Automation plays a very important role in our evolution and we don’t need to go back to the industrial revolution to confirm this but what exactly does automation mean? As a general definition, we can say it is “the use of systems to carry out tasks without the need for manual intervention”. This is perhaps a fairly wide approach; however, regardless of the sector, automation is based on conditions and how to behave in the face of these. Here is a practical example.

In winter when it’s cold, we generally switch on the heating to reach a pleasant temperature. Similarly, in summer we do the same with the air conditioning. Without an automated system, this requires certain manual steps that depend on someone noting the variation in temperature and carrying out the necessary action.

Carrying out these steps manually results in extra workload and there is potential for human error. Using a simple sensor and defining the steps to be taken when the sensor data reaches specific thresholds has the same effect as doing it manually. Obviously this is a very simple example, but if we extrapolate this to other tasks, automation can have greater impact.

#Process automation reduces workload and the chance of human error #software #cloud #dev Click To Tweet

As regards the area of computation, and more particularly system administration, a number of repetitive tasks appear in the cloud as well as “on the ground” (switching servers on and off, creating backups, updating systems …) which currently impact on operational workload and incur costs when maintaining a product. In my experience, these monotonous tasks can take up a lot of time that could otherwise be used to collaborate on interesting products or learn new technologies, adding to productivity in the short and long term. However, it’s not that simple.

This black magic is linked to a process requiring time and effort to develop. This may suggest that handling a platform that isn’t minimally automated can appear a heroic gesture but it isn’t necessary to tackle all fronts in one go. If we put ourselves in the role of a minimally prepared operations team and analyse the most common requests, a plan may be put together that prioritises those tasks that have a daily impact on us. If, on the other hand, we are talking about a newly created team and platform, my advice is: if you have been asked more than once, automate it.

If you have been asked more than once: automate it! #dev #cloud #automation Click To Tweet

The number of things that can be automated is really interesting and it is truly important not to lose focus of what can bring immediate value. It’s possible that you are thinking: “Yes, but there are some tasks which are sensitive and need manual checks that I can’t see how they could be automated.” Believe me, it IS possible to automate them. One of the solutions is to make these automations available to users who are responsible for and can delegate them.

To conclude, it is worth mentioning the DevOps movement and despite not being necessary for its survival, automation is one of its main focuses. It is with good reason that maturity models tend towards #NoOps, increasingly projecting SysOps functions within the automation team.

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Author

  • Cloud Architect en Keepler. "I am specialized in Cloud environments and DevOps culture. I have worked designing and implementing public and hybrid cloud ecosystems for several Ibex 35 companies."