Case Studies – Coventry University Revisited
Device42 User Case Study – Coventry University Revisited
- Company: Coventry University
- Industry: Public Research University
- Location: Coventry, United Kingdom
- Solution: Device42 Core + Application Mapping
Today, we re-visit Coventry University in Coventry, England to learn about another successful IT transformation they undertook which leverages Device42 in a creative new way. University staff worked hand-in-hand with consultants to create and deploy their own customized version of the Device42-ServiceNow integration to take the data sync to the next level.
By populating ServiceNow with application dependency mapping data from Device42 in addition to the inventory data synced out-of-the box, Coventry’s custom integration empowers the subset of IT staff that work directly out of ServiceNow to leverage (and natively visualize!) the same near-real time IT infrastructure map that staff who work in Device42 directly can see.
Their customized Device42-ServiceNow integration continues to provide the University business value and a return on their investment (ROI) in the following ways:
By having the relevant CI linked directly to the tickets along with the detailed dependency data directly available to IT staff working within ServiceNow, ITSM issue tickets can be resolved faster (MTTR).
Automatic Discovery reduces the amount of time & effort it takes to manage and document the infrastructure.
ServiceNow users can securely view the infrastructure details necessary to do their jobs without needing to be granted direct access to view or modify privileged information that remains within Device42.
Learn all about Coventry’s journey to empower their IT Support staff working directly out of ServiceNow with discovery and dependency data from Device42!
About Coventry University
A public research university in Coventry, England, Coventry University was formerly known as Lanchester Polytechnic until 1987, and then Coventry Polytechnic until it gained university status under UK legislation in 1992.
A forward-looking, modern university with a proud tradition as a provider of high quality education and a focus on applied research, students at Coventry University benefit from state-of-the-art equipment and facilities in all academic disciplines including health, design and engineering laboratories, performing arts studios and computing centres. Coventry has even been chosen to host three national Centres of Excellence in Teaching and Learning, enabling substantial investments in health, design and mathematics.
Their city-centre campus is also continually developing and evolving, with future investments planned over the next few years. As a major presence in Coventry, the University contributes to the city’s friendly and vibrant atmosphere while also fostering successful business partnerships, while the University’s links with leading edge businesses and organisations provide students with access to project and placement opportunities.
With a reputation for excellence, Coventry is recognized as one of the UK’s leading business-facing research universities both for its applied research and teaching.
Across the university, 12 research centres specialise in different fields from transport to peace studies.
The Coventry University team leverages Device42 to discover, track, document, and visualize their IT environment , as well as a customized version of the Device42-ServiceNow integration to populate, maintain, and sync this information to ServiceNow, unifying the data available across the two tools.
Coventry’s IT Challenge
Coventry University has successfully leveraged Device42 to manage their large estate of IT assets that includes servers, software, applications, network components, storage, and other assets, serving a campus of over 27,000 students and 3,000 plus employees. Device42 discovery and application mapping automates IT inventory and IT management processes, while providing an accurate map of Coventry’s IT infrastructure.
Coventry IT Services consists of multiple sub-departments, some of which work out of Device42 (e.g. the Infrastructure group), while others work out of ServiceNow (e.g. the Support group). Coventry leverages a “Least-privilege” user permissioning model, so few employees have access to both applications. Experience, however, has demonstrated that other IT functions could benefit from access to the detailed dependency information and visualizations that were previously only available to Device42 users.
Coventry therefore set out to provide IT Support staff access to the powerful troubleshooting information available in Device42 while maintaining their best-practice “Least-privilege” security model.
Project goals were as follows:
- Populate ServiceNow with inventory details from Device42: Leveraging the out-of-the-box Device42-ServiceNow integration as a starting point to allow Support and other staff in ServiceNow the ability to connect assets directly to the trouble tickets that concern them.
- Determine what types of information from Device42 would most benefit IT Support staff: Determine and map out exactly what CIs and attributes should be synced from Device42 to ServiceNow for the benefit of their support staff.
- Customize the Device42-ServiceNow integration to bring Device42 dependency data to ServiceNow: Bring the detailed auto-discovered server, application, and services dependency information from Device42 into ServiceNow to allow support staff to reference and visualize this information without needing direct access to the Device42 system.
Taking the ServiceNow integration to the next level
Coventry set out to create a custom solution that would allow their various employees across IT Services to access to the information they need from their native application, whether that was Device42 or ServiceNow.
“To provide their ServiceNow user-base the information they need without granting direct access to the Device42 system, Coventry looked to Device42’s recently released ServiceNow integration. Happy with the initial out-of-the-box results, they set their sights on expanding the amount of Device42 data their staff could view directly from ServiceNow.”
All the necessary information was already available in Device42, and the out-of-the-box integration synced an up-to-date view of Coventry’s IT assets to ServiceNow.
Custom Device42 – ServiceNow Mappings & DOQL Queries:
Coventry began by diagramming the data relationships behind the Device42-ServiceNow integration, working to expand their ‘blueprint’ to include and map all the data they needed in ServiceNow. They brought on consultants to assist in writing custom Device42 DOQL queries and ServiceNow transforms to map each data field from Device42 to ServiceNow:
Coventry expanded upon the integration’s stock queries, adding their own custom written queries and custom transforms to those that ship with the Device42-ServiceNow out-of-the-box integration. The following queries make up the data-sets that power Coventry’s custom integration:
|ServiceNow CI Class||ServiceNow Table||Device42 Query||Device42 Table||Comments|
|Network Equipment||cmdb_ci_netgear||Default Device||Device|
|Storage||cmdb_ci_storage_server||StorageDevices_StoTag||Device and devicecluster||Storage Tag Only|
|Business Clusters||cmdb_ci_cluster||ClusterDevices_AppTag||Device and devicecluster||Exc Storage Tag|
|Business Apps||cmdb_ci_business_app||AppComp_AppTag||AppComp||AppComp App Tag Only|
|Loadbalancer Pools/Members||cmdb_ci_appl||AppCompServiceDevice||AppComp/device/service||Run after AppCompAll|
Mappings from each D42 table/query to each ServiceNow table.
The first two rows (pictured above) with the “Default Device” DOQL query process data from the query included with the ‘stock’ Device42-ServiceNow integration:
- Servers: Pulls servers out of the “Device” query, inserting them into ServiceNow table cmdb_ci_server
- Network Equipment: Pulls network equipment out of the “Device” query, inserting them into ServiceNow table cmdb_ci_netgear
- The next seven custom DOQL queries work in concert with the custom transforms in ServiceNow, and comprise much of the integration’s additions:
- Storage: Storage-related devices go into ServiceNow table cmdb_ci_storage_server
- Business Cluster: Groups of servers that make up a business function are inserted into ServiceNow table cmdb_ci_cluster
- Business Apps: Tracks the purpose of each application across the organization, the results go into ServiceNow table cmdb_ci_business_app
- Application: Application Components (like D42 application components) mapped to ServiceNow table cmdb_ci_appl
- Loadbalancer pools / members: Maps load balancer application components into ServiceNow table cmdb_ci_appl
- Infrastructure relationships: Objects & device relationship details (data / relationships / business clusters) are mapped to ServiceNow table cmdb_rel_ci
- Application Relationships: Application relationship data (Device42 dependency chart data) is put into ServiceNow table cmdb_rel_ci
Coventry’s custom DOQL queries are stored as Device42 “Saved DOQL” queries. Each is called by the integration as needed via the DOQL API:
The Solution: Coventry’s Custom Device42-ServiceNow Integration
The data discovered by Device42 is fetched to create a dataset for the integration using DOQL (Device42 object query language), each of which is then processed by one or more ServiceNow “transforms”, which process, sort, and/or filter the data returned by the DOQL queries.
Each query corresponds directly to a ServiceNow “transform”. The transform pulls in the data plus whatever IDs are coming in from the query, matching it all up. The “transform package” then builds the relationships between the data and all the different tables within ServiceNow, at the same time ensuring that the imported data is valid.
Within App Components a tag was created called “Applications”, and based on matches to that tag, a query is built to pass data to ServiceNow in conjunction with other transforms.
The result of all this hard work is staff that work out of ServiceNow can now see dependency information in ServiceNow:
Coventry’s powerful customizations to the Device42-ServiceNow integration take ITSM to the next level. Coventry’s custom DOQL queries and ServiceNow transform mappings sync the detailed dependency and inter-relationship data from Device42 to ServiceNow, enabling Coventry’s IT staff to also view dependencies as well as business application details and native visualizations of dependency/impact diagrams within ServiceNow.
Staff of course enjoy the out-of-the-box functionality empowering them to attach Device42 IT assets directly to ServiceNow ITSM trouble tickets, along with full device ticket histories. Coventry’s custom integration furthermore empowers Coventry’s helpdesk and other IT Staff that work primarily out of ServiceNow to get all the information they need to do their job without leaving ServiceNow, including troubleshooting research and impact/dependency visualizations.
All details are seamlessly synced to ServiceNow from Device42, automatically maintaining an accurate IT inventory as changes are discovered.
We hope you are inspired by Coventry’s ‘next-level’ Device42 + ServiceNow integration, which provides Coventry’s IT staff more value from both products individually while together boosting overall IT operational efficiency while maintaining a best-practice, “least-privileges” approach to security.
Kudos to our friends at Coventry University for setting the bar higher, and a big thank you for letting us feature your custom integration in detail! Questions? Comments? Reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.