Integrating vRA and ServiceNow
A Tale of Two Systems
vRAisVmwarevRealizeAutomation, VMware's infrastructure automation tool. With it you can create templates, called Blueprints, that describe complex sets ofinfrastructureyou can then launch and manage together. It is specific to VMware's IT infrastructure tools,like vSphere and NSX.
ServiceNow is also for templatizing and automating common enterprise tasks (through what SNOW calls Workflows), but it is more general, and reaches beyond IT and infrastructure. For example, it includes HR tasks for when a new employee is onboarded. Its primaryvalue is integratingwith many external systems.One of those systems it integrates with isvRA.
By integratingvRAinto ServiceNow,vRABlueprints become available for use inside SNOW Workflows. Therefore, IT employees with the correct SNOW andvRApermissions can use SNOW as their one stop shop, for both IT andnon ITneeds. For example, they could use SNOW to request a vSphere VM for a new employee, but perhaps that SNOW Workflow also ordersthe employee's badge.
This post was written for ServiceNow Madrid,vRA7.6, andvRAISTM (the plugin) 7.6.
Components of the Integration
The primary component of thevRA- SNOW integration is the plugin for SNOW (VMwarevRealizeAutomation ITSM Application). This plugin can be found in the SNOW Store, by searching forvRealize. Here is thelinkto version 7.6.1 of the plugin, current as of October 15, 2019. On the right side of the page, under Get -> Supporting Links & Docs,is the Installation Guide. That guide takes you through the various steps required to install and configure the integration.
NOTE: Older versions of the installation guide instructed installing manually (outside of the store). This is called Side-Loading and is not recommended by SNOW. Be sure to install the plugin through the store if possible.
The other components of the installation are thevRAtenant you are integrating with SNOW, a SNOW Mid Server which sits in the middle of the two systems, Active Directory or some other standard source of identities, and avRAUser account dedicated to the integration itself (referred to as the Integration User). Along the way,there area number ofmanual configuration steps that need to be made in SNOW;however,there are far fewer than there used to be.
Prior to attempting the installation, be sure to check version compatibility (listed at the beginning of the install guide) and make any updates you want to make first. Next,setup a Linux or Windows machine (presumably a VM running on vSphere) to use as the MidServer, andinstall the Mid Server components itself. It is recommended to have a dedicated machine for this one integration, but it is possible to runmultiple instances of the Mid Server software on one VM. Here is thelinkto the documentation, which again is current as of Oct 15, 2019. You canalsofind the current link from the install guide.
NOTE: There is a missing step in the installation guide at the time of this writing, so depending on the versions you are working with,consider doing the following manually:
"…[Y]ouwill need to add new records in "sys_scope_privilege" table. [Do the] following steps:
1. Ensure you are in the VRA scope as admin user
2. Go to sys_scope_privilege_list.do and create a new record withfollowing :
Target Scope = Global
Target Name =ScopedGlideAggregate
Target Type = Scriptable
Status = Allowed
3. Create a new record in a similar fashion also forCartJS.getCartDetails"
Make sure you have your Integration User ready to go. "The integration user must be a business group admin and tenant admin within the business groups that you want ServiceNow to manage." - Installation Guide. Setup somevRAsample content, like a business group with some workflows to use for testing. You'll also need an account that has appropriate permissions to use both SNOW andvRA(specificallyyour sample content). You'll use that user account to simulate a real internal user using the sample content (for testing).
NOTE: The Integration User is not a human user account.It is more like a service account, and it is used by the plugin inside SNOW to get the list of available Workflows fromvRA. For a real human user to use avRAWorkflow from SNOW, they must have the appropriate permissions in both SNOW andvRA.
It's a good idea to try all of this in a non-prod version of SNOW before you attempt the installation in prod. A test environment forvRAis probably not necessary asvRAitself is not being significantly modified the way SNOW is. Armed with these environments, accounts, and the Mid Server, you are ready to attempt installing the plugin itself. That part is straight forward, as you are just installing the plugin from the store, as the installation guide directs.
After the plugin installation there are various scripts and configurations that need to be run, as outlined in the installation guide.
NOTE: At the time of this writing there is a limitation of 100 users per business group (in thevRAtenant) for the automated scripts to work. If you have more than that you will need to do thatmanually, orwrite your own script that calls the appropriate APIs of each system (vRAand SNOW) to make the sync happen.
Once the installation is completed, tested, and confirmed in prod, you are ready to roll it out to real users. See the Managing End Users section of the Installation Guide. You'll need to give them permissions to use the plugin in SNOW, access to the new Catalog items in SNOW (which are mapped tovRAWorkflows), and then invRA,make sure they have permission to use those Workflows. Now your SNOW users are ready to consumevRAresources via the SNOW Catalog! As always,be sure to provide clear documentation, guidance, and support to your users as they go through this transition.
Keep an eye out for patches and updates, and be sure to check version compatibility between SNOW, the plugin, andvRA,any time you plan to update one of thethreecomponents. In most cases,you will probably need to update multiple components at the same time (unless it is a simple mid-release patch).
The main tasks going forward will be to determine whatvRAWorkflows should be available as items in the SNOW catalog, while making sure users have appropriate access across both systems. Consider usingvRA'sintegrations withvROandAnsibleto make virtually (pun intended) anything available in SNOW.
This blog post details the installation and configuration process for integratingvRA(vRealizeAutomation) and SNOW (ServiceNow). In particular, the goal of the integration is to getvRAWorkflows into the SNOW Catalog as Catalog Items. While there are several steps and a few gotchas along the way,it is much a cleaner and easier experience than previous versionsoverall. If you need any support justreach out to us here at Hydra,we have been through itbefore, andhave a wide variety of experts ready to support your organization in IT modernization.