IT Service Management meets Hybrid IT

Borrowing the signature song from the Lego Movie for an enterprise service management blog post is a stretch, but I couldn’t resist. If you’ve seen the Lego Movie you’ll know that the song is extremely catchy, you can’t stop singing “Everything is awesome, everything is cool when you’re part of a team”. The “bad guys” in the movie aim to have everything packaged and boxed into exactly what they want, while the “good guys”, workers, struggle every day to build Legos from these pre-defined packages. With a very happy and up-beat ending, the workers eventually defeat the pre-defined system such that people are able to live free and create their own Lego structures.

As I had mentioned in my previous ITSM blog, hybrid & public cloud adoption, software-defined infrastructure and wide spectrum of customers – from LOBs to infrastructure operations to developers – are driving the ITSM 2.0 transformation, causing the domain being managed by enterprise IT to become so diverse, complex and specialized. The Lego movie keeps coming to my mind, when I think of how “pre-defined” template based ITSM tools provide specific outcomes for IT departments, however, they actually fall short to deliver innovative enterprise services to businesses with agility, creativity and freedom to choose any data center or cloud platforms.

What are we announcing today?

SNOW App Stor with CliQr LogoI am ecstatic to announce that ServiceNow has certified our integration with Cisco CloudCenter. The CloudCenter integration is the most extensive ServiceNow certified integration to date. The integration enables the full lifecycle management and self-service on-demand deployment of application stacks and their underlying infrastructures to a wide range of public cloud providers such as AWS, Azure, Google, IBM SoftLayer, Rackspace, as well as private and hybrid cloud providers including Cisco, VMware, OpenStack, CloudStack and HPE Helion.

The CloudCenter integration provides ServiceNow customers the ability to give users on demand fully automated deployment of full application stacks to datacenter or cloud environments. As a result, a user can select a single item, see side-by-side cost comparison of deployment cost in each available environment, and choose where to deploy before submitting their request. This avoids having multiple environment specific items to build and maintain.

The CloudCenter Integration is available as free download in the ServiceNow Store. Services partners such as EngageESM are trained and available to help install and configure the integration in the Americas and EMEA, and already helping CloudCenter customers get integrated.  Other partners are coming on board for regional coverage.


SNOW and CliQr Solution Diagram

How does it work?

The typical IT service request and delivery cycle now looks like:

Publish Application Profile—A service manager can “One Click” publish any existing CloudCenter application profile. A ServiceNow admin then links the application profile to pre-defined groups of users.

Demand Service Request—In ServiceNow, the requestor selects the appropriate item, adds it to their shopping basket, supplies start and end dates, then receives a side-by-side cost comparison for each available cloud. An optional Purchase Order feature lets users identify specific accounts for internal billing.

Approval Workflow—The deploy request is routed via ServiceNow approval workflows including projected cost to help guide their decision.

Automated Deployment—Cisco CloudCenter provisions cloud infrastructure resources through direct communication to the target datacenter or cloud API, and then deploys and orchestrates application images, services, and data.

Status Updates—CloudCenter updates the CMDB. And ServiceNow can receive status and ongoing infrastructure performance updates from Cisco CloudCenter. Combined with information from third-party application performance monitoring and service assurance tools, ServiceNow can log an incident or start a new remediation workflow.

Closing the loop—CloudCenter can scale out applications based on pre-defined rules. At the end of life, CloudCenter manages the termination of the application and infrastructure. CloudCenter updates ServiceNow with any changes.

Early Customer Success

Our customers are telling us that Cisco CloudCenter and ServiceNow bring together two key enablers needed for IT transformation – service management and cloud brokering. One very compelling and representative use case comes from Vodafone. Vodafone has recently launched its
own global cloud platform called Vodafone CloudStore enabled by Cisco CloudCenter and the ServiceNow integration. The Vodafone CloudStore is a self-service cloud service brokerage solution that automates end-to-end 1-click service delivery on any cloud.

VF Cloud Store with CliQr ImageSNOW CliQr Screen Shot







Using our integrated solution, Vodafone CloudStore provides its customers with a single global point of access that automates access and consumption of cloud services with streamlined governance and greater visibility of what and how cloud is being used across the business.

The integrated solution provides the following unique benefits:

  • Model based deployment to any environment (as opposed to script based deployment hard wired to single environment) removes need for cloud specific expertise when creating and publishing application profiles
  • Side-by-side comparison of expected cost to allow service requestor to choose best deployment environment
  • Automated management of infrastructure and application lifecycle to reclaim unused datacenter and cloud resources through horizontal scaling application tiers (adding/removing instances) and time-based auto termination
  • Policy based automation “guardrails” to guide placement and deployment decisions, and run-time actions all through simple policy tag features giving enterprise IT visibility and governance across data centers and clouds
  • Self-service shopping cart integration that provides deployment to multiple clouds from one ServiceNow catalog item

The key message from the Lego movie is basically this: We don’t succeed or thrive as humans, if we are stuffed into “boxes” with our freedom and creativity constrained. With Cisco CloudCenter and ServiceNow “certified” solution, the “good guys” at IT organizations no longer have to sweat away daily at building and maintaining multiple environment specific service catalog items based on pre-defined templates designed for each specific data center and cloud platform. Let us live free and create our own “Lego” structures on any data center or cloud platform!

To learn more:

Cisco CloudCenter with ServiceNow At-a-Glance

Cisco CloudCenter with ACI and ServiceNow (brief overview)

Cisco CloudCenter Architecture Overview White Paper

Vodafone Knowledge16 Presentation – Vodafone Enabling the Cloud in the Enterprise

(Follow the link to create login and access Vodafone presentation at Knowledge16 summit)


Adam Ozkan

Hybrid Cloud Infrastructure