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How are service catalogs used in vRealize Automation?

Businesses today are finding it more efficient to develop self-service portals via tools such as vRealize Automation to speed along IT requests.

The way that business perceives and uses IT is changing. Rather than deploying servers, operating systems, storage...

and other discrete computing resources, businesses are relying on IT to provide services for departments and users. For example, a user could request storage as a service rather than waiting for IT to allocate a certain amount of storage for archival data. As another example, a user could request a new VDI desktop instance themselves instead of filing a ticket then waiting for IT to deploy it.

To make this type of infrastructure work, tools like vRealize Automation are needed to define the available -- desired or allowed -- services, and then arrange that menu of services into a service atalog that a user can browse. Each service definition sets the parameters for that service, ensures that each request is addressed consistently, reduces potential errors, enforces established business policies, maintains security, and translates into timely cost and usage reporting.

For example, a service administrator might model several different virtual machine instance types -- with varying amounts of memory, storage, and virtual CPU support -- and assign appropriate levels of authority to each user. Users could then connect to the company self-service portal to select from the available models which would then be automatically provisioned on physical, private or public clouds. As another example, a service might allow users to back up their current files when requesting a backup service from the portal which would also provide the location for the stored files.

Additional services such as load balancing, ticketing, DNS server assignments and other tools can be integrated for more functionality. With vRealize Automation, users can also manage machine lifecycles from the initial request through eventual removal and resource recovery.

Reporting isn't limited to department heads or c-level executives. Users can also use the service catalog to see the services that they receive, raising awareness of their individual consumption and helping users to recognize any potential for savings.

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This was last published in September 2015

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