In previous blogs we looked at how Hitachi Automation Director (HAD) reduces the effort the and risk required to execute IT operational tasks. In this blog, we will explore some of the advanced features of HAD that deliver greater value to IT Organizations; features which include: Smart Provisioning of storage, Hitachi Infrastructure Analytics Advisor (HIAA) integration and HAD integration with 3rd party IT Service Management (ITSM) tools from vendors such as Service Now.
Smart Provisioning. Provisioning is a time consuming and tedious task, which is made more complex when different classes of storage are deployed within a datacenter. By not storing all data onto the highest performance class of storage, costs can be dramatically reduced. Less critical applications can store their data onto less costly, tier two or tier three storage. HAD smart provisioning intelligently matches application storage requirements against specific storage tiers. Aside from significantly reducing the number of steps to provision storage, smart provisioning assures that the storage is provisioned for an application based on performance and availability needs. Hitachi Vantara customers have reduced the amount of time to provision storage by as much as 90% reducing what took over a day to under one hour. Also, since the provisioning process is fully automated, the chance for human error that can result in an outage for an already running application is reduced to zero.
With smart provisioning, a storage request is matched against a service catalog that identifies, based on best practices, the best allocation of storage for a specific application. To accomplish this, HAD includes default storage profiles that range from bronze (internal and external SATA) up to ultimate (SSD and Flash Module Device) and pre-set these for major application types within HAD out of the box. For instance, Oracle database data is assigned to Gold/Write (SAS 15K) whereas an Oracle database archive is assigned to Bronze.
And smart provisioning extends beyond storage into the SAN network. HAD will identify the network paths that are available, and the availability characteristics for each zone. This assures that the correct network zoning is chosen during the provisioning process to meet application requirements.
The result of smart provisioning is the most cost-efficient provisioning of storage that also meets specific application needs.
HAD is fully integrated with Hitachi’s Infrastructure Analytics Advisor (HIAA) a powerful tool that collects telemetric across the entire IT stack, determining root cause and a prescribed solution to a potential or existing problem.
This integration simplifies and unifies the monitoring of telemetric data and solution completion, freeing up IT staff from manually monitoring infrastructure and correcting problems. The automated approach is accomplished by HIAA using the REST API to call services created in HAD that are developed to solve specific issues. Here is a use case of this integration in action.
- Automated VM Datastore Expansion: In this use case example, HIAA provides the monitoring of VM datastores. In the event a datastore reaches a pre-defined limit, say 90% full, HIAA calls HAD and additional capacity is automatically added before any issues arise. Storage Administrators do not have to constantly monitor storage consumption and worry about running out of capacity.
HAD can also be integrated with ServiceNow, a popular ticketing service that optimizes business workflows and creating a more stable IT environment. Daily operations and actions for incidents or tasks are open and tracked as a ticket under ServiceNow, with the ticket being assigned and tracked until the ticket is closed. ServiceNow increases the effectiveness of managing tickets, but the separation of infrastructure operations from IT service management can actually increase effort and provide another opportunity for error. A task such as a storage provisioning still requires multiple tools, with many steps that can also translate into errors.
Once HAD is integrated with ServiceNow, the number of steps for a task such as allocating volumes is reduced to just six.
- IT / application administrator logs in to the ServiceNow request provisioning of new storage.
- ServiceNow administrator logs into the ServiceNow portal to review requests.
- ServiceNow administrator identifies and approves request.
- IT / application administrator receives notice that the request has been approved and is underway. In this image, it is a provisioning of a new VMware environment protected by GAD.
- From the HAD interface you can see (at right) that provisioning processes are running. Check marks indicate completed workflow steps.
- User gets email notification on completion of the Service Request
All the steps for LUN creation, mapping host settings, switch zoning, and host allocation, mounting the LUN and creating a filesystem can all happen automatically, with a significant reduction in time, effort and risk of errors.
There is an effort required upfront in the integration of ServiceNow and HAD, with a need to create the desired service templates. Once this initial work is done, the process for allocating volumes (or other desired workflows) is greatly reduced, and the templates may be leveraged as often as required. Hitachi professional services has extensive experience with this integration and can help with the initial service templates that are required.
Stay tuned for additional blogs on how Hitachi Vantara can help achieve tactical and strategic IT initiatives.