Orion Alerting and SolarWinds Service Desk (SWSD) Integration. Making IT, and Now ITSM, Look Easy
The Value of an Integrated Platform.
Organizations of all sizes have complex IT environments, which makes managing IT challenging. With the latest release of the Orion® Platform 2019.4 and products, we continue to build on the story of unexpected simplicity by introducing features for IT pros who need a single, integrated experience.
Integrating Orion alerts with SolarWinds Service Desk (SWSD) is another tool in the IT pro’s arsenal. Powerful features such as Advanced Ticket Routing and Automated Workflows improve your operational efficiency by ensuring the critical events within your monitored infrastructure are automatically routed to the correct team. Fast, reliable two-way communication between the Orion Platform and SolarWinds Service Desk (SWSD) ensures changes such as alert acknowledgments or changes in incident state are always in sync.
The benefits of integrating your Orion alerting with SolarWinds Service Desk (SWSD) include:
- Increasing operational efficiency by automating the creation of incidents from Orion alerts, thus giving more visibility to operational teams
- Gain insight into incident trends and measure your organization’s capacity with reports such as incident throughput and incident heatmaps
What Is SolarWinds Service Desk (SWSD)?
One of the most recent additions to our product portfolio is SolarWinds® Service Desk (SWSD); a cloud-based service management solution built to streamline the way you provide support and deliver services to your organization. Whether you have a small IT operation with basic IT ticketing needs or a large enterprise with a complex IT infrastructure and mature processes, SolarWinds Service Desk (SWSD) is designed to meet your needs with the flexibility to scale and support your future business requirements.
For those who want to learn more about the features available in SWSD or start a free trial.
Ok, Let’s Get to It
Configuring Orion and SolarWinds Service Desk (SWSD) Integration
Configuring the Orion Service Desk Integration and automatically creating incidents requires three simple steps:
- Define a SolarWinds Integration in SolarWinds Service Desk (SWSD) and generate an API token
- Add an alert integration instance in Orion
- Add “Create a SolarWinds Service Desk Incident” alert action to your favorite Orion alerts
1. Define A SolarWinds Integration in Solarwinds Service Desk (SWSD)
From the Service Desk Menu - Go to Setup
From the Setup Menu, Go to SolarWinds Interfaces - > Orion
Defining a new Orion Instance requires 2 Fields, Go ahead an enter a name and description for your Orion instance.
NOTE: One item to watch for here, especially if you plan to leverage any automation features of SolarWinds Service Desk (SWSD), choose the appropriate requester for the Incidents which will be created from Orion Alerts. A requester can access the Service Portal to submit break-fix tickets, request services, and explore the knowledge-base. You could define a new requester such as "Orion Alerts" before completing this step and don't worry, you can always come back and change this later.
To learn more about the roles available in SWSD visit https://www.samanage.com/docs/guide-to-the-basics/roles
Once you have entered the required fields, click the Create button on the top right-hand side. 2 addition fields will appear. "Orion uuid" and "Instance name", these are read-only and will be populated once the connection from Orion is established.
Click the Generate Token link, and then the Approve button
Once the token has been generated, click copy token
That's all we need from SolarWinds Service Desk (SWSD), for now, Let's head on over to Orion and get things set up there.
2. Add an Alert Integration Instance in Orion
Logged into Orion with an administrative user, navigate to Settings -> All Settings -> Manager Alert Integration Instances. (Note: This replaces the "Manage Service Now Instances" text on previous releases)
Click 'ADD INSTANCE' and select 'Service Desk'
- Enter a friendly name for the Service Desk Instance - You will see this later when adding an alert action.
- Paste the API token generated earlier
- Test the connection. If successful, back in SWSD you will see the status Connected and the name of your Orion server and a UUID
And that's' it! You have now integrated Orion alerting with SolarWinds Service Desk! Wow!, that really was simple right? For those out there who may want to do more with SolarWinds Service Desk (SWSD), you will be happy to know there is an API, details of which can be found here: https://www.samanage.com/docs/api/introduction
Next: Adding a "Create SolarWinds Service Desk Incident" alert trigger action.
Now that we have Orion and SolarWinds Service Desk (SWSD) configured, the final step is to add an Alert trigger Action. For more on how to create alerts: Use alerts to monitor your environment with the Orion Platform
Pro Tip! Orion has many features to prevent alert floods and to surface deviations in performance metrics, To really make the most out of your Orion alerts check out these 2 articles.
In this example, I will duplicate and edit the OOTB "Alert me when a node is in a Warning or Critical state"
But wait... "What makes a node go into a warning or critical state?" I hear you ask. The answer can be found here; Orion Platform 2019.2 - Enhanced Node Status I strongly encourage you to read through this content to better understand how Orion now calculates the Node Status. This change introduced in the Orion platform 2019.2 significantly improves Node Status calculation and is enabled by default for new installations, existing users who upgrade will need to enable this feature.
Give the alert a name and you can jump straight to "Trigger Actions"
This alert has 2 pre-configured actions, Click "Add Action"
Select "Create SolarWinds Service Desk Incident" and click Configure Action
Name the action and select the SolarWinds Service Desk (SWSD) you defined earlier. More good news for those working in a multi-tenant type deployment. You can define multiple SWSD instances in Orion and select the most appropriate here e.g if you have a tiered SLA and need to create an incident from different requesters.
Entity Attributes shows the default schema which will be visible in the incident. Click "Select Attributes" to add additional entity attributes.
If required, you can define custom attributes that can be based on SWQL or SQL.
Once you have reviewed the Time of Day and execution settings, click "Add Action" to add it to the alert trigger actions. Jump straight to the Summary Tab for the Alert
Scroll to the end of the page and with one final sanity check for the alert, click submit.
Acknowledging Alerts, Alert Resets and updating Incidents.
Once the Alert is triggered it will create a New, Unassigned incident! Beautiful isn't it!
And back on the alert details view in Orion we can see the Service Incidents resource with a link to the incident. Now that certainly would have taken some serious time to script!
Active Orion alerts and the incidents created in SolarWinds Service desk (SWSD) can be automatically updated in 1 of 2 ways.
1. Assigning the incident in SWSD will update the alert details.
2. Acknowledging the Alert in Orion.
Example 1. Assigning an incident in SWSD will acknowledge the alert in Orion and update the "Acknowledged By" & "Assigned To" fields, seen here in All Active Alerts and Active Alert Details
Example 2: Acknowledging an alert in Orion will update the incident and add a comment: Alert 'alertName' has been acknowledged by Admin at 'time' with a note 'note'.
Alerts that reset or are re-triggered for the affected entity will update the related incident rather than creating a new incident. Here you can see there are 4 comments, New comments are indicated by the blue icon.
Drilling down to the incident will show the comments.
Only if an incident has been marked as resolved, and the alert is re-triggered, will a new incident be created.
As with any new feature, we'd love to get your feedback on these improvements. Let us know how this feature has helped you and how we can make it even better.