DocCloud BI Suite for IT Operations is a fully automated solution for collecting configuration information data from servers and services, and preparing up-to-date customized reports based on this data.

The Solution is incredibly advanced, secure and powerful and yet at the same time very easy and simple to use.

DocCloud Base

The Base of the DocCloud BI Suite for IT Operations solution is the infrastructure used to collect and store all configuration data. This infrastructure is comprised of a management platform and the Configuration Data Collection Agent software, which must be deployed to all servers.

Management Platform

The management platform is a multi-tenant solution based on a cloud architecture and built on Microsoft software. All components of the platform can be scaled individually to the needs of the deployed solution, allowing for both small and very large deployments.

The management platform includes a repository of configuration data collection agent update packages as well as templates for the different reporting features. These are received from the DocCloud Central Update services. This allows new functionality to be enabled and implemented throughout the entire deployment with the click of a mouse in the Management Portal.

Configuration Data Collection Agent

The Configuration Collection Agent installation is a simple unattended MSI deployment, once installed it configures a Windows service, which registers the server with the management platforms and appears in the DocCloud Management Portal, from where it can be assigned a license and Configuration Data Collection tasks.

By default, the service will run under the local system account, but can be configured to run under a low privileged service account if desired.

Once licensed, the Configuration Collection Agent software is completely managed and maintained by the DocCloud Management platform and requires no manual updating of any kind.

Configuration Data Collection Modules

Server and Service configuration data is collected through specific Configuration Data Collection Modules, of which there are four types.

Standard Server Modules
  • Collects configuration data from the server, on which it is run.
  • Are developed for Windows Servers 2008 R2 and newer
  • Are developed for Windows 7 Clients and newer
  • Are developed for  server bound services, such as Hyper-V Hypervisor and DNS Service
Standard Service Modules
  • Collects configuration data from services running across multiple servers.
  • Are developed for mainstream Microsoft services, such as Active Directory Domain Services, Failover Clustering and Hyper-V Virtual Machines.
Generic Modules
  • Collects configurable configuration data from the server, on which it is run.
  • Allows for a DocCloud user to create multiple custom instances of the module, each specifying set of desired data areas, such as a Registry Key or a Filesystem folder path from which to collect data; Effectively building simple custom data collection modules.
Custom Collection Modules
  • Collects custom configuration data by querying specific APIs, which are not accessible through Standard or Generic module type modules.
  • Are developed directly for the DocCloud customer, and will be made available exclusively to the individual customer.
  • Development is not covered by the standard license

All four module types are distributed and updated from the DocCloud Central Update Service to the customer Management Platform, and from there to the Configuration Data Collection Agents.

For standard and custom module type modules, a complete configuration data set is always collected and stored without filtering. For Generic module type modules configuration data is collected to the specification set in the DocCloud Management Portal.

Management Portal

The Management Portal is used to administer the DocCloud BI Suite for IT Operations solution and to setup and retrieve the desired configuration reports.

Agent Management and Configuration of Data Collection

Configuring the data collection operations are done through the simple operations in the DocCloud Management Portal

Agent deployment and activation

The Configuration Collection Agent is available for download as a dynamically generated zip file from the Agents tab. After the package has been deployed to the desired server, these can be activated by assigning a license.

Data Collection Module activation

Data Collection Modules are easily downloaded, enabled and maintained using a single click of the mouse on the Modules tab.

Data Collection Scheduling

The final step in configuring the daily data collection is to assign the desired Data Collection Modules to each server. Once this process has been completed the data collection scheduler will make sure that the configuration data is automatically collected daily.

Report Templates

To limit the content of a given report to only include the desired subset of the collected data, the BI Suite for IT Operations offers the use of templates.
Each Configuration Data Collection Module collects and stores the data according to a specific data structure. The template is a set of filters which are dynamically applied to the data when a report is generated.

DocCloud offers two types of filtering within a template.

Data Selection Within the data structure model, you can select the desired subset of data for a template, such as Software Update or Hardware and Drivers, with a few mouse clicks.
Data Refinement To further limit the data for a template, you have the option of using RegEx statements, allowing you to further filter the previously selected data.

As an example, you will be able to limit a report to include all installed updates using Data selection, and with Data Refinement you can filter the data to only include specific updates.

Within the Management Portal, DocCloud provides a wide range of predefined report templates, which can easily be used to create powerful reports. All predefined templates are downloaded and updated from the DocCloud Central Update Services with a single click of the mouse.

When you need to create a report, to which a predefined template does not exist, you have the option of creating a custom report template and applying your own selection and filtering rules.

Reporting

DocCloud reports are delivered either in Excel format or through a RestAPI.

Reporting is configured on the Reporting tab of the DocCloud Management Portal. A report definition is build by selecting a report type, a template and finally a set of servers or services to include in the report.

To minimize the performance requirements of the DocCloud server and database infrastructure, the generation of reports is designed mainly as a background task. Reports are typically generated immediately after the Data Collection Window, thereby ensuring the availability of daily up to date reports.

For full flexibility DocCloud also offers the user the possibility of creating Ad-hoc reports when needed.

The security concerns

The DocCloud BI Suite for IT Operations solution has been designed and build from the ground up with Security in mind, implementing best practices for both secure data transfer and secure data storage.

The architecture is built as a three-tier solution.

DocCloud Central Services

The Central Services provide updates and licensing capabilities to all customer Management platforms.

Communication between the customer Management platforms is always initiated from the Management platforms to the Central services, as a client to server connection. This connection is always established over https.

The configuration data collected using the Data Collection Agents is never sent to the Central Services.

DocCloud Management Platform

The Management Platform is a multitenant aware solution which can either be located within the on-premise datacentre or hosted by a third-party provider.

Each tenant is treated as a separate entity within the Management Portal with regards, to both data encryption, licensing, updates, data collection and report generation.

Updates are securely downloaded from the Central Services and individually validated before being offered to a DocCloud user.
Communication between the Data Collection Agents and the Management Platform is always initiated from the Data Collection Agent as a client to server connection. This connection is always established over https.

The Data Collection Agent never communicates directory with the DocCloud Central Service.

DocCloud Data Collection Agent

Within Configuration Data Collection Agent, all collected configuration data is encrypted before leaving the server and is transferred to the Management Platform over a securely encrypted ssl channel. On the Management Platform the encrypted data compared to the previous version and the delta is written to the database. The data is not decrypted until it is needed for report generation.