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Approvals workflow


Applies to: Nerdio Manager for MSP (NMM) v3.4.0+


Overview

NMM provides MSPs with a workflow-based approval system to control which tasks are run. As the name suggests, MSPs can setup rules for tasks to be approved before they are run by the system. Tasks are actions you take in Nerdio Manager, actions such as adding a server, resizing a server, or changing a host pool's autoscale property. NMM allows MSPs to set certain users as Submitters and others as Approvers. When a Submitter runs a task, the task will not run immediately. Approvers will receive an in-app notification and an email notification to review such tasks. The task will be executed only after an Approver approves the task. Global images, Desktop images, Network, etc.

How does this work?

All available tasks in NMM are categorized as follows:

  • Destructive – example: delete VM, delete user, delete host, delete desktop image, delete host pool, stop global image, remove global image, delete NAT Gateway, delete group, delete scripted actions, etc.
  • Cost impacting – change VM size, add a new disk to server, activate /deactivate hosts, restart hosts, power-off host, create host pool, add desktop image from gallery, resize desktop image, clone desktop image, clone host pool, start global image, clone global image, create groups, create scripted actions, link/unlink resource group, etc.
  • User impacting – restart VM, log off user, power off and set as image, log off users, send message to host, run scripted actions etc.
  • Setting change - update Hostpool properties, update AD settings, update FSLogix settings, add/update Global FSLogix settings, update host properties, create NSG, create peering, edit VPN connection, edit NSG rules, actions on the Policy and Devices screens etc.

In addition to the above in-built categories, NMM allows MSPs to create custom task categories. Refer Manage Task categories section for details.

NMM allows MSPs to configure approval rules for selected tasks and user roles. Refer Manage Approval Rules section for details.

When a task that matches an approval rule is triggered by a user who is a Submitter, the task goes into a “Waiting for approval” status and an email notification is sent to Approvers. Once approved, the task continues as usual. If a task is denied, it is marked as DENIED in the Logs. Admins can run a change management report that captures all the changes that have happened in a certain date range, certain task types, certain users, etc.

Manage Task categories

To manage task categories, from the main menu, navigate to Workflows > Task Categories:

Task_category_new.PNG

On this page, you can search, view, edit, clone or remove existing task categories. Scroll down and click "Add" button to create a new task category. On the "Add task category" pop-up, provide the following details and click "OK" button:

      • Name: Enter a suitable name for the task category
      • Description: Enter a short description for the task category
      • Level: Select from drop-down (whether tasks are tasks that run in a customer account or at the MSP level)
      • Task: Select tasks from drop-down

Add_task_category.PNG

To manage task categories, select a task category say "Customer A serious tasks" and expand the action menu:

Task_category_more_options.PNG

Edit task category

Click "Edit " on the action menu to edit an existing task category. On the "Edit task category" pop-up, update required fields and click "OK" button:

      • Name: Update name of the task category
      • Description: Update description of the task category
      • Level: Update MSP/Account level
      • Task: Change tasks included in the category from drop-down

Edit_task_category.PNG

Create a copy of a task category

Click "Create copy" on the action menu to copy an existing task category. On the "Copy task category" pop-up, provide the following details and click "OK" button:

      • Name: Update the name of the task category
      • Description: Update the description of the task category
      • Level: Update MSP/Account level
      • Task: Tasks from the original category are auto populated. Add/remove them as required

Copy_task_Cat.PNG

Remove a task category

Click "Remove" on the action menu to delete an existing task category. On the confirmation pop-up, click "Confirm" button:

Remove_task_category.PNG

View category tasks

Scroll down to "Category tasks" section where you can view list of tasks:Category_tasks.PNG

You can search tasks by task name, username or by their status.

Manage Approval Rules

To manage approval rules, from the main menu, navigate to Workflows > Approval rules:

Approval_rules.PNG

Click "Add" button to add a new approval rule. On the "Add approval rule" pop-up, provide the following details and click "OK" button:

      • Name: Enter a suitable name for the approval rule
      • Description: Enter suitable description
      • Level: Select from drop-down (MSP/account-level)
      • Task categories: Select from drop-down
      • Submitters: Select from drop-down
      • Approvers: Select from drop-down

Add_approval_rule.PNG

To manage approval rules, select an approval rule say "AmolTest-AccountLevel" and expand the action menu:

Approval_rules_options.PNG

You can perform the following actions on existing approval rules:

Edit approval rule

Click "Edit" to update an existing approval rule. On the "Edit approval rule" pop-up, update one or more fields and click "OK" button:

      • Name: Enter new name
      • Description: Enter new description
      • Level: Select from drop-down (MSP/account-level)
      • Task categories: Select from drop-down
      • Submitters: Select from drop-down
      • Approvers: Select from drop-down
      • Accounts: Select from drop-down

Edit_approval_rule.PNG

Disable approval rule

Click "Disable" to disbale an existing approval rule. On the confirmation pop-up, click "Confirm" button:

Disable_appr_rule.PNG

Remove approval rule

Click "Remove" to delete an existing approval rule. On the confirmation pop-up, click "Confirm" button:

Remove_approval_rule.PNG

View approval rule tasks

Scroll down to view details of all approval tasks under "Approval Rule tasks" section:

App_rule_tasks.PNG

You can search tasks by task name, user name or by their status.

Approvals workflow in action

To understand approvals workflow, let us consider an example. On the Workflows > Task Categories screen, we have added a task category called "Cost impacting" with tasks "start global image", "add global image" and "add global image from VHD" under it:

mceclip4.png

On the Workflows >Approval rules screen, we have configured an approval rule "AmolTest-AccountLevel" which is applicable to task categories = "Cost impacting" and "All accounts", Submitters are users with the role Account Admin and which can be approved/denied by a user with "Super Admin" role:

mceclip5.png

Suppose a user submits a task say "Start global image" by clicking "Power on" button on global image "GlobalImg2":global_img1.png

And on the confirmation pop-up, user makes these selections:

mceclip0.png

 

Since approval rules are set on this task, it will not be executed immediately after submission. You will find that the "Start global image" task is in WAITING FOR APPROVAL state in the tasks section:

Global_img_wait_for_approval_-_Copy.PNG

 

If you are a Super admin, you will get a notification to review the task i.e you will find a "Review" option on the task. When you click "Review" button, a "Diff" pop-up will open up. You can either click "Approve" or "Deny" button on the task after stating a reason in the textbox as shown below:

mceclip0.png

Once you approve, the task begins execution (IN PROGRESS state):

mceclip1.png

 

Click "Diff" to view the difference between old and new values:

mceclip2.png

In case you deny a task (Add global image), the status will be indicated as DENIED:

Deny_task.PNG

Again click "Diff" to view the difference between old and new values:

mceclip3.png

Note: The tasks which do not have any approval rules configured on them work as usual and don't need any approvals.

Notifications

Submitter will receive an in-app notification for any tasks submitted by them:

mceclip5.png

The submitter will also receive an in-app notification when the task is approved/denied by the reviewer:

mceclip6.png

The submitter will also receive an email notification when the task is approved/denied by the reviewer:

mceclip8.png

Also, the submitter will receive an in-app notification in the following two scenarios:

  • If the submitter submits a task and then logs out of an account, they will still receive an in-app notification the next time they log into NMM.
  • If the submitter submits a task and then logs into another account or is at MSP level, they will still receive an in-app notification.

 

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