TEKnically Speaking – Automation, Part 1
When discussing automation in the data center, you can expect to hear any number of mixed responses. Some have “been there, done that” with a modicum of success. Others have automated every piece of their workflow, down to the last detail. More often than not, however, IT professionals are exploring their options, and attempting to streamline the process of deploying hardware into a legacy data center world.
In our new cloud era—whether public, private, or hybrid— automation is a key factor in staying competitive for IT experts and the businesses they serve. Automation ensures that resources are available in a timely manner and delivered with a level of consistency found in all of the hyperscalers. Regardless of where you are in the automation journey, we can all agree that everyone is being asked to do more with less, and to do it faster than ever.
From deploying servers in hours instead of weeks, operating systems & applications in minutes instead of days, and responding to incidents/events in seconds instead of hours, automation helps close that gap so datacenter teams can rival or even exceed levels of their public cloud colleagues. That said, where do you begin? What tools do you use (if any), and how do you learn to master those tools when you’re buried in decades of technical debt?
Think about what makes the public cloud so consumable and appealing to application developers creating for the modern digital world: The ability to self-provision systems on demand instead of it taking hours or sometimes days of requests and IT effort like it did in the past. The intentions were good, but the processes encompassing these efforts are cumbersome and hindering progress. By using data center automation in a similar fashion, the traditional IT data center can become the same quick, easy and consumable resource pool that the modern workforce expects. For example, using data center automation can immediately enable a self-service catalog already loaded with pre-qualified, patched, and corporate approved images, whether they be full virtual machines or containers.
Still pondering the earlier questions about where to start and what tools you need? These questions aren’t easy to answer, but they must be addressed and faced head on. Step back and assess pieces of your environment that either cause you the most headache or impact your internal customers in a negative fashion. Now think about how automation might help solve those problems and put your organization on a path to a more secure future.