Faster Delivery = Happy Users
Automated Process = Fewer Errors
Standards = Cost Reduction
Order Visibility = Confidence
Linking Systems = Efficiency
When the benefits of Infrastructure Automation are discussed, the focus is usually on the bottom line. The human benefits aren’t talked about as frequently. Beyond cost-savings, at its best, Infrastructure Automation can help developers and IT staff feel better about what they do, and do it better, as a result.
Generally, the best developers don’t become developers because of the healthy starting salary. They’re drawn to it because it’s inherently creative. Their rush comes from solving problems creatively and pushing their brains to the limit. Similarly, IT staff want to work on creative value-add projects, not monotonous maintenance tasks.
The problem for developers is reality is somewhat different. Developing in a major enterprise involves myriad frustrations—debugging, merging, and so on—and, even in the era of DevOps, waiting for IT to provide the necessary infrastructure. Meanwhile, to spin up those much-needed workloads, IT staff has to configure and approve virtual machines manually.
It’s boring—and boredom isn’t a benign outcome. Boredom invites absent-mindedness, which invites human error, which is the cause of a huge number of disruptions.
For IT staff, Infrastructure Automation removes the dumb work and leaves the smart work intact. Being able to spin up VMs from a template cuts down on hours of drudgery. With the central logging and control offered by suites like vRealize, IT can get a better perspective on the whole picture. Is over provisioning happening? Are there more efficient ways to handle developer needs? These are questions that are harder to ask when you’re stuck in the manual process trenches.
Automated provisioning doesn’t mean that developers lose their freedom. Instead, vRealize offers a database-style approach in which different configurations are made available. These can be customized further if needed. So, it’s not like you’re forced to eat the same meal over and over again. It’s more like you’re offered a menu of well-considered tasting menus, with a cooperative kitchen on standby if you feel the need to propose modifications.
On the other side of the aisle, with Infrastructure Automation, developers don’t have to wait for eons to get access to the resources they need. This means that they won’t have to face the unfortunate choice that results from slow provisioning—the choice between letting your ideas wither on the mental vine, or going to the cloud in a clandestine fashion at great cost. Everything is freer and easier, for both teams.
Still, when discussing any automation service, we have to address the elephant in the room.
The short answer is, no. As with any tool, thoughtful administration is required to make the most of Infrastructure Automation. You can automate for the wrong outcome as well as the right one. What it will do, if used with some degree of savvy, is increase IT efficiency. The reduction of manual processes also means that it becomes much easier to guarantee secure workloads. This significantly cuts down on the chances of a breach
This last point is especially important. According to recent research by Kaspersky, breaches related to virtualization are, on average, twice as costly as other breaches. So, Infrastructure Automation can make IT more profitable in two ways: by allowing staff to do more, and giving them less opportunity for error.
In sum, the IT team becomes a little less focused on maintenance, and a little more focused on profit-boosting projects. This is where CFOs want to put their money.
The promise of virtualization is flexibility. In reality, while it does give you that, there’s often a cost: the drudgery and difficulty of configuration, and all the delays that implies. In a sense, Infrastructure Automation makes the virtualization promise really come true. It lets your team take advantage of the power of the virtual without the boredom and stress.
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