SaltStack and ServiceNow to Integrate IT Automation Tools

The two distinct IT management environments are now integrated using a common set of APIs.

Michael Vizard

April 3, 2015

2 Min Read
SaltStack and ServiceNow to Integrate IT Automation Tools
SaltStack admin dashboard (Screenshot: SaltStack)

On the one hand IT organizations are relying more on service desk software in the cloud from ServiceNow. On the other extreme, they are simultaneously moving to embrace IT automation software from vendors such as SaltStack. Starting today those two distinct IT management environments are now integrated using a common set of application programming interfaces (APIs).

Matt Meservey, director of product management for SaltStack, says that with the ServiceNow environment IT administrators want to be able to initiate actions that get executed by SaltStack Enterprise.

Written in Python, SaltStack Enterprise is the commercial implementation of open source IT automation software that enables IT organizations to programmatically provision and invoke additional IT infrastructure resources.

In general, Meservey says that as IT infrastructure management both inside and out of the cloud gets more complicated IT organizations are looking for tools that allow them to automate the management of those environments at scale. In the case of SaltStack Enterprise that means using Python programming tools to cohesively manage IT infrastructure running on premise or in the cloud using the APIs exposed by the cloud service provider.

Beyond the higher level of agility that provides IT organizations, Meservey says it also provides more flexibility in that new types and classes of IT infrastructure can be represented in software in about a week. That higher level of abstraction means that from an IT infrastructure perspective it’s no longer possible for a data center environment to find itself locked into a particular vendor.

“In our case you’re talking about writing less than 1,000 lines of code,” says Meservey. “That makes it a lot simpler to bring new technologies into the data center.”

It also makes the IT management team more agile in terms of how quickly it can respond to changing dynamics within the overall business.

Of course, IT administrators have been writing their own custom scripts for years. The challenge is that most of those scripts don’t function at scale and often take a long time to be extended to other platforms.

In contrast, Meservey says, SaltStack Enterprise is designed to not only operate at Web-scale, it enables IT organizations to more holistically manage compute, storage, and networking resources. In addition, Meservery notes that specialists can write programs to optimize particular functions in a way that generalists inside the organization can then reuse within the context of a larger service.

Obviously, there’s a lot of ways to create a programmable data center environment these days. But ultimately, the battle to determine which models wins the day may ultimately come down to how accessible the actual programming environment for IT automation is to the average IT administrator.

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