Checklists for Checklists on Checklists: Why Not Automate?

IT Infrastructure - Other
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Today, we need automation more than ever before.


Editor's note: This article introduces the white paper "Checklists for Checklists on Checklists" available for download free from the MC White Paper Center.


The goal of computers taking care of themselves has been with us since commercial systems became available. Today, new needs are driving a continuing push to automation.


This is an old topic given new impetus in the always-changing world of IT. Applications become integrated; organizations become interconnected; and clients, customers, partners, and employees want to be online 24 hours a day and have little tolerance for downtime or delays.


This white paper is not about getting rid of IT checklists. In fact, it is in awe of the power of a good checklist. But how can you make sure the best procedures are always in place, ready for action, and available all the time? That's where automation comes in.


Written by IT industry expert John Fearon and sponsored by Halcyon Software, this article discusses the advantages of automating traditional manual, hands-on management for the operation and maintenance of IT platforms, systems, networks, and architectures.


These days, operating systems automate many tasks. Beyond that, most organizations need more sophisticated job scheduling, more intelligence in monitoring and alerting, and cross-platform abilities. Often, effective procedures are developed, used once or twice, and then forgotten. It can be difficult to make sure you have the best procedures in place, at the right time always.


System administrators move on, IT changes slightly, and procedures start to weaken and become error-prone.


Today, we need automation more than ever before. Applications rarely sit in their own "silo" anymore. The world is interconnected, both internally (within organizations) and externally (businesses talking to businesses and consumers across the globe and across time zones). The "Internet of Things," devices talking to devices, will soon be bigger than the "Internet of People."


A new workforce is emerging, with Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) becoming commonplace and mobile apps catering to a mobile workforce. Users need access to business tools on demand, across constantly available networks. Business-to-business connections need to be open, increasing demands on reporting, data mining, compliance, and IT management.


More and more organizations are finding benefit in cloud-based solutions. This is not always an external cloud; private and hybrid clouds are growing in popularity. A big feature of this model, whether external or internal, is the seamless delivery of services. Both availability and performance need to be high.


A more subtle driver toward automation is the increasing need to evaluate new technologies, abilities, and available services that will benefit the company. IT staff, with their depth of technical knowledge, are often in the best position to make sense of emerging technology. With the day-to-day running of operations automated, businesses free up more time for IT people to focus on making the best use of new and existing technology.


Cross-platform abilities have now become compulsory, as along with the need for a high level of application awareness. The automation story is still progressing, and many tools are available today to provide scheduling, backup and recovery, workload management, watching, and alerting.


Today's focus is on tight integration of the management tools, with flexibility to cater to changing environments. Download this white paper to learn the five key benefits of automating and the top ten things to look for in an automation project.