When talking to customers about automation, a lot of times the customer is confused as to where to start. They know they want it but sometimes don’t know why they want it. It happens on a regular basis and you know what, that is ok. I often compare it to the cloud. Remember… 5 years ago everyone wanted to go to the cloud but they didn’t know why they wanted to go to the cloud, all they knew is that it would help them.
Well first let me apologizing for starting a topic like automation without getting into why you want automation in your data center. I mean, I gave you a scenario of one of the many things that automation can be… can do… but I never even took the time to tell you why you wanted to franchise your network.
Let me begin by telling you (at this time) the number one reason why customers want to talk to us about Automation is because they want to automate firewall rules. I will get in to more details about this in the next blog post but let me try to stay focused. You see corporations are paying people to review firewall requests and implement them. They are doing hundreds a week.
This gets tedious and painful and a not very good use of resources. Think about the ability for your data center employees to be doing “real” work and not just checking and implementing. Don’t get me wrong, this task is absolutely required but when you are tight for resources, the ability to get this resource back to doing other things seems more important. I remember when we used to talk about virtualization and the cloud and people were worried about losing their job because of the convenience that the technology brought. Now people are asking for technology to make their jobs better and to give them the time to do other projects.
Some of the marketing terms used for automation are…
- time saver
- error reducer
- consistency (refer to my previous blog post)
- increased productivity
- increased availability
Great things huh? Almost sounds like a miracle worker right? The thing is… sadly these terms are true.
Let me give you my personal example. I am obsessive with my credit card bills. I get the bill. I compare my saved receipts to the bill. I schedule the bill payment. I update my accounting software. This is a tedious process and takes up a lot of time. Heaven forbid I enter in an amount incorrectly… and I am going through my entries trying to find my error. This can be frustrating. Now imagine that I could automate that… the whole process. I write software to log into my account, map my receipts to the bill, pay the bill, update finance software. This would save me a lot of time and help my sanity (if that is even possible). Now you try… take an activity that you do on a regular basis, on a repeatable basis and imagine if you could get someone else to do it. That would be pretty sweet right? That is what IT automation is… I know it is simplifying it but in all honesty… it kind of is.