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An initiation into infrastructure automation tools and methods

Systems administrators can fill their days with version control, application testing and roll outs, server patches and configuration changes. Or, they can invest in infrastructure automation tools.

Introduction

Infrastructure automation tools and processes save systems administrators and IT managers time on rote tasks and remove chances for human error during IT configuration, patch management and performance tracking.

Automation without proper forethought, training and support, however, only makes a small mess bigger, and can do so quickly. And enterprise IT organizations rarely start fresh with no legacy code, programs, tool sets or infrastructure. These tips and examples show how to use workflow orchestration, automated alerts, configuration management tools and more to successfully automate the IT infrastructure.

1Script everything -

Fully exploit IT automation

The path to a modernized IT Ops team starts by targeting the right areas for orchestration and workflow automation, then learning to think in automation terms: If we do this task more than once, is it easier to automate? Infrastructure automation can also set an IT organization on the path to cloud, whether that is a private cloud in the data center, test and dev in a public cloud, cloud-hosted infrastructure, or a mix of options.

Tip

Don't do it yourself

Systems administrators must learn to accept the added effort of workflow automation rather than spinning their wheels performing the same tasks over and over again. Continue Reading

Opinion

Call on system programmers for automation approach

System programmers could be the key to a modernized IT operation based on standardized scripts, infrastructure automation tools and cloud resources. Continue Reading

News

'Anything and everything' to get more productive

One early proponent of DevOps shares lessons on where agility gets lost in the enterprise IT culture and scale. Continue Reading

Tip

Provision -- then orchestrate

If you're already using scripts and cloud-based resources to provision applications, consider cloud orchestration as the next step. Continue Reading

Tip

Which orchestration approach is best?

Is your IT organization ready for a DevOps approach to cloud orchestration? What about a model-based scheme? Continue Reading

Feature

Modernize in the data center

Data center automation tools are like potato chips -- you can't have just one. Rather than search for a single tool to meet all infrastructure and operations requirements, adopt these best practices to keep your tool habit under control. Continue Reading

Feature

Cloud-first mandate: No more special snowflake servers

Robert Half International planned to ditch the data center as soon as possible. That plan meant a learning curve for the IT organization on scripting and project planning, but back-end rewards. Continue Reading

News

Cut down on IT automation tools

Out of chaos comes clarity. When an IT organization can standardize on the most functional automation tools for their processes and workflows --cutting out redundancies --the benefits become clear. Continue Reading

2Standardize or perish-

Tools for configuration, change management

IT automation must start with strategy and a deep understanding of process, which will inform tool choices. Modern organizations are taking advantage of configuration management tools to automate infrastructure updates and scaling. Pair configuration management and infrastructure automation tools with a solid change management system, and your systems administrators might get an entire holiday off without worrying about alert calls.

Feature

Facebook's journey to Chef configuration management

Webscale social networking company Facebook realized DevOps was the best path to manage its data center infrastructure, then undertook a years-long initiative to make it work. Continue Reading

News

Insurance company takes a risk

Most enterprises face some of the same challenges as Facebook, but with very different culture, existing infrastructure and Capex/Opex considerations. Here's how insurance company Hiscox tackled automation within its IT infrastructure. Continue Reading

Tip

DevOps, Agile and the old guard of data center infrastructure

Mainframes are often called the old way of running IT, but, in fact, the big iron workhorse that many enterprises and financial institutions rely on can benefit from the concepts of DevOps and Agile IT. Continue Reading

Tip

Think like a developer, work like an administrator

In the process of learning Chef, one network administrator found he was thinking like a developer. Implement these tips to streamline configuration management, even outside the admin comfort zone. Continue Reading

Tip

Change often, and change the right way

IT infrastructure automation and DevOps enable a lot of changes in the data center and with cloud deployments. Keep new projects, rapid releases and Agile thinking on the right path with an effective change management system. Continue Reading

3Instant stability-

Manage and monitor IT environments

Stability, security and efficiency are the hallmarks of enterprise IT production environments. Increased agility and automation continue from the development and deployment phases into production, with infrastructure monitoring tools and ops-centric automation.

Tip

Don't miss a thing

Enterprise application and infrastructure performance monitoring typically involves multiple tools focused on certain pieces of the puzzle. Bring them all together with compatibility requirements and API integration. Continue Reading

Tip

Test for success

When you're implementing a bevy of infrastructure automation tools, monitoring tools and project management systems, take the time to test compatibility and integration, to prevent blind spots and troubleshooting quagmires. Continue Reading

Tip

Shared tools equals shared goals

When developers release quickly and with automated processes, the right tools give operations teams insight into the code, allowing developers to check up on infrastructure performance. Continue Reading

News

Do you know where your app is?

A retailer with online and brick-and-mortar presence decided to take control of its application performance, revamping the tools that Ops used for monitoring and management. Continue Reading

Tip

Insist on systemic security

Increased infrastructure automation, distributed application development and deployment to cloud resources means a fundamental rewrite of the security script for most enterprises. What do you do when you can't create a perimeter? Continue Reading

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