10 Things to Consider About Next-Generation Data Center Automation

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10 Things to Consider About Next-Generation Data Center Automation

by Chris Preimesberger

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The Problem in General with Software Systems

Software systems are constructed manually and often poorly documented along the way. For many organizations, provisioning and maintaining software systems is a challenge because systems are cobbled together manually and what's deployed is opaque. Often, only specific individuals know important details, and those are not communicated well to other staff members.

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The Challenge of Software Updates

Scale + complexity + accelerating change are among the greatest IT challenges for 2010. With the rate of change increasing at every layer of the stack, most IT organizations either avoid updates altogether or put each and every software change through a labyrinth of costly and time-consuming processes of testing and certification. It's also difficult to know specifically what software is running and what the impact of changes will be.

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Accelerating IT Through Automation

To accelerate the efficiency of an IT system, some IT managers are implementing automation solutions. But many such data center automation solutions simply apply basic scripts to existing processes, failing to address the fundamental inadequacy of the underlying processes themselves.

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Intelligent Automation Combats Accelerating Change

Change is unavoidable. The key is to automate as much of the change process as possible, but to do so intelligently. Yesterday's approach to simply scripting manual tasks will only cause the wrong things to happen faster.

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Doing More with Less and Offsetting Hidden Costs

It appears that virtualization and cloud may be a capital expenditure boon and an operational expense bust. IT groups are under pressure to deal with the exploding scale and complexity of software systems while finding ways to reduce costs and "do more with less." Manual approaches to system provisioning and maintenance are no longer efficient enough to keep up.

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Reducing Risks

IT leaders want to reduce or eliminate the delay, cost and risk associated with manual system provisioning and maintenance. They need to ensure system transparency and control to reduce outages, ensure compliance and ease troubleshooting. IT organizations need a solution that can apply automation and control to a process that is far too manual and chaotic.

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The Release Automation Platform

The answer to the old methods is model-driven automation of construction, provisioning and maintenance of software systems across physical, virtual or cloud environments. Such a system model defines the exact profile of a deployed system—all components, versions, dependencies, etc.—which provides a basis for on-demand provisioning and targeted, predictable updates.

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Model-Driven and Deeply Version-Controlled Automation

With such a system model in place, opaque system inventories become transparent. And with the entire inventory managed under strong versioning, the system lifecycle is controlled and predictable. Patching and updates become far less traumatic, and rollbacks are simple.

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The Coming Age of the Application-Centric Data Center

Today, IT is far too focused on infrastructure. Ultimately, applications—or Web-based business services—are the only thing in IT with direct business value. This approach to automation allows IT to focus on creating business services, letting the intelligent system automation solution automate the creation, provisioning and maintenance of the entire software stack across physical, virtual or cloud environments.

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The Six Musts of Intelligent System Automation

To learn more about intelligent system automation, download Jake Sorofman's free book, "The 6 Musts of Intelligent System Automation" at this Website: http://www.rpath.com/corp/6-musts.

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