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Gartner defines IT Service Management (ITSM) platforms as “software that offers workflow management that enables organizations to design, automate, plan, manage, report on, and deliver integrated IT services and related digital experiences.” It's not surprising that many companies turn to ITSM solutions to improve their productivity and manage their IT assets at scale. Popular software vendors in the ITSM space include ServiceNow, BMC, Ivanti, SolarWinds, and Atlassian, to name a few.

In this article, we explore how Red Hat Insights findings can feed into an ITSM solution through its out-of-the-box integration. We focus and demonstrate the configuration steps required to integrate with Jira Software from Atlassian. Although some specific configuration is required on Jira Software to handle Insights event payloads, a similar approach can be replicated for other ITSM solutions, providing they offer similar integration capabilities.

ITSM, AIOps, and Red Hat Insights

The primary objective of ITSM is to provide deployment, operation, and management of all IT resources across the enterprise. This includes hardware, software or computing assets like cloud storage solutions or virtualization. ITSM often introduces best practices and automation processes in the organization. A common example is a user experiencing a problem with a computer and reporting the issue to a service desk. ITSM analyzes the query and determines the appropriate workflow to fulfill the request. Most organizations model their own workflows according to the enterprise needs, and continually monitor requests for end user experience improvement. Recent advances in artificial intelligence for IT operations (AIOps) extend and improve ITSM tools by improving efficiency. AIOps can monitor the performance of systems and identify areas for improvement (security, scalability) or optimization (performance, reliability, cost). Findings can be acted upon manually when user input is required (approvals, for example), or automated for accelerating and lowering the cost of IT processes.

While discussing Red Hat Insights use cases with users, we're often questioned about the possibility of integrating our findings and recommendations with ITSM solutions. Red Hat Insights continuously analyzes Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) systems to predict risk, to recommend actions, and to track costs. Red Hat Insights uses predictive analytics and deep domain expertise to reduce complex operational tasks. It proactively alerts administrators and stakeholders before an outage, security flaw, or overspending occurs, and helps admins stay ahead of critical operations issues. These observations, recommendations, and automated remediations from Red Hat Insights can complement and benefit your ITSM workflow and work in conjunction with other AIOps tools.

Jira Software from Atlassian

Atlassian is a software company that provides team collaboration software like Jira, Confluence, and Trello to help teams organize, discuss, and complete shared work. Jira is often used by software development teams as a tool to support agile methodologies. The platform offers many features such as customizable automation that can be used to create workflows and rules to model what an organization is after. It's also possible to extend the platform using integrations, and a marketplace listing over 3,000 apps, add-ons, and plugins. As a result, Jira Software is a good candidate for ITSM practices and can be used by DevOps teams to manage assets. Its Jira Service Management capabilities include features such as request, incident, problem, change, and configuration management.

While exploring available options for integration with Red Hat Insights, we turned our attention to its automation and webhook integration capability. Using incoming webhooks is a very common and generic way to integrate with third party applications. Jira automation exposes a trigger that reads incoming webhooks and provides parsing capabilities. The incoming HTTP POST JSON (JavaScript Object Notation) payload can be accessed using a {{webhookData}} smart values, and parsed to retrieve any child properties using the {{webhookData.someValue.childValue}} format.

The following section focuses on configuring Jira Software and exposing an incoming webhook trigger. This is the endpoint that Red Hat Insights makes use of to send its event notifications by sending a HTTP POST message with JSON data as a payload.

Configuring Jira automation for incoming webhook data

The approach of using an incoming webhook trigger for integrating with Jira is available in the on-premises and cloud instances offerings. For this exploration exercise, we take advantage of the free plan from Atlassian to access their software for up to 10 users with 2 GB storage included. Our instance is referred to as in the rest of the article.

We are interested in Jira automation as it provides incoming webhook capabilities. The configuration consists of exposing a trigger to listen for events in Jira. In turn, the trigger can kick off the execution of rules configured to create a new issue in Jira. A trigger with a global scope can be used across all Jira Cloud products. Atlassian provides documentation on Jira automation triggers with details on incoming webhooks.

The configuration of automation is done by navigating to Jira Settings > System from the gear icon at the top of the Jira interface. This opens a menu allowing you to manage your general configuration, global permissions, look and feel, and automation.

Under the Automation header, click the Global automation menu. This opens the list of all configured automation in your account, and is the location where you can configure and troubleshoot automation with its audit log and usage capabilities.

Global automation configuration in Jira Settings


Global automation configuration in Jira Settings

Click the Create rule button and start a new automation using the Rule builder. The first component you want is an Incoming webhook from the Add a trigger window (filter the selection using Integrations, as seen on the screenshot below).

Selecting Incoming webhook component in Jira’s Rule builder


Selecting Incoming webhook component in Jira’s Rule builder

By doing so, the first component of your rule becomes an Incoming webhook. The associated details window provides a description of its capabilities and configuration options. The Webhook URL (Uniform Resource Locator) is the endpoint that will be used by Red Hat Insights to post messages to. We must keep this URL on hand for later when configuring the endpoint in the Red Hat Hybrid Cloud Console (HCC). The URL should follow the following pattern where <unique id> is specific to your trigger: <unique id>

In the Execute this automation rule with section, select No issues from the webhook, because it's not expected that a Jira issue number is going to be passed in the message received from Red Hat Insights.

Incoming webhook configuration in Jira’s Rule builder


Incoming webhook configuration in Jira’s Rule builder

Next, add a new component to your rule by clicking the Add component button, and selecting THEN: Add an action.

Adding a New component in Jira’s Rule builder


Adding a New component in Jira’s Rule builder

Under the Jira Service Management header,  select the Create Incident action.

Selecting the Create Incident action in Jira’s Rule builder


Adding a New component in Jira’s Rule builder

In the associated details window, you configure what Jira is expecting to receive from Red Hat Insights as part of the HTTP POST data, and what actions to take.

Select your Service project for which you want an incident to be created. Select the type of incident (for example, Report a system problem). Select the owner of the request under Raise this request on behalf of. In this case, select Automation for Jira.

Create incident component in Jira’s Rule Builder


Create incident component in Jira’s Rule Builder

The next sections in the Create incident configuration allow you to supply a summary and description of the incident. This is where you can build a template to be used when retrieving data from the JSON payload sent by Red Hat Insights. Atlassian provides a Jira Knowledge Base article on Working with incoming webhook data in Automation for Jira with more information on parsing JSON payloads.

For this example, use the following syntax for the summary field:

[{{webhookData.context.display_name}}] {{webhookData.source.event_type.display_name}}

And the following syntax for the description field:

Bundle: {{webhookData.bundle}}
Application: {{webhookData.application}}
Event type: {{webhookData.event_type}}
Org id: {{webhookData.org_id}}
Hostname: {{webhookData.context.hostname}}
Inventory_id: {{webhookData.context.inventory_id}}

Raw JSON: {{webhookData}}

Once complete, you have a simple rule flow with a When: Incoming webhook and a Then: Create incident components as seen below.

Rule for creating an incident from an incoming webhook in Jira Software


Rule for creating an incident from an incoming webhook in Jira Software

Enable this rule by clicking the Turn on rule button. The configuration window offers to name the rule for you, and select who is able to edit the rule.

Once enabled, the rule exposes the endpoint URL and makes it available for incoming webhook messages. You can go back to Settings > Global automation at any time to look and modify your rules as well as to troubleshoot them using Audit log and Usage.

Send notifications with Red Hat Insights

Now that you have Jira configured to accept incoming webhooks, the next step is to configure Red Hat’s Hybrid Cloud Console (HCC) to send notification events from Red Hat Insights to the endpoint. In our next article, we'll show you how.

About the author

Jerome Marc is a Red Hat Sr. Principal Product Manager with over 15 years of international experience in the software industry spanning product management and product marketing, software lifecycle management, enterprise-level application design and delivery, and solution sales.

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