To say IT teams are overburdened in today’s digital transformation would be a tremendous understatement. Not only are they managing the work of keeping systems up and running, they’re tasked with innovating tech processes and fielding new technologies—often with little voice in selecting them. It makes sense, then, that IT teams are looking for any way they can to automate or hand-off mundane tasks to make more room for meaningful “work.” That’s where data center automation can help.
First off: semantics. When discussing “data center automation,” I’m talking about any number of cloud, hybrid cloud, or physical onsite data centers that house and store data and network capabilities for your company. In today’s environment, these “data centers” are becoming increasingly complex. The only realistic way to stay on top of them is to hand over maintenance to a third party or find a way to make the management easier through automation.
Indeed, the one constant in the IT world is the need to boost speed and efficiency while cutting costs. Says one writer, IT teams must “adopt innovations faster while preserving the stability of their digital core.” Yet, humans have a limit to all they can do, despite the increasing amount of data flowing to them. Automating some of the processes in the data center could relieve the burden on the IT department—reducing errors and freeing up time for greater innovation—while reducing cost overall. The following are a few ways data center automation can help your company.
Managing Life Cycles
Life cycles encompass—well, lifetimes of work. And in today’s tech environment, that means the maintenance, testing, upgrade, integration, and more for any number of software, hardware, or program. It can be tedious managing lifecycles for one or two programs. Imagine doing it for an entire enterprise across numerous clouds, physical data sites, and among any number of apps and programs. Automation can take on managing those processes which doesn’t just save time—but the possibility of costly oversight or human error, as well.
One of the greatest time sucks of data center management involves the grueling daily repetitive tasks that take up large amounts of time with no clear market value. This includes things like VLAN provisioning, ACL configuration, patching, system refreshes, upgrades, and other system maintenance activities. Automation can manage all those processes, freeing up an immense amount of time for your teams. And, automation has another clear benefit: because machines can run during “off hours” they can perform these activities without disrupting staff efficiency.
Managing Compliance Issues
If you’re working in industries like healthcare and finance, you know compliance is a huge issue—and a huge liability—for any company. Staying on top of compliance issues and updates can be challenging, especially when managing large and disparate workloads. By automating compliance management, companies can reduce the chance for error, which can be incredibly costly in terms of bad audits, legal issues, and damages.
So how do you go about automating? Tools like OpenStack—used by many data center automation companies like HP Enterprise, Cisco, and Avaya—allow you to use a dashboard control to help manage things like storage, network availability, and computing. It can be used with cloud or traditional data centers, and its compatibility makes automation easy, no matter which solution you are using.
As with any issue in digital transformation, the right decision for your company will often come down to the “right” use of time and energy. For many, the cost of implementing data center management pays off in incredible ways. For instance, HP enterprise Data Center Automation suite can scale across 100,000+ servers. How long—and how much money—would need to be expended to support a person doing that work? Similarly, SAP Landscape Management reduced refresh time from five days to 1.5 for one of its programs. It also reduced the number of days spent on administrative processes by 20 percent for one company. That’s time and money that could be better used elsewhere in the digital transformation—such as finding the next disruptive breakthrough in your industry.
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