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More and more of today's organizations are discovering the benefits of IT automation to keep up with the increasing demands of software development and operations. Because of its many applications, IT automation has become an essential part of maintaining a healthy, stable infrastructure.
This article covers some of the top benefits of IT automation in tackling common operational challenges and keeping your systems consistently up and running.
Table of Contents:
IT automation uses software to manage IT resources with little or no human intervention. Automation can make processes more repeatable and auditable, saving time and resources.
IT automation is more valuable than ever for addressing development and operational challenges. With increased emphasis on compliance, security, and rapid application delivery, automation is critical for staying competitive and keeping systems operating safely.
Automating IT processes can help identify and address potential problems before they cause an outage, as well as help quickly and efficiently resolve any issues.
Unplanned outages are the bane of a sysadmin's job. More than just a problem in itself, downtime is a telling symptom of existing issues in IT processes and architecture.
IT automation can help prevent and minimize downtime by reducing operational risks that often cause outages. Automating IT operations can help reduce the chances of human error, improve efficiency and communication, and prevent issues from arising in the first place. In addition, automation can help to keep systems and data consistent and up-to-date, which can help to avoid or resolve conflicts that can lead to outages.
With careful planning and IT automation tools, your organization can reduce downtime by automatically addressing many common operational issues.
Many organizations have layer after layer of one-off processes and routines. Some were created as temporary fixes but were never dropped. Others are outdated processes that once had a legitimate purpose but are now just clutter. This pile-up of technical debt eventually causes outages, and the causes of these outages are difficult to analyze — sometimes, you don't even know where to start looking.
Automation gives you the ability to query your infrastructure, determine what you actually have, and start pruning and fixing in line with current business needs and goals. Automation also enables your system to remediate configuration drift regularly — automagically! — so you avoid building up so much technical debt to start with.
Whether you have a change control board or not, you must be able to control and inspect changes in a structured way. You should be able to stage changes before they are made and automatically incorporate code review.
Managing changes in a spreadsheet is both difficult and highly prone to error; you need a version control tool to do it right, especially as your infrastructure and software become increasingly complex.
Here’s where configuration management tools come in. By automating the setup of physical servers and virtual machines, you eliminate manual errors and get:
Using automated testing and validation tools in combination with configuration management helps you ensure that your organization tests for the things that matter, at the right stages of development, and in environments that match production. Optimally, you should design your testing plan right into the development process.
Addressing common operational issues like these is just one of the benefits of IT automation. Here are some more:
Puppet Enterprise helps you automate all aspects of your IT infrastructure, eliminating time-consuming manual tasks and allowing you to manage your entire organization more effectively. With Puppet Enterprise, you can quickly provision, configure, and manage your servers, networks, and applications, ensuring that your infrastructure is always running smoothly and efficiently.
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This blog was originally published on November 21, 2014, and has since been updated for accuracy and relevance.