Saju Pillai, chief executive officer, Idea Device, a provider of data centre automation solutions, says automation solutions are a necessity for IT organizations committed to delivering on their growth objectives.
The Smart-er CIO: one who focuses on critical business innovation, and lets automation take care of the rest.
A recent report by Gartner on the top 10 enterprise IT trends over the next five years pointed out an interesting dilemma. As per Gartner data, 74 per cent of IT budgets are devoted to running daily IT operations. Additionally, with increasing data storage and analysis requirements in corporate data centers, the average enterprise can expect to see data capacities grow by over 800 percent. At the same time however, IT budgets can expect only a modest growth of around 3 to 3.5 percent next year. With ever-increasing server workloads, network and storage requirements, IT will be expected to do more with less, making automation a critical tool in every CIO’s scalability toolkit.
Currently, IT groups in general and storage/database groups in particular face multiple challenges in managing a rapidly growing infrastructure while also rationalizing headcount in search of increased efficiency. Even service organizations willing to deploy a large number of resources face the following issues:
With business requirements for 24×7 availability and increased workloads, most companies are compelled to use a large number of L1 and L2 support staff for most maintenance tasks, which exposes them to critical data. Such wide and unrestricted access to junior staff is contrary to the need to keep data secure.
Issues with compliance and the need to maintain strict access and audit trails for groups accessing stored information is another issue that can lead to legal implications for the company. The level of complexity here is directly proportional to the number of people who need to be given access to critical infrastructure.
With storage capacities and private data center infrastructure increasing rapidly, it is not possible for IT to keep hiring increasing numbers of support staff, especially with limited, or reduced budgets. In the absence of automation tools being deployed, IT groups will find themselves unable to meet business requirements in the current scenario.
Roadblock to Innovation
With over 74 percent of IT budgets dedicated to ‘keeping the lights on’, and increasing demands on the infrastructure side, CIO’s find themselves without the critical resources needed to focus on innovation and deliver value to the business.
With greater infrastructure complexity, disaster recovery and backup processes also become quite complex. The time taken for failover operations increases and requires multiple, complex steps to be executed by the L1/L2 IT team. Regular health checks and infrastructure monitoring processes are also needed, which can be 100 percent foolproof in case they are automated.
Automation helps Bridge the Gap
In addition to resolving existing challenges, automation solutions are a necessity for IT organizations committed to delivering on their growth objectives.
Automation addresses the following challenges:
Security and Compliance
With automated processes in the datacenter, most tasks can be automated, reducing the need for L1/L2 support and hence negating possible security risks in exposing data and critical access permissions to junior staff. With support for audit trails, logs and restricted access controls, compliance is ensured and can be verified as needed.
Automation tools will make it easier for IT groups to scale to higher storage and infrastructure demands, while meeting business requirements and without having to recruit an increasing number of support staff.
With more staff freed up from mundane tasks related to daily operations, CIO’s and IT teams will be able to focus on innovative technologies and platforms that can actually add value to the business rather than spending time on low-value jobs that can be easily automated.
Faster Monitoring and Failovers
Automation allows us to model and automate regular health checks, adding completely reliable checks without risk of any mistakes. All failover and disaster recovery operations can be automated, reducing failover time and supporting complex infrastructure deployments without any issues.
To conclude, the only way for enterprise IT groups to manage growing storage requirements and private data centers is through increasing adoption of automation solutions that can take care of all routine tasks. Attempting to scale without automation would be difficult, if not impossible, making it an important enabler of IT trends over the next few years such as an exponential growth in storage and the advent of intelligent data centers. CIOs who recognize this and ensure early adoption of automation in their data centers stand to reap the benefits while others struggle to keep the lights on rather than focus on strategic tasks that will directly impact the business.