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2020 Blog, Blog, Featured, ServiceOne

AWS provides a Service Management Connector for ServiceNow and Jira Service Desk end users to provision, manage and operate AWS resources securely via ITSM Portal. However, a similar solution does not exist for FreshService. The same maturity of end to end automation for Freshservice customers can be provided by using Relevance Lab’s RLCatalyst BOTs solution. It will provide an Automation Service Bus between ITSM tools and AWS Cloud assets.

Freshservice is an Intelligent Service Management platform, which comprises of all the essential modules like Incident Management, Problem Management, Change Management, Release Management, Project Management, Knowledge Management and Asset Management including Hardware, Software and Contracts. It also provides consolidated reports including analytics.

Many customers are adopting Freshservice as an ITSM cloud based solution and orchestrating self-service requests for organizations. One of the common automation needs is for User and Workspace onboarding and offboarding that involves integration with HR systems, AWS Service Catalog and AWS Control Tower for proper management and governance. Similarly using Infrastructure As Code model, organizations are using Cloud Formation based template models for complex workloads provisioning with 1-Click models.

The Freshservice workflow automator with RLCatalyst BOTs integration helps in automation of simple repetitive tasks like assignment of tickets to the right groups, and setup of multi-level approvals. It is a simple drag and drop interface which can help to automate most of the simple use cases. In addition, the webhook option allows automation of complex workflows or use cases by integrating with the right automation tools. In addition to this, the business rules for forms feature will enable you to describe conditional logic and actions to create complex dynamic forms.

The below diagram illustrates the Integration Architecture between FreshService, AWS and RLCatalyst.


Using the integrated solution, organizations can automate use cases related to both End User Computing (EUC) and other standard Server side workloads provisioning. Two common examples are :

  • User and Workspace Provisioning : Onboard a new user and request for an AWS workspace where the original request is generated by Workday/Taleo.
  • Server Infrastructure Provisioning, Application Deployment and Configuration Updates : Request for provisioning of a complex multi-node workload using Service Catalog item fulfilled with an AWS Cloud Formation template and post provisioning setup.

The below diagram illustrates the following EUC automation.


The steps to Onboard a new user and Workspace in an automated are as follows.

  • RLCatalyst enables Freshservice to create an Service Request(SR) using the file generated from Workday or Taleo.
  • Once an SR is created, the workflow automator of Freshservice triggers the approval workflow for either auto approval, cost based approval or role-based approval.
  • Based on the approval workflow defined, and successful execution of the same, the next step is to request RLCatalyst to trigger the onboarding workflow within RLCatalyst.
  • RLCatalyst, then enables the BOT 1for creation of a user in simple AD.
  • BOT 2 sends out a request for provision of AWS workspace, while the BOT3 looks for the status of the workspace creations.
  • Once the status is received on the successful provision by the BOT3, the workflow instructs the AWS SNS to send out a notification email to the end user with the workspace details and login credentials.
  • Finally, RLCatalyst sends a request back to Freshservice for the successful closure of the SR.
  • In case of failure of workspace provision, RLCatalyst will instruct Freshservice to create an Incident to check for the Root Cause Analysis(RCA).

Similarly, a user can request for a multi-node application stack deployment in AWS using Freshservice service catalog. The below diagram illustrates the following :


  • Create the infrastructure with multiple AWS resources (EC2, S3, RDS etc).
  • Deploy one or more applications on the instances created (Web Tier, App Tier, DB Tier).
  • Configure the application with the run-time information. e.g. DNS endpoint creation, bind the listening IP address of an application to the IP address of the instance created. Then update YAML files with environment variable values etc.
  • Deploy the monitoring agents like Infra health, App health, Log monitoring and Service Registry.
  • Setup network configurations like hosted zones, routes etc and setup security configurations like SSL certificates.

The multi-stage orchestration requires a workflow for state and context management during the lifecycle and this is provided by using RLCatalyst Workflow capabilities.

Relevance Lab is a solution partner of Freshservice. We assist the enterprises to adopt AWS Cloud with intelligent automation using RLCatalyst BOTs. Relevance Lab also offers a pre-integrated solution of ServiceOne with Freshservice.

For a demo video and for more details,  please click here.

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



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2020 Blog, Blog, Featured, ServiceOne

As enterprises adopt popular Agile and DevOps tools and solutions from Atlassian, it is essential to create an end to end automation pipeline covering ITSM workflows. Integration of Software Development Lifecycle (SDLC) tools, with cloud infrastructure platforms like AWS, can provide faster software deliveries with CI/CD, infrastructure automation and continuous production monitoring. RLCatalyst Intelligent Automation solutions complement the platform with an enterprise BOTs Automation solution and a mature end-to-end monitoring Command Centre solution. This blog details out an integrated solution between AWS Service Management Connector for Jira Service Desk enterprise workflows of User Onboarding + Asset Provisioning lifecycle.

The AWS Service Management Connector for Jira Service Desk (Jira SD) allows Jira Service Desk end-users to provision, manage, and operate AWS resources natively via Atlassian’s Jira Service Desk. Jira Service Desk Cloud module supports AWS Service Catalog Connector, and the Jira Service Desk Data Centre & Server module supports AWS Service Management Connector.

Jira SD admins can create and provide secured, governed AWS resources to end-users via service catalog, execute automation playbooks via AWS system manager and finally track the resources in a Config Item view powered by AWS config.

On downloading the connector from the Atlassian marketplace for no additional cost, you need to connect it with your AWS account, preferably governed by AWS Control Tower for enhanced security.

The AWS Service Catalog allows you to provision or terminate and centrally manage commonly deployed AWS resources like workspaces. AWS resources like workspaces can be pre-approved, provisioned or terminated based on approval.

Similarly, the AWS Service Management Connector allows Jira SD users to fulfil all the related operational activities. Some of them are listed below.


  • Migrate or Manage CloudWatch Agent.
  • Manage Amazon Inspector Agent.
  • Apply Ansible Playbooks or Chef Recipes on AWS managed instances.
  • Apply Patches from baseline.
  • Change the standby state of an EC2 instance in an auto-scaling group.
  • Attach an additional EBS Volume to the EC2 instance.
  • Attach IAM to an Instance.
  • Install or Uninstall a Distributor package.
  • Configure CloudTrail Logging.
  • Export Metrics and log files from your instances to Amazon CloudWatch.
  • Configure an instance to work with containers and Dockers.
  • Enable or disable live patching on Linux EC2 instances.
  • Configure S3 bucket logging.
  • Enable or disable Windows Updates.
  • Copy Snapshot created.
  • Create DynamoDB backup.
  • Create a new AMI from an EC2 instance.
  • Create an RDS snapshot for an RDS instance.
  • Create an incident in ServiceNow.


As shown in the above diagram, Relevance Lab helps enterprises already on AWS & Jira Service Desk, to integrate the two using AWS Service Management Connector. The integration enables a seamless process to create custom workflows like the creation of auto-approval, cost-based approval and role-based approval. Likewise, raise an incident in case of any failure of the resources provisioned or terminated and create change requests for every update of the workloads.

Benefits of AWS Service Management Connector for Jira Service Desk:

  • Free and Out of Box (OOB) feature without any add-on cost.
  • Support multiple AWS accounts and ensure governance through AWS CT.
  • Provision and Maintenance of AWS resources through one platform (Jira SD).
  • Easy to use by the IT admins without in-depth knowledge of AWS platform.
  • Multiple Portfolios and Service Catalogs for different departments within an Organization.
  • Represent Config Items in a tree structure.
  • Run most of the automated documents in AWS system manager through Jira SD.

The end to end orchestration of User Onboarding and Asset provisioning leverages the out of box features for AWS and Atlassian tools. However, for many real-world scenarios, the complex workflows need integration with other third-party tools like AD, OKTA, HR systems (Workday/Taleo) and compliance solutions. In situations that require more complex workflows and third-party integrations RLCatalyst BOTs solution is integrated with AWS and Atlassian solutions to provide lifecycle automation and observability post provisioning.


Conclusion:
Relevance Lab is a partner of AWS and a DevOps specialist company implementing Atlassian solutions. We help organizations adopt AWS Service Management Connector with ITSM tools like Jira Service Desk and ServiceNow. Integration of AWS Service Management Connector provides a common interface and ease for all L1 and L2 activities for the ITSM users to manage AWS resources. Our RLCatalyst based Intelligent Automation and Command Centre complement these solutions to bring in greater efficiencies.


Click here for a demo video.

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

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2020 Blog, Blog, DevOps Blog, Featured, ServiceOne

Using GIT configuration management integration in Application Development to achieve higher velocity and quality when releasing value-added features and products


ServiceNow offers a fantastic platform for developing applications. All infrastructure, security, application management and scaling etc.is taken up by ServiceNow and the application developers can concentrate on their core competencies within their application domain. However, several challenges are faced by companies that are trying to develop applications on ServiceNow and distribute them to multiple customers. In this article, we take a look at some of the challenges and solutions to those challenges.



A typical ServiceNow customization or application is distributed with several of the following elements:


  • Update Sets
  • Template changes
  • Data Migration
  • Role creation
  • Script changes

Distribution of an application is typically done via an Update Set which captures all the delta changes on top of a wel-known baseline. This base-line could be the base version of a specific ServiceNow release (like Orlando or Madrid) plus a specific patch level for that release. To understand the intricacies of distributing an application we have to first understand the concept of a Global application versus a scoped application.


Typically only applications developed by ServiceNow are in the global scope. However before the Application Scoping feature was released, custom applications also resided in the global scope. This means that other applications can read the application data, make API requests, and change the configuration records.


Scoped applications, which are now the default, are uniquely identified along with their associated artifacts with a namespace identifier. No other application can access the data, configuration records, or the API unless specifically allowed by the application administrator.


While distributing applications, it is easy to do so using update sets if the application has a private scope since there are no challenges with global data dependencies.


The second challenge is with customizations done after distributing an application. There are two possible scenarios.


  • An application release has been distributed (let’s call it 1.0).
  • Customer-1 needs customization in the application (say a blue button is to be added in Form-1). Now customer 1 has 1.0 + Blue Button change.
  • Customer-2 needs different customization (say a red button is to be added in Form-1)
  • The application developer has also done some other changes in the application and plans to release the 2.0 version of the application.

Problem-1: If application 2.0 is released and Customer-1 upgrades to that release, they lose the blue-button changes. They have to redo the blue-button change and retest.



Problem-2: If the developer accepts blue button changes into the application and releases 2.0 with blue button changes, when Customer-2 upgrades to 2.0, they have a conflict of their red button change with the blue-button change.



These two problems can be solved by using versioning control using Git. When the application developers want to accept blue button changes into 2.0 release they can use the Git merge feature to merge the commit of Blue button changes from customer-1 repo into their own repo.


When customer-2 needs to upgrade to 2.0 version they use the Stash feature of Git to store their red button changes prior to the upgrade. After the upgrade, they can apply the stashed changes to get the red button changes back into their instance.


The ServiceNow source control integration allows application developers to integrate with a GIT repository to save and manage multiple versions of an application from a non-production instance.


Using the best practices of DevOps and Version Control with Git it is much easier to deliver software applications to multiple customers while dealing with the complexities of customized versions. To know more about ServiceNow application best practices and DevOps feel free to contact: marketing@relevancelab.com


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