Vision blog

Workflow management in OnApp clouds – how to set up transaction approvals

Neal Hansen

Neal Hansen
Senior Cloud Architect

Workflow management and approvals are an essential feature for enterprise private clouds, as well as for virtual private clouds hosted by MSPs.

OnApp provides integrated tools for workflow management, enabling you to require approvals for a range of user actions (“transactions”) in an OnApp cloud. Whenever users make requests that impact resource utilization, cost, or the availability of a virtual server or application, you can require approval for those requests – so that, for example, an IT manager has to approve virtual machine creation or destruction, or a request to add CPU, RAM or storage resources to a virtual machine.

OnApp includes this workflow management capability as a seamless part of the OnApp cloud management platform. Workflow management and approvals are customizable per user role and/or department, and integrated with OnApp’s built-in notifications system.

Combined with OnApp’s detailed logging and change tracking capabilities, this offers a powerful way to deliver a self-service, public cloud-like experience in the enterprise datacenter, but within constraints set by your IT department and/or business management.

How to set up workflow management with transaction approvals

Like everything in OnApp, workflow management is easy to set up through the OnApp UI. Here’s a quick guide.

1. Make sure Notifications are enabled for your cloud

While OnApp’s notifications system is not a prerequisite for workflow management, you’ll want to enable it to allow OnApp to notify approvers, by email, about transactions waiting for their approval. You’ll find instructions for setting up notifications at https://docs.onapp.com/display/55AG/Notifications+Setup

2. Enable Transaction Approvals for your cloud

To enable Transaction Approvals you just need to go to the Settings option on the left-hand menu. From there go to Configuration, and select the Infrastructure tab. Under the ‘Background Processes’ section, turn on the ‘Transaction approvals’ option, then click Save Configuration.

 

3. Edit permissions for approvers

The next step is to set up permissions for the roles you want to have as transaction approvers. To do this, go to Roles, select a specific approver role, click Edit, and set the permission ‘Approvals > Any Action’ to Yes.

Save that settings, and once the OnApp daemon finishes restarting, you can move on to setting up user roles to require approvals.

N.B. by default, the Administrator role can approve everything.

4. Edit permissions for users

Next, you need to modify permissions for the user role(s) that need to have their actions approved in your cloud.

Go to Roles, select a role, click edit, then click Set Approvals. On the screen that follows you’ll see a list of transactions for which you can enable approvals:

AttachDisk
BuildDisk
ComposevApp
CreateDataStore
CreateResourcePool
DestroyDataStore
DestroyDisk
DeletevApp
DestroyResourcePool
DestroyVirtualServer
DetachDisk
ProvisionvApp
RecomposevApp
ResizeDisk
ResizeVirtualServer
ResizeVSWithoutReboot
ScheduleBuildVdc
ScheduleBuildVirtualServer
UpdateDataStore
UpdateResourcePool

By setting a transaction to Yes, that user role will require approval before their requested transactions are run. N.B. if a user has the ability to approve a transaction as well, then their transactions will automatically be approved.

 

Using transaction approvals for workflow management

Once you’ve completed these steps, you’ll be able to start approving transactions in your cloud.  As a user, you just continue using OnApp as normal – but any transactions that require approval will be marked as pending in the activity log:

For approvers, approving or declining a transaction is easy, and can be done from anywhere in the UI where the activity log is shown.

Click a transaction in the log, and right above the detailed log output there will be Approve and Decline buttons. Once you click Approve, the transaction will be immediately scheduled. The individual that approved/declined the transaction will be recorded and displayed on the transaction detail page along with the changes that result from the transaction:

If a transaction is declined, it will show as declined in the activity log:

All transaction approvals are also available from the new Approvals screen, which you’ll find under Tools on the left-hand menu of the OnApp UI.

That’s it! If you need help setting up approvals for your cloud, just contact support.

For more information about Transaction Approvals and other new features in OnApp – and to request a demo – visit https://onapp.com/v55. Thanks!