Managing the Service Catalog

About services and service components

A service is a container for IT assets — something that is requested, approved, deployed and completed as a unit. A service can consist of anything from a single VM to a combination of service components, such as:

multiple VMs

virtual services (vApps and cloud services)

cloud templates (CloudFormation and ARM templates)

custom components — used to represent both non-virtual assets (such as a phone) as well as tasks that modify existing assets (such as the installation of a database instance on an existing server)

NotePencil-smallCustom components are different from VM and virtual service components. Once a request for a custom component is completed, the custom component is not displayed or tracked in vCommander or the Service Portal.

A service can be predefined (for example, as a vApp in vCenter) or built from individual components in vCommander.

A few example services:

a new hire service — everything a new hire needs, such as a desktop machine, installed software applications and a phone

a lab service — everything required to set up a software testing lab environment

See also How Service Costs are Displayed in vCommander.

Blueprints: Configuring default and user-tunable settings

Blueprints allow you to configure default settings for each component in your service catalog. You can configure options related to:

infrastructure — such as name, description, customization specifications and completion workflows

resources — such as CPU count, memory, instance type, storage and networking

custom attributes — metadata such as project code and cost center

groups — such as expiry, rightsizing, guest OS scanning, power schedule and maintenance groups

third-party integrationssuch as Puppet classes and groups

Blueprints also allow you to create component-specific request forms.

Some settings don't make sense at the component level, because they apply to the service as a whole. Placement destination, ownership and expiry date are examples of service-level settings. You configure these in the Form Designer.

Making a service available for users to request

Access through:

Configuration menu > Service Request Configuration > Service Catalog tab

Available to:

vCommander Role of Superuser, Enterprise Admin

Embotics® vCommander® allows you to create a flexible, easy-to-use Service Catalog.

Categorize services to help users find what they need.

Assign icons to services from a predefined list or use your own icons.

Assign completion workflows to individual components or to the service as a whole. For example, create a service that includes several instances of a database node, and assign a completion workflow to install the same base OS for each database node.

Because you can assign a service to specific organizations, users or groups, you can configure a per-organization, per-user or per-group naming convention for a service.

To add a new service

On the Service Catalog tab, click Add Service.

NotePencil-smallYou can also copy an existing service as a shortcut.
To customize an existing service

On the Service Catalog tab in the List View, locate a service and click Edit. Note that it's not possible to add components to or remove components from a shared VM service.

Consult the following sections for details on wizard settings.

NotePencil-smallIf you navigate away from the service catalog wizard and come back, you are returned to the page you were editing. To discard your changes and return to the list of services, click Cancel.

Continue to the next section for information on the wizard pages.

Service Description page

On this page, you customize display options for the service.

1.In the Name field, specify the display name for the service in the Service Catalog (maximum 100 characters).

NotePencil-smallThis name is used as the label for the Service section of the Request New Service form. Choose a distinctive Service Name to help requesters fill out the form.

2.In the optional Description field, enter a description of the service.

NotePencil-smallAlong with the Name field, the Description field is used in Service Catalog searches, so adding a description can help users find service catalog entries as well as make informed decisions when completing the request form.

3.Choose an icon from those available, or click Manage Icons to add an icon. See Managing Icons for the Service Catalog below for more details.

4.To help users find this service in a long list, choose one or more categories from those available, or click Manage Categories to add a category. See Managing Categories for the Service Catalog below for more details.

Components page

On this page, you add components to the service.

NotePencil-smallIf you want to replace a template with a newer version, see Replacing a Template in the Service Catalog.

To add a VM or virtual service component to the service:

1.Click Add and choose VM Component or Virtual Service Component.

2.In the dialog that appears, select a component.

Use the tree or enter text in the search field to narrow the component list. The search field searches the Name and Guest OS properties for VMs, and the Name property for virtual services.

vCenter and SCVMM: All components in a Service Catalog entry must belong to the same managed system.

Public Cloud: All components added to a Service Catalog entry must belong to the same region. If no templates are available for your public cloud managed system, you need to add images to your public cloud account first. You do this in the AWS Management Console, or Microsoft Azure Management Portal. Note that you can add only private images to the vCommander Service Catalog. So, if you created an instance from a public image, you need to convert the instance into a private image before you can add it to the Service Catalog.

3.(Optional; applies to vCenter and SCVMM only) To display VMs in the component list as well as templates, enable Allow VMs in Catalog.

4.(Optional) Use the Name field to customize the display name for this component in the Service Catalog (maximum 100 characters).

This is the component name that a user sees when completing a service request form.

5.Click Add to Service.

To add a CloudFormation template to the service:

1.Click Add and choose CloudFormation Template.

2.In the Add CloudFormation Template dialog, choose one of the following:

Enter a publicly accessible URL in the URL field.

Select Upload File and click Add. Browse to a template file. The file must be a text file whose format complies with the JSON standard. See Working with AWS CloudFormation Templates in the AWS documentation for more information.

3.Click OK.

The template is validated for proper syntax.

NotePencil-smallThe component is automatically assigned the name CloudFormation, but you can customize the name as well as the description in a later step.

To add a new custom component type to the service:

1.Click Add > New Component Type.

2.Provide a name (maximum 64 characters), optional description and the annual cost.

See also Managing Component Types for the Service Catalog below.

To add an existing custom component type to the service:

1.Click Add and select the component type from the drop-down menu.

2.If more than five custom component types already exist, you need to instead choose Custom Type from the menu, and in the Select Custom Component Type dialog, select a component from the list.

When you have finished adding components, click Close to return to the wizard.

NotePencil-smallThe maximum number of components in a service is 15.

If you upgraded from release 5.2 or earlier, you can choose whether to use the Blueprint model or the Legacy model:

If you choose the Blueprint model (recommended), you customize the Component form within the service catalog entry itself; the Form Designer is used only to customize the Service form. Component forms customized in the Form Designer are ignored for Blueprint service catalog entries.

If you continue to use the Legacy model, form customization works as it did previously: you customize both Service and Component forms in the Form Designer. See Adding a Service to the Catalog with the Legacy Model for details on the rest of the wizard when using the legacy model. Note that the Legacy model is deprecated and will be removed in a future release. The Legacy model is not supported for CloudFormation templates.

At this point, you can click Finish and continue editing the service catalog entry later if you wish. Or, click Next to customize the service. The remaining wizard settings vary by managed system type. See the following articles for details:

Adding a vCenter Service to the Catalog

NotePencil-smallSee Creating a Service Using a Fenced Network to learn how to create a service for a vCenter fenced network.

Adding an SCVMM Service to the Catalog

Adding an AWS Service to the Catalog

Adding an Azure Service to the Catalog

Replacing a template in the service catalog

Access through:

Configuration > Service Request Configuration > Service Catalog tab

Available to:

vCommander Role of Superuser, Enterprise Admin

If you've created an updated version of a VM template that's included in the service catalog (for example, if you've applied a patch), you can easily replace the old version with the new version. You can also replace an AWS CloudFormation template.

To replace a template in the catalog:

1.Locate the service in the list of services and click Edit.

2.On the Components page, select the template in the list and click Replace.

3.VM templates: The Available Templates and VMs dialog displays a list of templates from the same managed system, with the same guest OS family. Select the newer version of the template and click Replace.

NotePencil-smallvCenter: If the component was configured to be deployed as a linked clone, the selected template must have one or more snapshots.
NotePencil-smallPublic cloud: You must select a VM template in the same region as the original.

4.CloudFormation templates: The Replace CloudFormation Template dialog appears, allowing you to enter a URL or upload a file.

5.If the selected template's resource configuration differs from that of the template it will replace, a notice similar to the following appears:

replace-template-notice

For example, the notice appears if:

the selected VM template has a different number of disks or network adapters

the selected VM template doesn't support one or more of the instance types configured for the component

the selected CloudFormation template's parameter list differs from the template it will replace

When you click OK, vCommander takes you to the page where you can adjust the configuration as required for the new template. Click Help on this page for more information on any of the settings.

If you click Cancel, no changes are made; the template is not replaced.

6.Click Finish to save your changes.

Exporting a list of service catalog entries

Access through:

Configuration menu > Service Request Configuration > Service Catalog tab

Available to:

All vCommander Roles

On the Service Catalog page, you can click to switch to the Table View. In the Table View you'll notice an Export icon at the top of the page. Clicking Export displays the Export Results dialog, where you can specify whether to export the entire list of services or just the currently displayed results. Enable the Include Count and Filters option to list the number of rows in the report; in the image below, notice that our report contains 5 rows.

catalog-export-csv

Note that it's not possible to include a list of filters in this report. For example, if you filtered the list by the Development category and typed "Windows" in the filter box, and you enable Include Count and Filters, the report will contain only the filtered rows as expected, but the filters are not listed in the report, and the row count always displays "unfiltered rows".

Managing component types for the service catalog

Access through:

Configuration menu > Service Request Configuration > Service Catalog tab

Available to:

vCommander Role of Superuser, Enterprise Admin

Custom components include both non-virtual assets (such as a phone) and tasks that modify existing assets (such as the installation of a database instance on an existing server). Creating custom component types allows you to add the same custom component to multiple Service Catalog entries, as well as centrally manage the cost of these components.

To create a custom component type:

1.At the bottom of the Service Catalog tab, click Configure > Custom Components.

NotePencil-smallYou can also create component types from within the Add Service wizard.

2.In the Manage Custom Component Types dialog, enter a unique type name (maximum 64 characters).

3.Optionally, enter a description (maximum 1,000 characters).

4.Enter an annual cost (a numeric value) and click Add.

NotePencil-smallIf you upgraded from release 5.2 or earlier: When you add a custom component type, an associated New Service Request form is created with the same name (with "Default" prepended). After creating a new component type, you should configure its form, so that users see only relevant fields when they request a service containing this component type. See Customizing Legacy Service Request Forms.

5.Click Close.

You can now add this custom component to the service catalog.

To edit or delete existing component types:

1.On the Service Catalog tab, click Configure > Custom Components.

2.In the Manage Custom Component Types dialog, select a component type and click edit Edit or delete Delete.

NotePencil-smallYou cannot delete a component type that is currently used in the Service Catalog.

3.Click Close.

Managing icons for the service catalog

Access through:

Configuration menu > Service Request Configuration > Service Catalog tab

Available to:

vCommander Role of Superuser, Enterprise Admin

Assigning icons to services makes it easier for users to find the services they need in the Service Catalog. vCommander includes several icons by default, but you can add your own or remove icons as well.

1.At the bottom of the Service Catalog tab, click Configure > Icons.

NotePencil-smallYou can also manage icons from within the Add Service wizard.

2.In the Manage Service Icons dialog, click Add, navigate to the icon you want to add, select it, and click Open.

Files must be no more than 1 MB in size and must be  .gif, .jpeg, or .png files. They should be 48 x 48 pixels for best results.

NotePencil-smallTo delete an icon, select an icon in the list and click Delete. If the icon you select is assigned to one or more services, a message informs you that these services will revert to the default icon. Confirm the deletion.

3.Click Close.

Managing categories for the service catalog

Access through:

Configuration menu > Service Request Configuration > Service Catalog tab

Available to:

vCommander Role of Superuser, Enterprise Admin

Assigning categories to services makes it easier for users to find the services they need in the Service Catalog. You might want to categorize services by operating system, geography or organizational structure. You can assign multiple categories to a single service.

When you filter the Service Catalog by category, only services matching all selected categories are retrieved.

vCommander includes several categories by default, but you can add your own as well as delete categories from the list.

1.At the bottom of the Service Catalog tab, click Configure > Categories.

NotePencil-smallYou can also manage categories from within the Add Service wizard.

2.In the Manage Categories dialog, enter text in the Category Name field and click Add.

Category names can be a maximum of 32 characters.

To delete a category, select a category in the list and click Delete. If the category you select is assigned to one or more services, a confirmation message appears. Confirm the deletion.

Providing friendly names for instance types

Access through:

Configuration menu > Service Request Configuration > Service Catalog tab

Available to:

vCommander Role of Superuser, Enterprise Admin

Providing friendly names for public cloud instance types helps users:

decide what instance types to make available when configuring a service catalog entry

select an appropriate instance type when requesting a service

better understand a VM's resources when viewing the General pane in the VM's Summary tab

decide whether to apply a rightsizing recommendation

To provide friendly instance type names:

1.At the bottom of the Service Catalog tab, click Configure > Instance Type Names.

NotePencil-smallYou can also manage instance type names from within the Add Service wizard.

2.In the Edit Instance Type Display Names dialog, select the managed system type.

3.Enter friendly names for the instance types as required and click Save.

Permanently removing a service from the service catalog

Access through:

Configuration menu > Service Request Configuration > Service Catalog tab

Available to:

vCommander Roles of Superuser and Enterprise Admin

Removing a service from the catalog means that the template or VM is no longer available for selection by any user and has been removed permanently from the Service Catalog. This removal is different from temporarily disabling access to a service with the "Do not publish" setting on the Visibility page of the wizard.

NotePencil-smallRemoving a service does not mean that you are removing its service components from inventory or deleting them from disk. Components of removed services are still part of the inventory in vCommander (see also Managing Your vCenter Inventory and Deleting a Deployed Service).

To permanently remove a service, go to the Service Catalog, click Remove for the service, and confirm the deletion.

Repairing a corrupt service catalog entry

Access through:

Configuration menu > Service Request Configuration > Service Catalog tab

Available to:

vCommander Roles of Superuser and Enterprise Admin

When a component, network zone or credentials used in a service catalog entry are deleted, the service catalog entry is labeled as corrupted, with the following icon displayed in vCommander:

service_corrupt_icon

On the Components page of the Edit Service wizard, the following error is displayed:

"Component <name> has been removed. This service can not be requested until it is repaired."

A corrupt service is not displayed to users requesting a service in the Service Portal.

To repair a service catalog entry:

Restore the missing component, network zone or credentials, or

Remove the component, network zone or credentials from the service catalog entry.