IT Automation – All the Things We Are Talking About

Reading and writing about IT automation, I keep on learning about the subject. Lately I found that there are so many flavors of automation around the operating processes of IT, that misunderstanding seems inevitable. So I try to make a point here to talk about the different kinds of automation one can use all around maintaining a high quality IT environment.

Types of Automation Tasks

  1. 003366;">Incident-, Problem-, Capacity- and Availability Management
    Automation engines specialized on analyzing and handling events that occur in a IT environment that may lead to or themselves represent malfunctions, loss of quality and the like. Both reactive (automated reaction to an incoming event) and proactive (automated actions taken to prevent events from occurring) are target of these engines. Automation engines that handle the “fault operating” are either embedded into the ITIL processes (see blog entry on extending ITIL with automation) like our automation engine (003366;">aAe) or are embedded into system components or management systems with a narrow scope e.g. on redundancy activation.
  2. 003366;">Change Management
    Automation engines specialized on performing changes that modify or extend an IT environment automatically. Either these engines are Inserting an abstracted layer above tasks that need to be performed (like adding users, restarting a component and the like) these engines allow an administrator to perform tasks on many machines or on different platforms without by interacting with the automation engine. An example for this kind of engine is the Puppet framework with a very structured approach to abstraction. Or these engines focus on scaling an IT environment by dynamically adding resources or automatically installing or modifying a system like the Tivoli Provisioning Manager or VMWare Virtual Center does.

I really do hope (not just to save you some consulting fees) to have helped avoid misunderstandings, when you are talking to others about automation and even better maybe I could point out some additional techniques you can look at to make life easier.

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