Introducing Workbooks | Quisitive

Welcome to the “Introducing” series. In the previous blog post, we introduced Azure Monitor. In this blog post, we will introduce a solution to visualize data in Azure called workbooks.

What is a workbook?

In the previous two blog posts, we showed how data can be gathered into Azure-based solutions such as Log Analytics. We can also alert on that type of data (and other types of data) via Azure Monitor. Workbooks provide a tool that can visualize the data that you gather from a variety of sources to develop visualizations that can be shared throughout your organization.

Data sources: There are a variety of sources that can be used to visualize data including Logs (from Log Analytics or App Insights as an example), metrics (from VM’s, discussed in the Azure Monitor piece of this blog series, Azure Resource Graph, Azure Resource Health, JSON, Custom Endpoint, Azure Data Explorer (introduced in the Kusto blog post in this series).

Visualizations: There are also a variety of existing visualizations that can be used including text, charts, grids, tiles, trees, graphs, or a composite bar. These visualizations allow you to make the data you are showing much more intuitive. The example below shows a simple free disk space chart created in a workbook showcasing the amount of free disk space for a variety of compute resources.

The graphic below shows a simple workbook visualization where specific values are color-coded.

Gallery: The gallery provides an area to quickly find public templates for workbooks as well as see your own templates or workbooks. A sample of existing public templates is shown in the graphic below.

What are workbooks used for in Azure?

Pinning to dashboards: Workbooks can be added to a dashboard in Azure by using the option to “pin” them to the dashboard. The screenshot below shows how to pin a workbook to a dashboard.

Below is a sample of a dashboard built from pinning a workbook to a dashboard. For additional background on dashboards see this blog post or this link from the docs team.

Github repo: Microsoft has also provided a Github repo with sample Kusto queries, workbooks, and alerts (used in Azure Monitor)! This link is directly accessible from the workbooks UI as shown below.

Additional Reference material:

Series Navigation:

Recently, while developing a new Azure workbook for visualization we had a requirement to provide color coding based upon specific information that was available only in a text field. Specifically, we had a variety of backup conditions that we checked for in our Kusto query that needed to be visualized either with Red (critical), Yellow (warning), or Green (healthy). An example of the completed output is shown below where two columns have been configured to color code based on the values (BackupState and Comments).

Azure workbook

To configure color coding, choose the relevant field (in this case we’ll start with the example field Comments) and change the Column renderer to Thresholds.

TIP: To add the value you want to check for go to the second line and fill that in (circled in yellow below):

Next, change the Threshold Settings to Colors from Icons (shown above), and add the field which will be colored Red. Then set the default to None for the color as shown below.

The completed Thresholds configuration is shown below where it will be red in the coloration of it has “Could Not Connect To Instance” and it will be uncolored if it does not have this value.

The final version of this is shown below where those records which have “Could Not Connect to Instance” in the comment field were set to red as shown below.

We can also add a coloration for a healthy condition such as in the example below where “Empty Row Set” is a healthy condition.

Here’s what it looked like once we added logic that “Empty Row Set” in the comment field is set to green.

As soon as you fill out the first field on the second line (in this case choosing == as the value), it moves it this to the first line.

Azure workbook

Once this is moved to the top line you can set the values as shown below.

Below is the completed query with colors for both Green and Red values.

Reference link, thanks, and next steps

Summary: To color code results in workbooks (including text values) use the column settings and choose the thresholds option.