Appreciating the Nuances of IT Automation

Michael Vizard

Thanks to the rise of open source alternatives, we’re starting to see a lot more adoption of IT automation in the data center. But as promising a development as that is, the providers of commercial IT automation offerings say the complexity of managing virtual machines across multiple data centers will soon push IT organizations to look for more sophisticated approaches to automating IT operations.

Colin Beasty, product marketing manager for Advanced Systems Concepts, a provider of an IT automation management platform, says the core issue is that the number of applications and virtual machines that need to be managed is starting to scale beyond anything that IT personnel can cope with using manual processes and custom script.

A primary driver of all this activity, says Beasty, is a desire to eventually “rightsize” the data center by only having enough IT capacity on hand to handle average workloads. That eliminates the need to invest in additional on-premise IT capacity simply to handle peak application workloads that might only be required a few days a month.

The other challenge IT organizations are going to discover as they get more into IT automation is that almost every technology vendor is now providing tools that automate management functions to one degree or another. While that may seem like a boon to IT, in reality it’s starting to create islands of IT automation. Beasty argues that IT organizations are going to soon need a more centralized approach to IT automation that works across different classes of enterprise IT technologies from different vendors.

What Beasty is getting at is that unless IT automation is properly managed, the cure may wind up being more difficult to manage than the disease it purports to cure. That doesn’t mean IT organizations shouldn’t be investing in IT automation. But it does mean they should have a care when it comes to figuring out what they may want to do in the short term versus what their actual long-term goals may actually be.

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