Bare Metal As a Service

Bare Metal As a Service

Physical Servers’ Deployment - Bare Metal as a Service

ServiceNow is a very capable platform if you use its full potential – and that’ s exactly what we do at ConWare. We offer both cloud and on-premise solutions – as in the case of bare metal servers. One of ConWare’s major customers (service provider) asked us for help regarding the automated physical server deployment.

The customer has server rooms across Europe that should be equally utilized - usually, 2 per country. The company was struggling with delivery times of ordered physical servers that are compliant with company standards and ready to use.

ConWare’s task was to enable customers to order physical server capacity with a specific Operating System and all the tooling (monitoring, backups, antivirus, invoicing, etc.) in place. All this without the need for manual interaction to maximize quality and minimize costs.

Before we Stepped in: A Lengthy and Costly Process

In general, the provisioning of a physical server with all the tooling and handover to continuous services was taking a lot of time. Specialists from various teams were needed to do their part of the process by using manual or semi-automated techniques.
All of this generated unnecessary costs and prolonged the Physical Server delivery.

The situation was as follows:

  • Servers were ordered by portal and by excels
    • sometimes filled correctly, sometimes not
  • The whole process was semi-automated
    • The customer was able to automate some of the tasks/services (OS deployment, monitoring etc.)
    • Some of the steps were not automated at all
    • It was not clear which step was already automated and what is the status
    • Manual work was needed
  • Deployment tasks/tickets were bouncing between the teams because of various reasons
    • Previous step was not correctly implemented
      • in this process, the exact order of steps is essential
    • Missing information for the next step to be implemented
    • Server automation was not working correctly due to the wrong setup
    • From time to time, there was a lack of ownership
  • Servers were not correctly distributed over the datacenters.

Requirements of the Customer

Our task was to review, automate, and orchestrate physical servers’ deployment and decommission processes.


Experts at ConWare had to ensure that everything was in place (tooling such as antivirus, monitoring, invoicing, asset management etc.) with a standardized setup.

  • Changing ordering to portal-based ordering
    • The form used for ordering should be minimalistic as possible
  • Automate and integrate, and all the manual work
  • Connect all the pieces together to have a fully orchestrated/automated solution.

The deployment process had the following steps:

  1. Reserve Ip Addresses
    • IPAM should be used to reserve / free up IP addresses
  2. Update & Create Configuration Items (CI)
    • Mark HW server CI as used for capacity
    • Create an Operating system CI
      • Correctly set and billable
    • Setup invoicing by referencing correct records
  3. Setup HW Server
    • connect needed VLANs
    • configure SAN interfaces, etc.
  4. Install & Configure Operating System (OS)
    • Linux and Microsoft operating systems
    • Network cards config (Teaming, IP addresses)
      • The server is connected to the correct VLAN (They have VLANs per Customer)
    • Install and setup server automation tool to enable automated SW delivery
    • Install hotfixes if needed
  5. SAN Disks
    • Connected and initialized SAN disks to be ready for use and billable
  6. Install & Configure Antivirus
    • Check that Antivirus is working
  7. Install & Configure Monitoring
    • Install needed plugins (SQL monitoring etc.)
    • Enable monitoring to send alarms to ServiceNow’s Event Management
      • Collection of data from monitoring so that supporting teams get the necessary alerts when something goes wrong.
    • Perform Quality Check
  8. Install & Configure Backups
    • Perform 1st full backup as a test
  9. Execute ServiceNow’s Discovery
    • Use ServiceNow’s discovery to populate missing data to OS CI
  10. Handover to continuous services
    • Perform quality checks
      • HW and OS setup is as requested
      • Supporting teams can login with service account
      • The server is correctly set according to company standards
      • Tooling works as should
        • Backup test
        • Monitoring test
        • Alerting test
        • Antivirus test
    • Change Configuration Item to In Service -> server is ready for customer


Decommission is the exact opposite of the deployment process and the main target was to free up resources (Physical Server HW, Licenses, SAN disks, etc.) as fast as possible so that they can be reused for the following order.


There were many challenges, such as:

  • communication with multiple teams over the globe
  • understanding the company processes
  • understanding technical solutions they had for each step
  • reviewing and discussing automation possibilities and improvements
  • integrating the whole solution
  • parallelizing some of the tasks where possible to speed up the whole process

Situation After: How ConWare Helped

By using a simple, intuitive catalogue item, the user was able to order a physical server that was ready in production within 1-1,5 hours instead of having to wait a day or more and decommissioning it in 30 minutes.

Access to this catalogue item was by a specific role as just a limited number of persons can order a server for a specific company.

Manual work was required only in case something failed.

Enabled manual re-execution of tasks where possible (in case some step failed due to network connection, load etc.). This enabled on-demand automation for mentioned steps in case of failure.

Challenges help us explore ServiceNow possibilities

Yes, it was quite a ride, but in general, this project showed all of us at ConWare how capable the ServiceNow platform is.

We have learned a lot of tools during implementation. But the main lesson learned is that if we really want to achieve something, we will find a viable way to do it no matter the challenges we face.

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Senior ServiceNow Consultant