Step #1 towards an orchestrated datacenter: automate the repeatable and mundane

By Muneer Mubashir, Senior Marketing Manager, Automation and Cloud Management

NOTE: This is the first of a seven-part blog series exploring what steps you can take toward an orchestrated data center.

 

Last week, we introduced the HP Orchestrated Datacenter, where we talked about automating operations and bringing harmony to IT d... . Where the value of automation within enterprise datacenters is almost self-evident. By taking the manual, repetitive tasks that fill valuable IT personnel’s work days and replacing them with automated, scripted processes - this clearly helps IT work more efficiently, saving time and money while reducing errors and improving adherence to policies and standards.

 

In many ways, automation is core to IT’s purpose: programming computers to accomplish tasks that are either too complex or repetitive for the business, and to be able to do as well. This in turn leaves IT departments to focus their attention on areas of higher-value such as strategy, communication, creative projects and innovation. 

 

But as IT has grown, so has its own complexity and burden of repetitive tasks. IT must now begin applying the principle of automation on itself, to find smarter ways to engineer the machinery that power modern organizations.

 

Orchestrating automation

But how do you build that more efficient machine? A primary challenge is that most IT organizations do not operate as a cohesive whole, but instead as a collection of functional areas—servers, network, monitoring, service desk, etc. The result is that automation projects often occur in silos. Gains produced in one area achieve limited benefits, and do not scale to the entire organization.

 

In HP’s experience, its customers achieve the most success with automation when they use a coordinated approach, applying tools and processes that automate across IT environments. We call this the orchestrated datacenter, where systems tie together into a productive and efficient machine that is more than its component parts.

 

In the following series of blog posts, I will explore seven steps toward achieving this vision of an orchestrated datacenter. It’s about much more than just technology. A machine is defined by the people who build it and use it, and an IT organization needs to prepared to make the most of the orchestrated datacenter concept.

 

First, the mundane and repetitive

It begins, of course, with automating the proverbial low-hanging fruit—the mundane and repetitive tasks that are the least worthwhile use of IT personnel skills and time, and typically the simplest to automate.

 

But even this should not occur in functional silos without some common purpose. Such “chaotic automation,” as I call it, can lead to disjointed efforts with tools and processes that ultimately do not benefit of other teams.

 

One approach to coordinating an orchestrated datacenter project is to create an automation center of excellence, with a leadership group representing each key functional department. In this model, the departments are still accountable to their own metrics, but work to a common goal while identifying pockets of success that they can scale and repeat across the entire organization. A center of excellence approach also helps to rationalize tool choice, allowing the teams to collectively step back and use decision criteria based on what would improve the operation of the datacenter as a whole and select automation solutions and adopt methods with broad application.

 

An automation center of excellence will help to break down barriers that can prevent a truly orchestrated datacenter—some of the most troublesome of which are embedded in the cultural fabric of an IT organization. In my next blog, I will address how you can take the next step by instilling a culture of automation to institute disciplines across the organization.

 

HP Discover 2014.jpgLearn more about many topics related to automating and orchestrating your IT environments at our semi-annual HP Discover event. Check out some of the sessions that we have in store for your at HP Discover Las Vegas and come by the immersive demo experiences over at the Automation and Cloud Management booths. We look forward to seeing you there!

 

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