There is an increasing need for automation across all sectors from manufacturing to marketing as organisations seek to reduce the need for human involvement in manual processes, save time and resources, and increase operational efficiency.
Here we explore the key benefits of IT automation and the skillsets currently in high demand featuring commentary from Xcede's Delivery Consultant Hiroo Caprario.
What is IT Automation?
Red Hat generally defines IT automation — or infrastructure automation — as the “use of software to create repeatable instructions and processes to replace or reduce human interaction with IT systems”. Automating processes in the IT space is, as Red Hat suggests, a key step in IT optimization and digital transformation.
CloudStream’s Delivery Consultant Hiroo Caprario notes:
“Automation is ubiquitous in that it can be integrated and applied to anything from networks, infrastructure, cloud provisioning to application deployment and configuration. It is a critical step as more and more companies move to multi-cloud and hybrid cloud environments.”
As companies increase their use of containers and microservices, automating processes has become critical. Hiroo notes:
“Hybrid cloud, containers, and microservices lead the list of factors driving the increased use of automation in the IT space, with containers and microservices helping to simplify hybrid cloud environments.”
Benefits of IT Automation
One of the most obvious benefits of IT automation is that it helps businesses (and employees) save time and resources. As labour spending is reduced and tasks are more efficiently allocated, this leads to peak productivity, saving organisations time and resources in the long term. The speed and effectivity of work is also enhanced as IT automation creates more efficient, consistent products for employees to work on with more refined testing.
Speaking to Hiroo about the importance of automation to optimizing IT infrastructures, he notes:
“Automation has now become a necessity in the world of IT due to the ever-expanding mix of technologies in use, the increasing demands in speed and talent concerns. It can free up IT staff to concentrate on critical tasks (such as strategy and development), rather than getting bogged down in the mundane such as password resets.”
It can also reap benefits in the realm of enhancing IT security. Where there is a reduction in manual, repeatable tasks, there is simultaneously a reduction in human error along with other benefits such as automated, proactive network security monitoring.
IT Skills in High Demand
From automation tools such as Ansible to orchestration platforms such as Kubernetes, the demand for IT professionals with proven experience of implementing and deploying such technologies remains high.
Eran Bibi, director of DevOps and cloud platform at Aqua Security suggests that this year we will see more automation around Kubernetes, in particular around the deployment process.
“These tools will ensure the application definitions, configurations, and environments will be declarative and version-controlled. And they will take care of the deployment and lifecycle management in an automated manner.”
Another trend to note (as suggested by Ravi Lachhman, evangelist at Harness) is around CI/CD pipelines, with companies shifting focus to how they are deploying rather than what they are deploying, becoming “more agnostic”. Similarly, Gordon Haff, technology evangelist at Red Hat highlights “the evolution of CI/CD systems to be a better fit with Kubernetes”, where some of “the incumbent tools don’t necessarily play nice with the orchestration platform, or otherwise create complexity rather than reduce it.”
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