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By Rich Bourdeau

Yet Another Service CatalogIn my last blog post I discussed what differentiates cloud service catalogs  and how to distinguish the best from the rest.  However, what if you already have a service catalog?  Some VMware Cloud Automation Center customers already have an existing service catalog.  The last thing they need is yet another service catalog.  Maybe you already have a work order ticketing system, service desk software or even use a collaboration tool like SharePoint to enter service requests.


Looking at your Options for a Consolidated Service Catalog

If you don’t want to have multiple service catalogs, you really have two options:  Use the vCloud Automation Center service catalog as your primary request and management portal.  vCAC’s  purpose built infrastructure and application service delivery capabilities combined with  its Advanced Service Designer and library of vCenter Orchestrator plugins and workflows make it relatively easy to automate  almost any IT services.  As a portal for IT services vCAC satisfies the needs of most companies.  But what if you want a single portal that can be used to request almost any service?   These services may span the spectrum from ordering a new stapler to requesting a complex multi-tier application.  In this case you may want to request and manage your cloud services from an existing service catalog portal.

Multiple Interface Choices

The good news is that vCloud Automation Center’s service request and lifecycle management commands can be invoked from other applications.  vCAC provides several different interfaces that users can use to request and manages our catalog of multi-vendor infrastructure, application, and custom IT services from an existing service catalog or other management application.

vCAC Interfaces

Don’t lose control

Just because you are using a different service catalog does not mean you will be circumventing vCloud Automation Center’s governance and control policies.  While service catalogs have their own role based access controls and governance policies and there is some overlap, vCAC’s policies go far beyond what is possible in service desk software.  vCloud Automation Center’s  policies control the process that will be used to provision the requested services, how much resources they will receive, at what service level, and from what pool of resources they will be allocated from.  Many service desk solutions will claim that they can deliver these automation and governance capabilities, but when you look into the details, they fall well short of vCAC’s purpose built cloud automation and governance capabilities.   Each product (service desk and cloud automation software) have their respective strengths and weaknesses.  Make sure to leverage the best of both.

A Real World Example

Over the years a number of customers have decided to call vCAC services from existing service desk software and other management applications. VMware has continued to invest to improve the Interfaces to vCloud Automation Center to enable this integration.  One recent addition is the availability of a vCenter Orchestrator (VCO) plugin-for vCAC that enables vCAC services to be called through VCO.

Jenifer Galvin a Senior Architect from VMware’s Center of Excellence focusing on cloud and infrastructure and management has recently completed a customer project integrating ServiceNow’s service catalog to request and provision services that are delivered by vCloud Automation Center.  Her integration was specific to ServiceNow, but the techniques and lessons learned could be applied to any service catalog or management applications.   To learn more about how Jennifer delivered this integration using preexisting library of vCenter Orchestrator workflows, I recommend that you take a few minutes to read Jennifer’s blog post on this topic.

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