Data Center Automation - 3 Tips to Become a Legend!

Thought Leadership for
IT Service Management Professionals

Data Center Automation - 3 Tips to Become a Legend!

Posted by Steph Velte

Mon, May 14, 2012

When the first set of Indiana Jones movies hit the theaters in my youth I was amazed at how this new type of super-hero could globe trot around the world and solve problems that those around him were unable to conquer. (I am not a big fan of the newest movie, but that’s a topic for a different type of blog!)

Automating your data center has become a type of quest for many CIO’s. It is something, like a new year’s resolution, that shows up year after year of things that must be done.  Like losing weight and exercising however, it seems to be as elusive as the “Lost Ark” that Indiana Jones tried to locate.

Here then is the big question? Why are so many companies unable to automate the most likely candidates for automation? Here are three tips (as learned from the Indiana Jones' movies) to get your automation quest on track:

#1 - Never Bring a Knife to a Gun Fight.

Many companies have very smart folks in IT creating their own “swiss army” automation tools.  I’m talking about the collection of scripts that your admins and operations folks have tucked away  that they use to do things. These are certainly weapons in the war on automation but they do not have the power to scale, and be used consistently across IT.

Once more these collections are replicated by each user, and tweaked to do things in a manner that each author likes to do. It’s important to solve the problem correctly and share that solution and process across IT.

 #2 - Don't Get Lost in the Jungle

And, don’t get lost in the details.  The details are important and can be accounted for, but for first steps, it’s important not to get lost in the "jungle." 

Too often we see our customers try and account for the 1% in each automation, and make sure that the extraordinary is automated as well as the ordinary. My advice is to take the ordinary out, and when the extraordinary occurs, you will have more time to tackle it. So often the reason that we get bogged down is because we are trying to account for things that happened once during a 2 year period. Don’t forget what we are trying to accomplish here, and that’s the automation of the 80-90%, we can continue to work through the 10% after we get started if it makes sense.

#3 - Don’t Stop Moving!

IT is in a difficult situation, in most companies that we work with resources are lean, and more and more is being asked.  Like Indiana Jones, if we stop, we are likely to be crushed by a big rock, err, an onslaught of demands being placed on IT by the business. 

Many companies have started down the path of automation, however they find themselves content to pause, or only achieve the things that are inside the silo.  I’m not talking about moving on to the 1-10% that I mentioned above, I’m talking about continuing on the journey and taking on the 80-90% that resides across IT silio’s and is crying out for an automation solution.

Where are you at in your Automation Quest?  We have seen great success in helping companies build a program to tackle automation.  It is amazing what doors (and secret passageways) can open up by understanding the tools, requirements and having experience in this field.  Evergreen has spent the last 5 years globe trotting around the world and helping our customers leverage some best in class automation tools, like HP Operations Orchestration

Related reading: To learn how an international corporation created a template for global automation of their data center operations using HP Operations Orchestration (OO), read our case study (no registration required).

About the Author

Jason Whitesides, Executive Vice President of Enterprise Solutions - Evergreen Systems

As the EVP of Enterprise Solutions, Jason is charged with evaluating the solutions that Evergreen provides to make sure we are bringing value to our customers. Additionally, he is responsible for innovation and works with our key customers, practice managers and senior consultants to develop programs and initiatives that will lead transformation of IT. Jason also manages all pre-sales technical solutions support at Evergreen.

Jason has more than 20 years’ experience in IT. He has been with Evergreen since it merged with net.works (NDW) in 2008. He is an alumnus of Brigham Young University where he majored in Electrical Engineering.

Topics: Data Center Automation, Datacenter Automation, Database Automation, HP Operations Orchestration, HP OO

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