As organizations across the globe begin adopting virtualization and start expanding its use across more and more mission-critical applications, their infrastructures inevitably become much more complex. Data centers are creeping ever closer to the possibility of the private cloud, however the ease and speed with which they can move forward is beginning to diminish. What’s the key to overcoming these last big hurdles that stand in the way of full adoption of private cloud through which they can potentially achieve much greater efficiency and enhanced service? IT process automation is quickly becoming the catalyst that is enabling organizations to successfully navigate and achieve this transformation.
The virtual data center faces new challenges, despite the fact that the problems they’re tackling are nothing new (i.e. automated provisioning, asset management, change and configuration management, etc.). Couple these challenges with the increase in demand brought on by the speed of virtualization and the modern data center easily becomes susceptible to things like virtual sprawl and stall. IT process automation is the solution to these challenges, enabling virtual data centers to streamline routine and time consuming tasks, improving operational efficiency and ultimately boosting the morale of IT personnel.
If virtual data centers ever hope to make the shift to private clouds, the must first make the transition from managing infrastructure to managing service consumption. With policy-driven IT process automation, IT teams can leverage pre-defined workflows to efficiently scale their administrative capabilities, enabling them to more quickly respond to and resolve on-demand service requests. When business and IT policies are applied to the development and standardization of processes, businesses are able to ensure the delivery of consistent and predictable IT services across both the virtual data center and the private cloud.
Successful implementation of the private cloud will not only help to reduce operational costs, but will also enable organizations to leverage the advantages of faster IT delivery, improved service quality and increased responsiveness to changing business needs. One of the heftiest costs associated with the data center is attributed to administrative support. Having to manually respond to the increased demand of a cloud environment not only increases these costs, but will also result in more incidents, errors and outages.
Integrating IT process automation into the mix is best done in increments. First, focus on the areas of your organization’s private cloud or virtual environment that are an obvious fit for ITPA and would deliver the greatest overall benefit (fast and measurable ROI). These areas may or may not include (but are also not limited to):
- Discovery and reporting
- Capacity planning
- Automated provisioning
- Lifecycle management
- Self-service automation
- Change and configuration management
- Resource optimization
- Policy-based automation
Finally, when organizations begin to tap into virtualization, they inevitably begin to gain greater buy-in from key decision makers, which boost momentum in terms of the immediate and significant reduction in capital expenditure. These initial savings, however, only represent the tip of the iceberg of the potential financial benefits that virtualization can afford. The real value lies in the private cloud, an area in which long-term operational expenses can be dramatically reduced. This is all made possible by IT process automation.
Without the addition of ITPA, the cost of additional personnel, inefficient allocation of resources and unanticipated downtime can significantly impact the expected ROI of virtualization. In some cases, these issues could ultimately bring the initiative to a screeching halt. The only true way to achieve quantifiable, long-term expense reduction is by leveraging IT process automation to eliminate the day-to-day mundane and manual tasks associated with managing virtual systems. Only then will the organization realize the real and lasting benefits it’s after.