This chapter provides a general overview of the Cisco Insight Reporter v3.1 application. It introduces the product concept, key features, and reporting capabilities.
This chapter contains the following sections:
•About Cisco Insight Reporter v3.1
About Cisco Insight Reporter v3.1
The Cisco Insight Reporter v3.1, is a software platform based on web 2.0 user experience standards, designed to collect and present reports, charts, and statistics about the traffic data collected by Cisco DPI devices. It extends the existing features of its former release v2 and v3designed for SCE networks and ASR1K devices.
The Cisco Insight Reporter v3.1 is still 100% compatible with the existing report template developed for SCA BB releases 3.5.0 to 3.7.0, and also introduces new reports to analyze the traffic monitored by ASR1K devices running release XE 3.5.
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 Cisco Insight Reporter v2 and v3 reports for the SCE and ASR1K device and additional reports designed for ASR1K deployments.
•Multi-user, profile-based access with customizable network, report, and user visibility policies.
•Enhanced BI-oriented capabilities to interact, share, store, and export reports.
•Multi time zone support
•Device abstraction layer - Support for reporting on traffic based on SCE and ASR1K
•Multi tenancy scenarios
Cisco Insight Reporter v3.1 is an independent component of the SCA solution, but still has some dependencies on the database schema of the deployed SCA Collection Managers, SCE, and ASR1K devices. In some situations, the Cisco Insight Reporter v3.1 application can be installed on the same appliance hosting the Cisco Collection Manager and its database, where traffic data is stored.
The figure below shows how the Cisco Insight Reporter connects with the Internal and Traffic Database for generating reports on RDR generated by SCEs and on NFv9 records generated by ASR1Ks.
Figure 1-1 An Overview of the Cisco Insight Reporter v3.1 Application
The Cisco Insight Reporter v3.1 application is designed to support a series of deployment scenarios to match different business situations. These deployment scenarios are:
1. Single Appliance Scenario—In this scenario, Cisco Insight Reporter v3.1 is installed on a single appliance running supported versions of Red Hat Enterprise Linux or Cent OS or Solaris (depending on the bus architecture)
Table 1-1 Single Appliance Scenario
Single Appliance Scenario
Totally dedicated to Cisco Insight Reporter
It is the default and recommended scenario. In this scenario, the appliance is 100 % dedicated to the Cisco Insight Reporter application.
Shared with a traffic database
The Cisco Insight Reporter appliance also contains the traffic database (populated by one or more external Collection Manager).
The traffic database, based on MySQL, hosts the Cisco Insight Reporter v3.1 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 or ASR1Ks requiring only a single traffic database to store the RDR information.
The number of supported SCEs or ASR1Ks 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 Cisco Insight Reporter appliance (thus sharing the hardware resources with Cisco Insight Reporter and the database).
This is not a recommended scenario and should be used only for very small deployments.
2. 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 Cisco Insight Reporter Insight v3.1 appliance.
Cisco Insight Reporter v3.1 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 Cisco Insight Reporter Insight, MySQL can be configured with table replication to provide data consistency and keep the tables of the clustered system in synchronized state.
Note The High-Availability configuration that can be setup for the Cisco Insight Reporter only applies to the reporting capability, but not to traffic data collection and storage (addressed by the Collection Manager databases).
3. Multi-Insight Deployment—Cisco Insight Reporter v3.1 can support this feature because it can use any external database as a traffic data source. Traffic Databases can be shared by different Cisco Insight Reporter Insight systems.
A single instance of Cisco Insight Reporter v3.1 can serve one or more customer organizations (single ISP or ISP with multiple enterprise customer networks).
Table 1-2 Multi-tenancy Scenarios
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 Cisco Insight Reporter v3.1 can be connected to all these Traffic 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 Reporter v3.1.
Internet Data Center with one network shared by multiple customers
In the scenario, Cisco Insight Reporter v3.1 supports the SCEs and ASR1Ks positioned at the edge of a Data Center to monitor a Server Farm.
The monitored subscribers or end-users are on the internal LAN and are typically the hosted or housed servers for end users. End users can access the Cisco Insight Reporter platform to run reports to monitor their own traffic.
Usage of the server Multi-tenancy based on the network is not enough as segmentation for visibility, (Subscriber segmentation is required because Cisco Insight Reporter 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 Reporter v3.1 supports multiple languages and time-zone environments through application configuration.
Authentication and Authorization
The application supports three modes for authenticating users. Users can be authenticated against RADIUS or TACACS+ based authentication servers or using the local Cisco Insight Reporter authentication module.
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 could be granted universal (read or write or execute) access, whether a user with the admin role can do all operations on the application.
Look and Feel
The look and feel of the application is mature, which makes it appealing and easy to use. Cisco Insight Reporter v3.1 GUI gives the best experience in terms of usability and computer graphics.
Cisco Insight Reporter v3.1 supports the SCE network terminology and concepts: links, SCE, services, packages, subscribers, zones, etc. Additional levels of topology aggregations can also be defined such as PoPs, cities, regions...). Users can create and run reports over a selected aggregation level.
Cisco Insight Reporter v3.1 also supports ASR1K networks and concepts such as interfaces, sub-interfaces, applications, categories, sub-categories, as well as different levels of topology aggregations (such as for SCE devices). Users can create and run reports over a selected aggregation level.
Cisco Insight Reporter v3.1 has the capability to store a list of chosen reports on the server machine. The stored reports are available as My Favorites. Users can add, modify, or delete items.
The Cisco Insight Reporter v3.1 application has the ability to define an automatic execution of pre-defined reports with a pre-configured time and interval (it 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 Reporter v3.1 provides extensive and intuitive configuration for defining the presentation of report results. It includes:
•Presentation type: Chart, table, PDF, and CSV
•Type of chart: Bar, Pie, Stacked Area, Line, etc.
•Fonts, colors, labels, scales, axis
•Type, size, location of legend, etc.
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 etc.
Using Cisco Insight Reporter v3.1, you can compare multiple report results. The application can generate several reports together and display them on a single chart.
It is also possible to customize reports by inserting the company logo to the report in each of the presentation views.
Large lists such as services, packages, virtual links are not easy to navigate in, thus Cisco Insight Reporter v3.1 provides interactive search functionality within such lists.
Context Sensitive Help
The Cisco Insight Reporter v3.1 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 Reporter v3.1 features are explained in the following sections:
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 Traffic Database. You can run the SCE/ASR1K discovery process, check the database connectivity, check the table status and database usage, retrieve the INI_VALUES/NF_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, etc. You can add a new device manually by using this feature.
Cisco Insight Reporter v3.1 supports multiple SCE/ASR1K configurations (one master SCE/ASR1K configuration per network type created by the administrator). There is a one-to-one mapping between the topology and its associated network. SCE/ASR1K is responsible for the auto discovery of the active SCE/ASR1K list as well. After administrators have configured an SCE/ASR1K network and defined its topology, all users (operators) will be able to work with reports using the user-friendly and logical concepts.
Cisco Insight Reporter v3.1 also supports the definition of a custom view for the network topology. Administrators can arrange SCEs/ASR1Ks in some specific logic, for example, aggregate devices by geography.
SCE/ASR1K addresses both technical and marketing people, thus, during the report generation process, non-expert users can select SCEs/ASR1Ks by selecting topology elements (such as PoPs or Regions) whereas an expert user can still browse the topology tree and work with details such as SCE links or virtual links or ASR1K and its interfaces.
For ASR1K based networks, Insight v3.1 supports definition of Customer Interface View, which allows user to group and create hierarchy of monitored interfaces.
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 user, 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 Reporter v3.1 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 Reporter v3.1, 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:
1. Report results shared by other accounts (only the reports that fulfill the report visibility constraints of the account are displayed).
2. Personal reports that were published on the gallery (these can be private or shared with other users).
3. Results of personal scheduled reports.
4. Temporary reports saved with the Remember action on the workspace. These will be removed after the current session is over.
Scheduled reports—Cisco Insight Reporter v3.1 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.
Cisco Insight Reporter v3.1 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: