As IT automation becomes more prevalent, it may soon matter a lot more how any given new technology fits into the larger ecosystem. Puppets Labs today announced the launch of a Puppet Supported Program around its open source IT automation software that includes support from Arista Networks, Brocade, Cisco, Cumulus Networks, Dell, EMC, F5, Huawei and NetApp.
Puppet Labs CIO Nigel Kersten says the idea behind creating the alliance was to let IT organizations easily identify technologies that have been certified to work with the company’s Puppet IT automation software.
As IT automation tools become more prominent in the enterprise, how well any given product plays with a particular IT automation framework may soon matter more than the actual performance of the product itself. While performance will always be important, IT automation tools significantly reduce the cost of owning any particular technology.
In fact, Kersten says the only way to effectively manage IT at scale going forward is via IT automation. What makes it possible to create an IT automation ecosystem, says Kersten, is that most of the major manufacturers of IT infrastructure have embraced open RESTful APIs that enable IT organizations to use Puppet to create an open software-defined IT management platform.
In the not too distant future, adds Kersten, it’s only a matter of time before that management framework gets extended to applications and the Internet of Things (IoT) as well.
Ultimately, Kersten says all of IT will be managed at a higher level of abstraction where every piece of IT infrastructure becomes programmable. That means instead of hiring administrators to manage every type of IT infrastructure equipment, IT automation creates a multiplier effect that enables IT administrators to manage multiple types of IT equipment at scale, says Kersten.
Of course, IT automation presents organizations with a level of change that not everyone is comfortable with. Many IT administrators feel they lose control and visibility of the IT environment. Others view IT automation as a threat to jobs that in many cases are built around IT maintenance activities.
But no matter how one views IT automation, it is going to happen, so the primary issue isn’t so much how to prevent it from eliminating “digital maintenance jobs” as much as it is to embrace it in a way that enables IT professionals to redefine how they add value to the organization.