Provisioning cloud services to business users needs to be simple. Administrators need to respond quickly to requests—or better yet, proactively satisfy their businesses specific needs for cloud computing resources. If they don’t respond quick enough, the lines of business may attempt to work outside of approved Corporate IT policies and engage in “Shadow IT”.
As I introduced in this recent blog post, HP Cloud Service Automation enables administrators to design and provision cloud services using a single tool. This tool helps them integrate a wide range of private, managed and public cloud resources, as well as traditional IT.
Today’s article will demonstrate how administrators can design cloud services with integrated workflows, without additional pre-configuration of resources.
Binding resources to service designs
Administrators begin the process of standing up resource offerings by using a graphical interface to build out the Parent-Child relationships of the required components. The Service Design section provides a menu where administrators can choose to design a new service or select an existing blueprint to copy and modify. Administrators can even review the full list of component types available to use.
In the below example (Figure 1), the service design is for a simple compute instance as a vCenter private cloud, with four components connected to provision a Linux virtual server. When a business user selects this service from his or her catalog, the cloud service will be provisioned in this prescribed configuration.
Simply by hovering the mouse over any one of the service components, an administrator can choose to add a new child component, edit the properties of the existing one (e.g. rename it, toggle Enable/Disable, or add a description), or delete it from the blueprint. New child service components are limited to those supported by the parent component selected—for instance, creating a child service component within the SCL Server Group is restricted to a load balancing pool, a server or a software component.
Administrators also bind specific resources to each component. In Figure 1, for example, the Simple Linux Server includes VMware vCenter provisioning and a SiteScope to monitor availability and CPU usage. Both resource offerings have pre-set actions that they will execute as defined in the Resource Management tab (this will be the focus of a future blog post). The resource bindings can be ordered so that automated actions occur in a specific sequence—in this case, the vCenter command and then SiteScope command.
For each component, specific extra characteristics and variables can be set using the Properties menu. These properties define the subscriber options for the service, including memory, NCPU, etc. (see Figure 2), and whether there could be a specific range of values from which the subscriber can select, or a field for manual entry.
Re-usability of OOTB blueprints
Of course, one of the distinct benefits of this Service Design approach is that these blueprints can be quickly copied and reused but with different resource bindings. For example, in Figure 3, a menu of available compute resources are presented. Users can select blueprints that are readily available as out-of-the-box, and compliment the availability of HP Cloud Maps.
Automated workflows in service designs
An important aspect of Cloud Service Automation is that the Service Designs are delivered through a lifecycle approach, and defined across different transition states. In each transition state, administrators can sequence workflows to perform service actions. For example, Figure 4 illustrates that during the Transition stage of the Initialization phase, a Clone Pattern action will execute.
Each service action is managed by a Process Engine, which monitors and reports the execution state of that service action. This integrated, highly automated lifecycle management significantly simplifies cloud service provisioning and monitoring by allowing the administrator to establish at the outset standard actions to occur.
Dynamic subscriber options in service offerings
Once the service design is set, the administrator can select the blueprint to create and name an actual service offering that business users will see in the service catalog. The administrator can also choose to expose certain options that the user can select, like CPU size. Service Offerings also provides the means to set pricing policies across created service offerings (Figure 5). This simplifies how an administrator can stand up multi-tier offerings with enhanced service offerings.
Publish service offers to service catalogs
The final step is to deploy these service offerings so business users can see them. An administrator can define the types of categories of services appear in the catalog and which service offerings are added to them. Administrators can also manage approval policies for organizations—whether they apply to an entire catalog or a service within that catalog (Figure 6).
In the coming weeks, we’ll continue to explore different facets of how you can use HP CSA to improve the administration of cloud services, including technical posts on managing resource providers and administering organization catalogs. Stay tuned to this series on the Grounded In the Cloud blog.
Discover Cloud Service Automation
To learn more about HP Cloud Service Automation, the industry’s most comprehensive, unified cloud management platform for brokering and managing enterprise-grade application and infrastructure cloud services, visit our product page.