IT Operations Management (ITOM)

Staging cloud resources with the power of templates

Staging cloud resources with the power of templates


One secret to being efficient in nearly any job is to find ways to build upon others’ work, rather than solving problems from scratch. By using existing well-documented processes and institutional knowledge, you can get your work done faster and move on to projects where you can really add more value. HP Cloud Service Automation (CSA) takes this idea to heart. CSA  provides many ways to reuse and customize various aspects of provisioning and managing cloud environments. It also provides you the ability to leverage one you may have already created from the start.


If you missed it, I described how to design cloud services in an earlier post, including what it means to bind specific resource offerings and providers of disparate resource sources to them. This post will look at how you can take advantage of resource provider templates when staging for service designs. In particular, we will look at the resource provider templates that HP makes available for out-of-the-box use and convenience when creating resource offerings used in service designs.



What comes pre-installed with HP CSA ?


Several resource providers are available standard on HP CSA today; administrators  simply need to input the proper account information. These providers include:

  • Amazon EC2
  • HP 3PAR StorageServ
  • HP Matrix Operating Environment (Matrix OE)
  • HP Network Automation
  • HP Server Automation
  • HP SiteScope
  • OpenStack
  • VMware vCenter


HP continuously updates additional services and product integrations based on customer requests. For providers not on this list today, such as Rackspace or AT&T Cloud Services, administrators have the option of creating a new resource provider in HP CSA, with ease or just download and import ready and relevant templates directly. Templates with new integrations to HP and non-HP products are constantly being made available by HP CSA through the HP Cloud Solutions Lab team.



Where do I find these templates?


To access these templates, administrators simply access HP Live Network with their password and select a download from the folder that matches their version of HP CSA. At the time of writing, resource provider templates include:

  • Amazon EC2 Integration
  • Apache load balancer for F5 BIG-IP
  • HP TippingPoint Integration
  • Oracle provisioning with HP DMA and VMware vCenter
  • Patching and compliance using HP Server Automation
  • POC Appliance
  • vCloud Director Integration
  • VLAN and firewall as a service


Each content pack includes complete information (documentation) about any relevant prerequisites in order to provide the right functionality in HP CSA, such as any products or specific versions (Figure 1).


Figure 1_CSA-5_2.png

Figure 1


It also includes any action flows that need to be imported into HP Operations Orchestrations (Figure 2), and the HP CSA Service Designs that link into resource providers and offers. With a one-stop shopping approach for the content packs, HP CSA has made it simple to provision more cloud services utilizing your organization’s preferred providers.


Figure 2_CSA-5_3.png

Figure 2


I want to give a special mention to the Generic Provider template, a very useful content pack available for download. This resource allows administrators to provision a cloud service with a component that is not specifically linked to a single resource provider. Instead, the user inputs how they intend to use the service, and the system selects the type of component required. (For example: a private cloud server versus a public cloud server.) This offers greater flexibility to both the administrator in how they design services, and to the user to select a service that matches their business needs. Be sure to look for this content pack—it’s a handy addition to your service designs. 



How do I make use of resource templates today ?


Today, templates are readily embedded in service designs that are delivered out-of-the-box, to provide customers excellent starting points when creating service offerings at the onset. As an example, lets take a look at the Matrix Operating Environment (Matrix OE) service design provided with HP CSA today (Figure 3).



Figure 3



The Matrix OE service design readily lists select Matrix OE templates, whilst at the same time provide the means for several different service offerings to be constructed from this same generic Matrix OE service design. We first import the Matrix OE service design, customize the list of templates available in the Matrix OE service design, then have it configured to be service offerings. Use of the resource templates is that easy !



How do I create a template for a new Resource Provider?


What do you do if the HP Live Network does not include a content pack for a service provider your organization uses? The setup process is a little more complex, and requires several steps and begins with the Resource Management screen (Figure 4).


Figure 3_CSA-createprovider.png 

Figure 4



We start by providing some standard information about account and connectivity details that are necessary for any cloud service.  But, we also create a new offering for the provider, which includes the lifecycle actions for that pathway. Administrators may need to create action flows in Operations Orchestration to correspond with the execution actions—which could require developing modules. Look for documentation about how to do this on HP Live Network.


New HP CSA templates created from scratch are not meant to be a one-off event, nor offer limited use in specific events. In the next blog, we will talk about how HP CSA enables re-usability across different instances, while exercising a level of standards consistency. This removes the pain of service designers having to re-create the same service design, every time it is used in a different instance or in a different part of the organization. Stay tuned for more in Grounded in the Cloud.



Discover Cloud Service Automation


In closing, templates are a tremendous time saver for getting HP CSA properly set up, and streamlined to how you provision cloud environments. The good news is that there are many resource provider templates already available on HP CSA, with more coming online all the time. Content such as this is critical as it solves real customer problems – as opposed to just throwing out tools/technologies and expecting the customer to make sense of it themselves. Today, HP develops content in response to customer demand - so if there is something missing that your organization needs, let us know! To learn more about HP Cloud Service Automation, visit our product page.

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