Opportunities in ServiceNow and Google: Part #2 – Cloud Management

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Managing Partner & Advisor
Themes in this post: CMDB, ESM, ITSM, SACM

Traditional IT Service Management (ITSM) and Enterprise Service Management (ESM)

Traditional ITSM/ESM tools mostly focus on tickets, ITIL processes and integration of different systems, either for data or processes. When your organization matures, Configuration Management Database (CMDB) becomes more important and more advanced processes such as Service Asset and Configuration Management (SACM) can be implemented in order to conduct true Service Management (SM) instead of just plain ticketing.

Today, the role of ITSM or ESM tools such as ServiceNow is to combine assets, services, events, incidents, relations, etc. into one platform. This allows you to utilize the benefits of a single source of records which gathers and shares information across the organization.

Multi-vendor environment

For most large organizations multi-vendor environments are quite common. It’s very rare to find a mid size, large or enterprise sized organization which only has one vendor or partner that provides the services they need. Most of the IT services may be outsourced to one vendor, but when you start looking into security, risk management, network, devices, accounting, HR, facilities, maintenance, etc. you usually find multiple different vendors with their own ERP’s and Service Management tools.

Cloud resources and capabilities of the Cloud

In my previous blog posting I shared some of my thoughts and opinions related to joint use of Google and ServiceNow in DevOps. The same principles apply here and can naturally be used in multi-cloud architectures and multi-cloud environments.

For example, using Google Cloud Platform (GCP) instead of hosted data centers with supporting services, means getting Everything as a Service, including tools and supporting solutions.

I have listed some Google products below to give an overview of what this means in practical terms when you are talking about Capacity, Monitoring, Hosting etc. as a Service. Everything that would usually mean setting up an internal team or outsourcing activity. The work would however still be done manually on request or as per hosting agreement.

  • Compute Engine – Platform as a Service for running e.g.  Microsoft or Linux Virtual Machines
  • App Engine – Platform as a Service to deploy e.g. Java, PHP, Node.js, Python, C# or .Net Applications
  • Stackdriver – Monitoring, logging, and diagnostics for applications
  • Cloud Console – Web interface to manage Google Cloud Platform resources
  • Cloud Identity – Single sign-on (SSO) service based on SAML 2.0 and OpenID

What does this mean in comparison to the Traditional ITSM/ESM architecture described earlier?

In my opinion this means you have to change the way you think about processes and architecture of your complete IT environment. With GCP everything is managed, monitored and used via Google provided tools. No need to set up separate tools for separate functions and no need to integrate separate tools eg. to ServiceNow. Everything is available through APi’s in the same data model and format when you connect to GCP whether it is monitoring, cost management or cloud resource related data, information or triggers.

Combining Traditional way, DevOps and Cloud

If you take the traditional ITSM/ESM architecture, DevOps, GCP and ServiceNow, the picture above shows what the overall architecture could look like.

Traditional ITSM/ESM architecture in relations to ServiceNow is in a way self explanatory because it follows ITIL and other best practices and combines the needed tools and services for providing different kinds of IT Services.

CI/CD pipeline is linked to governance and change management via ServiceNow DevOps. It can also trigger the Cloud environment Discovery if needed (eg. test environment resources) in order to keep the assets in CMDB up-to-date and be able to track and see the status of progress. Naturally after the development work is done and deployed to production in GCP, all the new cloud resources need to be discovered by CMDB. In order to fully understand the status of the environment and support the Service Management (which supports the business), possible interferences need to be known by Service Management as soon as possible. This can be achieved by connecting GCP monitoring to ServiceNow event management which links to CMDB data and other ITIL processes.

Besides the operative Cloud and Service Management, cost, billing and pricing play a significant role in all functions and operations. In the picture above, these matters are called Cloud Data. And with the Cloud Data, I mean:

  • How much we have consumed Cloud resources
  • What is the historical spend
  • How much it would cost to deploy something to production

To sum it up

With use of Google and ServiceNow you can support different functions by utilizing the best parts of both solutions and gain advantage by combining the features, functions and data of both solutions.

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