WHOAMI – API enabled describe service for the Enterprise – Part 1

August 29, 2016

Darin Deters, Architect – Kovarus

In this two-part blog series, we will provide an overview of a creative solution that bridges the divide between your enterprise CMDB and datacenter configuration items. Part one will focus on the problem statement and a solution summary, while part two will dive into the finer points.

We often find in transforming organizations that it can be a challenge to properly identify and or classify the correct configuration Item (CI). This challenge presents itself in multiple ways within the enterprise. For example, we tend rely on hostname standards to decode the environment or role of a server or instance. During our cloud journey, we often decide to change our hostname standards. On the surface, this doesn’t sound like a problem. As we began to operationalize our new service offerings this issue can cause confusion and or finger pointing as the organization and job roles are transforming.

This is where the WHOAMI service bridges the divide.

The concept is that you can login to any server or instance and simply connect to https://whoami (with your favorite tool or client) and all of the metadata that would be found in a hostname is available. Data such as the associated Business Service, Environment, Managed by, Application Tier, etc. Typically, you would have to login to the CMDB and search for the CI to locate this data. WHOAMI removes this step and enables your brown and green field environments to leverage common features.

To address this challenge, we will detail out the process of creating a proxy API service that will return the requested data from ServiceNow. The data that is returned from the API enables you to integrate it with other commonly used tools like PowerShell, wget, and Puppet. In addition to utilizing this service for your private and public cloud, it can be extremely beneficial for desktop support. In part 2 we will show you how to enable browser based access with a simple AngularJS frontend as well.

It is important that we take a moment to mention a few elements. Solutions like WHOAMI enable operations teams and bring greater awareness of enterprise assets. That being said, this puts a magnifying glass on the data accuracy of the CMDB. It is extremely important to invest in people, process, and technology to ensure that you care and feed the enterprise CMDB. Appointing CI librarians that focus on data management and integrity is critical to the success of a solution like WHOAMI.

Technology Stack Overview

Platforms

  • ServiceNow – Enterprise CMDB
  • Webhost – IIS with ARR or nginx – API reverse proxy

Tools/Clients

  • PowerShell v3 or v4
  • Puppet
  • Wget
  • Curl
  • Bginfo
  • Modern Web browser

In part two of this blog post, I will walk through the configuration details of WHOAMI and how to integrate it in your environment. Please click here.

If you need or would like to know more, please do not hesitate to contact us!