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:
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.
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.
Machines, People and Processes - When we refer to IT infrastructure, we tend to forget that it is much more than hardware. In fact, hardware you use are the least of your concerns. You buy the best hardware of the most shinny technology, plug it to power, connect to network and it is up and running. Is this enough? Definitely Not. If you look into the history of your problems ...