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Blog: IT Automation Without Boundaries

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A CAO (Chief Automation Officer) for IT Organizations?


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.

IT Automation Can Mitigate Risk in the Data Center

In the face of data center diversity, implementing a datacenter automation strategy not designed to accommodate change represents risk to the business by building a barrier to data center agility

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.

Gartner’s Systematic Approach to IT Automation: Part 2

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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.

Colville talked about how "content is king" for workload automation vendors. The focus has shifted from providing script-based schedulers to providing "content," or “templated” job steps for common IT functions, applications, platforms and more. It means less customization and less scripting for IT organizations as IT automation moves towards GUI-based workflow designers that place an emphasis on reusability and being designed for change

Five IT Automation Predictions for 2014

Homepage Predictions for 2014

In the past twelve months we continue to witness the evolution of IT into something bigger, faster and more adaptable than we could have ever imagined. IT automation is no exception to this rule and will continue to become more nimble in order to satisfy the accelerating pace of business and the resulting demands of IT. Workload automation vendors will continue to respond to these demands in 2014. Here are the top 5 trends we see reshaping our marketplace:

  1. The Continued Consolidation of "Point" IT Automation Solutions – IT organizations have traditionally taken a “siloed” approach to IT automation by implementing platform or departmental specific automation solutions. For example, job scheduling for batch processes, a runbook automation tool for IT operations and another tool for automating FTP, database operations, ETL and other datacenter processes. As processes become dependent on other processes and span the entire IT organization, consolidating these silos of automation within a single solution becomes necessary.
  2. Predictive Analytics – Today, workload automation solutions can proactively predict “spikes” in workload execution to provision resources; the next step is to provide additional “what-if” preditive capabilities that allow you to forecast and plan workflow execution across a variety of systems and platforms. IT organizations should have the ability to an execution plan of past and future workflow instances based on changes to the workflow and/or changes to the machines executing the jobs. The forecast capability, when combined with that ability to tie workflows to business deadlines/SLAs, will provide an IT organization with an unparalleled and simplified way of planning and managing workloads and resources across the enterprise.
  3. Built for Change – Legacy job scheduling and automation solutions have traditionally relied on static, script-based interfaces that have made building and updating complex workflows that span various applications, platforms and departments a time-consuming affair. In today’s 24/7, Internet-driven world, whereby businesses are driving the IT organization to build new processes and update existing ones to respond to market pressures, using scripts simply doesn’t cut it. The next generation of IT automation solutions will need to be designed for change by providing Web 2.0 interfaces that allow developers to more easily build and manage complex processes that span the IT organization. These newer, more modern interfaces will allow developers to reduce their dependency on scripting and dynamically build complex workflows leveraging interfaces to view the entire IT infrastructure and build and automate workflows that span it.
  4. Self-Service Automation – These simplified, Web-based user interfaces will also help drive the continued expansion of self-service automation. The idea is that an end user – either IT or the business – can use an IT automation solution to choose from a service catalog and initiate a process or workflow themselves – without the need to involve someone from IT operations, therefore improving IT service levels for the business. Ideally, end users can plan the execution of business processes themselves, and workload automation will serve as the underlining engine that automates the provisioning of resources and applications to achieve business objectives. Leading IT organizations have begun adopting this strategy to improve service levels, but 2014 will see this strategy start to go mainstream.
  5. DevOps Automation – DevOps requires usually disparate groups (development, QA and IT Operations) operating with a singular purpose to achieve bringing a release more quickly and efficiently. As such, there is an automation requirement to ensure repeatability of deployment tasks and reduction of deployment errors due to manual intervention. Traditionally, application development teams leverage scripting for the automation and management of build and release processes. On the other side of the fence you have IT operations and datacenter teams responsible for the provisioning and management of the underlying infrastructure resources on which these new applications reside. To automate their respective processes, they rely on scripts or platform-specific scheduling tools. For example, IT operations will typically rely on VMware’s native scheduling tool for automating VMware tasks, such as provisioning and cloning instances. Workload automation will start to serve as an “architectural” automation solution that unifies “point” scheduling tools and scripts to provide a single automation framework that automates the long list of discrete tasks needed to build, deploy and test Web and mobile applications.


Why IT Automation Must Be Designed for Change

Designed for Change CTA sm

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.

Oracle OpenWorld 2013: End-to-End IT Process Automation

Oracle OpenWorld

Over the years, Oracle has added a wide array, either through acquisition or internal development, of applications, middleware solutions and data sources. While this offers IT organizations with a “one stop shop,” it’s also resulted in a heterogeneous collection of newer cloud-based solutions and older, legacy applications that IT operational and business processes must span. For developers looking to automate these processes, each of these solutions can represent “silos of automation” that erect barriers to automating such processes.

The Top 3 Business Processes That Benefit from Workload Automation

Automating FTPs

In today's fluid 24/7 world where business demands are real-time and IT is being asked to “script” business processes into automated workflows, old-school batch processing can no longer cut it.  Posting a job to run every night at 3 AM was fine 10 years ago, but today these processes have to be run in real-time and workload automation is the key to industrializing business processes to save companies time and money. Here are three of the most common business processes that Advanced Systems Concepts Inc. sees customers automating with ActiveBatch to save money and ensure SLAs are being met.

Gartner: Break Down the Silos of IT Automation Systematically

Gartner No Single Consistent Automation

Last month we had the pleasure of attending the Gartner Infrastructure & Operations Management Summit in Orlando, Florida, where Gartner VP and distinguished analyst Ronni Colville gave a presentation entitled Automation: The Lynchpin for Cloud & Data Centers.

Live from TechEd 2013: Workload Automation Extends Cloud Computing

Microsoft TechEd North America

Most IT experts and professionals would agree that virtual and cloud computing has the potential to bring efficiency and value to enterprise computing in ways never seen before. Cloud computing is evolving at an unprecedented pace, with many organizations jumping directly, in varying degrees, to private or public cloud use.

IT Automation: Catalyst for Delivering Big Data’s Benefits

WA Big Data Equation

Attending Informatica World presents the opportunity to speak with IT professionals about one of the strongest use cases for job scheduling and workload automation: the end-to-end automation of ETL, data warehousing and business intelligence (BI) processes.

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