Why automate?

As the title of this site suggest we will be mainly blogging about automation. To be more specific: Automation of IT operations in virtualized environment. But why automate? In my opinion there are three major factors playing a role in the need to automate IT operations: The human factor, the money factor and the coolness factor. Let’s dig into the human factor first.

The Human Factor
First of all, most humans don’t like doing the same thing over and over again. Although doing so makes us very good at that one thing, it is very boring. And bored people tend to loose focus on what they’re doing. And people who loose focus will start to make errors. There are actually numbers suggesting I might be right about this: 70% of major datacenter outages are caused by human error.
So doing stuff over and over again is not only boring, it also robs you of the time you need to learn less boring stuff. On top of that it also makes you make errors and cause major downtime. So there is the first reason to automate:

Avoid doing the same stuff over and over again

I’ll save the question “Should we automate everything and cut out all humans to avoid any errors?” for another blog post.

Another important part of the human factor is the fact that the number of humans is limited. I am intendedly avoiding the word “Humans resources” here because in my opinion humans are a lot more than just some resource a company can draw from. They are the company, they provide the creativity and passion that a company needs that no technology can replace. And that’s exactly why you want as them to spend as much time as possible being creative and passionate instead of mindlessly clicking some buttons or typing command lines. So there is my second reason to automate:

Optimize the time humans spend on things that actually matter

The Money Factor
This spending of time brings us to the second factor: money. Automating can save you money in more than one way. As I said earlier, a lot of outage is caused by human error. So having an automated process doing the day to day work can possibly save some outages and thereby save you money.
When jobs that need to be done often you don’t only avoid making misatake, you can actually save time. This time can be spend on other tasks. This makes it possible to do more work with less people. So there is the third reason to automate:

Save money by avoiding downtime and hiring additional people

The Coolness Factor
To a genuine geek all reasons above may sound rather boring. So here is a reason to automate that will convince all fellow IT geeks:

Seeing stuff happening without touching your keyboard is cool

In all seriousness, automating is cool. Think about it: have you ever seen a robotic arm build a car? Yes? Was that cool or what? Automating IT infrastructure may not be spectacular in the same way that a welding robot is spectacular. However, it is as much cooler as is using a dashboard placing robotic arm instead of mounting 100 speed dials manually each and every day.

If you are an administrator you want to be the guy programming the robotic arm instead of the guy mounting the speed dials. This blog is aiming to help you get there. If you need help with that, you know where to find us….

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