Interest in IT automation rises to meet the challenge of scale

Posted by Mike Vizard on Mar 10, 2015 11:44:41 AM

4411801078_dbd69a55d6_zUnlike large-scale web companies such as Facebook and Google, most IT organizations don’t have an excess of engineering talent to throw at IT challenges. Therefore it’s not surprising that a new survey conducted by EMC finds that many IT organizations are counting on advances in IT automation to help them manage IT at scale.

The survey of 10,451 IT business decision-makers also finds that 74 percent of the respondents said that increased reliance on automation is imperative to their business growth strategies.

Embracing IT automation

Those results signal a sea change in attitude as far as IT automation is concerned. Historically, most IT organizations have resisted automation. Many members of the IT staff see automation as a threat to their jobs. In addition, they feel that automation technologies hide what’s actually happening inside their IT environments, resulting in less visibility and control over the IT environment.

The results also signal the acceptance of the inevitable. IT environments have become too complex for the average organization to manage. Most of them can’t afford to keep throwing administrators at every problem. If anything, IT organizations want to move away from dependencies on specialists in favor of generalists who can manage multiple IT functions. For these reasons, interest in software-defined data center technologies is running high. 

The demand for automation expertise

For IT service providers, this shift presents some unique opportunities. First of all, there’s a lot more interest in running IT on an industrial scale. Instead of having individual servers have names like “Frodo” and “C3PO,” which means that machine has individual characteristics and traits, machines in a scalable setting are disposable components that can be replaced in a matter of minutes.

IT service providers with IT automation expertise are going to be in demand to help IT organizations make the transition to software-defined IT architectures. Of course, once everything becomes software-defined it becomes much easier to manage as a service.

With every piece of IT infrastructure now exposing an application programming interface, it’s becoming more economical to remotely manage those devices. Rather than investing in IT automation expertise themselves, more IT organizations may determine it’s now simpler to rely on external IT service providers who can more cost effectively manage their infrastructure. After all, from the perspective of the business, the return on investment in IT is not derived from the infrastructure but rather from the applications that run on top of it.

The good news for IT management

If fewer dollars are spent on IT infrastructure, it stands to reason that that should ultimately free up more money to invest in applications that add value to the business. Arguably, we’re approaching a seminal moment in the history of IT. Collectively, we’ve relied on IT to automate almost every process there is except one: the management of IT itself. The good news is that thanks to IT automation the management of IT finally appears poised to change for the better.

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Topics: IT Services Trends, Customer Management

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