Overview
  • 12 Jan 2023
  • 5 Minutes to read
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Overview

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Purpose

ServiceNow is central to thousands of different workflows across much of the Delphix customer base. It has become a central place for self-service users to request services and solutions from other teams within their organization. Early leaders of the Delphix customer base have invested in custom, self-service workflows in ServiceNow to execute Delphix-based data operations. Based on the growing demand from our customers, we are introducing a new Delphix Spoke for ServiceNow to provide a fully supported, off-the-shelf solution.

Overview

The Delphix Spoke for ServiceNow includes key data and infrastructure actions that are building blocks for orchestrating data automation. Together with other business rules, integrations, and processes within ServiceNow, customers can design complex workflows, dashboards, and data catalogs to support self-service automation and ensure corporate governance compliance. Ultimately, this solution capability will streamline DevOps test data management, site reliability engineering (SRE), and administrative processes.

By offering a broad range of actions within the Delphix spoke, mutual customers will be empowered to design their workflows to support any number of data-related use cases. We anticipate common themes across the use cases that include:

  • Use Case 1: DevOps Test Data Management - Application development teams today are often burdened with many challenges to quickly accessing compliant and fresh test data. Customers can now design ServiceNow flows to perform critical data actions through a Data Catalog experience such as provisioning new data sets, refreshing existing sets, and destroying obsolete data sets.
  • Use Case 2: Site Reliability Engineering - The Delphix Spoke’s actions can be used to trigger timely responses in the event of a ransomware attack or to trigger investigative workflows to diagnose the root cause of an application failure. As such, a complex workflow that involves multiple tools, such as APM, GCP, and Delphix, can be centrally orchestrated through ServiceNow.
  • Use Case 3: Administrative - Routing administrative and operational actions such as creating and deleting users, starting and stopping source database ingestion, and clearing all lingering VDBs after a certain amount of time.

Business Challenges

  • Reduce Database-related Cloud Costs - For many QA teams, actual test environment utilization is less than 5%, which means you’re paying a high cost for idle infrastructure. Moving to ephemeral, on-demand test data runs can lower costs by 20x.
  • Increase application delivery speed - Many companies are on a journey to release software faster. Moving from slow to fast application releases requires eliminating manual activities such as ticketing systems to request DBAs to refresh test data environments. With ServiceNow and Delphix, manual processes can be streamlined by automating test data management.
  • Improve quality by shifting testing left - In many development programs, there’s not enough time or coverage to fully test a new release. Errors discovered late in the process either delay releases or blow up production. With a Self-Service Data Catalog through ServiceNow, enterprises can automate the management of the most complex environments and run tests much earlier.
  • Governance & Auditability - Sharing production datasets produces considerable risk that organizations look to minimize. Traditionally, this has forced companies to manually record dataset locations and enforce limitations. This approach, however, does not scale or give confidence to auditors.

Installation

To install and manage the Delphix Spoke for ServiceNow, navigate to ServiceNow Store.

Prerequisites

To install and manage the Delphix Spoke for ServiceNow, navigate to ServiceNow Store.

Technical Architecture

The Delphix Spoke is a scoped application (or integration) that implements Actions as REST API wrappers around Delphix Data Control Tower APIs. Each action within the spoke corresponds to a data or infrastructure CRUD operation on the Delphix Data Control Tower. ServiceNow customers will use the Actions to build a customized Flow through the ServiceNow Flow Designer. Each Flow consists of various if-else statements from any number of 3rd party integrations. The produced Flow is a set of manual and automated steps that are run as part of a ServiceNow request.

Key Components

  1. ServiceNow: Customers leverage the Now Platform to design a variety of manual and automated IT workflows. The workflows are built through the Flow Designer using Spoke Actions and then provided as service requests to end users. End users, such as Developers and Testers, will access Delphix through this mechanism.
  2. Delphix Spoke: The Delphix Spoke is a collection of several Actions, each one corresponding to a specific operation on the Delphix Data Control Tower (DCT). Every action in Delphix Spoke calls one or more DCT APIs which then triggers data or infrastructure operations on one of the associated Delphix Continuous Data Engines. ServiceNow practitioners will be constructing the requests through the Flow Designer and Spoke actions.
  3. Delphix Data Control Tower (DCT): DCT is a unified data management platform used to enable API-driven DevOps workflows with continuous data and centrally manage the entire data estate for all Delphix customers. DCT connects to one or more Delphix engines.
  4. Delphix Engine(s): Delphix is a data management platform that provides the ability to copy, manage, migrate, move, mask, and share datasets securely. Note: Today, only the Delphix Continuous Data Engine is supported.
  5. Management, Installation, Discovery (MID) Server (Optional): The ServiceNow MID Server is a relay that enables communication and the movement of data between a ServiceNow instance and external applications, data sources, and services.

Configuration Directions

  1. Install DCT with one or more Delphix Continuous Data Engines.
  2. Install ServiceNow Platform server, the Integration Hub plugin, and Delphix Spoke for ServiceNow.
  3. [Optional] If the DCT and ServiceNow instances are on different private networks, install a MID server. For more information, refer to ServiceNow’s MID Server documentation.
  4. In ServiceNow, go to the Connection & Connection Alias tab, select x_dr_delphix_sgc.Delphix, and create a new HTTP(s) Connection. Update the existing Delphix Alias with HTTP(s) Connectionwith an appropriate Credential, Connection URL, and (optionally) MID server.
    Note:
    If you choose a different “Connection Alias”, then you must update the Catalog Items’s associated Flows.
  5. In ServiceNow, go to the Flow Designer tab, select the Flows tab, and initiate the Delphix: Refresh Data Tableflow to ensure DCT and ServiceNow are in sync.
    Note
    This flow runs on a repeated cadence, such as hourly.
  6. Validation: Go to the Service Catalog, select a Catalog Item, such as Delphix: Refresh VDB from Bookmark, and enter the required properties to perform the automated request. Success and error messaging is provided as a comment.

Advanced Usage

Leverage the provided Catalog Actions and associated Flows in the Flow Designer to build personalized Catalog Items. Provide non-admin users appropriate Roles to perform the Delphix requests.

Delphix Spoke Version 2.0 has two roles:

  1. X_dr_delphix_sgc.db_role : To run catalog items, this role is used for internal data tables CRUD operations.
  2. X_dr_delphix_sgc.role_delphix_dct: To run actions.

Dashboards

BYO ServiceNow dashboards are managed under Self-Service > Dashboards and the underlying Widgets (such as metrics, tables, and numbers) are managed under Reports > View / Run. Default Dashboards will be provided in a future release.

To learn more about Delphix and DCT APIs, refer to Delphix Docs and DCT Docs respectively.


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