vRealize Automation 7.6 (vRA 7.6) ITSM 7.6 Plug-in for ServiceNow

VMware vRealize Automation is a hybrid cloud automation platform that transforms IT service delivery. With vRealize Automation, customers can increase agility, productivity and efficiency through automation, by reducing the complexity of their IT environment, streamlining IT processes and delivering a DevOps-ready automation platform.

If you want to know more about the upcoming release of vRealize Automation 8, please check out our updated product page here.

In this blog we will be focusing on installing and configuring the new ITSM 7.6 Plug-in which was released and currently only available on the Service Now Store here for vRealize Automation 7.6, 7.5 and 7.4.

Summary

The vRealize Automation plugin 7.6 for ServiceNow provides an out of the box integration between the ServiceNow portal and vRealize Automation catalog and governance model. It enables ServiceNow users to deploy virtual machines and perform basic day 2 operations on their CMDB assets.

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Once you install and configure the plug-in, vRealize Automation catalog items which are entitled to ServiceNow users will automatically appear in a special ServiceNow vRealize Automation portal.

When leveraging vRealize Automation’s ecosystem items via the ServiceNow portal, the vRealize Automation ServiceNow plugin will allow you to directly benefit from the extensibility and governance capabilities of vRealize Automation.
You can additionally leverage all vRealize Automation Event Broker integrations and include vRealize Automation approval policies.

Key Features

  • The plugin enables integration between vRealize Automation with ServiceNow platform to provide the ability for ServiceNow users to access the vRealize Automation catalogs & resources within ServiceNow.
  • The plugin allows ServiceNow users to request vRealize Automation catalog items from ServiceNow portal.
  • The plugin extends ServiceNow functionality to be able to render vRealize Automation catalog items into ServiceNow dynamically and manage vRealize Automation resources.
  • Day2 operations performed on the resources in ServiceNow CMDB will be synced back to vRealize Automation.
  • The Plugin can support multiple vRealize Automation Instances within the same ServiceNow Instance

What’s New

  • Resource Sharing and entitlements across ServiceNow users
  • Resource visibility based on Entitlements within ServiceNow
  • Header Rebranding where Global admin/plugin admin can apply changes based on his requirements.
  • Footer Rebranding where Global admin/plugin admin can apply changes to images, logo, text, colors, based on his requirements.
  • Two way checkout functionality for Catalog items
  • Boolean Yes_No field type support
  • Date/Time field support
  • Hyperlink field type support
  • Reconcile of CMDB
  • Business group functionality
  • Support for cross reference / Business group properties
  • Custom property fields population based on Business group selection

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Updates and Improvements

  • Enhanced Documentation which you have to refer to.
  • ITSM 7.6 supports London and Madrid version of ServiceNow.
  • ITSM 7.6 support vRealize Automation 7.6, 7.5 and 7.4.
  • UI Improvement for Category widget on Service Portal.
  • UI improvement for browser Scrollbar on request and catalog item page on portal.
  • Issue with Catalog client script (Regex Function support).

A few facts first!

Update ITSM Application for ServiceNow

If you have previously downloaded the vRealize Automation ITSM Application version 5.1 from the ServiceNow store portal, you can update it to version 7.6 in your instance using the same portal. More details around the actual update procedure can be found in the documentation.

If you have a deployment of 5.1 which was downloaded and installed from VMware Marketplace or any of the following :

  • ITSM v5.1 Downloaded from VMware Marketplace
  • ITSM v5.0 Downloaded from VMware Marketplace
  • ITSM v4.1 Downloaded from VMware Marketplace
  • ITSM v4.0 Downloaded from VMware Marketplace
  • ITSM v3.0 Downloaded from VMware Marketplace

Before your deployment can be updated, the current version of the vRealize Automation ITSM Application must be uninstalled with the help of ServiceNow. Please open a ticket with ServiceNow at https://hi.service-now.com/hisp to remove the application ‘VMware vRealize Automation ITSM Application’.

Install a MID Server

  • Use or Install a Management, Instrumentation, and Discovery (MID) Server to facilitate the communication between ServiceNow and vRealize Automation.
    • Check my Pervious Blog here, on how to do that Or
    • Check Video 2 below

Install ITSM Application for ServiceNow

I usually would have captured the entire process but unfortunately I don’t have access to the ServiceNow Store portal so I would have to install the plug-in similar to how I did in my pervious blog for the 5.0/5.1 Plug-in here.

Now assuming you have access, let’s follow the following steps :

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  • Click on the application to view the details. On the top right corner of the form, you will see buttons to “Purchase” and “Manage Entitlements”
  • The vRealize Automation ITSM Application for ServiceNow is free. 
  • Click “Manage Entitlements” and select the ServiceNow instances where the application should be installed. Click OK.
  • The application should now be available on the ServiceNow instances selected in the previous step.
  • Log in to the ServiceNow Instance as a ServiceNow system administrator.
  • Select System Applications > All Available Applications > All. 
  • Search for the application “vRealize Automation ITSM Application for ServiceNow
  • Click Install. In the popup, please select Install with demo data and complete the installation

This completes the installation of the Application.

Configure ITSM Plug-in for ServiceNow

After installation, you need to carry out the following configuration steps. 

Enable Application Access on Tables

  • You must enable application access to certain tables for the application to work.
    • Check my Pervious Blog here, on how to do that in Step 1 Or
    • Check Video 4 below.

Set up ServiceNow Users for managing the vRealize Automation ITSM Plug-in

Setup the ServiceNow users who will manage the vRealize Automation ITSM application configuration and enable end users to use the vRealize Automation User Portal.

The table below captured from the documentation describes the persona and necessary roles to enable the persona. 

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  • vRealize Automation and ServiceNow may be backed by different Authentication Providers. It is important to setup the users in both systems with the same email address. This email address is used to match the user records across the Authentication Providers of the respective systems. The correlation is required to correctly assign the ownership of the deployments and machines. 
  • Authentication, Roles and Entitlements are defined and enforced by ServiceNow. They have no correspondence in vRealize Automation. 

Set up ServiceNow Users for approval and support the vRealize Automation ITSM Plug-in

Setup the ServiceNow users who will approve the requests for deployments. Also, setup the users who will receive a support ticket on request failures. 

The table below captured from the documentation describes the persona and the necessary groups to enable the approval and support notifications. 

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Note: The Support group is actually called “vRA ServiceNow Support Group” and not “vRealizeAutomation-Support

Set up the integration user in vRealize Automation

You must set up a user in the vRealize Automation. The vRealize Automation ITSM Application connects to vRealize Automation using the credentials of this user to perform all actions including import of catalog items and categories, deployments and its resources, and requests for new deployments. 

The integration user must be a business group manager within the business groups that you want ServiceNow to manage. The integration user does not require a role within ServiceNow.

  • Check my Pervious Blog here, on how to do that in Step 5 Or
  • Check Video 6 below.

All Catalog Item Requests from ServiceNow are serviced by this integration user in vRealize Automation. In vRealize Automation, the requests and corresponding deployments will show the integration user as the owner. However, in ServiceNow, the requests and corresponding deployments will show the ServiceNow user who initiated the request. This is achieved by correlating the Email address from the user records across two systems.

Now that we got that out of the way lets dive right in with this series of videos that will capture the integration workflow.

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Video 1: Requesting a ServiceNow Developer Instance

Video 2: Setting Up The ServiceNow MID Server

Video 3: Setup The Plug-in To Be Accessible From All Application Scopes

Video 4: Enable Plug-in Access To Certain Tables

Video 5: Installing The ITSM 7.6 Plug-in

Video 6: Setting Up The Integration User

Video 7: Setup ServiceNow Users (Admin, User, Approver and Support)

Video 8: Register vRealize Automation Instance In ServiceNow

Video 9: Creating vRealize Automation Entitlements

 

Coming Soon!

Video 10: Request vRealize Automation Catalog Item In ServiceNow

Video 11: Sharing Resources in ServiceNow vRealize Automation User Portal

Video 12: Rebrand the vRealize Automation User Portal in ServiceNow

 

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Deploying and Upgrading vRealize Automation with vRealize Suite LifeCycle Manager 2.0 – Part 2

Now that we have seen and understand how to deploy vRealize Automation 7.4 using vRealize Suite LifeCycle Manager 2.0 in Part 1 of the blog, we are ready to continue using vRSLCM to upgrade the vRA 7.4 instance we deployed to vRA 7.5.

So let’s get started Eh!.

Right away and when logged in vRSLCM we see a notification alert that vRA 7.5 is avaiable for Environment Blog Demo which you can mark as Read to clear it out.

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Now lets dive into the Blog Demo environment by clicking VIEW DETAILS then clicking on the vertical 3 dots to explore the options we can take against this environment, once the menu is available to us, let’s select Create Snapshot from the menu since I only have vRA 7.4 in this environment. Please be aware that doing it from this level will create a snap shot across all the products and there components that are either deployed or imported to the environment.

Snapshot for vRealize Automation is taken for all the components except IaaS DB. Creating snapshot of IaaS DB is not supported by vRealize Suite Lifecycle Manager. Ensure that the appliances are in a consistent state before triggering snapshots.

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Provide a Snapshot Prefix Name that will  be set in front of the generated Snapshot date and time stamp name and check the box to Snapshot with Memory if you like then click SUBMIT

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In my experience the Create Snapshot window was still there even though I already hit SUBMIT. So I had to click CANCEL after verifying that the Snapshots was completed in vCenter Recent Tasks.

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Now we are ready to Upgrade so let’s click on the vertical 3 dots again but this time once the menu is available to us, let’s select Upgrade from the menu.

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Under vRrealize Automation 7.4 Products Details we will be presented with a couple of important choices like taking a snapshot for the IAAS Machine after the vRA Virtual Appliance Upgrade.

This would be a 2nd Snapshot but this time its after the vRA VA is upgraded so if an IAAS component upgrade fails, then you can revert to the post-upgrade VA snapshot for the failed IAAS component. When you want to retry,  you do that from the command line and enter true in the retry input for upgrade.

Next we will select the Repository Type. In my case I have already copied the vRA 7.5 upgrade ISO to vRSLSM Binaries which I outlined in first part of this blog, therefore we are going to select vRealize suite Lifecycle Manager Repository which will automatically select 7.5 as the product version since its the only one available that I can upgrade to that I uploaded.

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Click Next and click RUN PRECHECK to do the Data and vRealize Automation group set of Validations. In my case it was all green for the two validations so I Clicked SUBMIT to follow with the upgrade.

You can monitor as we mentioned before your Request in the Requests tab menu by clicking on the  IN PROGRESS under the Requests States column for the Upgrade Product request.

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Here you can track each of the steps as they execute or come back to it anytime later for a status update.

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You can also find what each of the tasks are doing within a step and find out how much time each of the steps took to complete.

now that all the steps were successful, we can try hitting again the same vRA Appliance URL at https://mgmt-vra-02.vmwarelab.org

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Access the vRealize Automation Console and login with the local user Configurationadmin which has both the Infrastructure and Tenant Admin Roles.

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What did I tell you ? It’s Magic! Just like that its all upgraded and ready to go.

The End Eh!

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