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The Orchestrated Datacenter: Why automation is at the heart of the new style of IT service delivery

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By Louise Ng

 

Automation is one of the easiest places in the data center to see ROI, and yet many organizations don’t know where to start or how to use automation strategically.

 

The business is driving demand on IT for “speed,” and this presents a challenge for IT. Having a strategy around automation will make IT more competitive and responsive to the business. Automation is the linchpin of what we at HPSW call the Orchestrated Datacenter—essentially, a data center in which end-to-end IT workflows are automated across the full stack—improving speed, agility, consistency and quality, while reducing cost. To learn more, check out the HP Toolkit for Implementing Automation (registration required).

 

To do automation right, IT needs to think in terms of services and service delivery—instead of pieces and parts. You’re not delivering overall maximum value when you automate little pieces of processes that don’t connect end-to-end. But when you automate a part of the service lifecycle you can operate on a faster, more cost-effective level, and report out on data that was sewn up in silos before. These benefits can be tremendous. So where do you start?

 

Automation use case #1: Event management

One of the best first steps toward an Orchestrated Datacenter is implementing automation around event management. This optimizes the detect-to-correct value stream. If there’s an alert on the infrastructure that supports a business application that is part of a critical service, how do you automatically correct that? How do you detect events and correct them quickly enough so that the service isn’t affected and the business isn’t impacted?

 

You detect errors in the infrastructure with event management and then automatically fix them using the closed loop incident process. This fixes the problem before it goes to the service desk. Doing so provides three benefits:

  • It optimizes the ability to provide a better customer experience
  • It allows you to mitigate the risk of downtime and service outage so you can meet the service levels that your customers want
  • It effectively engages the business to work with you because you’re keeping their services healthy and expected revenue on track

Automation use case #2: Change management

Change management is another use case that we work with customers to implement in an Orchestrated Datacenter. Particularly with cloud, you want to automate resource pooling and scaling so that applications and services run smoothly. Change management falls under the request-to-fulfill value stream, and it’s a traditional bottleneck. An end user or service owner makes a request and then waits for IT to fulfill it. More often than not the wait is caused by an imposed approval step. But in an Orchestrated Datacenter that request gets fulfilled automatically using a pre-approved change, without human intervention—and with the quality and consistency that meets service levels.

 

Automation and the data on service health

When you automate these two value streams you now have an end-to-end view of the data used to manage service health. And you now have that data in an automated chain where you should be able to report out metrics to the business service owners. For instance, what were the transactions against the service and how quickly were they completed? Where were the transactions originated? Who was the original requester? What was the usage? How did service health affect the business on a revenue basis? With this data, you can optimize further.

 

With automation, you shift an organization to work differently. We see it as ushering in a new style of service delivery. By automating service delivery, IT is delivering a new type of value to the business service owners with increased customer satisfaction at lower costs All of this ultimately keeps IT in business and allows them time to focus on new innovation.

 

To learn more, check out the HP Toolkit for Implementing Automation (registration required).

 

LouiseNg.jpgLouise Ng has more than 25 years in multiple IT positions across a variety of industries. Today she is the WW CTO role for Cloud & Automation services at HP, and she specializes in leading large-scale projects that deliver quality services through operational optimization.

 

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