Understanding Service Mapping

Service Mapping discovers all business services in your organization and builds a comprehensive map of all devices, applications, and configuration profiles used in these business services.

Who uses Service Mapping?

Service Mapping allows IT departments of companies, organizations, and cloud companies providing platform as a service to create a service-aware view of infrastructure.

How do you use Service Mapping?

A business service is a set of interconnected applications and hosts which are configured to offer a service to the organization. Business service can be internal, like organization email system or customer-facing, like an organization web site. For example, creating financial reports through a web-based application requires a computer, web server, application server, databases, middleware, and network infrastructure. These applications and hosts are all configured to offer the service of financial reporting.

Typically, IT departments create and maintain an inventory that treats devices and applications as standalone, independent objects. Connections between the devices and applications are not included. This is usually referred to as horizontal discovery. This method does not address the biggest challenge for IT departments, which is understanding the connection and dependencies between each object.

Service Mapping maps dependencies, based on a connection between devices and applications. This method is referred to as top-down mapping. The top-down mapping helps you immediately see the impact of a problematic object on the rest of the business service operation.

Figure 1. Comparison of horizontal and top-down mapping results


Business service maps show infrastructure objects and semantic connections between them. Service Mapping regenerates business service maps regularly, to keep them updated and relevant. Any faulty objects are shown along with the devices and applications they affect, providing a visual clue of the state of the business service.

How does Service Mapping work?

The main method of Service Mapping discovering and mapping devices and applications is using patterns. A pattern is a sequence of operations whose purpose is to detect attributes of devices and applications and their outbound connections. Service Mapping can also discover devices and applications by following traffic connections between them. This method is referred to as traffic-based discovery.

What to know before you begin?

You can use Service Mapping only if the Discovery product is activated and set up.

You must define users and configure credentials to allow Service Mapping and Discovery access to applications and devices inside your organization network. For more information, see Service Mapping setup.

Service Mapping on the ServiceNow platform

Service Mapping relies on Discovery and the MID Server to discover devices and applications. Service Mapping uses results of horizontal discovery performed by Discovery. While the MID Server facilitates communication between Service Mapping and devices and applications it discovers.

Data collected and organized by Service Mapping is visible in Event Management,Dependency Views, and Application Portfolio Management (APM). With Event Management, you can view events to take actions for recovering your organization business services.Dependency Views shows relationships between devices and applications in the context of business services they belong to. When integrated with APM, Service Mapping provides information about components making up a business application and helps APM users to monitor business application performance.

Service Mapping supports domain separation. If your ServiceNow platform uses domain separation, administrators and users can only see and manage business services belonging to their own domain.