As end users rely more and more on computing resources and services to get their jobs done, IT organizations — and system administrators in particular — are experiencing ever-increasing demands on their time. Despite the importance of IT in strategic and tactical operations, many IT departments are so overrun with requests that doing things in a reactive and ad hoc fashion becomes the norm.
Often, issues are addressed only after they have ballooned into significant problems, at which time support-related costs can be tremendous. these issues include:
- Slow Provisioning
- Lack of visibility
- Cost containment
- Virtual Sprawl
- Wasted Resources
The goal of the cloud is to deliver Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) and get the provisioning timeframe down to hours, or preferably minutes. IT teams that can regularly achieve this goal deliver an invaluable service to their organizations. However, most IT organizations operate in an environment where they are being asked to do more with less, with no increase in staff or budget.
The only way to succeed, given today's expectations, is to automate provisioning, which, in a traditional data center, has meant complexity that is not only time-consuming but that also requires extensive customization.
This heavy resource requirement has limited automation to basic scripting for organizations that do not have access to extensive pools of IT resources, expensive development resources, or professional services budgets.
This is the role of cloud automation software. But if the chosen platform requires weeks or months to turn up and configure, lengthy professional services engagements, or continual complex care and feeding, then you’ve merely solved one problem while creating another. The right software should not only provide the provisioning automation; it should also seamlessly integrate into IT’s daily activities and not become an overhead burden itself.
Attempting to implement all aspects of automation at once will more than likely result in confusion and can potentially end in failure. Every organization is different, and there is no single template to get you there.
Begin by setting your priorities and your vision and then by taking your first step toward it. As you progress down the cloud automation path, build on your previous steps, correct as you go, and prioritize the next steps. Over time, these steps will become clear.
The following are the suggested steps to take (which can be reordered based on your priorities) as you implement automated provisioning:
To find out more details on each of these steps, along with a planning worksheet to implement them and questions to ask your prospective vendor, download our System Administrators Guide to Cloud Automation.