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Implementing automations within your ITSM process can not only reduce your workload and expenses by letting Provance ITSM fulfill repetitive and frequent tasks, it can also ensure that automated processes execute the tasks accurately—the same way every time—garnering qualified data that can be used to improve service delivery. Automations also allow IT to easily handle the workload without hiring more people if, for example, there’s an unexpected surge in issues or requests.
This is the first post in our blog series about getting to know the automation capabilities in Provance ITSM. In this scenario, I’m going to walk you through a change management process in which an event comes through the Provance ITSM System Center Operations Manager (SCOM) connector (this process can also apply to alerts and events from Operations Management Suite (OMS) using the out-of-the-box Provance connector for OMS. We will discuss more about OMS in our next post in this series). But first, a bit of background. We’ve set up an organization called Contoso, who is an electronics manufacturer with many cloud services connected products. They have 5000 employees and a large DevOps team for software development. They use SCOM to monitor their infrastructure.
In the screen shot below, you can see that an event—database threshold approaching risk—has come into Provance ITSM from the SCOM Connector. In this screenshot, I’ve already selected that it will be a problem (more on this below) and so we get to see information about the event, including its criticality, description, services, originality, related devices, related assets and so on. In this particular scenario, we can see that IT manages an Azure VM that also stores an Azure SQL database, which will store info for Contoso.
So, let’s see how Provance ITSM can help us manage when the workload on the database starts to increase and the memory crosses a certain threshold. Based on this type of event, I can perform certain actions, such as creating a change request, incident or a problem. In this scenario, as I mentioned above, I chose create a problem (beside Perform action in the screenshot below), which then created the problem PR-10063-2017 – Database Threshold Approaching Risk in Provance ITSM and brought in all the information based on this event.
When I’m going through the project management process, I need to identify what the root cause is. But first note that, as you can see in the screenshot below, all the information for Categorization from the event pre-populates, so I don’t have to re-enter.
As I look through the database though, I can see that certain jobs are running more than what we had anticipated. So, I need to create a Change, because we need to change a configuration to resize the database. And thankfully, Provance ITSM makes this very easy to do.
On the problem record, I can just select the ellipsis for more commands, and select Create Change Request (see screenshot below).
When the pop-up window appears (see screenshot below), I have several questions. The first question asked is whether I’d like to store the time when the problem was created or when the change was created. I can also add some extra descriptions. In the last question, I can choose to copy the categorization and priority information from the problem, and since I want to streamline the process and I don’t want to have to reenter the information, I select yes. I can also assign to a team member here.
Once done, I hit next. So, then what it’s going to do is it’s going to populate that information for the change request, making it very easy to go through and make this change. One it’s completed, it will provide me with a link in the pop-up. Once, I click the link, I get brought to the change management record (see screenshot below).
So, the first question I need to ask myself is if this is a normal change. Since we manage this database, this then is just a standard change for regular database maintenance. So, I change it to standard (see screenshot below). Notice how the business process flow changed (comparing to the screenshot above). According to ITIL, a standard change is something that we do regularly, whereas for a normal change we need to assess and coordinate implementation and so on.
As I go through this particular change, I can identify what the service and implementation risks are, and whether there’s a different change owner.
So, what we need to do is go into the Azure database and then resize the memory. But, now, using Azure Automation, we can streamline this entire process and not leave Dynamics 365. In fact, I can call an automation directly through here. To do this, I start by choosing a ticket template to increase the database by 10% (see screenshot below).
Once I choose the ticket template, I’ll be presented with some information on which computer name I need to resize the database with. It will also kick of the automation and the computer name that I put in. Then, I refresh the screen and now I have a response (see screenshot below).
So, there’s several triggers on the automation, this particular one is a respond to. As soon as I click on respond, it’s going to ask me to define the computer name, and based on the question template's configuration the dialog will continue asking me questions.
To see what this looks like in the background, you can select the extended menu and click Automation Calls. The screenshot below shows you what’s been created. The automation call uses an automation template to pass parameters into Azure.
So Provance ITSM uses and leverages automation accounts to perform the resizing whereas before I would have had to go into that database to increase it manually. One of the ways to achieve Modern Service Management is to have automations take care of the repetitive manual tasks, such as outlined above. Since the automation completed the change, I can go back to ITSM, simply fulfill the change and close. And since I’ve completed the change, I can now go back to the problem to identify what would be a permanent resolution.
Tune in next time to see how we leverage OMS for the permanent resolution.