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The ServiceNow Cloud Provisioning application facilitates the provisioning and management of virtual machines (VM) within a company's infrastructure. Cloud provisioning delivers the key benefits of private (VMware) and public (Amazon EC2) virtual machine management in a single application that is fully integrated with ServiceNow.
ServiceNow provides process and service automation with orchestration, approvals, and service catalog capabilities. ServiceNow can package and deliver infrastructure elements, such as servers, networks, and storage, to end-users through the service catalog. These virtual resources can then be requested through a self-service portal, provisioned automatically, and managed directly by the requester.
The ServiceNow Cloud Provisioning application offers the following capabilities:
- Abstraction of virtualization systems: Virtual machine users are not required to know the details of the specific virtualization system. This allows use of a single interface to manage virtual resources in public and private clouds: VMware and Amazon EC2.
- Reuse of virtual machine configurations: ServiceNow uses VMware templates and Amazon EC2 images to create reusable catalog items in a wide range of sizes that users can select from the service catalog.
- Improved service catalog interface: Requesting the right virtual machine for the job is quick and easy in the improved services interface.
- Role-based access: Role-based security ensures that users have the proper privileges for viewing, creating, and managing virtual resources.
- Dedicated service portals: ServiceNow users view their virtual resources and request changes in a dedicated portal. Administrative and operational users manage virtual machines, provisioning tasks, and SLAs from portals that grant role-based access to virtual resources.
- Controlled lease duration: Default end dates for virtual machine leases are applied automatically to all requests. Lease duration controls prevent unused virtual machines from persisting past their intended use date.
- Automatic cost adjustment: Modifications to virtual resources that are subject to cost adjustments are recalculated automatically when the change is requested.
- Fully integrated with the ServiceNow platform: Approvals, notifications, security, asset management, and compliance capabilities are all integrated into virtual resource management processes.
The Cloud Provisioning application is available with the ServiceNow Calgary release.
How Cloud Provisioning Works
Cloud provisioning tasks are performed by users who are members of virtual provisioning groups. The entire process from configuration to provisioning, and eventually to service catalog requests for virtual resources, is controlled by members of these groups. This diagram shows how the process flow works:
All required tasks within cloud provisioning are performed by members of these groups:
- Virtual Provisioning Cloud Administrator: Members of this group own the cloud provisioning environment and are responsible for configuring the different virtualization providers used by cloud provisioning. Cloud administrators can create service catalog items from VMware templates and Amazon EC2 images, approve requests for virtual machines, and monitor the cloud provisioning environment using the Service Monitoring Portal.
- Virtual Provisioning Cloud Operator: Members of this group fulfill provisioning requests from users. Cloud operators perform the day-to-day work of cloud provisioning by completing tasks that appear in the Cloud Operations Portal. Cloud operators are assigned to specific virtualization providers and must be technically adept with the providers they support.
- Virtual Provisioning Cloud User: Members of this group can request virtual machines from the service and use the My Virtual Assets portal to manage any virtual machines that are assigned to them.
|Note: See Creating Users and Associating to a Group for instructions.|
In addition to provisioning virtual machines, the Cloud Provisioning application fully integrates the life cycle management of virtual machines into other ServiceNow functionality. This integration offers these features:
- Approvals: Each request made in cloud provisioning can be subject to approvals, allowing for the development of more complex and business-critical processes.
- Capacity: Basic capacity information is available from the discovery of virtual machines. This allows a cloud operator to determine the best fit for a virtual machine if there are multiple virtualization servers available.
- Discovery of virtual machines: Discover VMware components and their relationships in the vCenter instance. Use the ServiceNow Discovery application or the standalone capability within the Cloud Provisioning application. See Gathering vCenter Data Without Discovery for information.
- Labs: You can schedule a lab framework to manage multiple groups of virtual machines for a common purpose, such as training. Schedule lab termination date and time to shut down virtual machines as soon as they complete their function.
- Modification of virtual machines: You can request modifications to existing VMware images, such as increased memory. Workflows can require approvals for each modification or create a change request automatically. See Managing Virtual Assets for details.
- Notifications: Notifications are delivered at key points along the life cycle of a virtual machine. These notifications provide information and set expectations for system users.
- Prices: Price calculations and an integration of managed virtual machines with asset management provide a cost-based component to cloud provisioning. For details, see pricing configuration for VMware and Amazon EC2.
- Information about requests: ServiceNow collects notes and guest customization information and attaches these to the provisioning request.
- Automated provisioning: A cloud administrator configures ServiceNow to apply automatic and zero-click provisioning to virtual machine requests. These modes of operation employ rules differently:
- Fully automatic: Rules make all configuration decisions, and processing goes directly from the request to provisioning.
- Semi automatic: Rules make all configuration decisions, but a cloud operator can modify and approve the request before continuing.
- Manual: Requests go to an operator who must make all decisions about where a virtual machine is provisioned and how it is configured.
- Schedules: Virtual machines are created with a lease duration. The schedule includes start and end times, a grace period, and automatic stop/terminate actions. ServiceNow notifies the user of the virtual machine's state. For details, see lease duration configuration instructions for VMware and Amazon EC2.
- SLAs: ServiceNow tracks SLAs and OLAs for cloud provisioning requests.
- Workflows: Each action employs customizable workflows that allow business processes to include cloud provisioning as a step.
- Zero-click provisioning: Fully automatic provisioning of requested virtual machines enables IT departments to respond quickly to customer requests.
Getting Started with Cloud Provisioning
Assign users in your ServiceNow instance to each of the groups required to access, configure, and provision virtual resources. For complete information about the roles and capabilities assigned to these groups, see Cloud Provisioning Security.
Use these links to view the configuration or provisioning tasks assigned to each group.
Use these links to quickly set up VMware or Amazon EC2 provisioning.
Activating Cloud Provisioning
Cloud provisioning is part of Orchestration, which is available as a separate subscription. The following are required for their respective virtualization products.
Upgrading with Cloud Provisioning
The following are considerations for existing WMware and Amazon EC2 provisioning requests and tasks when upgrading to Eureka.
For Both VMware and Amazon EC2
The VM request and provisioning workflows have been redesigned in Eureka to support additional features. Any scheduled VM requests or provisioning tasks that are open when upgrading will cause provisioning to fail. To ensure a successful upgrade, do the following before you begin the upgrade:
- All requests and tasks related to VM provisioning should be approved, rejected, or closed before beginning the upgrade.
- If there are any jobs scheduled to be processed in the future, navigate to the Scheduled Jobs module and execute them before starting the upgrade. If that is not possible, VM requests related to those jobs must be re-ordered after the upgrade.
For Amazon EC2 Only
- Because Amazon has deprecated the SOAP API, use the REST API instead of the SOAP API.
- Before beginning the Eureka upgrade, make sure all of the REST API access and secret keys are updated correctly. You can do this by performing a single "update keys/images/instances" operation to confirm the change. If the keys are not updated correctly, any VM provisioning requests started or scheduled before the upgrade will fail and will need to re-ordered. To fix any errors, use the catalog tasks for VM provisioning for any requests started or scheduled after the upgrade.
- Allows administrators to tag Amazon resources to enable usage analysis. Supports Amazon billing to let administrators analyze cost metrics across Amazon resources through dashboards and reports.
- Provides support for the provisioning and management of Amazon CloudFormation stacks to create virtual datacenters using Amazon Web Services resources.
- Provides support for Amazon S3 storage solution activities.
- Allows administrators to discover cloud resources on demand or as part of a cloud provisioning workflow.
- Adds support for VMware VMotion technology such as cloning.
- Adds support for Amazon Virtual Private Clouds (VPCs) to isolate and secure virtual datacenters.
- An incident is created when a provisioning request is broken so that the request can be resubmitted.
- Virtualization provider extension points allow you to customize virtualization providers.
- Users can take snapshots of a VM and later revert the VM to a specific snapshot.
- ServiceNow does not automatically end the lease for virtual machines with Production selected in the Use for choice list. Instead, ServiceNow renews the lease on Production virtual machines automatically for the default lease duration and sends a notification to the requestor each time the lease is renewed.
- The Configure Windows activity now accepts the Run once, License mode, and Concurrent connections input variables.
- Additional fields allow you to specify a license type and commands to run on Windows VMware virtual machines.
- An Instance name field allows provisioners to specify a friendly name for Amazon EC2 virtual machines.
- A new Stage field on the Cloud Operations Portal now displays additional detail about the provisioning workflow status of each virtual machine.