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The difference between Opalis and Service Manager

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One of the most common questions I get is to help people understand the difference between Opalis and Service Manager.  There is a misconception that they do the same thing.  They don’t.

Whilst there are some things that you could do in both solutions, the reality is that they are complimentary.

Here’s how I define the differences.  In a given IT process:

Opalis knows what was done and how it was done.  Service Manager knows why it was done and who wanted it done.

There is no human element to the execution of an Opalis IT Process workflow. It is instructed to do something, and it does it when the appropriate time comes. 

If you follow ITIL or MOF or any other process orientated methodology, there should always be (for lack of better terms) a requestor of something, and approver for that something, and one or more executors to deliver that something.

Typically, Service Manager would log that someone requested something, track the approval and associated change requests and then hand off to Opalis to execute the delivery of that something.

This is true also when Opalis is used to replace scripts and do heavy system level automation – you are still doing this for a reason (i.e. the ‘why’) on behalf of someone (the ‘who’).  So a step towards IT Process maturity would be to lodge this automation in Service Manager as part of the documentation process.

I am building up a slide that will help with this, of which my current draft is below.  This is a work-in-progress but I wanted to include it anyway – I welcome any thoughts, questions and feedback!

Maturity through IT Process Automation

As you can see, we start with very system level automation, taking away custom scripts (which are typically written by someone who then leaves without documenting what it does), progressing into more business level automation and then onto what I would term service level automation.

Going back to the original question, differentiating between Opalis and Service Manager, I hope this helps you understand the differences!

Comments
  • More and more Opalis System Center integration packs are created, and before the end of the year (Christmas) they are going to be released including the new integration server, compatible (more or less) with windows 2008 and 64 bit.

    But my biggest question or concern atm is how about all the thirt party integration packs. I couldn't find anything about them, are they still in development, are the upgraded when needed ???

  • Hi Bart, the 3rd party integration packs are in the downloads on www.microsoft.com/.../opalis.aspx.  there are currently about 30 packs available, and we also have the QIK for other systems that there is not an IP for.  Adam

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