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2020 Blog, Blog, Featured, RLCatalyst Blog

Relevance Lab in partnership with ServiceNow and AWS has launched a new solution (ServiceNow scoped application) to consume Intelligent Automation BOTs from within ServiceNow self-service Portal with 1-Click automation of assets and service requests using the Information Technology Service Management (ITSM) governance framework. This RLCatalyst BOTs Service Management (RLCatalyst BSM) connector is available for private preview and will very soon be also available on ServiceNow Marketplace. It integrates with ServiceNow self-service Portal and Service Catalog to dynamically publish an enterprise library of BOTs for achieving end to end automation across infrastructure, applications, service delivery and Workflows. This solution builds on the concept of “Automation Service Bus” architecture explained in a blog earlier.

The biggest benefit of this solution is a transition to a “touchless” model for automation within ServiceNow Self Service Portal with a dynamic sync of enterprise automation libraries. It provides an ability to add new automation without a need to build custom forms or workflows inside ServiceNow. This makes creation, publishing and lifecycle management of BOTs automation within the existing governance models of ITSM and Cloud frictionless leading to faster rollout and ROI. Customers adopting this solution can optimize ServiceNow and Cloud operations costs significantly with self-service models. A typical large enterprise Service Desk team gets a huge volume of inbound tickets on a daily basis and more than 50% of these can be re-routed to self-service requests with a proper design of service catalog, automation and user training. With every ticket fulfilment cost (normally US $5-7) now handled by BOTs there is a significant and measurable ROI along with faster fulfilment, better user experience and system based compliance that helps in audits.

Following are the key highlights of this solution

  • Rendering of RLCatalyst BOTs under ServiceNow Service Catalog for 1-Click order and automation with built in workflow approval models.
  • Ability of ServiceNow Self Service users to order any Automated Service Request from this standard catalog covering common workflows like.
    • Password Reset Requests.
    • User Onboarding.
    • User Offboarding.
    • AD/SSO/IDAM integration.
    • Access and Control for apps, tools, and data.
    • G-Suite/O365/Exchange Workflows.
    • Installation of new software.
    • Any standard service request made available by enterprise IT in a standard catalog.
  • Security and approvals integrated with existing ServiceNow and AD user profiles.
  • Ability to involve any BOT from the RLCatalyst BOTs server that provides integration to agent base, agent-less, Lambda function, scripts, API based, UI based automation functionality.
  • A pre-built library of 100+ BOTs provided as out-of-the-box solution.

As a complementary solution to AWS Service Management connector customers can achieve complete automation for their Asset and Service Requests with Secure Governance. For assets being consumed on non AWS footprints like VMWare, Azure, On-prem systems, the solution supports automation with Terraform templates to address hybrid-cloud platforms.

What are BOTs?
Any Automation functionality dealing with common DevOps, TechOps, ServiceOps, SecurityOps and BusinessOps. BOTs follow an Intelligent Automation maturity model as explained in this blog earlier.

  • BOTs Intelligent Maturity Model
    • Task Automation.
    • Process Automation.
    • Decisioning Driven Automation.
    • AI/ML Based Automation.

BOTs vs Traditional Automation

  • BOTs are reusable – separation of Data and Logic.
  • BOTs support multiple models – AWS Lambda Functions, Scripts, Agent/Agentless, UIBOTs etc with better coverage.
  • BOTs are managed in a Code repository with Config Management (Git Repo) – this allows the changes to be “Managed” vs “Unmanaged scripts”.
  • BOTs are wrapped in YAML Definitions and exposed as Service APIs – this allows BOTs to be involved from Third-Party Apps (like ServiceNow).
  • BOTs are “Managed & Supervised Runs” – BOT Orchestrator manages the lifecycle to bring in Security, Compliance, Error Handling and Insights.
  • BOTs have a Lifecycle for Intelligent Maturity.
  • Open Source Platform that can be extended and integrated with existing tools on a journey to achieve AIOps Maturity.
  • Very deeply embedded with ServiceNow and leverages data and transaction integration in a bi-directional way.

The following image explains the RLCatalyst BOTs Service Management Architecture.

How does RLCatalyst BOTs Service Management work?
Integrating your ServiceNow instance with RLCatalyst BOTs Server helps you to publish self-service driven automation to your ServiceNow Service Portal without the need for custom coding or form design. Your users can order items from the Service Catalog which are then fulfilled by BOTs while maintaining record of the transactions in ServiceNow via Service Requests.

The ServiceNow administrator first downloads the scoped application and installs it in her ServiceNow instance. The application can be deployed from the Github repository provided by Relevance Lab. In the near future, this application will also be available from the ServiceNow Application Store.

Once installed, the application is configured by the ServiceNow Administrator. The person will fill the “BOTs Server Configuration” form. The required parameters are BOTs Server URL, Server Name, Is Default, Username and Password. This information is stored in the ServiceNow instance and is then used to discover and publish BOTs from the RLCatalyst BOTs Server.

The application administrator clicks on the Discover BOTs screen to retrieve the list of latest BOTs available on the BOTs Server. Once this list is displayed, the administrator can choose the BOTs person wants to publish and select the kind of workflow person wants to associate with that BOT (none, single or multi-level approvals). Then person clicks on the Publish button on doing which the BOTs are published to the Service Portal along with all the Forms associated with the BOT for input.

End-users can then use the self-service Catalog items to request fulfilment by BOTs.

What is the standard library of RLCatalyst BOTs available with this solution?
RLCatalyst provides a library of 100+ BOTs for common Service Management tickets and can help achieve up to 30-50% automation with out-of-the-box functionality across multiple functionalities as explained in diagram below.

  • User Onboarding and Offboarding.
  • Cloud Management.
  • DevOps.
  • Notification Services.
  • Asset Management.
  • Software and Applications Access Management.
  • Monitoring and Remediation.
  • Infrastructure Provisioning with integration to AWS Service Catalog.

Summary of Solution benefits
The RLCatalyst BOTs Service Management connector is providing an enterprise wide automation solution integrating ServiceNow to Hybrid Cloud assets with an ability to have self-service models. The automation of Asset and Service requests provides significant productivity gains for enterprises and in our own experience has resulted in achieving 10 FTE productivity, 70% automation of inbound requests and more than US $500K of annual savings on operations costs (including reduced headcount), ITSM license costs, Cloud assets optimized usage with compliance and 50% efficiency gains on internal IT Workflows.

Following are some key blogs with details of solutions addressed with this RLCatalyst BSM connector.


For more details, please feel free to reach out to marketing@relevancelab.com



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2020 Blog, Blog, Cloud Blog, Featured, RLCatalyst Blog

The adoption of Cloud and DevOps has brought changes in large enterprises around the traditional management methodology of Infra, Middleware and Applications lifecycle. There is a continuous “tension” to achieve the right balance between “security + compliance” vs “agility + flexibility” between Operations and Development teams. For large enterprises with multiple business units and global operations and having distributed assets across multiple cloud providers, these issues are more complex. While there is no “silver bullet” that can solve all these issues, every enterprise needs a broad framework for achieving the right balance.

The broad framework is based on the following criteria:

  • IT teams predominantly define the infrastructure components like images, network designs, security policies, compliance guardrails, standard catalogs etc. based on the organization’s policies and requirements.
  • Application teams have the flexibility to order and consume these components and to manage post provisioning lifecycle specific to their needs.

The challenge being faced by larger enterprises using multiple cloud workloads is the lack of a common orchestration portal to enable application teams to have self-service requests and flexible workflows for managing workload configuration and application deployment lifecycle. The standard Cloud management portals from the major cloud providers have automated most of their internal provisioning processes, yet don’t provide customers system-specific solutions or do workload placement across various public and private clouds. In order to serve the needs of Application groups a portal is needed with following key functionalities.


  • The self-service portal is controlled via role-based access.
  • Standard catalog of items for Infrastructure Management.
  • Flexible workflow for creating a full lifecycle of configurations management.
  • Microservices-based building blocks for consuming “INFRASTRUCTURE AS A CODE” and manage post provisioning lifecycle.
  • Ability to monitor the end to end provisioning lifecycle with proper error handling and interventions when needed.
  • Governance and management post provisioning across multiple workloads and cloud services.

Relevance Lab has come up with a microservices-based automation solution which automates enterprise multi-cloud provisioning, pre and post, provisioning workflows, workload management, mandatory policies, configurations, and security controls. The end to end provisioning is automated and made seamless to the user by integrating with ServiceNow, Domain server, configuration servers and various cloud services. There are multiple microservices developed to handle each stage of the automation, making it highly flexible to extend to any cloud resources.

The building blocks of the framework are as shown here:


The IAAC which is maintained in a source code repository can have the cloud templates for a variety of resources.


Resource Platform Automated Process
Compute – VM/Server VMWare, AWS, Azure, GCP Automated provisioning of VMs and the backup VMs
Compute – DB Server VMWare, AWS, Azure, GCP Automated provisioning of the DB servers and Backup servers – Oracle, PostgresSQL, MSSQL, MySQL, SAP
Compute – HA and DR VMWare, AWS, Azure, GCP Automated provisioning of HA and DR servers
Compute – Application Stack AWS, Azure Automated Provisioning of Application stack using CFTs and ARM templates
Network – VPC AWS, Azure, GCP Automated provisioning of VPCs and subnets
Storage AWS, Azure, GCP Automated provisioning of S3 buckets or Blob storage
Storage – Gateways AWS Automated provisioning of storage gateways
DNS Server AWS, Azure Automated provisioning of DNS servers


Getting Started with Hybrid Cloud Automation – Our recommendations:

  • Generate standard cloud catalogue and create reusable automated workflows for processes such as approval and access control.
  • To optimize the management of resources, limit the number of blueprints. Specific features can be provisioned in a modular fashion in the base image.
  • Use configuration management tool like Chef/Puppet/Ansible to install various management agents.
  • Use “INFRASTRUCTURE AS A CODE” principle to provision infrastructure in an agile fashion. It needs tools like Github, Jenkins and any configuration management tool.

Benefits:

  • Significantly reduce the Operations cost by reducing the manual effort and proactive monitoring services using a single platform.
  • Reduced time to market for new cloud services by enabling a single-click deployment of cloud services.

For more details, please feel free to reach out to marketing@relevancelab.com


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2020 Blog, Blog, BOTs Blog, Featured, RLCatalyst Blog

How to interconnect Infrastructure, Applications, Business Processes, Security and Compliance for end-to-end Automation benefits?


Large enterprises have seen a sprawl of assets across Cloud (IAAS, PAAS, SAAS), legacy systems, and global locations. While adoption of Cloud has made it easier to expand footprint, it has also brought in complexities for managing automation across public, private, hosted, in-house applications and infrastructure. Most automation initiatives have departmental impacts and fail to leverage significant benefits due to lack of an Enterprise Architecture Blueprint and mature platform.


RLCatalyst provides an Open Architecture approach to interconnect various systems, applications, and processes similar to the “Enterprise Service Bus” model. This new approach of “software-defined” models, extendable meta-data for configurations and a hybrid architecture taking into considerations modern distributed security needs. This new approach is called Automation Service Bus model that helps to drive “Touchless Automation” with pre-built components and rapid adoption by existing enterprises.



To support a flexible deployment model that integrates with current SAAS based ITSM Platforms allows Automation to be managed securely inside Cloud or On-Premise data centers. The architecture provides for a hybrid approach with multi-tenant components along with secure per instance based BOT servers managing local security credentials. This comprehensive approach helps to scale Automation from silos to enterprise-wide benefits of human effort savings, faster velocity, better compliance and learning models for BOT efficiency improvements.



For more information feel free to contact marketing@relevancelab.com


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