CoE Smart Bot For ITSM

By Hubert Yoshida posted 12-04-2020 20:16


Earlier in the year, I posted a blog about all the DataOps features that are in the Hitachi Virtual Storage Platform, designed to unleash your data’s ultimate potential by automating the processes that enables the right data to get to the right place at the right time. That included the incorporation of AI and ML in the VSP storage subsystem and the availability of a REST API to not only connect with other vendor’s management stacks, but also apply analytics, machine learning and automated deployment of resources through Hitachi Vantara’s Ops Center tools.  Hitachi Vantara’s Center of Excellence has developed a Smart Bot to make these Ops Center tools easier to use.

Hitachi Vantara Ops Center tools Accelerate Automation To Improve IT Operational Efficiency

Ops Center Administrator
Hitachi Ops Center Administrator (previously known as Hitachi Storage Advisor) is an infrastructure management solution that unifies storage provisioning, data protection, and storage management. Ops Center Administrator simplifies the management of large scale data centers by providing smarter software services and is extensible to provide better programmability and better control.

Ops Center Analyzer
Hitachi Ops Center Analyzer can provide prescriptive and predictive analytics by mining telemetry data from servers, storage appliances, networking systems and virtual machines to optimize performance, troubleshoot issues and forecast when a business may need to buy new storage systems or capacity. There are 77 performance metrics that we can provide via REST API over IP connections. Based on an analysis of these metrics the Ops Center Analyzer can determine the right actions to take, then launch into an automation tool to invoke the appropriate services to execute that action.

Ops Center Automator
The automation tool, Hitachi Ops Center Automator, contains a catalog of templates that can automate and orchestrate the delivery and management of IT resources. The analytics tool can communicate with the automation tool, through a REST API, to help you select the right template, fill in the parameters and request deployment of resources. During the execution, the automation tool may need to communicate with third party switches, virtual machines, containers or public cloud through their APIs. When one considers all the tedious steps required to request and deploy storage, networking, hypervisor, and application services for hundreds or even thousands of users, you can see how automation can reduce days of work down to minutes.

CoE Smart Bot For ITSM
Hitachi Vantara's Center of Excellence has made this even simpler by providing a Smart Bot to automate these tools with ITSM. The majority of our customers, from entry to enterprise, rely on ITSM software to manage their multi-vendor landscape. If users require additional resources, they log into their ITSM Product like ServiceNow (about 70% of our customers), Remedy (about 20% of our customers) + others. Hitachi Vantara’s Center of Excellence has developed a Smart Bot for Service Now and Remedy. You can see how this is done on ServiceNow in this blog post by Ian Clatworthy. The basics are that the user logs into ServiceNow and selects the resources they need from the service catalog.

If you select one of the options like setting up a Global Active Device (GAD)VMware Metro Cluster for zero RPO/RTO between two VMware system, the Smart Bot will first log a change request to ServiceNow for approval by the storage administrator. Once approval is given the Smart Bot will open a chat window and guide you through the process, automatically connecting with Hitachi Ops Center tools like Ops Center Administrator, Ops Center Analyzer and Ops Center Automator. This works with any compute system and with the Virtualization capability of the VSP storage you can support GAD on your existing non-Hitachi storage. The Smart Bot is smart enough to know by your selection of the ESXi host whether to set up an NTFS file system for a Microsoft host or an XFS or EXT filesystem for a Linux host for the ESX datastore. The Smart Bot will interface with different storage management applications based on the type of answers you have given the bot. Therefore, customers don’t need to dive into each application when provisioning storage.

The Smart Bot saves a lot of time and it always follows the right workflows for best practice! If you need to log a change when assigning a volume. It will first go and log a change in ServiceNow, wait for the system administrators to approve the change and only then proceed with the workflow. You can add any workflow, any approval process and even make the bot more interactive if you would prefer that rather than having static workflows. A super-fast sys admin could do the same, but the advantage of the Smart Bot is that it can be used by almost any admin and the results will consistently follow best practices.

Since each customer install is different, customers will need a consultative services to deploy. Right now it is something the services team would setup alongside the regional Center of Excellence in the Americas and EMEA.

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