In my last article, I spent a little time talking about the difference between automation, which is an automated task or scripted solution to perform a task, and orchestration, which is the complete process. I topped it all off with a discussion about how DevOps is a philosophy driving orchestration. For this article, I want to focus in on the some of the most common tools of the trade behind the automation and orchestration for different types of environments.
Automation and orchestration are two terms we are hearing more often, especially when discussing virtualization and cloud computing. As virtualization and cloud computing technology continues to mature, so have the automation and orchestration that are such an intricate part of the solutions presented from this technology. As such, an increasing number of products and services are built around automation and orchestration. This article focuses on the underlying technology as a prelude to discussing the different products. The information below should be of interest to anyone looking to expand their skillset to compete and excel in a technology world that is traveling full speed up into the clouds.
As we move through the year, there are often monthly and quarterly upgrade cycles to our virtual and cloud environments. These are caused by security issues, natural upgrades to hardware, software, or even application updates. Application updates are now continuous, using continuous integration and deployment strategies, while hardware and other upgrades come more slowly. Cloud upgrades can be incredibly impactful, as all subsystems need to be restarted. Yet, there is a cycle to this. There is need to control what is happening, and a need to not break compliance, security, data protection, or other policies.
How much private cloud do you really need? A private cloud is all about the IT department getting out of the way of its internal customers, enabling business units and individual developers to provision their own VMs and get on with doing their jobs. But building and operating a private cloud is a complex, and therefore expensive, task. There needs to be a large payoff before there is a real business benefit. Some businesses don’t really need a private cloud platform. Often, their business processes will prevent real self-service on their private cloud. For these organizations, there may be simpler ways to achieve their desired business outcomes.
Let’s start the new year right with one of my current favorite topics for discussion: automation. In this article, I concentrate on the second-day operations type of automation. Second-day operations is quite a different beast from build and decommission automation, in that it incorporates several different approaches to automation.
Bringing about change. One of the hardest things to bring about is change, and there is no place where that is truer than in the world of IT. When anything happens in the environment, the most common response from IT professionals is, “What changed?” That almost sounds like a Family Feud question, but I digress. The irony of that response is that most of the work that happens in the data center is driven by changes, change tasks, or incidents. Resistance to change has to do with the method and procedure involved with completing the changes or closing the incidents. Continue reading Bringing About Change