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How IT automation creates data center and cloud resiliency

By Bill Kleyman

Your data center and your business are intertwined. In the near future, every organization will rely on the data center and the resources it provides, with IT automation and cloud playing a critical role. These technologies will also impact how you control the environmental variables that support data center functionality. Today's businesses must have a flexible, resilient IT environment capable of supporting strategic initiatives.

So, what happens when there's an outage? What is it actually costing your business? Here's the reality.

The real cost of outages

No entity is 100 percent safe from some type of disaster or emergency. In July 2015, United Airlines experienced "connectivity" issues that resulted in the grounding of all global flights for a full hour, affecting 4,900 flights worldwide. So, what happened? Changes made to a router caused degraded connections into critical applications. This wasn't a result of an attack or an external threat; rather, configurations that weren't properly managed caused an issue that brought the business to a standstill. United's systems recovered within an hour, but for the company's reputation, it's a long road to recovery.

A 2014 IDC report revealed that the average critical cost of an application failure is $500,000 to $1 million; for infrastructure failures, the average cost is $100,000 per hour (1). An Avaya survey of mid-to-large companies across the US, Canada, and the UK found that organizations that experienced downtime from core errors suffered average revenue losses in 2013 of $140,000 per incident, and the financial sector suffered even more, with average losses of a whopping $540,000.

Proactive benefits for more predictable IT124245111_xlarge.jpg

These two examples show how networking changes and core infrastructure errors can cause major headaches for an organization. So what can administrators do to mitigate these risks and reduce outages? This is where automation and orchestration can really help when you create policies around IT management. This means creating a proactive ecosystem capable of helping you resolve challenges before they become major problems. Considering these examples, here are a few ways where automating IT can help remove that manual process around management:

  • Network and infrastructure change management. As your business grows, your dependence on your data center will grow as well. Some of the biggest outages happen because of growing pains and a lack of control around network and IT change management. With automation and orchestration, you create delegated controls; manage when, where, and how changes are made; and even create automated update polices around certain networking components. This level of intelligence helps prevent accidental policy changes that can potentially bring down a network.
  • License, certificate, and policy controls. You can tie in your security architecture, virtual environment, and physical data center into automation and orchestration controls. This helps control SSL certificates, licenses, and changes made to security systems. Most of all, you create better levels of visibility around critical systems. IT automation and orchestration creates better management controls by removing complexity and fragmentation from a data center. Core systems now work under one management umbrella instead of individual silo components.
  • Configuration controls around data center resources. Automation systems also help control critical resources within your data center. A lot of dollars are lost when resources are improperly provisioned to critical workloads. Most of all, these types of automated controls can help recover virtual systems much faster. Automation and orchestration systems tie into the data center as well as virtualization infrastructures. This means that these types of systems can act as disaster recovery points for automated workloads. By integrating data center resources with orchestration tools, you help create resiliency, redundancy, and agility in the cloud and beyond.
  • IT automation and orchestration  reduces risk and eases deployment. As it pertains to our two examples, automation not only helps with change management, it also helps reduce core errors within an IT environment. You're interconnecting all data center and business operations into an orchestration layer. From there, administrators and managers can control what is changed and where certain configurations are rolled out. Even if an issue occurs, automation and orchestration allows you to get to a root cause quickly. With integrated systems, automation lets managers see their entire ecosystem from one management layer. From there, you can approve changes, manage critical applications, and support maximum levels of resiliency.

Next-gen automation and orchestration tools act as management engines for your business and your data center. You have granular control capabilities that allow you to create truly proactive ecosystems. Manual processes can waste time and money, and create risk around resiliency. With automation, you have a data center management ecosystem that is constantly and proactively working for you.

1. Stephen Elliot. "DevOps and the Cost of Downtime: Fortune 1000 Best Practice Metrics Quantified." IDC. 2014.

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About the Author

TracySiclair

Tracy Siclair has worked for HPE for 20 years in various positions, all geared towards providing a better customer experience. She has a passion for thinking out-of-the-box and finding innovative ways to get the job done. While not on a computer for work, she enjoys watching her kids play sports, photography, videography, and the occasional game of billiards. Tracy resides in beautiful Fort Collins, Colorado.

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