Automating SharePoint in a Private Cloud using Opalis

  • Define what Opalis can provide in an organization
  • How to install Opalis
  • Opalis Integration Packs
  • Creating a basic Policy
  • Testing Opalis Policies
  • Opalis SharePoint Integration Kit
  • Solving real world SharePoint problems with Opalis
 Now let us focus on a specific solution that offers a unique toolset to the current mindset of datacenter administration.
Opalis is an automation platform that improves the reliability of IT processes by orchestrating and integrating IT tools to control the cost of datacenter operations. By enabling an organization to automate best practices through workflow processes that coordinate’s System Center & management/monitoring tools to automate incident response, change & compliance, and service-lifecycle management processes.
Opalis offers a designer for custom workflow processes, through Integration Packs, and automatically shares data and initiates tasks in System Center Operations Manager, System Center Configuration Manager, System Center Service Manager, Virtual Machine Manager, Active Directory and many other 3rd party toolsets. I have seen some impressive implementations by organizations where they can script out a remediation’s but consistently the one missing piece is the ability to track that the incident, what did it take to resolve it, and close the ticket without delayed manual intervention. Opalis offers the ability to not only configure the scripting portion but also try multiple variations of scripted solutions till a remedy is found, offer escalations through email or System Center, track/monitor incident and change requests and much, much more. Opalis offers the “Last Mile” piece many IT organizations have been trying to accomplish. By combining System Center and Opalis organizations open the doors to increased integration, efficiency and business alignment of the datacenter IT services by:
  • Automating cross-silo processes and enforcing best practices for incident, change and service lifecycle management.
  • Reduce unanticipated errors and service delivery time by automating tasks cross vendor and organization silos.
  • Integrating System Center with non-Microsoft tools to enable interoperability across the datacenter.
  • Orchestrating tasks systems for consistent, documented, compliant activity.
Many organizations have successfully jumped on the PowerShell bandwagon and accomplished many automation techniques. There are now many books that have sections dedicated to PowerShell automation within the Microsoft solution space. But normally this requires multiple systems that are running timer jobs across the organization. This tends to get so overwhelming for organizations that they are unable to define where all the jobs are running or when they are running because they become so disparate and have no ability to roll up an accomplished task to a central repository (e.g. System Center) the jobs end up being lost in the organization. Consider another scenario where management starts seeing random issues with a particular job and the only fallback an administrator can provide is to attempt to find logs for a particular script and hope the logs actually caught the issue.
Opalis Components
Opalis has the following main components
Integration Server Client This is the application that creates, modifies, deploys, tests and manages policies.
Action Server Policies are executed on the Action Servers and more than one Action Server can be created. It is possible to dedicate Action Servers for policies requiring a lot of disk space.
Policy Testing Console - Application that allows for testing of policies configured in the Integration Server Client before being deployed to the Action Server. It also has the ability to debug and step through policies.
Operator Console Web-Based application that allows real-time information about metrics such as policy state, duration, and capacity utilization.
Management Server Server that provides connections from the Integration Server Clients to the Opalis Datastore for building and testing policies.
Opalis Datastore A Oracle or Microsoft SQL Server database where configuration information, policies and logs are stored.
Deployment Server Tool that offers a view of the entire Opalis Integration Server infrastructure and deploy Action Servers, Integration Clients, Integration Packs and hotfixes from one place.

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