Case Study

Creating Visibility with ServiceNow Discovery

Windward helped a top financial institution streamline a complex asset discovery process and improve IT performance.
Windward Plane
The Client

A federally-backed lending institution supporting the mortgage industry, our client is a government sponsored enterprise and publicly-traded company in the top 25 of the Fortune 500 by revenue.

The Challenge

Migration from a highly-customized legacy Application Discovery Dependency Mapping (ADDM) program to ServiceNow’s Discovery solution. Windward was engaged to help diagnose and troubleshoot challenges, set up schedules, and establish best practices for end-to-end implementation of Discovery.

The Complications

Migrating from a bespoke legacy solution to a more configurable, out-of-the-box (OOB) one is always complex. For the financial institution, discovery was especially difficult because many devices within their environment were not supported by OOB ServiceNow Discovery.

The legacy solution also included customized fields not discovered by ServiceNow OOB patterns, so those had to be aligned to the current identification rules and CMDB fields for hosts.

The Solution

To make this complex implementation simpler, Windward broke the project up into two phases, starting with network discovery then moving to host discovery. Because of the project’s unique challenges, Windward started in Pattern mode, rather than the typical Probe and Sensor mode of device discovery. This innovative approach offered several advantages:

  1. Customization development is easier in the pattern approach (the probe approach requires JavaScript skills to debug what is happening in the probes)
  2. Easier maintainability of customizations over time
  3. Improved performance, since unnecessary data can easily be limited
  4. One pattern can be used as a reference to develop patterns for different devices, speeding up implementation time (i.e., you can develop the Infoblox devices using the Switch pattern as a reference)

Ultimately, the company will fully transition to ServiceNow Discovery, saving money and reducing the complexity of their IT environment.

The Deliverable

To help the client implement ServiceNow Discovery, Windward:

  • Gathered requirements on current-state ADDM customizations and CMDB CI data
  • Designed and developed high-complexity Patterns
  • Customized Probes and Sensors Developed Pre/Post Processing Scripts
  • Constructed, researched and loaded MIB files required for non-OOB network devices
  • Performed troubleshooting and analysis of system logs
  • Developed common shared libraries for patterns common to all network and host devices, as well as fetching additional host information such as the CPU core information, OS Service Pack, Grid, Hardware location, etc.
  • Developed a customized UNIX classify probe to discover non-OOB hosts
  • Implemented performance improvements by cleaning up unrequired data in Patterns
  • Implemented Discovery Schedules

Windward performed these activities across multiple environments, starting in Development, then moving to Test, UAT, and eventually implemented into Production.

The Results
  1. ServiceNow Discovery actively discovers
    all network devices across all environments (includes 170+ custom network devices) within 60 seconds.
  2. Near real-time visibility into environments through an accurate, up-to-date CMDB.
  3. Better integration with ITSM processes, including Event Management, Incident Management, and Change Management.
  4. Fewer business-impacting events.
  5. Faster Mean-Time-To-Resolve (MTTR).

Windward is working with the client on the final stages of the host discovery portion of the project. The vision is to move to Software Instances as the final phase of the project.

Ultimately, the mortgage loan company will fully transition over to ServiceNow Discovery and retire the legacy ADDM solution, saving money on licensing and support and reducing the complexity of their IT environment.

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