OpsNow

The largest cost component of running a service is not the use of compute, storage, and network, but the required investment in operations personnel. The cost of infrastructure, even at scale, is negligible compared to just the average monthly overhead of an employee, regardless of the employee's country of residence.

To estimate the cost of an ICT service, you can use a formula with three factors:

  1. The number of people who are required to touch the Service;
  2. The number of systems in the service;
  3. The number of times the service needs to be touched.

If you can reduce any of those three factors, you can decrease the cost of the service and improve profitability. Real profitability occurs when you can decrease the number of times people are required to touch the systems. This allows operators to focus on higher-value work and it also leads to an improvement in the operator-to-server ratio. Automation enables you to reduce costs and focus your valuable staff on higher value tasks.

Operations Automation

Given the right tools and smart workflow analysis, automating computer operations can be surprisingly easy and can reap major benefits.

A recent study by a leading trade journal asked the question, “What do you see as the most important benefits of an automated computer center?”, for which the primary benefits of operations automation cited most often were cost reduction, productivity, availability, reliability, and performance.

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The greatest opportunity is to increase service to the customer (end user) while systematically reducing costs. Most modern servers have a low operating cost and the total cost of ownership has been declining. Even so, the cost of the operations staff can be as high as 70% of the total cost.

Steps in automation

The steps that you will need to take will depend on your actual operations and what you have achieved in operations automation so far. However, the steps to take in operations automation (network excluded) can be summarized as follows:

  1. Automate your server deployments and/or your containers;
  2. Automate your OS updates and upgrades, including patches and security updates;
  3. Automate your application deployments;
  4. Automate your daily procedures;
  5. Automate your monitoring;
  6. Automate your actions based on monitoring alerts.

Automate your servers and containers

Once upon a time, we system administrators used shell scripts to run our servers. We still use them—but the method doesn't scale. Even the best sys admin is too busy to constantly modify scripts for hundreds of ever-changing servers and their system configurations.

Automated server deployment tools can solve this problem by automating server setup, program installation, and system management.

Digital Transformation is the use of new, fast and frequently changing digital technology to solve problems often utilizing cloud computing, reducing reliance on user owned hardware but increasing reliance on subscription-based cloud services.

This includes the use of new types of application containers like docker and other ways of programming like the use of microservices. New ways of management and deployments are introduced and the link between Development and Operations becomes DevOps.

Automate your OS updates and upgrades

You want to automate your updates and upgrades for the OS and for security patching as much as possible, as this is a tedious and repetitive job. The upgrades and update automations are not too difficult, as many tools exist to do this. However, the control part of the upgrades and updates is important and too often forgotten, resulting in problems with the applications.

A combination of automated updates and monitoring can greatly solve the issues experienced.

Automated Application Deployment

Automation of application deploys can be a tedious job. However, with the correct tools, it is possible to automate most of the applications. Always think as practical as possible and use the system resources such as backups and configuration checks to help you in your automation. It is also of utmost importance to automate your applications as they get constantly updated. The use of modern applications and mechanisms make it even more important to automatically deploy your applications, including testing and validations. You can create your application pipelines starting from the build of the application, automated testing and deploys.

More and more automation tools exist for the automation of application deploys and the corresponding data in complex environments. A good monitoring can indicate errors in the deploys and help you pinpoint application failures.

Automate your daily procedures

Many organizations rely on daily operations procedures. This is the perfect target for automation using operations automation tools. Regular tasks can be scheduled, and the results can automatically be checked to find errors. This kind of daily tasks should be omitted, and the focus should shift to the resolution of the errors instead of the checks itself.

Automate your monitoring

Monitoring traditionally requires a manual set-up and initial configuration. This way of working is not usable anymore, as it requires too many resources and manual intervention. Therefore, monitoring should be automated as much as possible, and this includes the discovery, set-up and visualization.

Automate your actions based on monitoring

Once the automation of all your components is in place, you can think of automating the actions based on the output of your monitoring. These actions focus on incident management and to keep the environment healthy. It can go from a restart of a service to the deployment of an application in a new environment when crashed to the addition of resources …

These actions will increase the availability of your operations and reduce the recovery time (MTTR). However, it is a good practice to do a post recovery investigation to find out what went wrong to enhance your operations.

Conclusion

OpsNow is a service that comes with a set of automations for your daily operations. Our practical approach and experience in automation will help you automate tedious tasks. Delivery is as a service,so we do not only automate your tasks, we also execute them and follow them up.

Stop wasting time and precious resources and let OpsNow automate and execute your operations!

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