How to easily extend your IBM SmartCloud Orchestrator infrastructure

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growing upIn this post I would like to highlight an important feature of IBM SmartCloud Orchestrator V2.3. This feature is the ability to extend and enrich its functionalities by providing “content packages to enable SmartCloud Orchestrator to use the features that are delivered by external software and infrastructure devices” and to integrate them with the client’s current infrastructure (source: IBM information center, “Getting started with SmartCloud Orchestrator content”).

You can see SmartCloud Orchestrator as a sort of console, and on top of it you can develop your applications or simply add to the existing ones.

Let’s start by describing what a content package (also called a Content Pack) is.

Content Packs provide the building blocks for orchestrations that run on the integrated Business Process Manager platform in SmartCloud Orchestrator.

Content Packs typically consist of a set of process applications and toolkits. Process applications contain ready-to-use orchestrations and share library items from one or more toolkits. Toolkits typically contain building blocks to be used by process applications and other toolkits….

Processes and human services [components that, when executed, create a task for a human being to work on] contained in process applications or toolkits can then be configured to be run in SmartCloud Orchestrator in different ways:

Self-service offerings
A self-service offering is a process that is not related to any pattern or instance. For example, add a user [to an LDAP Server].

Event-triggered action
Event-triggered actions are related to processes that are run as pre- and post- operations during deployment. For example, the operation can be an automated approval process.

User actions
A user action is a management extension for existing instances. For example, change a password [of an existing running instance]….

SmartCloud Orchestrator V2.3 ships with a number of toolkits that provide building blocks [related to infrastructure as a service, virtual system pattern management, scripting support and external product integration, for example, IBM Endpoint Manager].

These building blocks can be used to create new toolkits or process applications.

(Source: IBM information center, “Getting started with SmartCloud Orchestrator content”) 

In addition to the Content Packs provided with SmartCloud Orchestrator, a key point is that it is possible to write your own toolkits based on specific client needs and use them directly in the SmartCloud Orchestrator user interface.

Creating your own toolkit is easy and fun using the IBM Business Process Designer. In a graphic manner it provides a way to create business processes and human services that can be then integrated in SmartCloud Orchestrator.

In future blog posts I will go through the design and creation of Content Packs. In the meantime, if you are eager to get more technical information on developing your own Content Pack for SmartCloud Orchestrator you can go directly to this developerWorks wiki.

The IBM Cloud Marketplace is the place where you can find existing content for SmartCloud Orchestrator; it contains a set of interesting Content Packs to integrate SmartCloud Orchestrator with a client environment, for example:

• IBM SmartCloud Orchestrator Content Pack for IBM Endpoint Manager for Software Distribution and Patch Management

• IBM SmartCloud Orchestrator Content Pack for IBM Netcool Configuration Manager for Load Balance and Firewall

• IBM SmartCloud Orchestrator 2.3 Content Pack for OpenStack Cinder Storage Volumes

• IBM SmartCloud Orchestrator Content Pack for SmartCloud Control Desk

• IBM SmartCloud Orchestrator Content Pack 1.0 for IBM PureApplication Systems Integration

It is also the place where you can publish your content and present it to the SmartCloud Orchestrator community. You can find information on how to publish your own content in the IBM Cloud Marketplace at the following link.

It also contains the development forum.  This is the place to ask your questions about developing content for SmartCloud Orchestrator.

I am currently working on the SmartCloud Orchestrator content team leading the enablement activities with partners and clients. I am happy to answer your questions or help you in the creation of new Content Packs. Please connect with me on Twitter @PinoCiano.

For further information about IBM SmartCloud Orchestrator see the IBM SmartCloud Orchestrator information center.

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