What is ServiceNow Cloud Discovery?

July 13, 2023
Justin Lumiere

servicenow cloud discovery

ServiceNow discovery conducts an internal network or cloud infrastructure scan in order to detect devices and the applications running on them, then compiles this data in the Configuration Management Database (CMDB) through their serviceNow Discovery application.

This process requires a Management, Instrumentation and Discovery Server (MID Server) running on your network, to allow discovery software to update your CMDB while discovering new resources.

CMDB Updates

For your CMDB to be effective, it must contain accurate and up-to-date data. Therefore, regular scans of your IT environment are necessary in order to detect new or changed assets.

With this information at hand, your team can conduct root-cause analysis faster and address issues quicker, leading to cost savings, reduced downtime, and enhanced compliance. Furthermore, ITAM processes like procurement can use usage data gathered during analysis for purchasing decisions.

To keep your CMDB current, it is imperative that a process exists that automatically populates it with the latest information. Hyperview's CMDB Sync solution offers automated and reliable sync between ServiceNow CMDBs, so all necessary data will always be accessible - this also reduces manual data entry errors while making sure your database contains only accurate details.

Identifying Problems

Identification can be challenging with discovery, but understanding its process is essential. Discovery comprises four steps: Port Scanning, Classification, Identification and Exploration. Each process depends on another to function successfully so if one step fails it often signifies failure of completion of other processes in this cycle.

To quickly and efficiently identify problems, examine the error codes displayed in the Schedules module of Cloud Operations Workspace. Select an Error Code tile related to a Discovery run you wish to examine, and view its errors.

Cloud Discovery requires valid credentials to access external systems like the Management, Instrumentation and Discovery Server (MID Server). If it is currently inactive, use the Guided Setup feature of the MID Server to activate it - this ensures it can communicate with both your internal systems as well as those outside via IP networks. You can also test whether it can access datacenters you wish to discover by running its Test connection feature.

Identifying Potential Issues

ServiceNow discovery is an automatic collection and inventorying tool for IT infrastructure, using information gathered through Discovery to store this data in the Configuration Management Database (CMDB). Using this data, IT staff can build relationships between various infrastructure components within the system known as Configuration Items or CIs that comprise it.

ServiceNow provides several tools to assist with troubleshooting issues related to discovery. One such tool is Discovery Normals, a set of rules and guidelines which defines how Discovery should collect and process CMDB data.

Discovery error log provides information on errors that occurred during discovery runs. Accessible via Cloud Operations Workspace > Schedules module, you can see errors for all or individual discovery runs or view them by category. If an error code keeps occurring repeatedly during your discovery runs, an on-demand pattern debug can help reveal its stack trace and see where its sources lie.

Identifying New Resources

Cloud discovery not only allows IT departments to identify devices within an organization's cloud infrastructure, but it can also identify resources within it. By collecting information about each account and subaccount as well as their logical datacenters and any subaccounts associated with each logical datacenter associated with each account and subaccounts associated with them, cloud discovery enables an organization to understand both its value and who supports its operation.

Discovery scans networks for devices and records them in the Configuration Management Database (CMDB), including ServiceNow. CMDB data then feeds back into other products and applications in ServiceNow, including IT Service Management, IT Support Operations, Hardware Asset Management Software Asset Management Governance Risk Compliance.

Discovery can be deployed as either an agentless or agent-based solution. An agentless solution doesn't require installing an agent and runs in either web browsers or using Group Managed Service Accounts (gMSAs). A web browser solution tends to be less costly to deploy and more flexible; additionally it may use external credential repositories instead of storing credentials in instances.

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