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Product Expert Weighs In: “My Favorite Operations Orchestration Features.”

by   in IT Operations Management

In a gentle nod to Valentine’s Day, every February we compile a list of features that automation specialists—dare we say “love”—about Operations Orchestration (OO). Okay, so maybe this is just our second year in a row, but we want to get a tradition going. (Read last year’s blog: Automation Experts Choose OO—Here’s Why.)

OO is the orchestration engine used by our ITOM solutions—SMAX for ITSM; HCMX for FinOps; Operations Bridge for AIOps; DCA for compliance and risk management; and NOM for network management. OO is also available as a standalone orchestrator and as an add-on for SMAX SaaS and HCMX SaaS.

This year we reached out to Daniel Crisan, OO product manager, and asked him to tell us his five favorite features. Basically, we wanted to know what makes OO stand out as an orchestrator? It’s like asking, “What makes an iPhone an iPhone?” So, what makes OO, quite simply, OO? And what’s in it for automation experts? Here’s what Daniel had to say.

1.  Web-based graphical Workflow Designer. It gives you easy options for authoring workflows.

The web-based Workflow Designer opens the world of orchestration to even more authors. You don’t need to install any local components to create orchestration workflows—you have access to all the tools directly from your browser, such as a debugger, content library, canvas for authoring, and source control manager for integrating with GIT. So yes, you can finally use your Mac or Linux machine, even for authoring.

It doesn’t matter if you’re a first-time workflow designer or a developer with advanced skills. You can prove your skills inside Workflow Designer and get quick value from it. Besides the rich library that offers integration content for pretty much any system, you can also use the Content Generator wizard to create new integrations based on Swagger REST API definitions. A few clicks, a few minutes, that’s all it takes. If you’re adventurous, you can even develop your own operations using Python. So that’s why I like Workflow Designer. It gives you options for authoring.

 2.  Scalability. You can run 100s of workflows per minute.

Scalability is probably one of the most discussed topics in my conversations with customers. In the enterprise space, you need to feel confident that your tools can scale with your use cases. I’ve seen OO deployed across all kinds of environments—from small environments that run on a single machine to large, high-availability environments that run thousands of workflows each day.

Scalability is built into the OO architecture. Cluster deployment makes it possible to deploy multiple orchestration engines and run multiple flows in parallel. Plus, OO can be used for use cases like disaster recovery that don’t tolerate any downtime.

3.  ROI dashboard. You can demonstrate the value of your automation to C-level, without words.

Automation is all about ROI. The ROI dashboard in Central (the web-based interface for running, scheduling, and reporting on flows) helps you showcase the real value of your automation. You can configure your ROI as you like—based on time or money saved—and see all your metrics in one place. You can track workflow efficiency, the total number of workflow runs, and workflows that give you the biggest returns.

The more you automate, the more your ROI will rise. You don’t have to think twice before sharing your productivity and efficiency gains with your CIO.

 4.  Support for multiple automation protocols. You can integrate anything, automate everything (literally).

I like to say there’s no one thing that OO can’t automate. OO is for automating everything, even your coffee maker, if that’s what you want to do.

When integrating tools, you need to make them speak the same language. An orchestrator should be a polyglot—it should speak and understand the language of any tool or system in your IT ecosystem. That’s what OO does best—integrations—because it speaks many languages.

OO is fluent in REST, SOAP, SSH, XML, JSON, PowerShell, and more (out of the box). You can also use popular Python or Java languages to teach OO how to communicate in other protocols. For example, you can write Python operations to orchestrate IoT with MQTT. OO can even talk to other systems using UI interactions (aka RPA), an approach that feels more human-like (because it mimics human actions).

 5.  Automation governance. You can manage and secure your automation in one place.

To keep your costs and risks under control, you need to see everything that happens in your automation environment—what automation is running, where, and who has access to it. OO brings together all orchestrated processes in one place. As mentioned earlier: Central is where this happens. It’s the engine that runs the workflows and provides an administrative interface to manage workflows and user privileges.

With one view across your automation, you can decide which IT processes need optimizing. You can reduce troubleshooting time by accessing run logs and results in a central location (sifting through dispersed automation scripts and log files is deeply inefficient, not to mention tedious). And you can choose who can or can’t have access to each automated process and associated associated data—OO comes with built-in RBAC. You don’t have to think about secure, central reporting for your automation. OO makes that job easy.

To learn more about enterprise-scale orchestration, visit the Operations Orchestration product page or the OO Practitioner Portal.

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Do you have an idea or product enhancement request? Submit it in the Operations Orchestration Idea Exchange.  

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Operations Orchestration