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The Single Pane of Glass

By Steve Jones,

One of the things that I've seen talked about quite in the DevOps movement is a single pane of glass. That phrase seems to be in use to describe a way of quickly understanding the state of your environment. It could be the view of the software versions deployed in environments throughout the development process or the status and capabilities of your infrastructure. In either case, it's a holistic view of your portion of the organization.

I don't think this is much different from the idea of a global dashboard that might be produced for business people. I've seen no shortage of those during my career. Certainly lots of business intelligence projects have been based on the idea of a single view of data that provides insight and assists decision making. Those ideas have been adopted by plenty of organizations that are moving to a DevOps process for software development.

I'm wondering if any of you have a dashboard for your particular job? This could be in infrastructure as a DBA, where you have a single view of your database servers, maybe status and alerts? Perhaps you just a monitoring system like SQL Monitor to keep track of important data related to all the instances under your responsibility. Perhaps you have custom information important for your organization such as the flow of data in ETL processes, numbers of transactions, or some other measures to measure health or performance.

Maybe you're a developer that wants to know the status of all builds for the various projects under active development. As teams look to produce more reliable software, they often want to know the where their changes are deployed, if the code passes all tests, and even which work items are in which states. Azure Boards or DLM Dashboard are examples of how teams keep track of their responsibilities.

There are any number of ways that organizations can keep an eye on the state of their systems, but I do think that any high performing group will have some way of measuring their work. After all, if you don't know the state of your system, how can you determine if you're getting better or worse.

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