Ideas for a VM request form > workflow > VM listing in SharePoint

Discussion in 'Business & Enterprise Computing' started by newgen, Aug 22, 2013.

  1. newgen

    newgen Member

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    Hi guys,

    Bit of a unique challenge, but I'll break it down so it's brief and straight forward. We have a decent sized development environment which is all virtualised using VMware vSphere. I want to implement the following workflow to simplify the management of new VM requests and to help the staff track the VM inventory easier as well through SharePoint. We've tried creating an Infopath form with standard fields that staff need to fill out when requesting a VM, e.g. Number of vCPUs, Amount of memory, Number of disk partitions and sizes, OS, system owner, purpose etc etc.. What I'm trying to achieve is:

    - User fills in VM request form and submits.
    - Form goes to their department head for approval, then to I.T. manager for approval and then onto the helpdesk for creation.
    - The data from the VM request form is used to automatically generate a VM listing in SharePoint which lists things such as server name, server specs, system owner, purpose, etc.
    - The staff can at any time then go in and revise the specs (e.g. increase memory from 8gb to 16gb) and re-submit the form for the change to be made.

    With this listing we would then be able to sort the VMs by system owner, amount of memory used etc to do some basic reporting.

    We're not having much luck with the Infopath form working in SharePoint and getting the list to display. Can anyone suggest a tool which might do what we need? It's a simple requirement which we could get someone to develop a solution for within a few hours but want to see what's out there first.

    Cheers!
     
  2. Skitza

    Skitza Member

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    You could implement vCloud Director :)
     
  3. b00n

    b00n Member

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    What I was going to say
     
  4. PabloEscobar

    PabloEscobar Member

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    does vcloud director integrate with Sharepoint?
     
  5. OP
    OP
    newgen

    newgen Member

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    Hi guys,

    Yeah we had a look at vCloud Director and it's a bit of overkill for what we want to do.
     
  6. ninboy57

    ninboy57 Member

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    Ive done most of this with php/sql/powercli and its pretty easy once you get the logic down. I have an online accessible xml file to hold corp configuration settings ie network,storage settings for different sites, different environments, storage frames, etc. Cant see why you couldnt push reporting to a sharepoint site.
    For the php/powershell initial setup, google theboywonder (.co.uk site i think)
     
  7. NSanity

    NSanity Member

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    Sounds like

    "It does exactly what we're asking for, but we don't have the budget"
     
  8. psyco18

    psyco18 Member

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    how very useful.
     
  9. PabloEscobar

    PabloEscobar Member

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    I'm still interested in how vCloud director integrates with sharepoint.

    As it seems that that was one of the OP's inital needs. Just throwing products at the issue doesn't really solve anything.

    Does anyone here use vCloud director, and have it integrated with Sharepoint (or any other similar product), how hard was the integration process? how much benefit does it offer over set of PowerCLI functions to accomplish the same outcome?
     
  10. theRealTech

    theRealTech Member

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    Do you have a service tracking tool?

    Most service tracking systems (we use Remedy) would treat this as a "Work Request" to create a "Configuration Item". Pretty standard ITIL stuff.

    Don't know what your budget is or what your userbase / volumes are like. If you don't have much money, just google "open source ITIL service desk software" and check out some of the free stuff. You can easily report out to sharepoint if you have someone who is SQL savvy.

    As an example of what we're doing to answer a similar requirement - We're looking to switch to Microsoft's System Centre Service Manager and report out to SharePoint using SSRS.

    I'm happy to point in the right direction with any of the above if you need any more info. Hope that helps.
     
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2013
  11. IACSecurity

    IACSecurity Member

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    Yeah like, how it will provision VM's then alter configuration after the creation... like the crux of the issue.
     
  12. theRealTech

    theRealTech Member

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    I read the original post to mean workflow and generation of reports not actually automatically provisioning and altering the configuration of VMs from a form.

     
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2013
  13. usedbodychocola

    usedbodychocola Member

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    Have you had a look at VMware vCenter Orchestrator? Not sure on the cost though and what would be required from a Sharepoint side.
     
  14. OP
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    newgen

    newgen Member

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    That's right. No need for the auto-provisioning of VMs. It's a simple task that doesn't take long so we prefer to keep control of it. If we were dealing with smaller VMs (like web servers) we would probably automate the entire process, but some of the VMs we provision are up to 8 cores, 128gb ram, 1tb hdd.

    Cheers ninboy57, will do.

    Thanks for all your input mate! Great advice. Might play around with creating an email form which will generate an email to a simple SpiceWorks install where we extract the data from to SharePoint. :thumbup:
     
  15. PabloEscobar

    PabloEscobar Member

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    I see little value in automating a VM request form/VM report, if it doesn't tie into some backend system that can confirm that the created VM actually matches what is on the request.

    The Size of the VM is irrelevant to the process.

    What are the hosts, 8 core Guest Operating systems seems pretty high, Do you run into a world of hurt with Numa nodes and CPU scheduling?
     
  16. OP
    OP
    newgen

    newgen Member

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    Businesses have different processes and requirements I guess. At the moment it's just being shared with the staff via a spreadsheet which is working but not ideal.

    They're sandpits and test boxes for SAP HANA so those issues are mostly negated.
     

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