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3 steps to simplify the madness of data center operations on Black Friday, Cyber Monday or any day

‎12-05-2013 10:26 AM - edited ‎10-26-2015 08:39 PM

Guest Post by Manoj Raisinghani, Senior Director, HP Software Product Marketing


Businesses in the United States have survived another year of Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping holiday madness. You might think that for the data center operations teams tasked with keeping the point of sale, online catalogs and other commerce systems up and responding flawlessly, these would be moments of exceptionally intense pressure. But the reality is that throughout the world, in nearly every kind of company, IT deals with this sort of madness in slightly different forms all year round. Whether you operate online or brick-and-mortar businesses, ensuring the stable performance of the IT systems that power your company is a matter of daily or even moment-to-moment survival.


And yet, most mid-size and large enterprises continue to report to analysts that on a scale of 5, they are only about a 2 when it comes to automating repetitive IT tasks and processes. In other words, most businesses still rely on IT heroes and scripts just to get them through the day — whether that’s Black Friday, Cyber Monday or any other day. Why?


Scripted chaos

Anyone working in IT operations today lives this story. IT is stretched thin, pulled in too many directions by growing complexity and increased demands from the business for ever-faster responses. Too many products and complex processes continue to push IT to rely heavily on hands-on maintenance, handoffs between teams, and writing and managing a multitude of scripts.


This should be a good enough reason to convince any IT professional to adopt tools and solutions that will help automate as much as possible. If you are using scripts, you know what it really means to write it once and run it a million times. In my mind, the debate about delaying automation should end there. 


When cloud casts a shadow

Now think about the additional pressure cloud delivery models exert on IT operations.  Inefficiencies in the data center that is supporting private or hybrid cloud delivery can have a severe adverse impact on operations, further slowing IT response and business agility and in most cases results in IT losing control. This can give rise to shadow IT groups, as lines of business do their own thing and procure their own services. Though unintentional, this risks cost increases and security vulnerabilities.


As common as these challenges are in IT today, it’s also important to recognize that there are many businesses and IT shops that have already gone through these trials. They have learned the simple secrets to handling the growth in demand and how to be agile, providing a model that your IT organization can also use to adapt.


The secret is simplifying IT delivery in 3 steps

In order to be more responsive and agile, IT needs to transform with a new model of service delivery. First, IT needs to become simpler to operate, and untangling the complex knots of tasks and processes that have built up over the years requires a systematic approach. It starts with setting the standards and applying policies to govern IT operations.


We recommend a programmatic effort in three key steps to simplify administration, workflows and then delivery:

1. Automate Tasks — Replace routine manual tasks related to provisioning, patching, and maintaining compliance across your infrastructure. Take your existing scripts, which are used repetitively and require administrative oversight on a daily basis, and automate those tasks using a task automation solution. Right away you will free up the time for innovative projects. Companies have achieved 5x ROI by managing 500 percent more servers or databases per admin.


2. Orchestrate IT Processes — Next, standardize those automated tasks using best practices and tie those tasks together in an automated process flow. This eliminates unnecessary handoffs to achieve a more reliable, repeatable process for delivering a service. Some examples:

  • Orchestrate your incident management processes to significantly reduce alerts and issues and automate incident remediation
  • Save time and establish better credibility with the business when fulfilling day-to-day IT service requests
  • Automate the change management process where possible to increase consistency, agility and quality of service eliminating risk due to manual errors

Many companies are seeing 10x ROI by reclaiming upwards of 10,000+ hours per year using IT process orchestration.


3. Transform Service Delivery — Finally, by standardizing and applying automation of routine tasks and IT processes, you are now in a position to automate the provisioning of well-defined services on demand and meet the requirements from the lines of business.  This is end-to-end automation and orchestration that provisions servers, network, storage, OS, the database, middleware and applications. The result is automating the full stack from infrastructure to app. Companies typically achieve 20x ROI and more by provisioning in minutes new services that were previously taking days, weeks or even months.


In subsequent blogs, we will dive further into each of these three areas to provide a detailed picture of what each stage of transformation looks like.


To learn more about  how you can achieve your vision for transforming IT service delivery, visit our homepage.



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