Like the old saying “where there’s smoke, there’s fire” automation has a lot of buzz because it is solving IT problems, lowering costs and improving business outcomes. Kris Alcantara’s article “Is Automation the Next Buzz Word?” provides a synopsis of a panel discussion at the 4th International Cloud Computing Expo. In that panel, participants said,
• the term “virtualization” will likely fade into the background as automation becomes a higher priority
• automation by nature carries “tremendous amounts of power and efficiency” and enables businesses to do all the right things, including implementing security
• “The funds to do things the old way is not there,” German (CEO & CTO of Stoneware, Inc.) said. “It’s going to spur a lot of innovation and new ways of delivering IT resources.”
Let’s discuss each of these in a bit more depth.
Automation becomes a higher priority in cloud implementation than virtualization. Let’s call virtualization a victim of its own success in this case. We really can’t think about cloud without thinking about virtual servers, storage and networks, all accessible via API’s. What will be important is the ability to work with the virtualization ‘flavor’ used by the cloud client and cloud provider. Automation steps forward here because it can abstract away the differences in technology and let the process execute. This means you don’t have to add skills or technology, you can leverage the skills you have and technologies you already use. The key to automation succeeding in this role is for it to be truly independent and meet the requirements of RBA 2.0 as described by Gartner analyst David Williams. Intelligent execution and technology abstraction are the keys.
One of the big problems in Cloud security is simply the ability to work with the security schemes of each of the toolsets you have to work with. Think about it, to execute and document all of the work associated with a cloud bursting action, how many tools will you have to log into internally and with your cloud vendor. We’re all waiting for some standards to develop, but for many of us the time to adopt cloud is now and we have to do the best we can with what we have. That means working with the security infrastructure of each of the task tools that will support the process of adding capacity in the cloud. Automation can handle both the negotiation of each tool’s security system today and add in support for standards as they develop.
In the end it always comes down to the money, doesn’t it? You’re spending 70-80% of IT resources on routine tasks that just keep you treading water. Automation is an innovative way to execute the routine process that deliver the services you offer today, while freeing up your sharpest people to innovate the services you will deliver tomorrow.
Increasingly, IT vendors are adding automation to their product lines, but this serves more to tie together their acquisitions than it does to do what you need done—integration, orchestration and automation of IT processes that cross the IT silos that exist in your production environment.
Opalis works with market leader VMware Vcenter to provide true end to end process automation and to connect Vcenter to your service desk, change management, and configuration tools. We also work with Microsoft (but don’t trust everything you read on the internet). Links to more information on both of the solution sets are at the bottom of this article.
Automation is more than buzz. Whether your cloud plans call for VMware, Microsoft, Amazon, or any one of hundreds of others, Opalis can keep Cloud from being the next way your scarce IT resources are wasted. Opalis will make cloud the dynamic, low cost road to business success.
Have a look at these resources for more information: