vRA – vRealize Automation and ServiceNow Integration

Caution: Articles written for technical not grammatical accuracy, If poor grammar offends you proceed with caution ;-)

Some of you may have attended the vRA and ServiceNow presentation at VMworld 2017 yesterday.  I regret not being able to attend and present it myself, however I’m certain that Chris Smith and Ian Smith did a fantastic job.  Here I want to recap some of what was presented during that session.

It’s important to understand what options are available and what features they offer in order to understand what you really need when integrating with ServiceNow.  To start do you need what is referred to as North/South integration, East/West Integration, or both.  Below is a list of what capabilities fall under each classification.

ServiceNow used as CatalogvRA used as Catalog
VMware vRealize Automation handles automation and orchestration.VMware vRealize Automation handles automation and orchestration.
Create or update CI recordsCreate or update CI records
Available via VMware ITSM plugin, AVNet Plugin, or Custom REST API integration.Available via VMware ITSM plugin, SovLabs plugin, Avnet Plugin, or custom vRealize Orchestrator workflows.

At first glance these may seem almost identical.  The main difference being that in a North/South integration ServiceNow is the main catalog.  Users will make requests for workloads via ServiceNow and vRA will fulfill those requests.  East and west integration is more focused creating and updating CI records in ServiceNow.

There are two prominent integrations for achieving this integration.  The VMware ITSM plugin for vRA and SovLab’s ServiceNow module for vRA.  At a high level if you want North/South integration (catalog) you will need to use the ITSM plugin or create your own custom integration.  The ITSM Plugin can also do East/West Integration as well.  You could use the ITSM plugin for East/West integration without using the North/South capabilities, however considering the SAML 2.0 (ADFS) requirements to implement the ITSM plugin for it’s catalog integration you may find the SovLabs solution to be preferred for an East/West Integration.  It’s also worth noting that the ITSM plugin is a plugin for ServiceNow, not vRA.

The SovLabs ServiceNow module is a vRA/vRO plugin that provides East/West integration and is compatible with the VMware ITSM plugin.  The SovLabs module offers significant East/Wests integration capabilities while being  super simple to setup as use.  This is what makes this a very popular option for East/West Integrations.  Once the plugin is installed in vRO all the configuration is completed within vRA.  The plugin takes advantages of vRA’s custom properties and Event Broker.  This is huge because you gain the flexibility of creating or updating CI records any any of the 100’s of event that the event broker supports.  You also have the flexibility of using reserved vRA properties as well as your own custom properties to populate fields within the CI record.  The VMware ITSM plugin work a bit differently.  It’s basically a data collection that run’s in ServiceNow and data collects the workloads and their info from the vRA API and creates the CI records.  One key difference is how you access the values you want to populate in the CI record.  Using the ITSM plugin you are referencing the values based on objects in the API.

Because there is no need to setup SAML 2.0 (ADFS) for the SovLab’s module, it’s use of the Event Broker and it’s use of native vRA custom properties it’s the obvious choice for East/West only integrations.  Many also leverage it in conjunction with the ITSM plugin to take advantage of the flexibility, ease of configuration, and ongoing management.

Stay tuned for more blogs detailing the setup and configuration of both solutions.

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