IT Operations Management

Proactively Identify Service Issues, Pinpoint Disruptions, and Automate Remediation

Configuration Management Database

IT organizations rely on the Configuration Management Database (CMDB) to manage infrastructure changes and aid in diagnosis of problems – but many CMDBs struggle to remain current and do not contain the right type of information to drive processes effectively.  As a result, IT staff cannot determine which business services are affected by changes, failures, or performance issues – nor can they easily determine root cause when a business service experiences problems. Without a repeatable and reliable method to find and identify devices and applications in an enterprise IT infrastructure, it is impossible to capture and maintain an accurate and up-todate inventory with which to map relationships and dependencies. This poses a significant risk to service stability and can lead to financial waste such as paying unnecessary hardware maintenance and incurring software compliance penalties.

Discovery

Where companies have previously attempted to implement Discovery with mixed results due to various factors, those same companies are finding advantages to engaging  Contender Solution’s unique technical expertise in the Discovery process.

In many of these corporations, there are complex challenges to be faced due to the footprint of their environment:

  • Multiple data centers positioned throughout the globe
  • Multiple isolated domains in each location, with multiple distributed support teams managing each technology
  • Utilizing 3rd party security middleware on their servers (the standard means of authentication to servers and network devices will not work without implementing plugins to utilize those frameworks for authentication)

ServiceNow Discovery uses a secure agentless architecture to probe computers and other IP-enabled devices connected to an organization’s network for configuration details to keep the ServiceNow Configuration Management Database (CMDB) current – a critical step to automating service management. On computers, Discovery identifies the applications that are running and maps dependencies, such as an application on one server that uses a database on another server.

This mapping information facilitates quicker service restoration from incidents, more effective root cause analysis and proactive problem resolution, lower-risk change execution, and better-informed business decisions. Discovery runs on an on-demand or scheduled basis to help ensure the accuracy of the configuration item (CI) data underpinning all ServiceNow IT service automation applications across the enterprise. For example, ServiceNow Asset Management uses inventory information from Discovery to better manage hardware lifecycles and software license compliance. Custom probes and sensors can be created to explore any IP-enabled device and custom applications can be discovered using Application Profile Discovery (APD).

BENEFITS

  • Rapidly Gather Inventories and Map Dependencies
  • Automate Service Processes
  • Extend to Discover Any Device and Custom Application
  • Automatically match discovered devices with existing CIs in the CMDB
  • Integrated mapping of hardware, software, and services
  • Customize discovery commands, fields, tables and relationship descriptions  
  • CMDB accuracy will be substantially improved
    • Thanks to the discovery process, the CI’s and their relationships in the CMDB become more accurate and better reflect the true nature of what is in your environments
    • Having a more complete picture of the environment allows you to better manage the environment overall, as well as detect and prevent unauthorized changes from being made
  • Major reduction in the number of man-hours spent on manual data entry and data cleanup
    • By converting many of the manual data load processes into the CMDB to utilize discovery exclusively, the manual workload of the CMDB administration team is significantly reduced
    • This in turn allows you to utilize your existing CMDB team to work on more strategic efforts such as change auditing, data cleanup on manual data that can’t be discovered and other continuous improvement activities
  • Increased user confidence and inter-team collaboration
    • Prior to implementing Discovery, support teams for the various infrastructure technologies can be heavily siloed between technologies and sometimes geographically
    • The process of implementing discovery brings many of these teams together to collaborate in discovering their respective technologies and in the process contributes to significant improvements in inter-team communications

Additionally, many end users of the CMDB data such as those who regularly request changes gain more confidence that the data they work with on a day to day basis is accurate and complete.  In turn the CMDB becomes more useful for driving business decisions.

Event Management

Event Management automatically creates actionable alerts from infrastructure events captured by third‐party monitoring tools.  The application brings events captured by existing infrastructure monitoring tools into ServiceNow for consolidation, analysis, and action.   With integrated, service-aware Event Management, IT can focus on issues that have high impact on business services and can act to ensure service availability. ServiceWatch Insight is a comprehensive, service-aware event management solution that dramatically improves business service availability and performance. 

ServiceWatch Insight:

  • Automatically maps business services, creating an up-to-date, accurate service context
  • Intelligently analyzes events using these maps, allowing IT to quickly pinpoint service issues
  • Integrates with, rather than replaces, existing monitoring and event management tools
  • Drastically reduces event volumes, turning a flood of monitoring data into a small number of alerts
  • Correlates event, change, and incident information, creating a holistic view of service health
  • Seamlessly extends ServiceNow’s ITSM solution 

Service Mapping

Contender Solutions also offers Service Mapping, designed to discover all components comprising a business service, to aid in quickly identifying dependencies, root cause analysis and prioritization of events. Service Mapping is a “vertical” or “top-down” type of scan. Where Discovery relies on finding the more physical linkages between components, Service Mapping reviews configuration files to determine additional logical linkages. Additionally, Contender will create service maps by coupling the data collected through discovery with the Business Process to the Service Mapping effort. These maps will depict interdependencies between applications, servers, storage, LAN/VLAN networking, WAN circuits, etc.

Health Dashboard
Once discovered and loaded into the CMDB, data can be displayed in several different OOTB formats depending on your need or usage. Furthermore, custom reports can be easily created to break the data into different formats and allow decision-making.

The ServiceNow platform includes a robust built-in reporting engine. Over 100 predefined reports that provide data on applications and features like incident management and service catalog requests are included out-of-the-box. You can also create your own reports using more than 20 different report types and add reports on homepages and dashboards to share information across your organization. Reports can also be scheduled to run at preset intervals and distributed via email or published link. Reports can be exported to PDF, Excel or CSV.

Administrators can create reports that are viewable by specific groups, or by everybody. Individual users can create custom reports that they can access at any time. Reports can be scheduled for email delivery at specific times of the day, week, or month, internally and externally. Any report can be made into a gauge that can be added to a ServiceNow homepage as a dashboard.

Users and administrators have the ability to build and arrange dashboards using simple drag-and-drop methods. End users can choose from a wide variety of built-in report types, such as pie charts, bar charts, lists and pivot tables, box charts, calendars, funnels, donuts, control charts, histograms, line charts, Pareto charts, trend charts, and trend box charts.

Sample Health Dashboard – Critical Services

 

ServiceNow Orchestration

Orchestration lets you increase agility by automating IT and business processes for operations management. You can reduce tasks with Password Reset and Client Software Distribution, and improve end user productivity by giving users the ability to access services directly.

Cloud Management

Cloud Management automates and simplifies the entire cloud services lifecycle. It creates an on-demand cloud service environment that optimizes cloud utilization, drives down resource costs, and accelerates service requests, approvals, and the provisioning of cloud resources. With ServiceNow, IT can manage their cloud environment consistently and efficiently, and ensure compliance and security

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