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Mirroring Dashboards


Available in SignalFx Enterprise Edition


Overview of dashboard mirrors

Dashboard mirroring allows the same dashboard to be added to multiple dashboard groups (or even multiple times to one dashboard group). All mirrors of a dashboard contain the same charts and chart layout, and the same list of available dashboard variables. A dashboard can be edited from any of its mirrors and any changes made to it are visible in all mirrors. However the dashboard’s name, filters, and dashboard variables can also be customized at the mirror level such that the customizations benefit the users of the mirror on which they are specified without affecting other mirrors.

You can think of a mirror as a grouping of charts (a dashboard) with local overrides (customization settings). These local customizations can be different for each group in which a mirror appears, so that the data shown is relevant to users of that dashboard group. In other words, all users are seeing the same metrics in the same charts, but the mirror can be filtered so that each user sees a view tailored to their requirements.

On a non-mirrored dashboard, all the dashboard content (including filters and dashboard variables) is stored with the dashboard; this is why you need write permissions for a dashboard to make any changes to it. Once a dashboard has been mirrored, it behaves differently from a non-mirrored dashboard:

  • Filter and dashboard variable options you specify on the Overrides bar are stored with the mirror in the current group, so they benefit you without affecting others. Therefore, you need dashboard group permissions to save these changes. You don’t need dashboard permissions to save these changes because they don’t affect the dashboard, only this mirror in this group.
  • Filter customizations for a mirror are visible in the Customization section at the bottom of the Dashboard Info tab. Any filter changes you save here are reflected on the Overrides bar, and the changes are retained if you save the mirror. The reverse is also true; if you make any filter changes on the Overrides bar and then save the mirror, your changes will be reflected in the Customization section at the bottom of the Dashboard Info tab. For more information, see Filter customization.
  • Some dashboard variable customizations for a mirror are visible in in the Customization section at the bottom of the Dashboard Variable tab, including default and suggested values. As with filters, any changes you make here apply only to this mirror, and are saved when you save the mirror. For more information, see Dashboard variable customization.
  • If you have dashboard write permissions, you can make changes to the dashboard, such as adding and moving charts or changing information in the top portions of the Dashboard Info and Dashboard Variable tabs. These changes apply to all mirrors of the dashboard.

Because anyone with write permissions for a dashboard can make changes to it that will affect all mirrors, you will probably want to restrict who can make changes to the dashboard before you create any mirrors from it. Therefore, we recommend that you limit the write permissions on a dashboard before creating any mirrors of it, so that changes are not inadvertently made to it by someone viewing a mirror. (Remember that users of the mirrors will still be able to locally customize their mirror for their use, without affecting viewers of other mirrors.) For more information on how write permissions affect dashboards and mirrors, see Dashboard mirrors and write permissions.

Why mirror dashboards?

Some common use cases for dashboard mirrors are listed below.

  • You have created a dashboard in your user dashboard group, which another user in your organization has found useful. She wants to follow any changes you make to the dashboard without having to go to your personal group, so she adds a mirror of your dashboard to her user dashboard group.
  • You are creating standard dashboards for use by teams throughout your organization. You want all teams to see any changes to the charts in the dashboard, and you want members of each team to be able to set dashboard variable and filter customizations relevant to their requirements. Each team has a dashboard group linked to their team, so you add a mirror of the dashboard to each of these dashboard groups.

Dashboard mirror example

The following example provides a quick overview of the dashboard mirroring feature.

In this example, there is a non-mirrored dashboard named CPU Utilization in dashboard group Project‑1. We filtered this dashboard on AWS availability zone us‑east‑1a.

../_images/project-1.png

We added a mirror of this dashboard in the Project‑2 dashboard group, which we filtered on AWS availability zone us‑east‑1b.

../_images/project-2.png

We now have two mirrors of the same dashboard, seen in two different places with different filters.

We now edited the mirror in group Project‑1, by adding a chart “Mean CPU Utilization.” The filter in this dashboard is still AWS availability zone us‑east‑1a.

../_images/new-chart-project-1.png

When we open the mirror in group Project‑2, we will see the added chart, but with the group’s AWS availability zone us‑east‑1b filter applied.

../_images/new-chart-project-2.png

Creating a mirror

Best practice

As mentioned earlier, if you are working with a dashboard you control, our recommended best practice is to set appropriate write permissions on the dashboard, to prevent inadvertent edits by other users who might be viewing a mirror of the dashboard.

Any SignalFx user can create a mirror of any custom or user dashboard. Users simply need write permission for the dashboard group where they want to place the mirror; they don’t need to have write permissions for the dashboard. (You cannot mirror built-in dashboards.)

You can also add a dashboard mirror to the same group as the current dashboard. You might want to do this, for example, if you want to have quick access to the same set of charts but with different filters or dashboard variable settings.

To create a mirror, select Add a mirror from a dashboard’s Actions menu.

../_images/add-mirror.png

When you create a mirror, you have a number of ways to customize how the mirror will be displayed in the target dashboard group. (Remember that you must have permissions for the group where you want to place the mirror.)

../_images/add-mirror-modal.png

Dashboard group

Select or search for a group where you want the mirror to be placed. Dashboard groups for which you don’t have write permissions will not be available as targets for the mirror.

Dashboard name customization

Optional; specify a name for the mirror in the target group. The name is displayed on the mirror’s tab in the group. If you plan to place the mirror in the same group as the current dashboard, we strongly recommend that you provide a name override. If you don’t, there will be multiple tabs with the same name in the same group.

The default name suggested is the name of the dashboard; it may be different from the displayed name of the dashboard you are currently mirroring. For example, suppose there is a dashboard name Error Count, which has not yet been mirrored. When someone adds a mirror for Error Count, they may override the name to reflect how the mirror will be filtered, such as Error Count‑Region 1. However, the dashboard name is still Error Count.

If you are looking at the mirror named Error Count - Region 1 and decide create a mirror of it, the default name suggested will be Error Count (the name of the dashboard), not Error Count - Region 1 (the name override of the mirror you are currently viewing).

When you are viewing a mirror and select Dashboard info from the Actions menu, the name of the dashboard is shown as the dashboard name. In this illustration, the Dashboard info tab for the mirror named “A mirror of Easy Analytics” is being displayed. As you can see, the Dashboard name at the top shows the dashboard’s name, “Easy Analytics,” and its description. The name and description customizations for the current mirror are indicated in the list of mirrors below.

../_images/mirror-dashboard-info.png

Dashboard description customization

Optional; specify a new description for the mirror in the target group. As with the name, the default will come from the dashboard. A dashboard or mirror’s description is visible when you select Dashboard Info from the Actions menu.

Filter customization

Optional; specify any filters you want applied to the mirror. Default suggestions will be the same as the mirror you are currently viewing. Setting filters here means they will be applied by default on the dashboard in the target group. Viewers of the mirror in that group can later customize those settings if they have write permission for the group.

Saving a mirror

After you click Save, you will be viewing the dashboard mirror you just created, in the target group you specified. Any filter customizations you specified will be displayed in the Overrides bar.

If the dashboard contains dashboard variables, they will be shown in the mirror’s Overrides bar with the same settings as those in the dashboard you just mirrored. You can customize some dashboard variable settings after the mirror is created, as discussed in the next section.

Customizing a mirror

If you are viewing a mirror and have write permissions for the group containing the mirror, you can specify filter and dashboard variable customizations that are different from the dashboard on which the mirror is based. Your changes will apply only to this mirror in the current group.

Name and description customization

See Dashboard name customization and Dashboard description customization.

Filter customization

The discussion in this section assumes you are familiar with adding and using filters.

There are two ways to specify filter customizations for a mirror, using the Overrides bar or using the Dashboard Info tab. As with any dashboard, changes you make to filters on the Overrides bar are applied immediately, which lets you modify your view and explore your data in real time.

../_images/filter-on-bar-1.png

If you apply some filters and want them to be displayed on the mirror by default, click Save to save the mirror with the filters applied.

../_images/filter-on-bar-2.png

If you save the mirror, filters you set on the Overrides bar are stored in the Customization section on the Dashboard Info tab (select Dashboard Info from the mirror’s Actions menu).

../_images/filter-in-tab.png

You can also specify filters directly in the Customization section of the Dashboard Info tab. If you save these changes, the mirror is also saved; that is, these changes are now saved as default settings for this mirror.

On the Dashboard Info tab, anyone with dashboard write permissions can apply filters to the dashboard (in the top portion of the tab). These filters will be applied to all mirrors that don’t have filter customizations applied. For example, in the following illustration, the aws_availability_zone filter will be applied to the mirror because it is a customization for this specific mirror. However, if there was no customization specified, the aws_region filter would be applied to the mirror.

../_images/filter-dashboard-and-mirror.png

Also, if this dashboard is mirrored again, the aws_region filter will be applied by default.

Dashboard variable customization

The discussion in this section assumes you are familiar with adding and using dashboard variables.

You can specify various dashboard variable settings that will apply to this mirror in this dashboard group. Select Dashboard variables from the mirror’s Actions menu.

In the following illustration, the mirror has a dashboard variable for AWS availability zone. No customizations have been specified, the default value is us-east-1a, and some suggested values have been set.

../_images/dbvar-no-override.png

The dashboard variable setting on the Overrides bar reflects the dashboard’s defaults. If you delete the availability zone value and want to choose a different value, the suggested values appear at the top of the list.

../_images/override-bar-non-custom.png

In the following illustration, we’ve specified customizations for the dashboard variable’s default and suggested values, which will apply only to this mirror.

../_images/dbvar-override.png

When these settings are saved, the dashboard variable and the suggested values now reflect the customizations you specified.

../_images/override-bar-custom.png

As discussed in Filter customization above, the following implementation notes apply:

  • You can make changes directly on the Overrides bar; if you save the mirror, these settings will be saved as default values in the Customization section of the Dashboard Variables tab.
  • When you save customization options that you set in the Dashboard Variables tab, the mirror is also saved; that is, these changes are automatically saved as default settings for this mirror.
  • On the Dashboard Variables tab, anyone with dashboard write permissions can add, delete, and edit dashboard variables and their settings (in the top portion of the tab). These variables will be applied to all mirrors that don’t have variable customizations applied.

Dashboard mirrors and write permissions

Because changes made to any dashboard with mirrors are propagated to all mirrors, we recommend that you limit the write permissions on a dashboard before creating any mirrors of it. Users of mirrors in other dashboard groups will able to customize dashboard filters and variables for their use, even if they don’t have permission to modify the dashboard content itself.

The following table summarizes how write permissions and mirrors interact.

Action Need dashboard permission? Need group permission?
Add a dashboard mirror to a group No Yes (for the target group)
Move/resize/edit/delete charts Yes No
Edit settings on the dashboard Overrides bar and save dashboard in the same group

Unmirrored dashboard - yes

Mirrored dashboard - no

Unmirrored dashboard - no

Mirrored dashboard - yes

Delete a mirror from a group (using the Remove mirror menu option) * No Yes
Delete the last mirror of a dashboard (using the Delete dashboard menu option) * Yes No

* When a dashboard has one or more mirrors, the Delete dashboard option is not available; it is replaced with the Remove mirror option. If all mirrors have been removed from the groups in which they were placed, the Delete dashboard option will be available on the last mirror.