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ServiceNow Tutorial

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  • Last Updated January 29, 2019

Servicenow is a cloud based platform which streamlines the way of getting the work done. It specializes in IT Service Management (ITSM), IT Business Management (ITBM) and IT Operations Management (ITOM).

Today, Servicenow is the most sought-after IT Service Management (ITSM) application. In this tutorial you will get to know what exactly is Servicenow and what it does.

What is Servicenow?

Servicenow is described as a cloud-based enterprise application platform which offers  everything-as-a-service, It has a huge list of services including marketing, finance, field operation, platform as service, and many more. It plays an important role in the market of IT service, IT business, and IT operations Management applications. 

Basically, Servicenow is an application which addresses most of your operational problems in IT, to explain the previous statement at application level, it is a collection of many small applications which are dedicated to different processes. 

Servicenow provides application developers the capability to create a desired application at a faster pace, which makes servicenow most powerful and preferred to the customers. Taking this as an advantage many IT and Non-IT companies are replacing their legacy service management suites with cloud-based servicenow.

Overview of IT Service Management

To start with IT service management (ITSM), it is a set of processes, procedures, and policies for handling the implementation, development, and support of customer-oriented IT services. 

ITSM encompases multiple IT management frameworks that can be applied to centralized and decentralized systems. There are many number of frameworks which come under the ITSM discipline, and some address specific IT needs, including those in government, healthcare or technology.  Many business using ITSM consider IT as a service, with an aim to deliver valuable services to customers, rather than a department that manages technology.

ITSM Frameworks

There are many ITSM frameworks available for businesses, but, ITIL is the most commonly used framework for ITSM. Choosing a framework depending on the business needs and industry specifications is important to generate productive outcomes.

The following are some of the important frameworks:

  • IT Infrastructure Library is a framework dedicated to deliver IT services of best practices.
  • Business Process Framework (eTOM) is designed for telecommunications service providers.
  • COBIT is an IT governance framework.
  • Six Sigma  is used for data analysis to minimize product and service flaws.
  • TOGAF provides businesses with structure of implementing technology, with a focus on software.
  • FitSM is a framework which is streamlined at service management which is typically aligned with ISO/IEC 20000.
  • MOF (Microsoft Operations Framework) guides businesses through the entire life cycle of an IT service, including development, implementation and cost-effective management with an emphasis on Microsoft technologies.
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ServiceNow Infrastructure

An instance is several things. It is a URL (something like https://www.servicenow.com/); it’s software running in the cloud; it’s your copy of the ServiceNow platform.

ServiceNow provides a platform and suite of applications as a service. They worry about the hardware, Internet connectivity, and operating system security and provide you with the URL. All you need to get going is a web browser.

An instance is an independent implementation of ServiceNow. It is isolated and autonomous, meaning your instance is not shared with other customers. ServiceNow uses a single-tenancy architecture, which means your instance is yours: you can do what you want with it, such as changing logic, updating the UI, and adding fields.

Every customer has several instances; again, all isolated and independent. One instance might be marked out for developing on, another for testing, and one for production. And, because each instance is independent, each one can be running a different release of ServiceNow. The production instance only differs because it has the more powerful hardware.

Changing ServiceNow instance

A new instance starts with a few ServiceNow applications, some demo configuration, and example data. This is often called the out-of-the-box state. One of the example data elements is the System Administrator user. You are able to log in and get going, getting full control immediately.

Everyone makes changes to their instance. Unless the people who will be using the system are called Beth Anglin or David Dan (some of the default example users), you’ll need to load some users at the very least. Some ServiceNow customers configure a lot and some do the bare minimum. You can choose how much you wish to do. Because it is single-tenant, you can alter the configuration and data in almost any way you see fit. 

               Checkout ServiceNow Interview Questions

ServiceNow Plugins

All ServiceNow functionalities are delivered as plugins. When an instance is turned on, one of its first tasks is to load all the plugins that are turned on out of the box. There are quite a few of those, over 200 in the Eureka version of ServiceNow. And there are several hundred more that you can turn on if you want. A plugin may provide an app, like Human Resources Management, or provide new platform functionality, like Domain Separation. Each new version of ServiceNow brings new plugins and updates to existing ones.

When a plugin is turned on, all the data and configuration that the application needs is loaded into the database, meaning that it is ready for work in just a few moments. Many also contain demo data, giving you examples of how it could work.

ServiceNow Hosted Instance

A ServiceNow-hosted instance is split over two physical datacenters, a high-availability pair. Each location runs independently of the other, giving a semi-clustered environment. In the event of a catastrophic disaster, with one location being completely unavailable, the other nodes will just pick up the load, with almost no downtime. In fact, the process of switching between locations is used for maintenance procedures, enabling your instance to be well-protected against hardware and other failures.

  • When you visit your instance, you are directed through several layers:
  • By looking up the DNS records, you are directed to the currently active datacenter
  • The load balancer, by reading a cookie, directs you to the application server you have your session with
  • If you aren’t logged in, you get directed to the least-busy application server
  • Your application server then uses the database currently determined as active

Knowing The Nodes

From an architecture perspective, a ServiceNow instance is made up of several application and database servers or nodes. These are generally running on shared hardware, meaning that although your instance is logically separate and independent, it is physically hosted alongside another customer. At each location, there are generally at least two application nodes, each running a copy of the ServiceNow platform, which works together to share a load. Additionally, there may be worker nodes installed to process the non-interactive jobs, such as event processing. Even though you’ll never directly log in to these worker nodes, they perform some background processing, allowing the interactive application servers to respond more quickly to user requests. For example, a worker instance might send out e-mails or deal with integrations. While there are generally lots of application nodes, there is only one active database server, running on a separate physical server. It does have a redundant pair hosted in the remote data center.

Exploring The Database

Once you logged into an instance we can see database records.

Exploring The Database in ServiceNow
You may not realize it, but the homepage, the reports, and the menus to the left are all database records:

Almost everything in ServiceNow is an entry in a database. When you look at the user interface, virtually everything you see—from the data typed in by a user, to log files, to how the views are structured—is stored in the instance’s relational database. Even the scripts you write are kept in a string field in a record, and the files you upload are stored in chunks in the database.

Everything is built on the top of this structure. You don’t need to reboot the server to apply new functionality; you are just updating data records. You don’t need to reload configuration files—any properties you set will be read on the next operation. Even the database metadata, information about the fields themselves, is stored in another table.

This gives you extraordinary control and ability. You can organize, search, and manage the data in an unprecedented manner. You can find scripts the same way you find users, by searching tables. You can control and secure any data, regardless of what it is, by using Access Control Rules. This means you can focus on designing and building great business applications since the platform works in a consistent manner.

ServiceNow may be considered a high-level platform that is based on the concept of Model-View-Controller. When building a ServiceNow application, you can first think of the data structure. You determine what information you need to store and how it all links together, creating tables and fields. This is the model aspect.

Automatically, you get a simple view on this data, with forms and lists showing your information.

And you can build simple ways to manipulate and change the data, through automation and simple manual updates. This is the controller aspect.

ServiceNow certification

Servicenow is considered as one of the leading ITSM tools available today, it helps businesses to manage and maintain IT infrastructure, which is an important criteria for today’s leading enterprises. Hence, acquiring a servicenow certification for IT professionals is a crucial task.

Benefits of getting certified:

  • Companies look for proven professionals, as they are most likely to witness smoother deployments along with effective usage of servicenow, with them.
  • Certified professionals see an instant career growth and contribute to the organization’s success. 
  • Pursuing Servicenow certification gives you competitive differentiation, industry recognition, increased user community satisfaction, greater productivity and results.  

There are 4 certifications available for partners and customers using servicenow products, they are:

  • Certified Systems Administrator (CSA)
  • Certified Implementation Specialist (CIS)
  • Certified Application Specialist (CAS)
  • Certified Application Developer (CAD)

Before registering for any of the above exams, you need to complete a course on servicenow to have a better understanding on basic and advanced concepts. 

Which certification path is right for you?

Implementer Path

Implementer path teaches you to deploy servicenow products quickly and successfully into customer environments, whether you are a beginner launching your career or a seasoned professional looking to deepen your expertise and make a difference in the crowd.

Developer path

To become an application developer, you will become proficient in creating applications by designing application tables, controlling access, creating and implementing forms and integrating workflows into applications. You will specialize in a product and learn to take full advantage of the Now Platform.

Administrators

This path will enable you to manage and maintain the platform, and helps you to discover important elements of managing.

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About Author

Saikumar Talari

Saikumar Talari is a Technology Enthusiast and has passion towards writing content for various technologies in IT.


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