Service mapping is a significant aspect of the ServiceNow IT operational management (ITOM) process. It enables IT teams to optimize process workflows and operational costs. The service mapping process creates a top-down view of all application services in an organization using pattern-based discovery or traffic-based discovery. ServiceNow ITOM ensures transparency for the overall IT infrastructure. This blog is intended to provide you an overview of the concepts in Service Mapping such as understanding of Service Mapping, Usages, Key features, working of service mapping with ServiceNow, Top-down approach, ServiceNow supported applications, Service Mapping on the Now platform, working of service mapping, support applications, and advantages of using ServiceMapping.
Understanding the Service Mapping
The ServiceNow Service Mapping application is used in discovering the application services of your organization and then building a comprehensive map for all devices, applications, and configuration profiles used in these business services. Service Mapping is available as a separate subscription and requires activation by Service Mapping personnel.
Usage of Service Mapping
Service mapping organizes applications and related IT systems within an organization. It improves services by identifying the source of issues and changes in the IT infrastructure. Service Mappings use the traffic-based actions to build a Service Map and also enable a more unified infrastructure. It also creates an index of services like URL, queue, or Citrix VDI cloud mapping tools.
Who uses Service Mapping?
Various IT departments, companies, and cloud organizations will be using the Service Mapping. Service Mapping enables them by providing a platform as a service to create a service-aware view of infrastructure.
Key features of Service Mapping
Service mapping makes the IT service process more reliable and it has the following features:
- Visibility: Service Mapping lets users easily evaluate the underlying impact of infrastructure services.
- Efficiency: Automation of mapping services reduces the time for users while handling errors.
- Accuracy: Whenever a change occurs or reflected, the Service Map is updated in real-time.
Working of Service Mapping with ServiceNow
To any organization, the Configuration Management Database (CMDB) is the best source. However, this database cannot find the root cause of incidents affected in an application or the service in an organization on its own. The underlying device that is connected with this application or service might cause an issue. Service Mapping creates top-down views of applications or services of all organization devices using a method known as top-down discovery. The following methods are used for top-down discovery:
- Pattern-Based Discovery
ServiceNow uses pattern methods to discover and maintain the relationship between devices and services. A pattern is a series of operations, which is used to create attributes for each of the devices and maps the relationship between them.
- Traffic Based Discovery
Service mapping uses the information of traffic in the network for building a comprehensive database about application services and related devices. Traffic-based discovery helps in identifying the devices that are failed to be discovered in the pattern-based discovery.
The top-down approach of Service Mapping
In ServiceNow ITOM, Service Mapping creates dependencies between devices and services. This dependency helps in recognizing the impact of a failed device on the rest of the infrastructure services. Typically, organizations keep an inventory of their devices in a Configuration Management Database (CMDB). Service Mapping helps the organization in keeping the track of services and their dependency on other Configuration Items (CI) within an organization.
ServiceNow Supported Applications
ServiceNow identifies a wide range of devices, operating systems, and network devices by using discovery known as horizontal discovery. Service mapping implements the process known as a top-down discovery that finds and maps the connection between the applications and devices. The patterns of ServiceNow helps in discovering additional devices and applications. ServiceNow also provides support for a wide range of applications such as .Net Framework, Adobe, SAP, and so on.
How do you use Service Mapping in ServiceNow?
An organization provides the service by configuring an application service that consists of a set of interconnected applications and hosts. The application services can be internal, like an organization email system, or customer-facing, such as an organization website. For instance, to create financial reports, a web-based application requires a computer, web server, application server, databases, middleware, and network infrastructure. These applications and hosts are all configured to offer the service of financial reporting.
Usually, IT departments create and maintain an inventory that handles the devices and applications as standalone, independent objects. Connections between the devices and applications are not included. This is typically referred to as horizontal discovery. This method makes the IT departments to understand the connection and dependencies between each object. As discussed, the service mapping implements the mapping techniques by using the dependencies, that rely on a connection between devices and applications typically referred to as top-down mapping for identifying the impact of a problematic object immediately on the rest of the application service operation.
This application service maps illustrate the infrastructure of objects and semantic connections between them. This Service Mapping regenerates application service maps regularly, so as to keep them updated and relevant. It provides a visual hint regarding the state of the application service for the faulty objects that are displayed along with the devices and applications they affect.
How does Service Mapping work?
Service Mapping deploys various methods for creating application services. The main method of Service Mapping discovery of mapping devices and applications is to use the patterns. A pattern consists of a sequence of operations that are used in detecting the attributes of devices and applications and their outbound connections. If your organization uses tags to manage the assets, you can use these tags to map application services. Service Mapping can also discover devices and applications by following traffic connections between them. This method is referred to as traffic-based mapping.
Service Mapping on the Now Platform
Service Mapping can be used only if the Discovery product is activated and set up. The users have to define and configure credentials to allow Service Mapping and Discovery access to applications and devices inside your organization network. Service Mapping depends on Discovery and the MID Server to discover devices and applications. Service Mapping uses results of horizontal discovery performed by Discovery. The MID Server facilitates communication between Service Mapping and devices and applications it discovers.
The Service Mapping collects the data and organizes them which is visible in Event Management, Dependency Views, and Application Portfolio Management (APM). The events are viewed using Event Management which enables you to take actions for recovering your organization’s application services. The relationships between devices and applications are viewed using the Dependency Views in the context of application services to which they belong to. If Service Mapping integrates with APM, it provides information about components making up a business application and helps APM users to monitor business application performance. Service Mapping supports domain separation. If your Now Platform uses domain separation, administrators and users can only view and manage application services that belong to their own domain. The following are features available in the Now platform.
Choosing right method for mapping application services
Inorder to gather information about configuration items (CIs), the Service Mapping deploys various methods and organises them into application services. The available mapping methods include pattern-based, tag-based, and traffic-based.
Domain separation and Service Mapping
This is an overview of domain separation and Service Mapping. Domain separation enables you to separate data, processes, and administrative tasks into logical groupings called domains. You can then control several aspects of this separation, including which users can see and access data.
Discovery of application services on the cloud using Service Mapping
Service Mapping can discover application services consisting of devices and applications deployed in the cloud.
Components installed with Service Mapping
Several types of components are installed with activation of the Service Mapping plugin, including tables, user roles, properties, and scheduled jobs.
Service Mapping roles and flow
This involves the high-level tasks users having different roles perform in Service Mapping.
Advantages of Service Mapping using ServiceNow:
- It ensures quality incident, change, and management processes.
- It helps to point out where outages occur and the impact of those outages.
- It improves the resolution time of infrastructure issues.
- It requires less than 10% effort compared to the ADDM tool for manual Service Mapping.
- It maps services with less input from service owners.
- It relates to the top-down mapping of services in dynamically changing cloud environments.
Service mapping in ServiceNow helps the organizations in better understanding of IT infrastructure and components that align with the services of business. The service is implemented using certain key decisions at strategic points. The decisions include identifying the environments and entry points, refining and maintaining the service map. It is very prominent to discuss these decisions with the relevant stakeholders like application architects, security teams, product owners, and product sponsors before choosing the right approach.