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PowerVC 2.0.0 UI - A glimpse of the new features

By Poovannan E posted Thu December 10, 2020 10:52 PM

IBM® Power® Virtualization Center version 2.0.0 introduces all new user interface that is designed based on Carbon framework. Carbon is IBM's open source design system for products and digital experiences. With the IBM Design Language as its foundation, the system consists of working code, design tools and resources, human interface guidelines, and a vibrant community of contributors. In this blog, let's take a walk through of the new PowerVC UI elements and functionalities.

All new UI
By using the Carbon design system, we have achieved a sense of visual cohesiveness on our platform. PowerVC users can feel a sense of security as they move through the product and compare features with the other IBM cloud platforms and experience a cohesive look and feel through branding, visuals, and interactions and all these design principles fit with the parent IBM brand. We have used a light theme across the UI and followed the Carbon design principles. It also gives the UI a modern look and feel.

Asynchronous nature of new UI
Earlier, PowerVC user interface was synchronous in nature i.e., when you perform any action, you would see show loading/progress icon blocking any other action till the action is completed. Now you never have to wait. PowerVC 2.0.0 user interface is designed to be responsive and asynchronous. you do not have to wait for one action to complete before you proceed to the other.

For example, you can initiate adding of HMC and start the next action of creating networks. All these asynchronous actions will be running in background and results of those actions can be seen/monitored in Alerts/Logs panel.

However, some corelated actions might need you to wait for successful completion of an operation. In such cases, please wait for previous action to finish. Results of the action are notified in Alerts panel and on the corresponding list pages.

Batch actions support
This is an advanced feature that is introduced in PowerVC 2.0.0.
Batch actions support allows you to perform an action on multiple items in one go.

Suppose you want to delete multiple items such as virtual machines, hosts, or host groups, then you can select those items and get through the action. Actually, this is a group of actions which is batched together and being called upon one after another. PowerVC internally takes care of dispatching the result altogether. Also, you can use it to ensure that the action is performed on selected items.

Please see the images below for your reference.

Batch update for resource updates
With PowerVC 2.0.0  user interface, edit or update of a resource is much easier. Multiple attributes of a resource can be updated and saved in one go in their respective details pages. For example, if you want to edit storage templates, you are allowed to edit all attributes in details tab, storage pools tab, ports groups tab in one go and click Save. Please see the images below for your reference.

Alerts Panel

PowerVC 2.0.0 has made it even easier to view messages after you perform any kind of action. The alert panel helps you getting the current status on the last action performed and you can always check recent top 20 notifications here. The panel opens up when you click on the bell icon on top right corner of the GUI.

You get notified when an operation starts, when it succeeds or if something goes wrong during the action. By default, the notification or the alert panel is hidden. When a new notification arrives the bell icon turns red. You can click on it and keep the panel open if you want.

Here is an example of how you can check new notifications.

Context sensitive help 
PowerVC 2.0.0 has made it easier for a user to understand the actions or functionalities on a page with context sensitive help. The help panel opens up when you click on the help icon (question mark) on the top right corner of the GUI. It will always provide help content relevant to the current page you are viewing. 
Click to view the context-sensitive help w.r.t. different pages of UI. You can find the help topics embedded in three areas of the UI.
  1. On the right pane
  2. In the pop-up level help
  3. As tooltip and messages
  4. Online help, YouTube, and API references

If you are a new user to PowerVC or did not understand about any action or terms on a particular page, you can open up help panel to get more details. It also includes online references to Knowledge Center and YouTube channel.

The right side help panel provides you detail about each action and its details. i.e., Create, Delete, Import and Export of Image, etc. If you navigate to a different page, the help panel gets automatically updated with help content relevant to the new page.
For example, Navigation to Consistency Groups provides help info about it.

The help can always be closed if you do not need it.

Context sensitive logs
Logs are user friendly messages for a PowerVC user to see results of operations invoked. Users can monitor it for success or failures of any actions. Logs tab has pagination support and by default latest 100 logs are shown. User can always increase the logs per page if required.

Admin users use logs for audit purpose to see what all actions has been performed on the system. Logs are always huge in number and it is very difficult for admin user to filter out messages specific to a resource. PowerVC 2.0.0 solves that issue by providing context sensitive logs such that admin can view logs specific to a resource.

Admin can view logs specific to a virtual machine or a host or a storage on their respective details pages. You can click on the particular item to navigate to its detail page. Below is an example where logs are shown for a particular virtual machine, host and storage pages.

Auto-refresh is not implemented as global functionality. Consequently it is implemented page by page. For PowerVC 2.0.0, it is not implemented at all pages.
It is implemented in selected pages like Logs list, Virtual Machines list, Collocation rules list, Compute templates list, Images list, Networks list, Hosts list, Host groups list, HMCs list, Storage providers list, Fabrics list, Boot volumes list and Data volumes list.

The edit page displays tabs based on the resource type such as VM, Host. The tab displays details of associated resources. For example, a compute host edit page has a tab for showing VMs that are running on the host. On the tab, you can Start or Stop a VM. However, as the tabs are part of edit page as a whole, for PowerVC 2.0.0, auto-refresh is not provided for the tabs. However, you can click on Refresh button to view updated information on the tab.
Host edit page with VMs tab example :
Host Edit page showing VMs tab 

Pagination support
Pagination of VM list and log list pages are enabled in PowerVC 2.0.0 UI. Virtual machines and logs are usually large in number and users can now view and update the list per page at their convenience.
Breadcrumb is a type of secondary navigation scheme that allows user to establish where they are in a web application. PowerVC as a web application has lot of components and hierarchies. Breadcrumbs, enabled in 2.0.0, help users to understand from which page they navigated to current page as well as navigate to older page. It provides a hierarchical view to user on sequence of user navigation.
For example, here is an admin who navigated to Host list and to a particular host and to a VM on that host and to its corresponding boot volume.

Eye icon for password check
The eye icon on the PowerVC 2.0.0 UI login screen helps you to recheck if you have entered a correct password.

Download option for logs and environment checker
The logs and environment checker results in 2.0.0 can be downloaded to CSV format. This information can be used by admins to compare logs/events and environment statistics of past and current date. Please find below screenshots of Download menu and downloaded CSV file.

New graphs on Overview page
PowerVC 2.0.0 UI has two more graphs in Overview page to show host processor and memory allocation statistics. It gives Admin an idea about which host is loaded more or which host is free for deploy, etc.

                                                                          Host statistics for allocated processor and memory

                                                                            Hosts statistics for free processor and memory

Re-organization of left navigation menu
Older PowerVC UI had a top horizontal menu which included Configuration, Messages, DRO Events, and Requests. Configuration in turn had User Management, Virtual Machine Templates, Storage Templates, Email configuration, etc.

In PowerVC 2.0.0 UI, all those horizontal menu options are placed into corresponding left navigation menus. For example, Compute templates and Collocation rules are part of Virtual machines left navigation. Similarly Storage Templates, SCGs are placed as part of Storage left navigation. This makes it easier to find all operations in one place.
Streamlined workflows
In PowerVC 2.0.0 UI, when you perform any action to create resources, all the required listings are shown beforehand. For example, when creating image, you can select an image from the list of volumes given. This pattern is followed in whole UI where available resources is listed beforehand so as to reduce user clicks for performing an action. Please find below screenshot for your reference.

AVT compliance

PowerVC version 2.0.0 UI is AVT compliant with Google Chrome's ChromeVox extension.

That is it for a quick view on new features in PowerVC 2.0.0 User Interface. If you have any questions about these features, please comment below. You can also follow us on LinkedInFacebook, and YouTube.