Service Manager Product Overview

Service Manager (SM) enables the automation of IT Service Management processes with its extensible and customizable platform.  At a high level, SM can be divided into three major layers.  The picture below shows a conceptual view of the product.


1. User Experience Layer:  Users can interact with Service Manager in two ways:

  1. Self-service Portal:  Targeted to end users, the self-service portal allows users to search the knowledge base, submit requests, and view the status of their requests.  The portal is based on ASP.NET.
  2. Service Manager Console: Targeted to administrators and analysts, the Service Manager console resembles the other System Center products. Administrators use the Service Manager console to manage and configure Service Manager according to the organizational needs. Analysts use the Service Manager console to manage the day to day operational functions such as opening/resolving incidents, change requests and problems.

2. Solution Layer:  The middle layer forms the ITIL/MOF process automation layer that can be customized according to organizational needs. Processes supported by Service Manager out of the box include Incident Management, Problem Management, Change Management, and Configuration Management. The forms, automation workflows, reports, console views, and other console extensions necessary to support a process are packaged into management packs which can be imported into the product to extend and customize functionality. We’ll talk more about these in upcoming blog posts.

3. Platform Layer:  The platform layer is the engine behind Service Manager. Highlighted below are significant components of the platform layer:

  • Management Server: The Management Server hosts several platform components:
    • Connector Framework: The management server hosts connectors to System Center products and Active Directory to import configuration items such as computers, users, software, software updates, and other service components.
    • Workflow Engine: Service Manager uses Windows Workflow Foundation to automate business processes.
    • Self-service Portal Website: An ASP.NET website which end users access as described above.
    • Web Service API: An API layer built on Windows Communication Foundation which is accessed via a client-side assembly library. This is the main interface for programmatic interaction with Service Manager.
  • Configuration Management Database (CMDB): A database that is the foundation of any SM installation. In addition to configuration items, the CMDB store also contains work items such as incidents or change requests. The store has many features such as automated reconciliation, change tracking, and a rich relationship model between configuration items and work items.
  • Data Warehouse and Reporting: The data warehouse provides long term data storage for reporting purposes. The data is stored in a way that is optimized for reporting performance. The reporting infrastructure leverage SQL Server Reporting Services, but the reports are accessible directly from within the Service Manager console.

We’ll also provide a series of blog posts on the technical details of each of the platform components and the overall architecture.