The latest release of Micro Focus Data Protector, an enterprise class data protection software, includes Operations Orchestration (OO) workflows. Are you wondering what this means? This blog will help you understand this new capability. If you are not familiar with Micro Focus Operations Orchestration, here is a quick overview of its capabilities:
Operations Orchestration is an enterprise-scale IT process automation solution that helps reduce operational costs and improve service quality by automating routine tasks, such as regular maintenance, change provisioning, and incident resolution. By automating various functions across teams, tools, technologies, and environments, OO breaks down silos, integrates with anything, and orchestrates any process. Read this blog from my colleague Sibel to get more information about Operations Orchestration.
What does this have to do with backup? Managing backup and recovery operations, especially in large enterprise environments with thousands of clients across different locations, can be extremely challenging. It involves performing many routine, error-prone tasks. Here is a small list of such tasks:
- Adding clients to backup
- Installing agents on clients
- Scheduling backup jobs
- Running interactive backups
- Running restores
- Running commands to get backup and recovery information
- Collecting information for reporting and monitoring
As environments become more complex, automating these tasks becomes more critical than ever. To address this explosion of complexity, we have created 14 ready-to-use OO workflows to automate routine tasks. These capabilities include provisioning clients, managing and monitoring Data Protector services or daemon, running file system backup and restores, getting session details, and aborting active sessions.
The latest OO content pack includes Data Protector Workflows. You can download it from the ITOM Marketplace. These workflows are independent of the version of Data Protector you are currently using; we have tested OO integration all the way back to 9.0, so any release after 9.0 will work.
Operations Orchestration in action:
Let’s look at an example. Here’s the file system backup workflow, which involves five primary steps:
If you are performing these tasks manually, you would need to:
- Perform each step
- Apply patches (if required)
- Make sure each step completes successfully
- Resolve errors, if there are any
- Begin the next step
Overall, without orchestration, this task can take approximately 15 min per client. For a large environment with hundreds of clients, this simple process can take weeks of effort.
Operations Orchestration can easily automate these tasks and can perform them in seconds, resulting in a reduction in errors and improved IT productivity.
Today, Data Protector doesn’t include Operations Orchestration. In the future, we plan to include OO shared services as part of the Data Protector distribution. If you are an existing Data Protector and Operations Orchestration customer, you can both take advantage of these pre-canned workflows and write your own custom workflows. We have customers that are doing this today. For example, a large Managed Service Provider (MSP) has automated protection of their virtual machines using Data Protector and OO. Here is their process at a high-level:
1. Users, when provisioning a virtual machine, see an option to add backup (Data Protector) for it.
2. If the backup option is selected, then some time slots are offered for backup, and the user selects one.
3. Once that’s done, the OO workflow is initiated which:
a) Automatically imports the virtual machine into a Data Protector Cell Manager
b) Creates a backup specification
c) Configures the backup based on the user inputs
4. After that, the backups run on schedule protecting the virtual machine
5. When the virtual machine is decommissioned, another OO workflow removes the backup spec for the virtual machine, updates the scheduler, and removes the VM from the Data Protector environment
We plan to add more workflows to the OO content pack. If you have ideas for new workflows that you’d like to see automated, submit them here through the Idea Exchange Portal. Also, I would love to hear your feedback on this topic, so feel free to comment below!