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The Key to IT Operations: Automate, Automate, and Automate

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In an “Everything-as-a-Service” world, there is a growing expectation that users should be able to request IT services and at the drop of a hat, have them ready for use. In a world that used to dependent on measured and predictable requests for business growth, the service-based evolution can be quite painful.

To complicate the matter, IT operations is being asked to make the agility transition while at the same time reducing overhead and staffing?  If you have ever been asked to run faster, while carrying more weight, and having one arm tied behind your back, you should be able to relate.

In the article, “Data center double duty,” an AFCOM poll of IT managers and senior IT executives found that over the past three years 74% of data centers increased their physical server count while approximately 35% either reduced or maintained the same level of IT staff. This has contributed to an 86% increase in the admin-per-server ratio.

Also in the article,  Metrics Based Assessments (MBA) provided research into datacenter benchmarks. They found a similar trend of IT being asked to support more servers with less staff. The question is how is IT operating managing this transition without impacting productivity? From the article,

"What we're really seeing is that people are adding capacity, but they are not increasing staff size, and somehow the staff is figuring out how to deal with it," says Mark Levin, a partner at MBA. "And a lot of it has to do with improved levels of automation or things of that nature."

Looking at the data, it’s safe to say that the over a decade long trend of reducing IT operations staff is not showing any sign of reversing. Lean operations is not only here to stay its the only one way for IT to succeed in this environment.

IT can respond and overcome these challenges but it must seek out every possible way to bring consistency and reliability by finding ways to reduce manual touch points and processes when it comes to deploying and managing their infrastructure. Looking at every possible opportunity to automate IT process is not only the best place to start, it’s the best place to continue for the foreseeable future.

Image Credit: ansik

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