you want to view. The availability of different relationships depends on what additional applications are present in your installation.

Search and Clear Search Controls

You can easily locate any managed element and center it in the view by performing a search on its name. The Search button, search entry field, and Clear button appear in that order near the right-hand end of the Relationship Viewer Control bar.

To search for specific managed elements

  1. Enter an identifier for the managed element in the text entry field beside the "Search" button. Valid identifiers include the following:
    • Name
    • Class
    • State
    • IP address
    • MAC address.
    You can use a wildcard character (*) at the beginning, end, or both ends of the search text. The following are all valid search parameters:
    • MySwitch -- finds the element with the name "MySwitch", if it exists.
    • *Switch -- finds any and all elements that end with the string "Switch".
    • *building1* -- finds any and all elements that contain the string "building1"
    • My* -- finds any and all elements that begin with the string "My".
    • 10.0.4.6 -- finds the element with the address "10.0.4.6", if it exists.
    • 10.0.4.* -- finds any and all elements whose addresses begin with "10.0.4".
    • *.6 -- finds any and all elements whose addresses end with "6".
    • *.4.* -- finds any and all elements that include a field in their address with the value "4"
    Note: You can only use a wildcard character at the beginning or end of a search term (or both ends). You can not embed one within a search term. For example, the following is an invalid search term: 10.*.4.*
  2. Click the Search button. If a managed element by that name exists, the Relationship Viewer zooms in to it. If more than one element matches the search, the Relationship Viewer zooms in to a point where all elements are visible in the view port. All elements that match the search are highlighted with a green glow.  If no managed element matches the search criteria, the search entry box turns red. No objects are highlighted as a result of the search.
  3. Subsequent searches after the first add new elements to the set of highlighted elements; that is, existing highlights remain. To remove the highlights, press the Clear button to the right of the search entry field.
Note: The search function examines all relevant identifiers in the database to find a match. This means it may find a match on a subordinate identifier, not the one used to label the object in the view. This is, of course, a valid match but may not appear so at first.

Get Link URL Button

At the extreme right edge of the Relationship Viewer, you will notice the Get Link URL button.

Click this button to open a small window that contains a template URL to the current view. You can use the Copy to Clipboard button, if applicable in your environment, to capture the URL. You can use the template URL as the basis for a building a functional URL to use in the WebContent portlet, or to launch the Relationship Viewer from an arbitrary browser.

The template URL does not include authentication information.

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