Automating Service Delivery and Assurance

shutterstock_121671508IT teams today are embracing automated processes for everything from employee self-service to application provisioning.

In this two-part series (with accompanying video) we’ll show you how Zenoss can help you deliver service automation benefits in your organization. You can see how  four cloud systems – ServiceNow, Chef, Amazon EC2, and Zenoss-as-a-Service – can tie together to provide automated, service centric management, as well as see a practical, real-world example of IT automation.

Part 1 – Ready to Run – From Request to Operational

Our first goal was to deliver on-demand computing to end user customers. We fully automated our process – self-service request with approval, virtual machine deployment and application provisioning, device and service monitoring, and a CMDB update.

ServiceNow Portal and Chef Recipes for Application Provisioning

ServiceNow delivered our self-service customer portal.  An end user can sign on and choose from catalog of offerings. In the demonstration video, the customer requested a SugarCRM system – a functioning application composed of database and web application servers.

To deliver a functioning application, we needed to do more than just enable a couple of machine images at Amazon EC2. The application software needed to be deployed and customized. We built a ServiceNow workflow that started the appropriate virtual machines and kicked off Chef recipes for application provisioning.

Zenoss for Monitoring

Since our customer was deploying such an important application, it was critical that we enabled full IT operations of new servers and the SugarCRM application as a whole. Our SugarCRM workflow continued with calls into our cloud service assurance system, Zenoss-as-a-Service. The workflow called the Zenoss API to add the new servers for basic monitoring. The workflow then enhanced the monitoring with role-specific templates. The web application server received a web response time template, and the database server a database check package.

Immediately after adding the new servers, Zenoss discovered device details – interfaces, processor, file systems, etc. We wanted to make sure that this information was available to all IT process and published into the ServiceNow configuration management database. We triggered an automated Zenoss workflow to execute device modeling that called ServiceNow APIs to publish our discovered device information back into the CMBD. And even better, if our end customer ever changes the size or operating characteristics of their virtual servers, our Zenoss workflow will ensure that any changes are recorded in the CMDB as well.

The ServiceNow workflow also established Zenoss Impact Services for the application. The services were defined in the workflow to include both the virtual devices and application verification tests. Including the application verification tests (from the custom server templates) gave us the ability to separately diagnose application failures from server infrastructure issues in any root cause analytics.

Notifying End Users of Application Readiness

The last step in the workflow was notifying the end user that their application was ready to run. From the user’s perspective, a simple form-based request delivered a working application in just a few minutes. We were able to fulfill that request with full business control over the application – approval, inventory, and operations.

By connecting ServiceNow, Chef, Amazon EC2, and Zenoss with a handful of customizations using standard APIs, we were able to achieve our desired goal of fully automating from end user request to operational application service.

See It In Action!

Watch the Service Automation with Zenoss, ServiceNow, and Chef video to see a demonstration of how all the pieces fit together in a live, real-world sceniaro.


Our next post will cover incident management integration between Zenoss and ServiceNow, and you can learn more about what happens when there is a problem with the service.

To learn more about how you can use Zenoss to provide automated, service-centric management,  Contact Us. We’d be happy to answer any questions you have about Zenoss and how you can use Zenoss in your environment.



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