The modern IT infrastructure ecosystem is a highly complex environment with numerous components. In an increasingly digital world, it forms the backbone of almost every business operation, from production to sales to marketing to customer service. Therefore, the smooth and continuous functioning of the data centers and the IT infrastructure is co-relational to everyday business continuity.
While some organizations opt for on-premises data centers for greater flexibility, others adopt a hybrid or multi-cloud approach for ‘wherever and whenever’ resource provisioning. Some establishments need computing on edge devices; others require high-performing resources with superior computing capabilities.
Irrespective of their approach, growing businesses must continually look at how to expand their IT infrastructure successfully. For the IT ecosystem to function seamlessly, organizations need a well-oiled infrastructure provisioning and maintenance process. And it is no secret that manual configuration processes and interventions are the bottlenecks to the speed of delivery.
On the other hand, as organizations adopt DevOps
and migrate their integrations to the cloud, they are also increasingly moving towards cloud-managed DevOps platforms
, making continuous delivery a part of the managed cloud service.
In fact, Gartner
stated that in 2022, about 60% of business entities utilized cloud-managed offerings, doubling the recorded use in 2018.
In this blog, we will discuss the benefits of IT infrastructure automation and how a SaaS-based IT infrastructure automation approach brings value.
What is IT infrastructure automation?
IT infrastructure automation has probably existed since the 1970s. While operation teams have been writing configuration files for decades, Infrastructure Management tools like Chef came into being in the early 2000s, automating the process of manually configuring, provisioning, and maintaining infrastructure.
As in the case of any automation, IT infrastructure automation
is a process where organizations use tools to increase efficiency and reduce errors by minimizing manual efforts—In this case, automating processes associated with provisioning and deploying workloads in on-prem and public cloud environments.
The primary objective of IT automation is to make processes related to infrastructure faster, secure, and error-free – all while reducing complexity, increasing visibility, and saving time for IT personnel.
With more time, development and IT Operations teams can divert their efforts towards meaningful and strategic work like driving transformation and modernization instead of mundane, repeatable, tedious, and error-prone infrastructure provisioning and configuration management tasks.
Why IT Infrastructure Automation?
Relying on manual processes for fleet-wide IT provisioning and configuration management can:
- Impact the consistency of configurations,
- Increase operational costs and
- Increase dependency and cost on skilled labor to conduct manual work on numerous workloads.
To mitigate these challenges, organizations need an IT automation strategy to break down silos, promote collaboration among different teams and simplify infrastructure configuration management across heterogeneous IT estates.
In 2021, a Gartner survey reported
that only 20% of organizations had automated their IT infrastructure management. But by 2025, that number is forecast to take a significant leap to 70%. The same survey states that 85% of infrastructure and operations (I&O) leaders who do not currently have any full automation expect to become more automated in the next two to three years.
As reported by several large organizations, one of the most significant advantages of using IT automation is the speed of infrastructure provisioning
and the consistency of configuration that improves overall productivity. However, the benefits become multifold when visualized across large, siloed teams. More so when internal teams use discrete and hard-to-understand processes that hinder effective collaboration.
This necessitates standard languages/policies that can be understood and operated upon by all stakeholder teams, from DevOps to Security to IT administrators. When everybody in the organization speaks the same language of code
, operations become faster, and so does the speed of delivery.
Automation plays a massive role in standardizing policies across organizations, resulting in quick changes, fewer merge errors, faster delivery and consistency of configurations. Let’s look at some of the critical advantages of automation in Infrastructure management.
1. Cost savings:
Organizations have a hard time mapping costs to infrastructure requests. Information on under-utilized and over-utilized assets and accountability is essential to monitor and save costs. Apart from the cost of acquiring infrastructure assets, a slow pace of manually configuring them can lead to delays in getting systems ready for work. Every delay can be interpreted as lost productivity since all dependent processes are slowed, and service delivery could be interrupted.
Employees require resources when needed, which should be configured securely with the desired specifications. Only automation can ensure this with consistency, accuracy, and speed, saving time and loss of productivity. Besides, most manual tasks are eliminated with automation, ensuring processes are error-free and efficient even as resource fleets scale. This reduces dependency on multiple personnel to configure large multi-OS devices and can save staffing costs.
2. Deep visibility:
Troubleshooting infrastructure issues often takes time because locating the problem and root cause is often cumbersome. The delay in determining the cause and location is usually due to a lack of visibility into the IT estate
. Finding and resolving drifts becomes easier with an IT infrastructure automation solution that offers detailed visibility into the configuration status of devices in the fleet. Besides, generating reports detailing issues, vulnerabilities and mean troubleshooting time can help make informed decisions about infrastructure platform, OS, capacity and scalability plans.
Considering how a typical IT ecosystem contains a variety of devices, operating systems and platforms, managing all resources with consistency is a challenge, especially when done manually. This can lead to missing SLAs and to high maintenance costs. Automation ensures that configurations across the entire heterogeneous IT fleet are applied consistently and securely. It identifies drifts, resolves them automatically, makes changes quickly and delivers high uptime.
Infrastructure Automation as a Service
IT Infrastructure automation provided as a service on the cloud is particularly helpful to organizations that lack the skills or budgets to set up infrastructure. Providing infrastructure management as a service simplifies the process of configuration. Disparate teams and collaborators across the DevOps space can use the intuitive interfaces of a SaaS service to configure their IT infrastructure and obtain visibility on fleet status, compliance and security postures.
Providing infrastructure automation as a SaaS
service increases collaboration and helps monitor, manage and report through an overarching solution on the cloud. An effective SaaS strategy enables a business to adopt a more flexible approach to executing DevOps processes, reducing cost and effort simultaneously.
Why Chef SaaS for IT infrastructure automation?
Chef SaaS is built on the Policy-as-Code approach designed to address all the challenges discussed above. Chef ensures that the overhead associated with infrastructure configuration management on organizations is minimized significantly with a SaaS model.
Organizations can get started easily as Chef manages the entire infrastructure resource requirements through its data centers. This eliminates the challenges associated with installing and configuring multiple instances of the solution across large heterogeneous resources in the fleet and the associated maintenance difficulties.
Since Progress Chef manages everything for you, the cost savings are massive, issues are minimal, and scaling the fleet with newer, diverse resources is easier.
If you are looking for an infrastructure automation solution that makes deployment easier with comprehensive provisioning, configuration and drift remediation capabilities, book a demo
with us today.