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Extend the Benefits of Automation with a Self-Service Catalogue

By Jim Miller posted 02-04-2020 21:46


IT operational Automation is a key strategy for IT organizations to provide relief for overburdened staff and improve the on-time delivery of critical resources such as storage. Using Hitachi’s Ops Center Automator for the orchestration of repetitive steps within IT operational tasks simplifies the process, reducing the number of steps and time required to allocate resources. With Ops Center Automator the number of steps can be reduced by up to 70% while the time required to execute the task by up to 90%.

The benefits of Ops Center Automator can deliver a self-service model through the creation of a service catalogue that enables business unit or junior administrators to provision the resources they need themselves.

When a data center administrator sets up a service with Hitachi Ops Center Automator, he/she starts with a service template. Over 50 of these preconfigured service templates exist for tasks such allocating volumes, configuring WWN zoning or migrating data. Each template contains variables to be populated specific to the template selected. Just as a PowerPoint template becomes a presentation when it is populated with data, a service template becomes a service when the variables are defined.

 For storage allocation, these variables including volume, host, fabric and the zone settings are required to allocate the required storage. Once this process is set up, the administrator can save it as a service, to be used over and over, only changing certain variables for specific to provisioning requirements such as “Hosts” or “Capacity”. The screenshot below shows where the volume settings are entered within a template.

The storage administrator can then create a service catalog, a collection consisting of specific, optimized services that are tailored to individual business units. Each custom service can limit the scope of the provisioning process, reducing the number of inputs that need to be defined to a set of default variables for each service.

Once an optimized service has been created, the business unit administrator can log into Hitachi Ops Center Automator, and then use the dashboard view that provides quick access to the specific templates that they are authorized to use. If they cannot find the service they need within the dashboard, they can move on to the services tab and do a tag or text search to locate the desired service.

Once the desired service is located, it can be submitted, requiring only basic information such as the host name that they want to allocate the volumes to. In the screen shot below, the volume settings for the optimized service have been simplified and limited to the entries reflected below.

The service is run, and the required storage is provisioned without the need to interface with either the storage administrator or other members of the IT staff.

It is that simple. Defining a service catalog upfront with the predefined service templates, which enable a self-service model for the business unit administrators. This approach empowers business units to be self-sufficient, improving the on-time delivery of resources while lessening the burden on storage administrators.