For Red Hat Insights, 2019 has been an exceptional year. Insights provides proactive management and remediation guidance as a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) solution, and this has become available as part of the Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) subscription to add new value to this already strong subscription. Our customers are showing their appreciation for this value as we can see in its robust growth in adoption. Since being announced at Red Hat Summit, we have continued to innovate on Insights and I want to update you on some key enhancements.
More than 1,000 rules now power Insights
Insights works by using a series of rules to analyze your RHEL environments, and we have added more than 400 new rules since May. This helps expand upon the value Insights delivers as part of RHEL subscriptions for versions 6.4 and higher. Currently, Insights offers more than 1,000 rules and they become available to you when you register the Insights client in a few minutes using a couple of simple steps.
The new rules scan for a variety of conditions, including workload-specific rules such as SAP running on RHEL, RHEL on AWS, RHEL running Microsoft SQL Server and others. Other new rules are associated with performance, availability, stability and security across different versions of RHEL, including RHEL network connectivity, accessing storage and more.
Rules come mainly from our technical experts and the best practices gathered from the thousands of support cases we have handled over many years. Insights looks for matches on very specific criteria that we know was associated with a specific issue, such as configuration details.
Once you register the Insights client, you can browse the rules section to see specific risks on your own environments. You can also look on a system-by-system basis to see which systems have matched these rules and most require your attention. As shown in the screenshot below, you can uncheck the “Show rules with hits” box at the top if you want to see the breadth of these 1,000+ rules, regardless of whether there is a match for them on your RHEL environments. (See Figure 1.)
Figure 1: Red Hat Insights includes more than 1,000 analysis rules for RHEL
As you face a sprawling environment, these rules are the engine that delivers actionable Red Hat knowledge when and where you need it without time-consuming research on your part. Insights runs daily by default. By reviewing the dashboard at least weekly and remediating the risks associated with rules hits, you can better avoid downtime and help smooth operations. It should be noted that Insights is designed for a very “light touch” that requires only snippets of data and offers options for you to control what snippets are used in analysis.
Topics: curated rules you can use
1,000+ rules is a lot to browse, and so we have introduced a Topics section in the dashboard. Topic areas gather and curate a specific set of rules for a topic. These include sections for users with both Red Hat Satellite and Insights, SAP workloads, Microsoft SQL Server and others. The topic area will indicate how many systems in your environment are getting hits on these rules and will also let you browse the full set of rules associated with this area.
Figure 2 below is an example. This is the SAP topic area, indicating that I have 8 systems in my environment affected by rules hits.
Figure 2: Topic area for SAP running on RHEL
When I click, I can see by default which rules have hits and how many systems are affected by a specific rule hit. By unchecking the box “Show rules with hits,” I can see that there are currently 21 rules that address SAP workloads on RHEL. (See Figure 3.) All of this helps you quickly understand from an SAP perspective what is going on with your RHEL implementations.
Figure 3: Insights Topic area for SAP showing rules.
Topics are complementary to other ways Insights prioritizes rules hits for your review. On the main Insights Overview dashboard, you also quickly see rules hits by severity or rules hits in the performance, availability, stability and security categories. So you have lots of different ways to navigate rules and rules hits in your environment depending on your specific interest area.
Usability, Communication and Collaboration
We have built into Insights some mechanisms that make it easier to use. The first of these is in-application guidance (See Figure 4.) that is there when you need it. Click on the lightbulb on the bottom right of the Insights dashboard on cloud.redhat.com and some options are available to help you.
The first of these is a Get Started guide that will take you through the key steps for using Insights including registering systems, reviewing potential issues found and remediating them using the provided guidance. You are presented with it on your first login. You can review this guide and dismiss it when you no longer need it, or access it again at anytime by clicking the overview tab and then the light bulb.
The second area is Announcements. From within the application, you can see what new features have been added as part of our continuous innovation cycle. You will find the introduction to Topics and some other enhancements as well.
The final area is Feedback, which provides a convenient option to quickly share thoughts and ideas with us as you have them, directly from the application. Have an idea for a Topic area? Use the feedback section. Type away -- we’d love to hear all of your thoughts about how we can make Insights even better!
It should also be noted that one additional usability feature you have is the ability to delete systems from the Insights dashboard when needed, either as a group of systems or as an individual system.
Figure 4: Insights new usability features accessed from the “lightbulb” icon.
Give it a try
So as you can see, Insights has continued to make strides. We will continue to look at rules that come from our vast base of knowledge about RHEL and other Red Hat products. As part of the RHEL subscription for RHEL versions 6.4 and higher, Insights makes sense to try since you now have access to it from your subscription.
Get started by registering an Insights client using the Insights Get Started page. Once the client is registered, go to cloud.redhat.com and click the Insights dashboard. Analysis from your systems or instances register in the dashboard quickly, so you will see some areas where you may want to focus. Click on a specific issue and you will find more details including the remediation guidance for it. Check out the new usability features and of course tell us what you think using the feedback button.
About the author
Rob Williams is manager of product management for Red Hat Insights. He brings a range of skills to his role, including management of the unique digital experience requirements of a SaaS product, as well as an extensive background in requirements gathering, change management, and data management and analytics.
In addition to his work at Red Hat, Williams has worked at Xerox and Motorola where he enhanced his product management skills. He received both his Master of Science and Bachelor of Science degrees in Information Technology from Rochester Institute of Technology. In his spare time, he is a volunteer firefighter and EMT.