Automation: the Proper Approach

By: Scott Jarvis

It has become common knowledge that data center automation saves not only IT department's headaches and money but the companies which employ these departments as well.? What isn't common knowledge is that many while automation solves many problems and frees up a great deal of resources, it does not replace the need for a talented and skilled IT staff.? All too often do companies large and small make the mistake of either letting some of their IT professionals go or they transfer them to another department or give them tasks that don't help the department remain productive.

As it is common for overly eager companies to rush head first into network automation without much preparation it is equally common to see these same companies either restart the process or pull back out and forego the process.? This happens when IT staff and management have to little experience or aren't keen on change.? These people and companies find it easy to lay blame on the automation process and almost always back out at the first sign of perceived trouble.

So what are some of the common mistakes companies make when rushing into and through this process?? Most commonly these people believe that a revised run book isn't essential and that automating the run book so that it can manage and update itself is something that's just not needed.? Many untried IT professionals will also pass up the opportunity to have ITIL automated which then leads to problems down the line as the run book and ITIL are the foundations on which a their networks stand.

Sadly these missteps and shortcuts turn into costly blunders and often require a company to start the process again from scratch.? These mistakes are easily avoided as well by taking things slow, performing research on not only organizations that offer automation services but taking the time to determine which services your company and network need as well.?? It is not unusual too, to find companies that have gone overboard with the process especially when expectations are high.? Going this route carries with it a whole host of problems as well however it's always easier to trim the edges of something when you have too much than it is to work with to little.

If you find yourself or a company with whom you are employed in a situation where the decision to automate has just been handed down, remind those involved to not only be patient but to keep their expectations realistic.? Sure you'll have the opportunity to delegate new tasks to those who once micromanaged your network but you'll still need a full and talented staff on call to keep things running smoothly.? Take things slow and spend some time in preparation for the transition.? Following simple steps like those can help ensure that your networks perform better than ever after automation is complete.

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