ServiceNow is a cloud-based IT Service Management (ITSM) solution developed to provide customers with an ITIL-compliant off-premise service management process to reduce costs and improve business agility. By integrating this ITSM (or any other ITSM product) into VMware vRealize Automation (vRA), customers have a cloud management and automation solution in their data center capable of automating change tickets, configuration management database (CMDB), incident management, problem management and more.
WWT put this integration to the test and, thanks to the hard work of our technical solutions architects Steve Koch and Tim Elery, we found some exciting new ways to deliver day two actions from within vRA.
This solution starts with leveraging Avnet’s ServiceNow plug-in for vRealize Orchestrator (vRO) for custom development. By using this plug-in for vRO, we can jumpstart the vRA instance right into sample automation workflows for adding change ticket creation and CMDB administration during the provisioning process of a new application.
- ServiceNow Fuji, Geneva or Helsinki release
- VMware vRealize Automation 7.1/7.2 or Dell Technologies’ Enterprise Hybrid Cloud (EHC) 4.1 and 4.1.1
- VMware vRealize Orchestrator 7.1/7.2
- Avnet ServiceNow Plug-in for vRA
Avnet's change management
When the Avnet plug-in is first installed and configured to communicate with the ServiceNow instance and vRA, a sample change management content folder is created for different ITSM tasks. This folder allows for provisioned applications to perform several tasks in ServiceNow during the provisioning, provisioned and disposing lifecycle states.
As shown in the image below, there's nothing for the end user to input within the service catalog request (unless you want to add specific prompts).
Figure 1: Creating a new application with CMDB
After submitting the request, a vRO workflow will send a request through the ServiceNow API to create a change ticket. This ticket can be configured to pause approval by a manager, help desk, IT administrator, etc. Once approved, the provisioning task in vRA will continue. In our case, we let it auto-approve for demo purposes.
Figure 2: Reviewing the change request
Once provisioned, the CMDB on ServiceNow shows the new virtual machine (VM), with the details the administrator selected to be transferred into the VM instance information. Notice VM68 shows memory, CPU, IP, MAC and current status.
Figure 3: Verifying the CMDB updates
Last, the application is disposed through vRA. The vRO workflow for updating the CMDB kicks off to set the current state of the machine to a retired state. This is the basic functionality of change tickets and CMDB. Any day two requests, such as reprovisioning, reconfiguring, etc., can be connected to a change ticket process for tracking purposes. Otherwise, the default will be a machine lease expiration or a user destroying the machine.
Custom day two operations
By now, ServiceNow ITSM and VMware vRA are providing the data center with complete application and change management automation. But what about after the machines have been provisioned? What if there’s a problem with the build?
Normally, you would go to the ITSM portal and file a ticket. Not anymore. One of the great things about delivering IT as a Service (ITaaS) from vRA is the ability to script any day-to-day activity, so that instead of users manipulating a dozen or more interfaces for administration, the vRA user interface (UI) becomes a single pane of glass.
Sample day two workflows
Below are sample custom Avnet plug-in workflows from our Professional Services team. They show the full incident lifecycle within ServiceNow’s ITSM:
- Create a new incident ticket (attach ticket to VM attributes for calling later)
- Update an existing incident ticket (add a note for example)
- Upload event logs to an existing ticket (Windows and Linux)
- Close an existing ticket
The images below show the process for creating a new ticket.
Use Case 1: Creating a new incident ticket
Figure 4: Create a ticket from the day two action
Figure 5: VMware vRA description for tracking requests in vRA
Figures 6: Ticket Summary Details
Figure 7: Additional Details
Figure 8: Viewing the incident in ServiceNow
Use Case 2: Adding a note to an incident
Figure 9: Starting the day two action to add a note
Figure 10: VMware vRA request description
Figure 11: Select the incident to update and submit
Use Case 3: Upload event logs to a ticket
Figure 12: Requesting the action from the machine details
Figure 13: VMware vRA request description
Figure 14: Selecting the timeframe and logs before submitting
Use Case 4: Closing an incident ticket
Figure 15: Request the action to close the ticket
Figure 16: Input the vRA request description
Figure 17: Select the ticket and add comments before submitting
The combination of the Avnet plug-in and WWT resources creates a powerful way to administer ITSM from within VMware vRA. Avnet further extends this with an additional ServiceNow app that allows vRA Service Catalog items to be added into the ServiceNow Self-Service Catalog, so users can request workloads directly from the ServiceNow user interface.
Interested in learning more about ITSM integration within vRA or other aspects of IT automation? Contact us, not only to learn about solutions that meet your needs, but to kick the tires on solutions before making a big investment to ensure they'll perform in your environment.