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December 10, 2013

ServiceNow adds to IT operations management portfolio

Configuration Automation Application gives IT new infrastructure controls.

By Duncan Macrae

ServiceNow, an enterprise IT cloud company, has unveiled ServiceNow Configuration Automation, a new orchestration application that controls automated configuration of data centre infrastructure based on the ServiceNow Configuration Management Database (CMDB).

Administrators no longer need to think of the CMDB as a point-in-time historical record of hardware and software configurations. Instead, the process reverses, and the ServiceNow CMDB can become the driver of configuration changes to the data centre infrastructure. This allows IT to improve quality of service, ensure compliance and define a single version of truth that controls, instead of just records, changes.

For years, IT has been challenged to obtain detailed understanding and control of the data centre. Common point solutions have only exacerbated the problem by configuring resources independently and without the governance of change control.

Moving applications to the cloud adds further complications because changes can occur much more rapidly and in greater volumes. Accurate configuration information about infrastructure — physical, virtual and cloud-based — ensures confident IT service delivery. It is also crucial for preventing outages and degradation in the quality of service provided to the business.

Shane Jackson, VP of marketing, ServiceNow, said: "Data growth and a proliferation of automation tools have resulted in confusion, inconsistency and ultimately a loss of confidence in IT.

"As IT infrastructure is being added or changed, compliance, architecture and reporting all need to be considered. ServiceNow Configuration Automation helps with this by combining the speed and ease of automation with critical governance and control. We are inverting the configuration process so that policy and governance drive the process rather than trying to document it after the fact."

The new Configuration Automation application integrates with ServiceNow Change Management, ServiceNow Configuration Management, ServiceNow Cloud Provisioning, ServiceNow CMDB and Puppet Enterprise from Puppet Labs, an IT automation software provider. Together, ServiceNow and Puppet Enterprise create a unified system that drives automated and governed configuration changes.

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Modifying the configuration of physical, virtual or cloud assets is said to become an easy task for system administrators. A request through the ServiceNow Service Catalog or a simple update in the CMDB initiates established change management processes and the datacentre infrastructure is automatically configured to the desired specifications. Changing the configuration of physical, virtual or cloud assets is now simple and fast.

Dennis Drogseth, VP, Enterprise Management Associates (EMA), said: "Visibility, insight and automation go hand-in-hand, although far too often these requirements are dealt with separately, by niche solutions. ServiceNow’s introduction of Configuration Automation as informed by its CMDB demonstrates a clear recognition of this fact — and sets the stage for a powerful expansion of ServiceNow’s native strengths. ServiceNow is also unique in its capabilities for natively combining insights into business service interdependencies, configuration changes, and user-defined automation through its unified architecture and its strong commitment to functional versatility without sacrificing administrative ease."

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