In the previous article we discussed about ServiceNow, SCCM and Discovery. Here, let’s talk about SCCM integration with ServiceNow, components that are essential to the integration process and how SCCM works in tandem with ServiceNow’s own ITOM tool Discovery.
First let’s go over the key components in the integration process.
- Configuration Items (CI) – A configuration item is defined by ITIL as “any component or other service asset that needs to be managed in order to deliver an IT service. Information about each configuration item is recorded in a configuration record within the configuration management system and is maintained throughout its lifecycle by service assets and configuration management. Configuration items are under control of change management.”
- CMDB – All the data concerning the CIs and their relationships are stored in the Configuration Management Database (CMDB).
- The MID Server – The Management, Instrumentation, and Discovery (MID) Server is a Java application that runs on Windows/Linux platforms. It facilitates secure communication between the ServiceNow platform and external applications to determine what Discovery probes to run for gathering data on network devices.
- Transform Maps – Transform maps determine the relationships between import set fields and existing ServiceNow table fields (Incident, User). Transform maps are mainly employed for incremental software imports during SCCM integration.
- Identifiers – They are used to update CIs created from SCCM data with a specific ‘resource ID’. When resource IDs are first imported, (from SCCM/Discovery), the system populates a table with IDs for each CI it identifies. In subsequent imports, if an incoming ID matches with that of an existing CI, the system updates the information for that CI in the CMDB, or else it creates a new CI with the resource ID.
- Scripts – Data population scripts populate the related data in the CMDB for each target CI discovered by the identifiers.
SCCM Integration with ServiceNow – The Big Picture
The Microsoft SCCM integration is a one direction scheduled import (full/incremental) of relevant SCCM data into ServiceNow CMDB tables from an SQL Server database (authoritative source), by which synchronization of data between them is ensured. The import is achieved using a JDBC source (Java Database Connectivity) connection via the MID Server. Each data source contains the connection specifics for the SCCM database and the names the MID Server instance will use to import the data.
Now considering an organization plans for SCCM integration with ServiceNow, what questions should they ask before they get started.
1.Can SCCM and other tools like Discovery co-exist?
Yes, by using the right approach to get the best from both the tools.(discussed in detail below).
2.Is there a difference in the data identified by SCCM and Discovery?
Yes. Discovery is used to capture the software details on devices which are operational on the network, whereas SCCM can capture software details on devices that are not always on the network. Discovery imports Infrastructure CI data (servers, LB, Routers etc.) data into CMDB. At the same time, SCCM Imports end user device (desktop, laptop, VDI etc.) data into CMDB. Discovery creates relationships of attributes when integrated with ServiceNow, but SCCM doesn’t.
3.Are there conflicts that occur when both Discovery and SCCM are integrated with ServiceNow?
Well, it can lead to some overwriting. However, if SCCM Integration is active before Discovery is enabled, Discovery ignores the population of software for any CIs that are also imported through SCCM. In case of vice versa, software installation data from both sources might get mixed.
4.How to avoid the conflict?
To avoid the conflict set the “Windows software is SCCM managed” property to Yes, so that software for computer CIs is populated in the CMDB by SCCM. This shows that the computer is managed by SCCM, and therefore Discovery does not populate the software records for Windows software data.
5.What are some of the other tools that are similar to SCCM?
There are many alternatives to SCCM in the market today. Some of the popular ones are IBM BigFix, RedHat Ansible, Ivanti LANDesk Systems, Puppet Enterprise, CA Unified Infrastructure, Chef, VMware vCenter Configuration, BMC Numara etc.
We hope this article provided you some insight about integrating SCCM with ServiceNow and associated areas. Thanks for reading.