5 Ways Cisco ACI® Integration with ServiceNow® will Elevate Your IT Operations Management

According to a recent report by Gartner, more than $1 trillion in IT spending will be directly or indirectly affected by the cloud shift during the next five years. Traditional IT spending is shifting over to cloud services, and the market for cloud services has grown to a very remarkable percentage of total IT spending. The collective amount of cloud shift in 2016 alone is estimated to reach $111 billion, increasing to $216 billion in 2020.

Cloud shift is not just about cloud. As organizations pursue a new IT architecture and operating philosophy, they become prepared for new opportunities in digital business, including next-generation IT solutions such as the Internet of Things, furthermore, organizations embracing dynamic, cloud-based operating models position themselves better for cost optimization and increased competitiveness.

Cisco ACI Image at ServiceNow Store Aug 2016

This is why organizations in all industry-specific market segments are turning to cloud solutions to accelerate innovation, expand market reach, and reduce IT costs. However, embracing the cloud presents challenges especially for IT operations teams struggling to deliver and maintain the business services needed to help ensure end-users remain productive and ensure the uptime of critical business services.

As we continue to evolve Cisco ACI eco-system to enable IT organizations to deliver and maintain the critical business services, I am very excited to announce that we have received certification of Cisco ACI Inventory Management with ServiceNow and the application is available in the ServiceNow Store.

Some of you might be surprised that we are integrating an ITSM/ITOM platform with DC/Cloud infrastructure fabric, however, our customers have been telling us that ITSM/ITOM paradigm is trickling down to various layers of DC/Cloud infrastructure for quite some time. As a matter of fact, these customers have been using ServiceNow to pull business critical information from the network and in some cases they have been actually provisioning and managing the underlying infrastructure.

The Cisco ACI integration provides ServiceNow customers with a simple view of IT infrastructure and the way it relates to business services, with complete isolation of application tiers and data within shared infrastructure. With this integration, IT organizations can use the Cisco ACI application in their ServiceNow instance to run discovery processes through the Cisco ACI management, instrumentation, and discovery (MID) server and automatically update the ServiceNow configuration management database (CMDB) with discovered inventory data consisting of both physical configuration data (switches, APIC controller, node links, chassis information, etc.) and logical configuration data (tenants, endpoint groups [EPGs], L4-7 configurations, contracts, policies, etc.)


ACI and ServiceNow Integration High Level Arch Image


In addition, as Cisco ACI connects various tenants, VMs and services across scale out infrastructure, ACI End Point Tracking feature provides ServiceNow CMDB admins with most comprehensive end-point dynamic metadata including end-point initial discovery, lifecycle, location, downtime, making sure that CMDB is in sync with changes happening in logical & physical configurations.

ServiceNow Cisco ACI Topology View Aug 2016

The Cisco ACI solution integrated with ServiceNow provides IT organizations with the following 5 benefits for achieving a scalable service-aware IT operations management environment.

1) Accurate dynamic service mapping – By correlating infrastructure with existing services, ServiceNow and Cisco ACI discovers and models components that are part of a business service. This unique approach eliminates irrelevant data points and creates accurate service maps in minutes

ACI and ServiceNow Dynamic Service Mapping Screen Shot 1

2) Real time infrastructure visibility – When service and infrastructure changes occur, including actions related to change requests, infrastructure events, and service outages, IT teams can quickly identify the root cause and determine the best way to remediate the issue, leading to drastically reduced mean time to recovery (MTTR).

ACI and ServiceNow Infra Visibility Screen Shot 13) Cost savings through automation – IT organizations can dramatically reduce the time required to map new services and detect changes for existing ones through automated service mapping process. Through automation provided by Cisco ACI enabled infrastructure, IT organizations can also reclaim or retire applications, servers, and storage and networking resources, when they are no longer needed, resulting in additional operational agility and resource efficiencies.

4) Operational efficiency – IT operations teams respond more quickly and become more proactive with Cisco ACI keeping an up-to-date view of service-aware infrastructure and informing ServiceNow about the services that are available and the ways that they are connected.

5) Realistic and guaranteed SLAs – Improved automation, visibility, and compliance, coupled with dynamic and accurate service mapping, enable IT organizations to create realistic SLAs that can be met and to easily share them with stakeholders across the organization.

The Cisco ACI integration is available as free download at the ServiceNow StoreSo, go ahead and download the free app, create connection with your ServiceNow instance, run your asset discovery process and start mapping your business services with most accurate CMDB. 

If you happen to be in the LA area, please register for Cisco sponsored Los Angeles ServiceNow User Group (SNUG) on September 8, 2016 where we have a great line up of technical presentations highlighting ServiceNow and Cisco integrations and also hands-on demo session showcasing how these integrations work in real life pragmatic use cases. Please stay tuned as we are planning more Cisco sponsored SNUG meetups in other regions as well.

To learn more:

Solution Overview: Cisco ACI and ServiceNow: Build a Service-Aware Enterprise Stack for Agile IT Operations Management

Cisco ACI

Cisco ACI Eco-system

Cisco DC Blog: Cisco CloudCenter Achieves Certified Integration with ServiceNow


Adam Ozkan

Hybrid Cloud Infrastructure