System Center and Devops

In this blog, I will share with you on how devops approach is followed and maintained while using system center suite of products.

Before going into details let’s talk about devops first.

The definition – DevOps (development and operations) is an enterprise software development phrase used to mean a type of agile relationship between development and IT operations. The goal of DevOps is to change and improve the relationship by advocating better communication and collaboration between these two business units.

Ref: http://www.webopedia.com/TERM/D/devops_development_operations.html

Now in today’s fast changing enterprise world all business leaders ultimate goal is to be more collaborative and inter connected across various business functions and to do that you need an IT team and technology that enables you.

In market, there are various tools and suite of products that come to help enterprises. However, Microsoft suite of products system center suite is a winner in many areas.

In Devops approach from SME to large enterprise we follow the below approach

System Center DevOps Model

 

Monitor:

Starting with monitoring your entire Infrastructure SCOM (system center operations manager) is a great tool. Why you ask, as OOTB it has all management packs to monitor your entire Microsoft technological solutions and you have plenty of third party solution and adapters that makes it easier to integrate with other technologies or solutions.

Service:

Now when it comes to IT service management, you can rely on SCSM (system center service manager)

It is a great tool to manage all your incidents, service requests, change, problems. Off course you can use it for release and business relationship management but those features are not that great. If you combine it with other solutions then it is wonderful ITSM product.

Manage:

Now for managing your infrastructure you have SCCM (system center configuration manager) OOTB tool can manage all windows software including OS for desktop, laptops, servers and with other third-party solution you can extend its functionality for managing and patching other third-party software’s.

Automation:

Now for a successful devops you need to automate and combine all these functions. This is where SCORC (System Center Orchestrator) along with PowerShell comes in handy. You can automate almost any anything across your infrastructure.

Example Scenarios:

SCOM detects that one of your critical web services is down -> It then automatically create an incident and assigns it to L1 Wintel team. -> Wintel engineer validates the alert runs a runbook in SCORC from the SCSM console (which restarts IIS service) -> Now as the service is started -> SCOM alert is auto resolved and closed -> Incident in SCSM console is resolved with all the actions that got executed in background captured in incident logs -> Wintel engineer notices that from the past incidents and also by his experience that high RAM usage his root cause for this issue-> He goes to SCSM console raises a change request for increasing RAM on the server-> Goes to SCCM console and checks if the server is compliant with all latest security patches and critical updates -> once the change is approved in SCSM-> he uses SCORC runbooks which is integration with SCVMM to increase the RAM on the server -> weeks later from SCOM performance he pulls up a report and verifies that that IIS service going down has never happened after memory was increased on the server.

Above was just a high level example on how all the system center products work hand in hand. This makes it super easy to manage enterprise level IT infrastructure.

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Stop runbook instance by orchestrator

If you are an automation geek, you will come across multiple scenarios where you would like to stop a runbook while it is getting executed. unfortunately OOTB MS orchestrator does not have any activity that supports this model.

There is PS command lets that you can use but it is quite complex and most important it is very difficult to  have it triggered automatically (runbook runtime).

However, there is awesome ready made integration pack available from Kelverion Kelverion integration pack for runbook management you can use this IP to stop, start, get runbook status and get runbook ID. Obviously this comes at a cost, now if you are an geek like me who like to do things rather than buy them then click here: Stop runbook instance

How it works:

Just enter  Runbook ID or unique ID is taken as an input parameter, (you need to fetch this info the orchestraor database or orchestrator web URL).

Once unique ID is entered,  stop runbook will automatically fetch it instance id (this will be unique every time a runbook runs) from orchestrator DB and stop only that instance of the runbook.

I hope this will be of  help to the community.

Please post your feedback in comments section below.