Creating an application model

Start the application modeling process from any node kind or list that provides a visualization. You can also create an empty application from the application modeling home page (Model > Applications), though in practice, it is far simpler to navigate the BMC Discovery data and start from something that looks interesting in the context of your application.

For example, to model the Education Portal (an application in the BMC Discovery demonstration appliance), search for education, or education portal. Select the items that look like they're part of the application, and click Visualize/Model.

To access the software context view from a node page where it is not currently displayed, click Visualize/Model. To access the software context view from a list page, select one or more list members and then select Visualize/Model.

Before you get a Business Application Instance (BAI) you need to create and publish a model. You can also edit a model once published, though to update the BAI, you must republish the model. The following procedures describe the process:

To create an application model

Creating an application model comprises the following stages:

Select the application content

Start the application modeling process from the maximized visualization. If the visualization is currently displayed as a popup, click the + icon in its title bar to maximize the window. The following is a suggested method, but in practice, and depending on the application, the modeling process takes an iterative approach using a selection of the tools, and experimenting with layouts until you can see the structure of the application is clear.

  1. Ensure you are viewing the visualization with the focus on software. Select Focus > Software from the left panel. If you have selected Focus > Infrastructure, the Model menu is disabled.

  2. Choose the connected nodes that you want to be in the application model by clicking the Drag Mode/Select Mode control on the left pane. The label and icon indicate the selected mode.
  3. The mouse pointer displays as a pointer in selection mode. To select nodes:
    1. Draw a line round the nodes you want to select. Pressing shift while selecting nodes in this manner adds them to already selected nodes.
      • Shift-click to add nodes to the selection. Clicking without pressing shift selects only the node you click and deselects all others.
      • Control-clicking a node deselects it when multiple nodes have been selected.
      • If you want to select all nodes in the view, right-click and select Select all from the context-sensitive menu.
      • If you want to keep just a few nodes, select them, right click and select Invert selection from the context-sensitive menu. Selected nodes are shown with a rotating highlight.
      • If you want to restore a node or nodes that you have removed, select Removed Nodes from the sidebar, and click the Restore button next to the nodes you want to restore.
      • There are many ways of using the selection tools, see the application model editor for information on all of the options available.
  4. Use the Layout and Show/Hide tools from the left panel to change the view to show the structure of the application as clearly as possible. The Layout and Show/Hide tools are summarized here:
    • Layout
      • Switch wide/tall—Choose a wide or tall layout depending on the shape of the nodes you have selected.
      • Manual Groups and Model Definition—You can display labels or indicators to show whether nodes are in manual groups. You may gain a clearer view of busier applications by hiding the node labels. Click the Groups icon next to the help icon in the top right to see a key to reconcile labels and groups.
        • Do not show—Do not show labels or indicators.
        • Show indicators—Show indicators, these are a small colored shapes next to the node icon.
        • Show labels—Show labels, colored labels containing the group name.
      • Layout—Choose the layout that provides the clearest view of the application:
        • Force-directed—Spreads nodes using a balance of attracting and repelling forces.

        • Impact—Shows impacting nodes at lower levels on the view than impacted nodes. For example, a host container impacts a contained host, which impacts a software instance. Arrows on the view show the direction of impact.

        • Root at top—Arranges the view with the selected root node at the top.

        • Application layers—Arranges the view into the functional layers of the application. Hosts are in a layer at the bottom of the visualization, and user access points, such as load balancers at the top of the visualization.
      • Relationship routing—provides graphical options for routing the relationships between nodes:
        • Direct—Gently curved lines link nodes. The nodes are arranged for clarity, subject to the selected layout.
        • Orthogonal—Lines link nodes using horizontal and vertical section joined by right angle curves.
        • Avoid nodes—Straight lines link nodes where possible. The lines are curved to avoid crossing nodes.
    • Show/Hide—Choose the way to denote manual groups and the node kinds to show.
      • Nodes—Select node kinds to show or hide from the list of those node kinds shown in the model. Depending on the application that you are modeling, you may see the structure more clearly by hiding certain node types such as hosts.
  5. Collections of nodes are shown as colored lozenge shapes. Their content is denoted by the icons in the lozenge along with a count of each node kind. You can expand the collection to show the contents by right-clicking, and selecting Expand collection from the context-sensitive menu.
  6. The visualization only follows a certain number of links, though checks to see whether there are additional connected nodes. If there are, nodes or collections of nodes display with a + icon at their top left corner. The size of the + icon increases with the number of additional connected nodes
    • You can click this to extend the model showing the nodes with which this node is communicating. You can also do this by selecting Show more related nodes from the context-sensitive menu.
    • You can undo this by right-clicking the background and selecting Undo extend model from the context-sensitive menu.
  7. You can export or print the current view for review at any stage. The images are produced without the associated tools and menus.
    1. To export an image of the current view, click Export and choose SVG or PNG.
    2. To print an image of the current view, click Print Visualization and select a paper size from the drop-down list.
  8. When you are satisfied with the layout and content of the model, click Model.
    • Either, for a new model, click Create New Application Model. This opens it in the application editing window. Enter a name for the model and press Return.
    • Or, to add the content to an existing model, click Add to existing. From the list displayed, choose the model to which to add the content. If there are many models, use the filter to find the required model. This opens it in the application editing window.
  9. Create a first model definition. To do this, click Save Changes. Once you have done this, the model definition is added to the total on the Model > Applications page.

Editing the model definition

The model definition is now saved and is open in the application editing view. The application editing view is the same as the visualization, but is always maximized and has additional saving and publishing workflow controls at the top of the window.  When you have saved a model, it is considered a favorite, which is denoted by a blue star under the workflow bar. Clicking the star toggles the color and whether the model is a favorite or not. A blue star shows a favorite, a gray star shows a model that is not a favorite. You can see a list of your favorites on the the Model > Applications page.

In addition to the workflow controls at the top of the window, the sidebar controls differ from the visualization view.

  • The Focus control is disabled. You cannot change the focus away from the software view.
  • The Export control provides an additional option. You can now export the model definition. Exported model definitions can be imported using the Model > Applications page.
  • The Attributes control enables you to set the default and custom attributes of the application model. The default attributes are:
    • Description
    • Type
    • Version
  • To add a custom attribute, click Add Attribute.
    Enter the attribute details in name/value pairs. You can add as many attributes as needed. Attribute names must start with a letter or underscore and can only contain ASCII letters, numbers, and underscores. Click OK to apply the changes.

To leave the editing view, click Stop Editing.

To resume editing, click Edit Model.

To publish an application model

Publishing a model creates the BAI. To publish a model you must be in the editing view. If you are not in the editing view, click Edit Model.

To publish the model, click Publish Model. This also saves any outstanding changes. You must confirm the operation.

The page now displays the visualization, updated with the new BAI, and the tabular information of a the BAI node view page below the visualization. The workflow controls show that the model is published, and an Edit Model button enables you to make further changes.

The workflow bar shows the current state of the model, whether it is published, and whether there are revisions pending.

To edit a published an application model

The published model may still need some adjustment. For example, if you realize that you want to add an additional item, you can search for the item and any connected nodes that you need, refine the selection as shown in the select the application content procedure, and add that content to the current model using the Model > Add to existing control on the sidebar. Alternatively, you might want to restore some nodes that were removed during the earlier process, or change the appearance of the model.

To edit a published model, click Edit Model.The model is opened in the application editing view.

Additional buttons are shown as necessary:

  • Save changes
  • Cancel changes
  • Save and re-publish the model

If you make changes to a model, you must publish the changes before any BAIs created or updated from this model reflect the changes. To do this, click Publish Changes.

To unpublish a model

If you have published a model in error, you can unpublish it. This removes any BAIs created from the model and returns the model to the no published state.

To do this:

  • Either, from the Actions menu on the model definition page, select Unpublish.
  • Or, from the Actions menu on the application instance page, select Unpublish.

In both instances you must confirm the operation.

Viewing application models

You can view the application models in the application modeling home page (Model > Applications). On this page there is also a feed of recent system and user events.

Application instances are shown in the Services & Applications section of the Explore > Data page.

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