Extreme IT Automation
Extreme IT Automation
Learn how automation, along with culture, lean process design, measurement, and sharing, form the pillars of DevOps, which transformed the software world.
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Following the Extreme IT Automation webinar on DevOps.com, I wanted to provide a summary and explore some of the topics discussed. You can watch the full webinar here.
How DevOps Happens
DevOps transformed the software development process. It facilitates continuous delivery — that is to say, faster and more efficient releases without a corresponding increase in operational risk. But DevOps is itself predicated on a number of pillars: culture, lean process design, measurement, sharing, and automation.
Automation is the practical element of DevOps and enjoys a symbiotic relationship with the other pillars. While it might be possible to embrace a DevOps culture, the effects and benefits of doing only this to the exclusion of the other four pillars are minimal. This culture can only thrive when it is built upon a strong technical foundation. Indeed, the larger, more complex and heterogeneous an enterprise is, the more significant the role automation plays.
As the heartbeat of an organization successfully doing DevOps, automation streamlines development and deployment, creating time for staff to work on the innovative projects that will deliver your company's critical differentiators. In other words, it forms the central tenet of your digital transformation.
Getting It Right
There is no hard and fast rule on the use of automation, and the requirements, use cases and scale of its implementation vary from company to company. Nonetheless, there are general guidelines that can be used to shape your approach. The fundamental idea is to remove manual processes that are tedious, time-consuming and liable to involve human error. Moreover, this gives rise to the possibility of undertaking projects that would not have been possible before. For instance, without automation, a task that might involve completing the same action hundreds of times a day was simply not possible due to a lack of hours in the day and available resources.
Indeed continuous delivery, the end-game of a DevOps approach, would not be attainable without automation.
It remains vital to use automation correctly; automating tasks that only take 10 minutes probably won't net you a great return on investment, especially if the programming requires weeks of development and a large financial outlay. Nonetheless, a strategic approach is required here-a task might be small and occasional at this moment in time, but if it is to grow exponentially as the business scales, getting automation in place early will pay off later.
Automation vastly reduces the length of time it takes to complete repeatable and routine processes, while at the same time eliminating the risk of manual error. The result of this is less time, money and resources invested on routine tasks and more opportunity and freedom to work on interesting and innovative projects.
Automation, perhaps counter-intuitively, has people at its heart. Looked at another way, DevOps is a people-centric approach facilitated by automation. Nonetheless, it will always chuck up the question: Will I be automated out of a job? The reality is no. Yes, some jobs will become rarer-but at the same time new ones will be created. This is ultimately the nature of evolving technologies in a changing world. In the same way that companies must adapt to succeed in the marketplace, so must we as individuals.
A Piece of the Puzzle
It is important to realize that automation is not the goal in and of itself, nor can it enable DevOps alone. However, it forms the underlying technical structure that allows DevOps to flourish. Without it, any potential gains are minimal, and speed and agility are hindered. By contrast, automation ensures that cultural and organizational changes advance your continuous delivery goal unimpeded and at a rapid rate.
Published at DZone with permission of Larry Salomon . See the original article here.
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