Blog: IT Automation Without Boundaries

Preview: What to Look Forward to at Gartner ITxpo 2014

Posted by Kaitlin Olcott on Thu, Sep 18, 2014 @ 11:09 AM

This year’s Gartner Symposium/ITxpo is just a few weeks away. Advanced Systems Concepts is once again looking forward to the event as it gives us an opportunity to talk with analysts and IT executives about IT automation and their individual needs. We are especially excited for this year’s keynote speakers, Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft, Steve Wozniak, co-founder of Apple and Chief Scientist at Fusion-io, Peter Thiel, Technology Entrepreneur and Investor, and John Zimmer, Co-Founder & President of Lyft Inc.

The topic of this year’s Symposium is “Driving Digital Business”. As businesses increasingly rely on technology to be more competitive, CIO's and senior level IT executives must redefine their role in the organization and learn how to optimize digital opportunities and align new technologies with business needs. In particular, we’re excited to hear what new Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella has to say given the changes he’s made since taking the helm at Microsoft seven months ago.

In Nadella’s July 10th email to employees, Nadella noted “we are moving from a world where computer power was scarce to a place where it now is almost limitless, and where the true scarce commodity is increasingly human attention. As people are inundated with data across all of their devices, getting someone’s attention with useful data is at an all time premium.

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Topics: Cloud Computing, Intelligent Automation, Workload Automation in the Cloud, Managing Virtual Resources, Gartner ITxpo, Microsoft

Redefining Tomorrow’s IT Automation Today

Posted by Kaitlin Olcott on Thu, Sep 04, 2014 @ 13:09 PM

According to Gartner, “job-scheduling tools have increasingly moved toward workload automation, reflecting the changing demands of moving from a largely static batch-processing environment to a more dynamic, policy-driven automation platform.” Gartner, Inc. in Magic Quadrant for Workload Automation, Milind Govekar & Biswajeeet Mahapatra, February 27, 2012.

Today more than ever, IT departments are shedding the role of support department and transforming into a key strategic partner to business operations. The importance of IT operations in making business transactions more fluid, reducing operational costs, and increasing productivity is unparalleled.

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Topics: Workload Automation, Business Intelligence, Gartner, Intelligent Automation, IT Automation, Scheduler Migration, Legacy Job Scheduler

Asking PowerCenter Users: When does IT Automation become complex?

Posted by Jim Manias on Fri, Jun 20, 2014 @ 09:06 AM

We had the opportunity to talk with many PowerCenter users at Informatica World in Las Vegas in May and they shared a lot of information about their IT Automation requirements, at the application and enterprise level, and how it could be improved. Application vendors, as we have previously addressed in our earlier posting, focus their resources (money and time) in developing the core capabilities of their products rather than enhancing their solutions with a robust automation system necessary to address today’s business and operational requirements. 

PowerCenter, as presented by Informatica, offers industry leadership in “…converting raw data into information to drive analysis…” which is consistent with the premise that too often the vendors of these critical applications require their users to identify alternative approaches to address the automation tools included by the vendor.  

PMCMD Automation: Boundaries Identified
To automate PowerCenter workflows
many attendees indicated that they use PMCMD, the command line utility for managing the automation of ETL workflows included with PowerCenter, to perform the basic tasks of manipulating, starting, stopping and scheduling workflows, tasks and sessions. However, the expressed concern was that in order to address today’s changing business and operational requirements, they often supplemented PMCMD with custom script creation to fill the voids. They also clearly understood that scripting ratcheted up the complexity level of their IT environments not to mention the increased costs when using limited but expensive senior development resources to build and then maintain these scripts. 

The Downside to Custom Scripts
Custom script generation requires senior level resources to build a script that augments what PMCMD can’t readily provide when more sophisticated capabilities are needed. Once the custom script is written, the time and effort moves to testing and debugging which takes significant time as well as significantly impacting associated costs. Over time, the requirements change and scripts have to be maintained. If the developer has changed positions or left the firm it becomes problematic to identify individuals who want to step in, take responsibility for script modification and ongoing testing. Costs go up and limited “expensive” resources are consumed and focused on maintenance rather than on developing new processes to meet IT and business

Simplifying "End-to-End" Workflow Creation
At Informatica World, we heard and discussed how the use of an enterprise automation solution using pre-packaged integrations with critical third-party applications, like PowerCenter, could simplify and automate existing and new workflows and expand them into “end to end” workflows that could be used to generate analytics after the data had been integrated.

A sampling of the limitations with PMCMD that users shared and asked about were:

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Topics: Workload Automation, Job Scheduling, Data Warehousing, IT Operations, Business Process Automation, Cross-Departmental Automation, ETL, Informatica PowerCenter, Informatica World

TechEd 2014: Providing Attendees with the Architectural IT Automation Solution

Posted by Nina Brownstone on Wed, May 28, 2014 @ 07:05 AM

Sponsoring TechEd North America 2014 presented us with the opportunity to speak with attendees across a wide range of Microsoft users including system admins, DBAs, enterprise architects, IT operators and managers. The attendees use a variety of Microsoft solutions including SQL Server, SharePoint, Active Directory, Exchange, System Center and more, in addition to many other non-Microsoft applications and technologies.

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Topics: Workload Automation, Job Scheduling, IT Operations, SQL Server, System Center Operations Manager, Microsoft TechEd, Intelligent Automation, Microsoft System Center, Microsoft Exchange, Microsoft Active Directory

Informatica World 2014: Platform-Specific vs. Enterprise-Grade

Posted by Colin Beasty on Thu, May 15, 2014 @ 11:05 AM

In recent years, the democratization of analytic, reporting and BI solutions has become a driving force in the growing complexity of data integration and data warehousing models. Add to the equation the growing complexity and volume of information thanks to Big Data, and it’s no surprise that the underlying ETL and data warehousing processes to integrate and access data from multiple sources is becoming increasingly complex.

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Topics: Workload Automation, Job Scheduling, Business Intelligence, Data Warehousing, ETL, Informatica PowerCenter, Informatica World, Netezza, Teradata

A CAO (Chief Automation Officer) for IT Organizations?

Posted by Colin Beasty on Tue, Mar 11, 2014 @ 08:03 AM

Conversations with analysts and customers alike have uncovered an interesting trend playing out in the marketplace. Leading IT organizations are assigning automation teams and/or directors who are responsible for implementing an “architectural” IT automation strategy. The goal is to take an enterprise-wide analysis of the automation requirements of the IT organization as a whole and implement a strategy and solution(s) that unify silos of automation and streamline the people, processes and technologies.

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Topics: Workload Automation, Job Scheduling, Business Process Automation

IT Automation Can Mitigate Risk in the Data Center

Posted by Colin Beasty on Wed, Jan 29, 2014 @ 08:01 AM

Last month I had the pleasure seeing Don Duet, Co-Head of the Technology Division at Goldman Sachs, give a keynote presentation at the Gartner Data Center conference regarding the company’s data center strategy. As the global investment firm looks to commoditize an array of new digitalized services and products to its multinational workforce, the data center is being asked to increase agility while mitigating risk in the fluid, and sometimes volatile, world of investment banking.

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Topics: Workload Automation, Datacenter Automation, Job Scheduling, Gartner Data Center Conference, Data Center, Financial Services

Gartner’s Systematic Approach to IT Automation: Part 2

Posted by Colin Beasty on Thu, Dec 19, 2013 @ 07:12 AM

Last week Gartner VP and distinguished analyst Ronni Colville gave a presentation at Gartner's Data Center Conference entitled Automation: The Lynchpin for Cloud & Data Centers. In it, she presented the concept that IT organizations are taking an “opportunistic” approach to automation by identifying automation opportunities as they arise and implementing platform-specific tools to solve those problems. It was a similar presentation to the one Colville gave at the Gartner Infrastructure and Operations Conference in June, so I won’t repeat the information already talked about in the first post, but rather focus on the new concepts and interesting poll results Colville presented last week.

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Topics: Workload Automation, Datacenter Automation, Job Scheduling, Gartner Data Center Conference, Gartner

Five IT Automation Predictions for 2014

Posted by Colin Beasty on Tue, Dec 03, 2013 @ 08:12 AM

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Topics: Workload Automation, Datacenter Automation, Job Scheduling, Self-Service Automation, Predictive Analytics, IT Operations, Resource Provisioning, Business Process Automation

Why IT Automation Must Be Designed to Accomodate Change

Posted by Colin Beasty on Tue, Nov 12, 2013 @ 07:11 AM

Never before have IT organizations been under more pressure to change, both from internal and external forces alike. Changing IT environments, new regulatory compliances, the Internet-based, 24/7 consumer or trying to gain a competitive advantage within the marketplace…these unpredictable forces thrust change on the demand and capacity of enterprise IT infrastructure. It’s resulting in an increasing rate of change to the systems and processes that the modern IT organization is responsible for. IT automation is no exception to this.

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Topics: Workload Automation, Datacenter Automation, Job Scheduling, Business Intelligence, Data Warehousing, Business Process Automation, Cross-Departmental Automation

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Take an Architectural Approach

IT Automation Solutions Designed for Change