Cloud Automation Innovation of the Year
Pulseway, a world leader in providing IT management solutions, has recently released its brand-new Automation Engine that combines workflow auto-remediation technology with an intuitive, visual workflow editor. This drives a powerful and sophisticated workflow engine that allows users to define auto-remediation paths including unlimited triggers, external scripts and user-defined custom fields.
By allowing responses, however complex, to be defined for foreseeable issues, auto-remediation has benefits for both IT staff and end users. For the user, this minimizes disruption as issues are dealt with often before they notices, ultimately improving the service level they are getting from their IT department.
For the IT support team, it reduces the time they are reacting to situations and allows them to proactively work on delivering strategic initiatives that can improve the end user experience further. This move from reactive to proactive working improves the working life of the IT team by freeing up time and minimizing those stressful situations that can often occur when trying to fix problems.
While many solutions may allow one response to a trigger event, Pulseway allows you to set unlimited, nested triggers and paths for an array of alerts depending upon your needs. You can be as detailed as needed but the real strength is in being able to create different layers of actions to take if the first triggered response does not resolve the issue. In effect this can replicate the manual problem solving process by working through a list of possible solutions to the problem.
The Pulseway intuitive, visual workflow editor means it is simple for anyone to start building workflows with its selection of dropdown menus for triggers and possible actions. The potential complexity that is allowed in a workflow also means that the most experienced technician can define workflows to define advanced resolutions thus meaning their expertise can be spread across more customers than if they were resolving issues manually every time.
To show how the use of nested triggers can effectively replicate a manual problem solving exercise let’s take a fairly common issue - a high CPU usage notification for an app server. A typical response to this would be to restart the IIS service and delete the notification. Most workflow solutions would allow you to define this step in a trigger, but if that is not the cause, then the problem will reoccur. So in effect this isn’t resolving the problem, just delaying it.
With Pulseway workflows you could go on to define additional steps, e.g. you could define another trigger that will fire if the first step has executed but the high CPU usage notification has recurred within an hour (so likely to still be the original problem), that will try to kill the top running process and delete the notification. It is possible to define a further step that should the original notification appear again within the hour, you can run a script that will instruct the load balancers to divert traffic to a failover node and then send an email to an escalation distribution list that the node is malfunctioning.
Pulseway automation workflows support 15 standard triggers out of the box and these include common events such as low disk space, high CPU usage, ping error, service stopped and user logged in. When any of these are selected in the editor, the user is then presented with a list of 16 actions including the ability to define conditions, as well as standard actions such as starting and stopping services and running a task.
To supplement the already powerful functionality of the workflow engine, you can define the running of external scripts as a trigger action to extend beyond the values within Pulseway. Additionally you can define custom fields and use the output from these scripts to populate the custom fields giving further control. Other actions include being able to run a pre-existing patch policy and sending a personalised email using values from within the workflow. Pulseway workflow automation is a powerful tool that can help stretched IT departments and MSPs trying to maintain services against a backdrop of reduced budgets, the disruption caused by the sudden surge in remote working and potential staff shortages. The inclusion of custom fields, external scripts and unlimited nesting effectively allows a user to customize their RMM solution to fully support their unique environments and operational circumstances.
Technicians can view workflow execution history from anywhere on their mobile device using Pulseway’s mobile app and can even run automation tasks. If auto-remediation does not solve a specific problem, they can use their mobile device to resolve the issue wherever they are, whenever it happens. Any actions they take to solve this can be documented and added to a new workflow in the future to prevent it happening again.