Automation brings along several benefits, but, as manual operations give way to logical machines and decisions and actions are taken without direct human involvement, a number of dangers arise. Most importantly, automation introduces new types of errors. These are errors which have not been encountered in the specific environment until now.
Benefits of Automation
I tried to gather the automation benefits specifically for IT Infrastructure. Benefits can be small or large depending on the organization and the implementation. Automation is an investment, which requires cost, effort and good planning. Returns are not immediate, or may never come if automation is not planned correctly. The ultimate goal of automation is to eliminate human involvement. So, all benefits derive from reducing the human factor.
IT Automation Tiers
The term "auto-mation" comes from "(ε)αυτός", the Greek word for "self". Automating the IT infrastructure means making it capable of fullfiling its purpose without human involvement. In a 2015 report, Gartner talks about 3 IT automation tiers: IT tasks, IT services and IT processes. finally to processes. However, these 3 tiers are never static in real-life. We will amend Gartner's classification towards a continuous improvement model for automation in IT infrastructure:
Alexa controls the Cloud. Awesome, but…
I watched this video from Matt Dreyer's presentation in AWS re:Invent 2016, and then I saw "The Arrival", a film by Denis Villeneuve. In Matt's presentation, IT cloud infrastructure is controlled with natural language, as Alexa (an Amazon AI implementation) interprets the human speech to commands understood by the VMware cloud running on Amazon AWS. There are …
Do we need more monitoring?
A lot has been written on how important monitoring is. Instead of contributing to the frenzy or more tools, with heuristic end-to-end capabilities for DevOps, and the importance of monitoring, known already since the 80's, I would like to give a disruptive view.
From the moment any tool presents its findings on a screen, the benefit is only evolutionary; it cannot contribute to a vision for a non-stop infrastructure for DevOps or any other operational model. We forget that monitoring is a process, not technologies.