With the increased adoption of cloud-based services, users are now accessing their applications through multiple channels and device ‘endpoints’. User experience expectations, which are constantly rising, now have to be met across multiple channels to avoid customers dropping of your website or app and never returning again. Minutes of service downtime or response slowdown may result in thousands of prospects and millions of revenue lost. This imposes enormous challenges on the operations of the applications and services, which have to ensure the permanent availability of applications and services.
A continuous truth
This means that operations of applications and data services need to be continuous without interruption. Availability and Performance cannot suffer from ongoing releases, updates and patches – downtime is a luxury of past times. Continuous monitoring of infrastructure, applications and services has to be tied to automated remediation. Events raised from monitoring trigger automated processes to add server nodes, storage or network capacity in a “hot” mode without service interruption or to re-distribute load to different locations and data centers to fix performance issues.
All of this is impossible without a solid automation architecture. Orchestration of automation is key.
Orchestration of automation has to ensure that different tools and systems in the operations management chain are properly connected and hand-off points are automated to achieve end-to-end automation across silos.
The operations management tool chain includes monitoring tools for the different layers as well as network and storage management, server virtualization, database management, application server management and IT service management.
With the right automation platform in place you will be able to connect these tools into fully automated end-to-end processes and at the same time ensure that these processes can be monitored and controlled in a reliable manner.
In addition, pay specific attention to automation of release and deployment.
It is hard to escape the increasing demand for faster releases to constantly introduce new features, improve usability, fix defects and security loopholes. At the same time, service interruption is not an option.
Only with the right deployment architecture and tools in place you will able to handle this challenge.
Continuous operations means users never even know upgrades have happened — until that is they start to enjoy the additional functionality experience that comes from the upgrade itself.
The end-to-end challenge
The challenge today is an end-to-end one. As Gartner research director Robert Naegle has said, “Gartner research shows that it is still more common to see automation technologies popping up in functional islands, with I&O management later attempting to aggregate and orchestrate disparate technologies, scripts and workflows.”
The imperative now is one that centers on bringing continuous automation technologies to bear an end-to-end basis. In this way they can facilitate the seamless integration from the business processes through the IT services supporting those processes and the delivery of applications to differentiate the business.
 Gartner, ‘Hype Cycle for I&O Automation, 2015’, Robert Naegle, Gartner, 7th July 2015