Aug 28

ServiceNow is a IT Service Management tool offered as Software as a Service.

In regards to Service Management, there is a path to IT Transformaton.

    Consolidate – move service systems to a single system of record.
    Standardize – Use a common process for virtual, physical, hybrid, public, private.
    Automate – lights out, zero touch service automation.
    Consumerize – Intuitive, approachable service experience for all users.

People are the most valuable resource we have. Ask yourself, what do we spend the majority of our time on? Innovation? Redundant, repetitive daily tasks? We need to get IT out of the way and enable self service, automaton, and orchestration.

ServiceNow is wanting to play in the VM self-service space. This solution was released earlier this year near their ServiceNow conference. This solution requires a mid server in your organization and connects to vCenter.

This VM provisioning solution doesn’t look sexy. It looks very much like a old feeling form as an end user. However you can easily tie the request to other IT management processes like configuration management. Looks aren’t everything. Features and functionality may not be everything. Connecting all of your ITIL processes together in a single tool is very powerful.

While I am not initially impressed with the look and feel I can see some real value.

I think vCAC and AppDirector are more powerful and mature. The key here is if you have to use ServiceNow you will have to use API’s to push and pull data between your automaton products. ServiceNow will likely continue to mature this VM Provisioning offering and it will be worth keeping an eye on.

The tool appears able to automate the template deployments. However it leaves off all of the post provisioning steps. Access grant to the machine, compliance check, patching, data protection, monitoring, load balancing, application layer, configuration management, and the list goes on. I asked if any of these other steps are possible and was assured that they are.

Nice feature of scheduling data validation for things like machine owner and lease requirements.

You can leverage ServiceNow web services to integrate with your VMware products like vCO and vCAC.

ServiceNow has no integration with Puppet Labs currently.

May 21

I like these X as a service discussions. I especially like IT as a Service. Things like service catalog, and reference architecture can be used to not only show what you provide but also give you control over it as well.

Building a collection of standardized services and promoting the use of them is some of the first steps. This is really part of Service Management. Enabling all of the automation and fancy orchestration you want can be done later. I’ll be honest, it took a while for me to realize that. You can easily just have a service catalog with basic stuff and have that be manually provisioned on the back end. Soon after you can collect the most popular and common services you provide and tackle building your service catalog out with them. Standardizing the way you deploy these and taking the time to understand how and why each piece is done will allow for an easy plan on automating it.

An interesting statement from a CIO “I’m 85% virtualized, my customers still hate me.” Why? Virtualization solves IT problems not business problems. I couldn’t agree more. Does IT-as-a-Service solve business problems?

Here’s the slide… How to get started? Step 1, Transition to Modern Cloud Architecture. Step 2, Launch a specific service. Step 3, Run IT as a Business.

The presenter, Edward Newman, runs a blog called Mr. Infrastructure.

Jul 12

Day two here at Networkers, sorry Cisco Live, is well underway. I am in my first session and it is resonating with me! Utilizing ITIL event management, incident management, problem management, and change management to when providing network services has been on the radar for me recently.

I have been thinking about how to fix my “broken” event management. Sure we notify of issues on the network. The issue is more about the noise from excessive notifications. The solution? Proper event management. Things like creative tickets and managing their resolution properly for events on the network. Squelching the noise to allow us to clearly hear the actual issues. Moving away from blowing up the email on your phone and instead aggregating events and correlating them.

A lot of the slides in this presentation have excellent KPI’s provided via charts and graphs. I have been given a lot of ideas of how I want to be able to view my KPI’s with the new CMDB we have been planning to deploy.

If you have too many alerts, less than ideal change management, or a desire to improve your network management systems I would recommend viewing this presentation. If you would like to see how ITIL can quickly apply to the network world you may want to take a peek at this session as well.