Strategic Group (Device Group)
  • 20 Sep 2023
  • 7 Minutes to read
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Strategic Group (Device Group)

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  • PDF

Article Summary


Netreo uses device groups to organize your managed devices into administratively manageable sets. This allows you to view, select and edit an entire set of devices as a group. There are three types of device group available to which a device may be added: category, site and strategic group.

Strategic groups allow you to organize your devices into groups based on arbitrary criteria, such as strategic importance and administrative needs.

A strategic group is slightly different the other device groups in that it has two operational modes, business workflow and functional group.

  • Business workflows - A business workflow represents a group of devices related by strategic importance, such as network applications, lines-of-business or “high-priority” devices. These groups are monitored for performance and current health status, and displayed in dashboards and reports. Selecting the name of a business workflow in Netreo opens its business workflow dashboard, where you can view health and performance data for that business workflow.
  • Functional groups - A functional group is used in the administrative dialogs as a convenient way to filter managed devices for fast selection. These groups are used behind the scenes to make administration easier.

A strategic group may operate in either mode at any time, including both simultaneously.

Selecting Strategic Groups in Dialogs
When a dialog for a report or other administrative function asks you to select a business workflow or functional group, you are presented with a list of the groups available. Selecting the desired group filters the list of managed devices in the device selector to only those devices in that group. In addition to the list of available groups, you are also presented with the following options:
  • Everything - Shows every device that belongs to any business workflow (or functional group, depending on what type is selected).
  • None - Shows every device that belongs to no business workflows (or functional groups, depending on what type is selected).

Any given managed device may be added to any number of strategic groups. However, no device is required to belong to any strategic group.


(See Strategic Group Management for information about creating and managing strategic groups.)

Business Workflows

Health Scores

Strategic groups operating in business workflow mode are evaluated for a "health" score representing the combined statuses of all of the active monitoring checks assigned to each of the managed devices in the group.

Host availability service checks, regular service checks and threshold/anomaly checks are each assigned a maximum point value that reflects how relatively important that check is to that particular business workflow. (By default, host availability service checks are worth 500 points each, regular service checks are worth 100 points each and threshold/anomaly checks are worth 20 points each. These values can be customized for each business workflow group.)

These point settings mean that each host availability service check in the business workflow contributes 500 points to the health score when the check is in an OK state. While each regular service check contributes 100 points, and each threshold/anomaly check contributes 20 points. The full point values for every check on every device in the group are added up to calculate a maximum score point total for the group.

Every time the group is evaluated (roughly every 5 minutes), a current score is calculated based on the current state of the checks of its member devices. Checks in an OK state contribute the maximum (100%) of their point value, checks in a WARNING state contribute 1/5th (20%) of their point value, and checks in a CRITICAL state contribute zero (0) points. The current score is then compared to the maximum score to calculate a percentage indicating a relative “state of health” for the group.

Business Workflows Panel(1)Business workflows displaying their "health" status in the user dashboard. Each group may contain any number of devices and have radically different point values assigned to their various check types, making their maximum scores vastly different. What matters is that the "relative health" of each group is easily visible and quickly understood.

 For example, imagine you have a business workflow group with five host availability service checks worth 500 points each (for a maximum score of 2500 points). If one of those checks goes CRITICAL, the next time the group is evaluated you now have only 2000 out of 2500 points, and the group is now at 80% health.

If a specific check type is less important to the group than the others, its point value can be set to a much lower value to reflect its relative importance. If a check is assigned a value of zero (0) points, then checks of that type do not affect the overall group score at all.

The calculated maximum point totals for each check type for a group are shown in the configuration settings for each strategic group.

The configuration settings for each strategic group shows the current combined point totals for each check type in that group.Device-specific Scores

When assigning point values as discussed above, the point values specified as the default for each check type are used for all checks of that type within the group. If a specific managed device is more or less important to the group than the other members, override values for each check type may be specified per-device to reflect its relative importance.

Custom point values for a managed device are set in the Devices table in the configuration settings of a strategic group. Custom override values are identified in the table by not having an asterisk next to the value. Values that do have an asterisk are inherited from the default group values.

A strategic group using custom point values for specific devices. In this case, the Houston-R1 device now contributes 300 points to the group score for its host availability service check, the ICX7150-48P_Switch device now contributes 200 points each for its regular service checks, and the Austin-R1 and -R2 devices now only contribute 10 points each for their threshold/anomaly checks.

 Degraded and Failed States

Special threshold values may be configured for a group to indicate when its score should be considered degraded and when it should be considered failed. (Think of the degraded and failed state for business workflows as roughly equivalent to WARNING and CRITICAL states for monitoring checks, respectively. These states are then displayed in the Business Workflows Overview dashboard widgets in user dashboards.)

The “degraded” and “failed” point value thresholds can be set as either a percentage of the group’s maximum score or as an absolute point value. For example, if a group has a maximum score point value of 1000 and you set its degraded threshold value to 80%, when that group’s health score goes down to 800 it will be considered degraded. Similarly, if you set its failed threshold value to 50%, when that group’s health score goes down to 500 it will be considered failed. Conversely, if you set the degraded threshold value to 650 points, then regardless of what the group’s maximum score point value is (it could be 5200), when the group’s health score goes down to 650, that is when the group will be considered degraded. The same applies to the failed threshold value.

Aggregate Business Workflows

Aggregate business workflows are groups of business workflows that are evaluated as a single super group. Their health score is generally an aggregate of the scores of all the business workflows they contain. However, the status for an aggregate group always reflects the worst state of any of its member groups. So, if any member group is degraded or failed, the entire aggregate group will show as degraded or failed (even though the actual current score of the aggregate group may be near 100%).

Aggregate business workflows are always displayed more prominently in the user dashboards.

Aggregate business workflows are displayed more prominently in the user dashboards.

Functional Groups

Strategic groups with functional group mode active are used in administrative and report dialogs as a convenient way to filter managed devices for selection. Put devices that you frequently select together into functional groups. Business workflow health score point settings are ignored by functional groups.

Functional groups are incredibly useful for device selection when generating reports, setting up maintenance windows, performing large-scale device changes and other administrative tasks. They are intended to quickly populate a device selection dialog with a group of appropriate devices.

Device Templates

"Functional group" is one of the levels in the device template hierarchy at which device templates may be applied to managed devices. Each strategic group operating in functional group mode may have one device template assigned to it in its configuration settings. (Note: The assigned device template only affects devices in a strategic group operating with functional group mode active.)

No functional group is required to have a device template assigned to it.

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