Cisco Insight Reporter v2.0 User Guide
General Overview
Downloads: This chapterpdf (PDF - 428.0KB) The complete bookPDF (PDF - 3.87MB) | Feedback

General Overview

Table Of Contents

General Overview


About Cisco Insight v2

Features Overview

Deployment Scenarios

Multi-tenancy Scenarios

Localization and Time Zone

Authentication or Authorization

Look and Feel

SCE Terminology

Favorite Reports

Scheduled Run

Report Presentation Configuration

Search Tool

Context Sensitive Help

Application Settings

Network Topology

Account Management


Application Monitoring

General Overview

Revised: December 22, 2010, OL-24156-01


This chapter provides a general overview of the Cisco Insight v2 application. It introduces the product concept, key features, and reporting capabilities.

This chapter contains the following sections:

About Cisco Insight v2

Features Overview

About Cisco Insight v2

Cisco Insight v2, an extended version of Cisco Insight Reporter, is a software platform based on a web 2.0 user experience standard, designed to collect and present reports, charts, and statistics about the traffic data collected by Cisco SCE devices. Cisco Insight v2 supports all reports available in SCA BB Release 3.5.5, 3.5.0, 3.6.0, and 3.6.5.

Some of its highly developed features are:

Appealing and easy-to-use user interface, that gives the best experience in terms of usability and computer graphics.

Supports multi vendor databases (MySQL, Oracle, and Sybase).

Scalable back-end application with the ability to address distributed data storage.

Highly customizable on per-user basis in terms of reports and views. It enables the operator to target the needs of all roles within the different company departments (IT, Operations, Marketing).

Scalable architecture for targeting both the mid-small and large ISP markets.

Provides localization at menu voices and page layouts level to target the ISP market on a global basis.

Flexible role-based model for authentication and authorization.

Robust and customizable framework for report running, generation, and presentation.

Enhanced notification mechanism.

Support for existing Insight v1.0 reports and additional new reports to be supported.

Multi-user, profile-based access with customizable network, report, and user visibility policies.

Coverage of the complete reporter template, plus additional defined reports.

Enhanced BI-oriented capabilities to interact, share, store, and export reports.

Multi time zone support

Device abstraction layer

Deployment scenarios

Multi tenancy scenarios

Cisco Insight v2 is an independent component of the SCA solution, but still has some dependencies on the database schema of the deployed SCA Collection Managers and SCE devices. In some situations, the Cisco Insight v2 application can be executed on the same appliance hosting the Cisco Collection Manager and its database, where traffic data is stored.

The figure below shows how Cisco Insight connects with the Internal and remote database for generating reports on RDR generated by SCEs and saved in Collection Manager Database.

Figure 1-1 An Overview of the Cisco Insight v2 Application

Features Overview

Deployment Scenarios

The Cisco Insight v2 application is designed to support different deployment scenarios to match different business situations. These deployment scenarios are:

1. Virtual Machine Scenario—Cisco Insight v2 can be installed on a VMWare image running one of the supported operating systems.

Note This scenario is reserved for demos or trials with one or two SCEs, no more than 10 real-time monitored subscribers and no transaction usage RDRs enabled.

The VMWare image would typically contain only the Cisco Insight v2 software.

2. Single Appliance Scenario—In this scenario, Cisco Insight v2 is installed on a single appliance running supported versions of Red Hat Enterprise Linux or Solaris (depending on the bus architecture).

Table 1-1 Single Appliance Scenario

Single Appliance Scenario

Totally dedicated to Insight

It is the default and recommended scenario. In this scenario, the appliance is 100 percent dedicated to the Insight application.

Shared with a traffic database

The Insight appliance also contains the traffic database (populated by one or more external Collection Manager).

The traffic database, based on MySQL, hosts the Insight v2 internal schema as well (but is still independent schema of the Collection Manager)

This scenario is used for small deployments with one to five SCEs requiring only a single traffic database to store the RDR information.

The number of supported SCEs is dependent on the RDR frequency, the enabled RDRs, and the activation of heavy usage RDRs (such as transactional or real-time subscriber monitoring).

Shared with a traffic database and a Collection Manager software instance

This scenario is similar to the previous one, but it is used when only one Collection Manager is required and it is embedded in the Insight appliance (thus sharing the hardware resources with Insight and the database).

This is not a recommended scenario and should be used only for very small deployments.

3. Multiple Appliance Scenarios—This scenario satisfies high availability of requirements. This scenario is an extension of the previous scenario providing high-availability and redundancy functions by clustering the Insight v2 appliance.

Cisco Insight v2 provides high-availability and redundancy using solutions such as:

Cold Failover—Two identical appliances can be deployed to provide a "cold" fail-over solution. No data is lost in case of failure of one of the appliances, but all pending operations with the clients are dropped and need to be restarted.

Bundled MySQL engine for internal operations—When configuring an active or standby cluster for Insight, MySQL can be configured with table replication to provide data consistency and keep the tables of the clustered system in synchronized state.

Note Insight high availability affects only the reporting capability, and not the traffic data collection and storage (addressed by the Collection Manager databases).

4. Multi-Insight Deployment—Cisco Insight v2 can support this feature because it can use any external database as a traffic data source. Remote databases can be shared by different Insight systems.

Because the remote databases are accessed in read-only mode, several Insight instances can establish connections.

Multi-tenancy Scenarios

A single instance of Cisco Insight v2 can serve one or more customer organizations (single ISP or ISP with multiple enterprise customer networks).

Table 1-2 Multi-tenancy scenarios 

Multi-tenancy Scenarios

ISP with one or more networks

This is the most common scenario, where an ISP has one or more SCE networks sharing the same service configuration. For example, an ISP with a mobile network and a fixed network.

In this case, administrators can create a single group of users, defining discrete visibility rights on networks, reports, packages, and subscribers. For example, some users can run reports only for the mobile network, others only for the fixed network, and some others can see both networks.

Based on the ISP organization, an alternative can be creating a user group for each network, thus allowing network segmentation based on user groups. In this situation, sharing reports will be allowed only for users belonging to the same group.

ISP with hosted customer networks

In this scenario, the ISP has multiple customer networks and needs to provide a reporting service for each customer.

In this case, customers can self-manage their users by adding, changing, or removing accounts and also create new custom roles (based on report capabilities).

For example, customers can have their own SCEs, Collection Manager and database; A centralized Insight v2 can be connected to all these remote databases to provide reporting services.

The ISP can also create a user group with visibility over multiple customer networks. This can be useful when there is a partner in charge of monitoring the different customer networks using Cisco Insight v2.

Internet Data Center with one network shared by multiple customers

In the scenario, Cisco Insight v2 supports the SCEs positioned at the edge of a Data Center to monitor a Server Farm.

Subscribers are on the internal LAN and are typically the hosted or housed servers for end users. End users can access the Insight platform to run reports to monitor their own traffic "and" or "or".

Usage of the server Multi-tenancy based on the network is not enough as segmentation for visibility, (Subscriber segmentation is required because Insight accounts can configured to have visibility only on specific subscribers ([their owned servers]) An alternative requirement to provide subscriber visibility segmentation is to define filters for Subscriber Packages.

Localization and Time Zone

Cisco Insight v2 supports multiple languages and time-zone environment through application configuration.

Authentication or Authorization

The application supports role-based and configurable access to various operations. A set of allowed operations are assigned to the user role. For example, a user with role manager is granted universal (read or write or execute) access, but a user with role admin can do everything including changing even his or her can also change user credentials.

Look and Feel

The look and feel of the application is mature, which makes it appealing and easy to use. Cisco Insight v2 GUI gives the best experience in terms of usability and computer graphics.

SCE Terminology

Cisco Insight v2 supports SCE network structure (link, SCE, POP, additional levels of aggregations per specific network).User can create and run reports over a selected aggregation level.

Favorite Reports

Cisco Insight v2 has the capability to store a list of chosen reports on the server machine. The stored reports are available as My Favorites. User can add, modify, or delete items.

Scheduled Run

The Cisco Insight v2 application has the ability to define an automatic execution of pre-defined reports with a pre-configured time and interval (might be a single execution).

For example, where a single administrator user needs to periodically share a set of reports with his or her managers or peers, the user can define a list of users that will receive a notification on report batch completion and can have access to the report results.

The users can edit the report definition, remove and duplicate existing reports as well.

Report Presentation Configuration

Cisco Insight v2 provides extensive and intuitive configuration for defining the presentation of report results. It includes:

Presentation type: Chart, table, PDF, and CSV

Report Title

Type of chart: Bar, pie etc. and so on

Fonts, colors, labels, scales, axis

Type, size, location of legend, and so on.

You can select the context of the report base, for example, whether the report to be generated is based on bandwidth, volume, number of connections, and so on.

Using Cisco Insight v2, you can compare multiple report results. It has the ability to generate several reports together and display them on a single chart.

Using Cisco Insight v2, you can customize your reports by inserting the company logo to the report in each of the presentation views.

Search Tool

Large lists such as services, packages, virtual links are not easy to navigate in, thus Insight v2 provides interactive search functionality within such lists.

Context Sensitive Help

The Cisco Insight v2 GUI displays a help area based on context of the view that is currently displayed. This section contains static and dynamic information about the selection made by the user.

The Cisco Insight v2 features are explained in the following sections:

Application Settings

Network Topology

Account Management


Application Monitoring

Application Settings

This is termed as Settings Management. It provides tools to adjust the system global settings, configure Collection Manager database, and manage devices.

System global settings - The global settings are configured during the installation process but can be changed at any time by the administrator. The data structures that support the application global settings are:

General—It maintains a directory to save the exported reports on the user workstation.

Local database—It stores the system hostname and IP address.

SMTP server—Host name and IP address of the SMTP server are entered here. You can set up a user name and password for the outgoing email connectivity.

Logging—You can easily collect product logs. Users have the ability to run first-level debugging. If you are technician, you can debug online or offline.

Localization—language and the time zone as per your convenience.

Configure connections to the Collection Manager database—This feature helps you in creating, editing, or deleting a connection to a remote database. You can run the SCE discovery process, check the database connectivity, check the table status and database usage, retrieve the INI_VALUES table, and set the frequency of the polling process.

Manage devices—You can get the device information such as IP address, external database, hostname, description, device type, number of links, location and time zone, monitored flag, master flag for configuration, and so on. You can add a new manual device by using this feature.

Network Topology

Cisco Insight v2 supports multiple SCE configurations (one master SCE configuration per network type created by the administrator). There is a one-to-one mapping between the topology and its associated network. SCE is responsible for the auto discovery of the active SCE list as well. After administrators have configured an SCE network and defined its topology, all users (operators) will be able to work with reports using the user-friendly and logical concepts.

Cisco Insight v2 also supports the definition of a custom view for the network topology. Administrators can arrange SCEs in some specific logic, for example, aggregate devices by geography.

SCE addresses both technical and marketing people, thus, during the report generation process, non-expert users can select SCEs by selecting topology elements (such as PoPs or Regions) whereas an expert user can still play with the topology tree and work with details such as SCE links or virtual links.

Account Management

Account Management is a list of mechanisms that allows the set up of user accounts, account groups, their roles and capabilities.

After the platform installation, a set of default roles are provided to the users. These default roles are super admin, administrator, manager, and operator. A role is defined at the initial level. User account and account groups can be added, updated, or deleted at any time.

Based on the credentials, you are assigned an access level which determines which screens and operations are available. The set of allowed operations should be based on the user role. The system should allow configuration of the type of access per screen or object on the screen or operation. For example, a user with manager role is granted universal read, write, or execute access, whereas, a user with the administrator role can do everything but cannot change user or own credentials. The role-based model is very flexible to accommodate potential requirements of different types of customer.


Cisco Insight v2 provides a series of reporting tools that enable users to run interactive reports, save and share report definitions, schedule recurring reports, view and customize a dashboard, and share results.

The available reporting capabilities as presented using the GUI are:

Running a report—Using Cisco Insight v2, you can open multiple report wizards at the same time, so that they can lead parallel analysis on different topics. In this way, it is possible to tile two or more open widgets and compare several reports on the same screen.

My favorites—You can select all mandatory parameters of a report and save it as a template that can be used during later sessions. The report template allows running reports while skipping all the wizard steps. You have the option to set a report custom name or use the default.

Report gallery—The report gallery is a tool where you can view all:

a. Report results shared by other accounts (only the reports that fulfill the report visibility constraints of the account are displayed).

b. Personal reports that were published on the gallery (these can be private or shared with other users).

c. Results of personal scheduled reports.

d. Temporary reports saved with the "Remember" action on the workspace. These will be removed after the current session is over.

Scheduled reports—Cisco Insight v2 supports the ability to automatically run the several pre-defined reports each in a pre-configured time and interval. For example, an administrator needs to periodically share a set of reports with his or her managers or peers. The user (administrator) can define a list of users (managers) that will receive a notification on report batch completion and will have access to the report results as well.

Scheduled reports run in background and are designed to produce a static output that can be sent via email and stored on the file system of the server.

Application Monitoring

Cisco Insightv2 components support common standards for server hardware and software monitoring, operations, and maintenance. The same information is viewable via WEB UI as well.

Information that can be monitored includes:

User statistics such as:

Number of logged-in users

Number of reports per user session (min, max, or avg)

Favorite reports per user (min, max, or avg)

Scheduled reports per user (min, max, or avg)

Report performance statistics such as:

Report transactions (from each kind user-generated and automatic)

Report response time (min, max or avg)

Failed report transactions

General performance and capacity such as:

CPU load

Database capacity