Management and automation in the SMB infrastructure

By Traci Maynard

Within IT, management means more than simply watching over and taking care of systems, assets, and infrastructure.

It covers the entire IT lifecycle:

  • Initial determination of needs and requirements
  • Evaluation and selection of technologies, tools, and platforms
  • Negotiating purchase and support costs
  • Installation and configuration
  • Upkeep and maintenance and ongoing review
  • Decommissioning and proper surplus operations or outright destruction at end of life (recommended for old storage media used for sensitive data, for example).

In fact, management has been a formal IT discipline for over three decades.

That’s long enough for the initial management model to become outmoded and be replaced with something newer and more robust.

The early model was sometimes called FCAPS: for fault, configuration, accounting, performance, and security, all management categories covered under that model.

Modern IT management falls under the heading of IT Service Management (ITSM).

These days, ITSM means understanding the IT lifecycle, and how delivering quality IT is itself a service discipline that follows an agile DevOps-inspired approach called CI/CD—continuous integration along with continuous delivery.

In IT, automation generally refers to the use of recorded and repeatable instructions or directives that do programmatically what an IT professional does manually (by entering commands, running a user interface, using and utilities, and so forth).

Once automated, software tools, frameworks, and appliances can handle tasks with little or no human interaction.

How automation tools improve productivity

Proper use of automation tools and frameworks can help IT (and businesses of all sizes and scales, including SMBs) be more productive and responsive to users and stakeholders.

First, automation runs much faster than human-computer interactions can.

In fact, automation is hundreds to thousands of times faster than manual input, especially for simple, routine tasks.

This makes proper automation especially useful for incident response because it can move as quickly to defend as an automated attack can proceed.

Second, because automation can (and should) be tested rigorously to make sure it works without errors or issues, it’s also more reliable than human input once it’s put into production.

Given access to results from analytics, cost, or performance monitoring data, automation can also take action to limit resource consumption when costs exceed a preset minimum or when resource consumption spikes.

In general, proper use of automation helps IT (and the businesses it supports) be more productive and responsive to changes in demand or resource requirements.

Typical uses of IT automation in SMB operations include:

  • Monitoring networks, servers, and clients for health
  • Tracking vulnerabilities and update status
  • Automated deployment of patches, fixes, and updates

Because automation helps IT do more—and do things faster and more reliably—it’s a huge boon to SMB IT teams, which often work under tight resource constraints (especially headcount).

Axiz HPE

Axiz is an HPE Distributor across Southern Africa and as such we are channel friendly working through our channel of partners/resellers.

Our role in the supply chain is to provide expertise and guide our partners through an offering of services, from both Axiz and HPE. Our offering of technology services is available for our partners to consume.

Axiz has built up a strong implementation capability taking advantage of our pool of certified experts and our strong vendor relationships.

The Axiz team of HPE certified experts are ready and on standby to help with your technology choices.

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