Configuring Maintenance Windows

Maintenance windows allow Commander administrators to automatically fulfill change requests and VM rightsizing recommendations during expected, well-known times.

In this topic:

Overview

Through maintenance groups, you can provide maintenance windows for automatic fulfillment of change requests and VM rightsizing recommendations. You can adjust the schedule and frequency of the maintenance window so that disruptive changes occur at appropriate times.

Commander has a default maintenance group that, by default, all services and managed systems are assigned to. If you need distinct windows for different organizations, or for production and development services, you can create additional maintenance groups and configure their schedules. You can then assign these maintenance groups to your services and managed systems.

Each service and managed system can only be assigned a single maintenance group.

Notes:

  • Maintenance groups apply to all service types except custom components.
  • When a change request is set to be fulfilled during the assigned maintenance window, a scheduled task is created upon request approval. If a change request can't be fulfilled during the maintenance window (for example, if there isn't enough time to fulfill all requests), the request is scheduled during the next window.
  • Once maintenance windows are defined, they can also be used during manual change request fulfillment.
  • When a maintenance group is set for a managed system, that maintenance group doesn't, in turn, get assigned to the nodes or VMs that belong to that managed system. This means, for example, that any changes applied to a Kubernetes cluster or a VMware vCenter server in a maintenance group will only affect those managed systems and not the nodes or VMs that belong to them.

You can automatically assign a maintenance group to new services and managed systems.

Here are a few examples of how maintenance windows can be used:

  • VM resource changes — A user submits a resource change request that requires powering down the VM.

    The approval workflow for the change request form is configured to fulfill disruptive requests during the maintenance window.

  • Virtual service decommissioning — A user submits a request to decommission a virtual service.

    The requester uses the Schedule form element to specify that the virtual service should be decommissioned during the maintenance window.

  • Database backup — A user submits a request to backup a database.

    The form used for the change request contains an approval workflow that is configured to fulfill requests during the maintenance window. It also contains a completion workflow with an Execute Script step that will run the backup if approved.

  • Kubernetes cluster changes — A user submits a change request to resize a Kubernetes cluster.

    An administrator sets a maintenance group for a managed system (in this case, a Kubernetes cluster), then defines a change request form that allows Commander users to make a resizing request for the cluster. When a change request is submitted, fulfillment of that request can be automatically scheduled in the next maintenance window.

Steps to configure maintenance windows

The basic steps to configure maintenance windows are:

  1. Configure maintenance groups.

    You can create one or more maintenance groups, or edit the default maintenance group.

  2. Set maintenance groups for existing services and/or existing managed systems.

    If you've created additional maintenance groups, assign existing services and/or managed systems to the new maintenance groups.

  3. Set maintenance groups for new services and/or managed systems.
  4. To ensure that change requests are automatically fulfilled during the maintenance window, configure the proper automation options in your change request approval workflows. For example, you can:
    • create an approval workflow that causes change requests requiring a power-down to be automatically fulfilled during the next maintenance window 
    • add conditional workflow steps that execute only when the change requires a power-down, allowing you fine-grained control over change request approval and fulfillment

    See Creating an Approval and Pre-Provisioning Workflow.

  5. Optional: Allow Service Portal users to schedule changes.

Configure a maintenance group

Access through:

Configuration > Groups > Maintenance

Available to:

Commander Role of Superuser and Enterprise Admin

Administrator Access Rights

To configure a maintenance group:

  1. On the Maintenance Groups page, do one of the following:
    • To configure the default maintenance group, select the default maintenance group and click Edit.

      By default, all services and managed systems are assigned to the default maintenance group.

    • To add a new maintenance group, click Add.
  2. On the Name & Description page of the dialog that displays, provide a name for the group, with an optional description, and then select Next.
  3. Notes:

    • Give the group a descriptive name that will readily make sense to administrators and service owners viewing the service's Maintenance Group property. For example, for a nightly maintenance window on weekends from 1:00 to 3:00 am, you might name it "Sat-Sun 1-3 am EST".
    • The schedules use the time on the Commander application server. If you have Service Portal users in multiple time zones, set an appropriate schedule name and description (for example, including the time zone), to make sure the schedule is clear to users.
  4. On the Maintenance Window page, configure the frequency and schedule as required, then click Next.
  5. Clear the Enable Schedule option, and click Next.
  6. On the Summary page, review the settings, and click Finish.

Set the maintenance group for existing services and managed systems

Access through:

Views menu > Inventory > Infrastructure, Applications, or Storage

Available to:

Administrator and All Operator Levels of Access Rights

By default, all services and managed systems are assigned to the default maintenance group. However, you can add services and managed systems to other maintenance groups.

Notes:

  • If you change a maintenance group assignment, any unfulfilled change requests are automatically rescheduled to the new group's maintenance window.
  • A maintenance group set for a managed system is not inherited by its children.
  • You can see a maintenance group assignment on the Details pane of the Summary tab. For information about displaying the maintenance group on the Details pane, see Customizing the Commander Display. The Maintenance Group property is in the Lifecycle category.

To set a specific maintenance group for existing services or managed systems:

  1. Select the service or managed system in the tree or in a list.
    • For a service, right-click and select Change Management > Set Maintenance Group.
    • For a managed system, right-click and select Set Maintenance Group.
  2. In the Set Maintenance Group dialog, select the appropriate group and click OK.

Set the maintenance group for new services

There are three ways to set the maintenance group when a service is deployed:

  • the service catalog
  • completion workflows
  • policies

See Guidance for assigning groups to new services to learn which method is best for your situation.

Allow Service Portal users to schedule changes

You can optionally allow Service Portal users to:

  • schedule their own change request fulfillment — If you add the Schedule element to the Change Request form, users with access to this form can schedule their change requests at a specific time, immediately, or during the maintenance window. See Customizing Service Request Forms to learn more.

    The Schedule form element takes precedence over the automation options in the approval workflow for change requests.

  • schedule VM rightsizing recommendations during the maintenance window — Service Portal users with the Schedule Maintenance Tasks permission can schedule the application of rightsizing recommendations during the maintenance window. See Rightsizing VMs for more information.

Viewing tasks scheduled in a maintenance window

Access through:

Tools > Scheduled Tasks

Available to:

All Access Rights Levels

Commander Role of Superuser can Override Schedules

To view all tasks scheduled in a maintenance window:

  1. Go to Tools > Scheduled Tasks.
  2. Sort the list on the Maintenance Group column.
  3. You can edit or cancel these scheduled tasks. See Scheduling Tasks.

Deleting a maintenance group

Access through:

Configuration menu > Groups > Maintenance

Available to:

Commander Role of Superuser and Enterprise Admin

Administrator Access Rights

When you delete a maintenance group, its members are automatically reassigned to the default maintenance group, and all its scheduled tasks are automatically rescheduled to the default maintenance window.

It's not possible to delete the default maintenance group, but you can disable maintenance windows.

To delete a maintenance group:

  1. Go to Configuration > Groups > Maintenance.
  2. Select a listed maintenance group, and click Delete.

Disabling a maintenance window

Access through:

Configuration menu > Groups > Maintenance

Available to:

Commander Role of Superuser, Enterprise Admin

When the maintenance window for a maintenance group is disabled, any services or managed systems assigned to that maintenance group will have no maintenance window.

When a maintenance window is disabled:

  • all tasks scheduled for the window are halted until the maintenance window is re-enabled
  • the option to schedule a change request fulfillment or apply a recommendation in the maintenance window is no longer displayed

To disable the maintenance window for a maintenance group:

  1. Go to Configuration > Groups > Maintenance.
  2. On the Maintenance Groups page, click Edit.
  3. Go to the General page, clear the Enable Schedule option.
  4. Click Next, then on the Summary page, click Finish.