Author Archives: XLAB

What’s new: Automating ServiceNow with Ansible Automation Platform

It has been almost half a year since the XLAB Steampunk and Red Hat Ansible Automation Platform teams developed the first version of the Red Hat Ansible Certified Content Collection for ServiceNow IT Service Management (ITSM). You may also want to read our ServiceNow introduction if you are not familiar with this already.  So, let’s take a look at what is new since the last release.

We will skip most of the technical details in this post because, let us face it, talking about interactions between API pagination and filtering is not something many people enjoy. Instead, we will focus on the new things users can do using the current 1.2.0 version of this collection.


Attachment management

ServiceNow records (incidents, problems, change requests, etc.) may contain attachments, but the first version of the ServiceNow Collection did not expose this capability to Ansible Automation Platform users. We changed this in version 1.2.0 when we added the attachments parameter to all non-info modules.

Ansible users can now upload error logs and other artifacts when creating new incidents and other ServiceNow records. They can also add them later to existing ServiceNow records. For example, users might Continue reading

Automating ServiceNow with Red Hat Ansible Automation Platform

IT service management (ITSM) is a collection of policies and processes for the management and support of IT services. The main focus of ITSM is increasing the value of the customers’ service chain. But without the proper automation support, providing IT services can quickly become a major time-sink.

This is where the Red Hat Ansible Automation Platform and the Red Hat Ansible Certified Content Collection for ServiceNow come into play. Ansible Automation (with some help from existing Ansible content) can automate just about any task, while the modules from this Certified Collection allow us to keep the ServiceNow information up to date.

This Collection was designed and developed by the XLAB Steampunk team in close collaboration with Red Hat Ansible, specifically keeping end-users in mind. ServiceNow modules have an intuitive user interface backed by a robust implementation, offering support for things Ansible users expect (e.g., check mode and change detection).

In this post, we will look at a few sample Ansible Playbooks that take care of essential tasks such as:

  1. Updating incidents, problems, and change requests
  2. Updating the ServiceNow configuration management database (CMDB)
  3. Using the CMDB as an inventory source

Installing the Certified Content Collection for ServiceNow 

We Continue reading

Adding integration tests to Ansible Content Collections

In the previous installment of our "let us create the best Ansible Content Collection ever" saga, we covered the DigitalOcean-related content migration process. What we ended up with was a fully functioning Ansible Content Collection that unfortunately had no tests. But not for long; we will be adding an integration test for the droplet module.


We do not need tests, right?

If we were able to write perfect code all of the time, there would be no need for tests. But unfortunately, this is not how things work in real life. Any modestly useful software has deadlines attached, which usually means that developers need to strike a compromise between polish and delivery speed.

For us, the Ansible Content Collections authors, having a semi-decent Collection of integration tests has two main benefits:

  1. We know that the tested code paths function as expected and produce desired results.
  2. We can catch the breaking changes in the upstream product that we are trying to automate.

The second point is especially crucial in the Ansible world, where  one team of developers is usually responsible for the upstream product, and a separate group maintains Ansible content.

With the "why integration tests" behind us, we can Continue reading

Migrating Existing Content Into a Dedicated Ansible Collection

Today, we will demonstrate how to migrate part of the existing Ansible content (modules and plugins) into a dedicated Ansible Collection. We will be using modules for managing DigitalOcean's resources as an example so you can follow along and test your development setup. But first, let us get the big question out of the way: Why would we want to do that? 


Ansible on a Diet 

In late March 2020, Ansible's main development branch lost almost all of its modules and plugins. Where did they go? Many of them moved to the ansible-collections GitHub organization. More specifically, the vast majority landed in the community.general GitHub repository that serves as their temporary home (refer to the Community overview README for more information). 

The ultimate goal is to get as much content in the community.general Ansible Collection "adopted" by a caring team of developers and moved into a dedicated upstream location, with a dedicated Galaxy namespace. Maintainers of the newly migrated Ansible Collection can then set up the development and release processes as they see fit, (almost) free from the requirements of the comunity.general collection. For more information about the future of Ansible content delivery, please Continue reading

Ansible Content Collections: The Sensu Go Use Case

Blog_Ansible and Sensu

In Getting Started With Ansible Content Collections, which presented the general idea behind what is becoming a new standard in the distribution of Ansible content, we learned about the what, the why and the how of Ansible Collections (and hopefully it got you excited about Ansible Collections!). In this post, we'll take things a bit further, continuing the journey into the world of Ansible Collections accompanied by the certified Sensu Go Ansible Collection that our team at XLAB Steampunk developed and supports for Sensu.


What to expect?

This article will guide you through the process of creating a fully functioning automated deployment of the Sensu Go monitoring agent and backend with the help of roles and modules included in the Sensu Go Ansible Collection. 

If you are not familiar with Sensu Go, this quick introduction to Sensu Go will help you get up to speed.

Before we begin, let's first talk about the collection we're taking along for the ride.


The Sensu Go Ansible Collection: the basics

What exactly do we need for a complete and fully functioning deployment of Sensu Go? First, the Sensu Go monitoring backend. Then, to allow the backend to Continue reading