IT Automation Progress Marches On

Michael Vizard

IT people are too valuable to waste their time racking systems and installing operating system software.

That's the core premise behind Hewlett-Packard's VirtualSystem VS3, which is based in HP ProLiant Gen8 servers, the latest one of which was announced this week at the Microsoft Management Summit 2012 conference.

The latest edition, called the HP VirtualSystem VS3 for Microsoft, has been optimized to support the Microsoft Private Cloud FastTrack architecture by using HP 3PAR storage and Microsoft System Center management software. The basic idea, says Brad Kirby, HP group manager for Microsoft product partnerships, is to automate the configurations process associated with rolling out a private cloud on top of a Windows Server platform as much as possible. This latest edition, says Kirby, essentially extends that IT automation concept into the higher end of the enterprise with a set of systems that uses the automated management capabilities that HP embedded into the HP ProLiant Gen8 server architecture.

The implications of these servers, however, go much further than simply being able to deploy a system faster. Most IT professionals cut their teeth in this business by learning how to configure servers. As that process becomes increasingly automated, entry-level IT professionals are going to need to be introduced to higher-level IT tasks much sooner than they tend to be now. In addition, there's a whole cadre of folks in IT that will need to be retrained because many of the functions they perform are also being automated.

There's obviously no standing in the way of progress. But something very fundamental is taking place in terms of how IT systems are configured and managed. Most IT professionals will welcome these changes because they automate routine tasks where it's easy to make a mistake. But there are significant implications that need to be considered concerning who does what and how many people will actually be needed to manage IT going forward. Theoretically, there should be enough high-value IT tasks to go around. But if there isn't, then IT organizations might want to start thinking now about how make sure there will be real soon.

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