How Avant Uses JIRA for Inventory Tracking

Great Minds Think Alike?

The recent blog post over at Atlassian about how they use JIRA for asset tracking has prompted us to talk about how Avant does the very same thing. The asset tracking use case does a great job showcasing how effectively and easily mapping real-world processes can be done in JIRA.

When building out the asset tracking project we wanted to address the following core requirements:

  • Track all roles for both physical and virtual systems
  • Current status and user assignments
  • Integration with existing support processes
  • High level dashboard view

Here at Avant we have a number of different sources for information on assets, but no solid way of tying it all together. This is where JIRA comes in. With the flexible dashboards, and easy workflow creation we now have a rock solid process for keeping track of all our assets with the critical metadata missing from all the other sources. Having an all-in-one dashboard that helps administrators know and understand the roles, critical URLs and production status is absolutely awesome.

The Nuts and Bolts Of Our JIRA Inventory

Agile Boards For Inventory

Our homegrown inventory tracking makes use of custom issue types for the type of asset (Virtual Machine, Desktop, etc). What we wanted was a simple view that captures the current state of all items currently being tracked. This is where the Agile board comes in to play.

We use a Kanban board and a simplified workflow to keep track of the current status of assets.

av_inv_agileboard

JQL queries are used to neatly categorize similar assets into swimlanes. Once items have been decommissioned, they will drop off the board after an arbitrary amount of time (we like two weeks).

The Inventory agile board provides a one-stop-shop to view the current status of all assets being tracked.

The Unified Inventory Dashboard

av_inv_dashboard_thumb

Knowing the status of particular assets is great, but what about all the other important data admins and users might need to know? That is why we built a dashboard that captures the following important information:

  • Your own hardware
  • Pie charts showing overall breakdowns by platform, type and status
  • Critical remote management URIs
  • Who is assigned what desktop/mobile devices
  • What role does the device fulfill

For example, you can quickly see what roles the various bits of virtual infrastructure play with this handy set of filter results:

av_inv_vms

Future Horizons

One area we will be looking to improve upon in the future is automation. Being able to have information collected from various systems that capture configuration and host info will be critical for streamlining the process, as it is currently 100% manual. Having a shop that has mixed Solaris, Linux and Windows means pulling from lots of different datasets, such as Active Directory, Puppet and LDAP. The great thing about JIRA is how easy it is to build the ‘glue’ to make all this happen with the REST API.

 

Keep an eye on this page for future updates on our “JIRA Inventory Tracking” adventure!

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