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Why automating your datacenter makes sense

Over the years datacenters have come a long way from the days when behemoth machines were housed inside large rooms with tonnes of cabling and traditional power hogging air-conditioning systems. With the complexity of datacenters increasing by the day and the kind of diverse infrastructure landscape prevalent within today's datacenter, the emphasis on the governance and maintenance of datacenters has gained importance.

There is a lot of pressure on business to make datacenter operations more efficient and to reduce the TCO (Total Cost of Operations). CIOs everywhere are looking for optimization options for their datacenters, to reduce power consumption and consolidation/virtualization/automation options with a point of view to save costs in the long run.
Since time immemorial, history is replete with instances where man has tried to make work simpler through automation and mechanization.

Literally speaking, the word automation means "the technique of making an apparatus, a process, or a system operate automatically.

Traditionally, activities within a Datacenter were always carried out manually, from the software and patch installation, network configuration, server configuration, storage configuration and provisioning, change management etc. The processes are very time-consuming and the possibility of manual error creeping in increases. Some of the repetitive processes can be automated so that the staff can be utilized for more productive activities. Let's look at some of the activities which till now were performed manually:
  - Patch Management
  - Change Management
  - Audit Management
  - Problem & Change Management
  - Event Monitoring
  - CPU & Memory allocation and DE allocation
  - Security management

You need to look at your datacenter, carry out a thorough due diligence and then document all the IT processes which currently are in place. You then need to identify the processes which you need to automate. There is a gamut of tools available in the market such as UC4, Puppet Labs, CA Technologies etc. to assist across the various areas of automation which let you dynamically choose the processes you want to automate and which you don't. 

In today's age where deployments of hybrid/public/private clouds are increasing, automation of server, network, storage and database management activities only contribute to the downtime reduction and increase of the operational efficiency of datacenters, and automation is the only way forward.


Nice blog Kaustubh... Looking forward to know about various automation senarios...

Thank you Arvind for taking out time to read. I would be extending this blog to include various scenarios which could be considered as candidates for automation(e.g set triggers for various incident, problem, change management workflows based on pre-configured policies)

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