Oct 132010
 

I had a really good Breakout Session today with the title of “Self Service and Workflow automation in the private cloud”. While workflow tools are in an abundance at the moment I was quite impressed with how VMware are positioning them selves with this tool and also the apparent ease you can use these tools out the box.

The presentation focused on 2 products from VMware:

  • Service Manager (formally Ionix Infra)
  • Request Manager (a specially developed workflow management tool built from the Service Manager tool)

The Fundamental concepts of both products are:

Self service
  • Drives efficiencies of data collection
  • Basis for freedom of choice
Workflow
  • Approval mechanisms
  • Licence association
Vmware service manager:

http://www.infra-corp.com/

This product is not specific to the cloud and covers allot more of the ITIL based concepts like configuration management, asset management etc. Additionally it allows users to self service ‘on boarding’ processes and allows for strict workflow and baseline templates through a service catalogue.

The workflow manager GUI allows admins to create bespoke workflows for the business needs.
The key to being able to fit this product into an existing business are the ‘connectors’. These connectors allow interfaces to not only other VMware products like capacityIQ but practically any database of service app can be contacted (with some modification potentially)

Request manager

http://www.vmware.com/products/vcloud-request-manager/resources.html

Request Manager is a cut down version of Service Manager however it has been optimised to fit the Cloud strategy. When I say cloud I mean vCD.

The key features:

  • Provisioning with approvals
  • Software licensing tracking
  • Policy based cloud partitioning.
  • Templates.
  • Uses cloud API

image

The model for both products are very similar but the more specific Request manager ties directly into the vCD API.

I am familiar with Dynamic Ops VRM which is based on windows workflow and this is a very similar product to Service Manager and it will be interesting if a 3rd party like Dynamic Ops can make any headway against VMware on these products. As impressed as I was with the products today I still feel a small 3rd party has the flexibility to diversify and adapt to changes in business procedures and requirements that perhaps a larger one can not. I plan to do a comparison between the Dynamic Ops VRM and Service Manager to see which I prefer in the real world.

Over all this was the bet breakout session I have been to and I can see real world applications for this. Overall I have been a little disappointed with the Breakout Sessions up to now but this one was excellent.

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