Cisco UCS Director is a cloud management platform that manages and orchestrates your data center resources and provides a basic self-service catalog for end users. But a cloud management platform doesn’t exist all by itself; it requires integrations with everything in the data center so that servers can be built to corporate standards. For instance, once a new server is requested, a change order must be added to the company’s ticketing system, and once the build is complete, a configuration item record must be added to the company’s configuration management database. This is all accomplished by leveraging application programming interfaces, or APIs.
Both UCS Director and ServiceNow have APIs that can be used to tie the two services together to provide additional functionality. When it comes to requesting services, UCS Director has its own catalog that users can request from, but if the company needs something a little more robust, a custom-designed web page with gadgets and widgets as part of an Enterprise Service Management solution may be used instead. To make the integration a little more seamless, ServiceNow can create the portal that users interact with and call the UCS Director services through using the UCS Director Northbound API.
Ordering Services with the ServiceNow Platform
Using the ServiceNow platform, a form is first created that allows users to input all of the necessary information to request a new virtual machine, including the number of CPUs, amount of memory, and total disk space. From there, the user can order the requested service, and any existing ServiceNow workflows can be executed and sent to a manager for approval.
Once the request has been submitted through ServiceNow and it has been approved, a REST call can be executed to call on our UCS Director workflow.
The workflow can be built to do any number of tasks necessary in the environment. In the case below, the workflow first has to format the input variables and then immediately calls back out to ServiceNow, but this time through the Southbound API. The API call tells ServiceNow to input a change record.
Here is a snippet of the REST call:
Once that REST call is complete, the machine building process can continue to deploy the virtual machine in your vSphere environment and perform any post-deployment activities that might need to be completed, such as sending out a notification email or configuring a backup task.
UCS Director and ServiceNow: Better Together
UCS Director does a good job of orchestrating our build and talking to the necessary infrastructure components. Ensuring pools of resources are available, handling lifecycle operations, and building machines is what UCS Director does best. ServiceNow is a great tool for hosting a central place for users to retrieve information about their services. It has a catalog that can be made to look beautiful for users requesting resources or services, as well as ticket tracking capabilities and configuration management capabilities all in one place.
Too often, users submit request services in ServiceNow and then have their IT guy build those requests in UCS Director, adding change tickets and configuration elements by hand. We recommend leveraging automation to eliminate these types of manual tasks. You don’t need to keep doing things in two systems anymore; UCS Director and ServiceNow can work better together and APIs help us accomplish this.
AHEAD helps clients make decisions about where service catalogs should exist and how they can be integrated with a cloud management portal. We also have custom code available to help speed the integration process along and get you to production faster. Take a look at our list of orchestration workflows that exist in our inventory and can be found here.
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