In this day and age of rapid technology advancement you can automate just about anything – paying your bills, renewing subscriptions and mowing the lawn (by having your son/daughter do it for you). But for all of this automation to work seamlessly requires intelligence and a bit of work on your part. You’ll need to know at all times that that you have enough money in your checking account to cover both your expected and unexpected bills. Otherwise you’ll find yourself in a chaotic situation where your withdrawals exceed deposits. Your bank will be the only winner in this scenario and you’ll wind up paying multiple fees and penalties and wonder how this could happen to an intelligent person like yourself.
Automating the complexities of modern-day life is not not unlike automating IT. Take technological innovations such as virtualization and cloud computing. These along with advancements in IT management software are transforming IT organizations – enabling them to be more efficient, flexible, agile and automated. Nowadays you can achieve remarkable results, by automating what were in the past manual processes such as provisioning, compliance and configuration management. But what I find very interesting is that even with automation and virtualization technologies, customers are still challenged with…
- Physical and/or virtual machine (VM) sprawl – which results in many (100’s or even 1,000’s) of underutilized systems and VM’s many of which are not compliant with operational policies
- Virtualizing mission critical applications/services – which is mainly due to the inability to translate workload requirements from the physical world to the virtual world
- Over-provisioning – which has led many IT organizations to fail to achieve the desired VM density and cost savings they expected. And with limited policies in place inconsistent VM images are also the norm.
Now it’s true that virtualization and automation technologies have built-in intelligence (e.g. resource schedulers and runtime policies), but in many cases IT Operations professionals require an added degree of intelligence to address these new challenges and tame the rapidly increasing agility of today’s hybrid datacenters.
IT management software vendors have answered the call by integrating their performance and capacity management solutions with configuration management. This provides an additional level of intelligence that prevents the “chaos” and enables IT to right-size their infrastructure, increase VM densities, forecast future capacity requirements and proactively prevent performance disruptions. It also ensures greater insight into how scheduled and unscheduled changes will impact performance, provides performance analysts with more precise root cause analysis and sets the stage for automated remediation of non-compliant changes.
As anyone who has implemented a virtual or cloud infrastructure knows, even the most innocent of modifications to a virtual-host or VM, can have a significant negative impact not only on the intended object, but other objects in the shared infrastructure. Integrating performance and capacity management with configuration automation is not only the key to preventing costly performance degradation and downtime, but will help you overcome the fear of hosting mission critical applications in a virtual or cloud environment and enable you to achieve the desired level of efficiency and cost savings you require.
On a personal note, as a father of two young girls, ages 11 & 13, I wholeheartedly support process integration and understand the importance of continuous capacity management and proactive performance management as a means to minimize the chaos and meet or exceed their high service level expectations. I realize that the older they get, they will want to spend less time with me and more time with their friends. And I only have a limited amount of free capacity, so I spend as much time with them as I can, given their perception that it’s very uncool to hang out with dad. I also take a proactive approach to managing their happiness. Teenage girls can be challenging at times and I look to leading indicators (e.g. how long since their last trip to the Mall) to anticipate their needs and I try to correct the issue before they’re unhappy. Now as far as automation goes I do use auto bill pay and I regularly check my balance to ensure that I have just enough money in my checking account to cover the bills. But I’m not sure I want to automate the process of moving the lawn by having my 13 year old daughter do it. I’ll stick to doing that myself.