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IT Automation

How open source agentless IT automation can help deliver a competitive edge

Automating legacy technology and processes using cloud services is a sound strategy in theory and many businesses have increased their competitive edge by doing just that. IT Automation minimises the risk of human error or inconsistency and allows a business to reduce the time it spends on repetitive IT administration tasks. Automation also enables applications and services to be developed and delivered much quicker. In fact, Gartner estimates that the Application Release Orchestration (ARO) market grew by an estimated 37.5% in 2017, taking what they call the Delivery Automation: ARO market size to over £200million globally.

It’s not all plain sailing though. Moving systems and processes that were built to be on-premise to the cloud for automation, is often difficult. Sometimes the benefits of automation can’t be realised, because the complex processes reduce productivity and negate any gains you may have made.

So how do businesses take advantage of automation technology to make sure they’re running their operations in as lean and efficient way as possible?

Enter RedHat Ansible Tower; the result of a collaboration between RedHat and AWS and an automation solution that allows businesses to harness the power of the public cloud to provision the resources it needs, develop applications in the cloud and simplify configuration file management. In addition, it allows businesses to deploy and manage applications more easily, secure the infrastructure and orchestrate multiple configurations and environments making sure that the necessary storage, networks and databases are in place to support new applications.

Being open source, users of this solution benefit from the large network of developers and open source communities that RedHat has cultivated and many different deployments that are outlined in easy, repeatable playbooks.

But does it matter if you choose a solution which requires agents, or one that is agentless? Actually, yes and especially in the cloud, where agentless technology is faster and easier to implement, is compatible with a broader range of systems and applications and the risks associated with upgrades are minimised as they can be rolled out to the entire system in one go.

RedHat Ansible Tower is an agentless solution that works across a businesses’ entire AWS environment, giving visibility and control over to the business, via a visual dashboard. Applications can be built and deployed continuously in the cloud, with a series of playbooks to speed up and simplify the process. Resources can be provisioned wherever and whenever needed, and the whole set of configurations can be orchestrated from the same dashboard.

With role-based access policies providing control over who sees and can manage what, and custom security policies that will automatically be implemented when new applications or servers are provisioned, security and compliance is built in from start to finish.

Systems Administrators who were previously spending all their time running complex, manual processes to update and provision their environments and developing and deploying applications are now free to focus on core business initiatives. Administration overheads reduce, productivity improves and no time is wasted in getting applications to market. As a result, it’s true to say that agentless automation helps the whole business become more competitive.

Useful Links

Top 5 Challenges of Automating the Software Delivery Pipeline

5 Ways Agentless IT Automation Can Benefit Your Business

Agent vs. agentless: Monitoring choices for diverse IT ops needs

An initiation into infrastructure automation tools and methods

IT Infrastructure

Getting Your Infrastructure Ready for Cloud?

Businesses everywhere and in every industry are under constant pressure in today’s highly competitive environment to increase productivity, reduce costs, and improve their business processes.

In fact, Gartner’s annual global survey of CIOs at the end of 2017 showed that the CIO role is transitioning from delivery executive to business executive, from controlling cost and engineering processes, to driving revenue and exploiting data, rapidly scaling their digital businesses to keep up. The survey found that growth is the number one CIO priority for 2018, as stated by 26% of CIOs. The use of digitised products and services is expected to drive new forms of revenue, business value and engagement of customers and citizens. The challenge for CIOs is how to grow it to deliver economies of scope and scale and how to optimise their infrastructure in order to meet these demands. In addition, increasing security threats and shrinking budgets are making it more challenging for businesses to achieve its goals.

Legacy infrastructure can hinder application performance and push operational costs up as a result, they aren’t designed to meet the emerging innovations and they can pose a security risk, with upgrades, unsupported systems and gaps in patches.

The cloud is developing at a rapid pace and is going a long way to meeting the demands of the modern business, providing agile, scalable, anywhere digital services that businesses and consumers want and giving organisations the ability to analyse and exploit data for better decision making.

It doesn’t mean that organisations have to shift wholesale to the cloud however, but by modernising infrastructure and moving to Oracle SPARC and Solaris, they can ensure they are cloud-ready, which is notably different to being entirely cloud-based. Oracle SPARC servers use the same technology in the cloud and on-premise, so when the planning has been done and businesses have a clear idea of what applications and workloads would benefit from being moved to the cloud, it is an easier prospect to move them now or in the future, when circumstances change.

Whether on premise or in the cloud, Oracle SPARC servers are incredibly scalable and highly performing, with fast response times and acceleration of analytics and Oracle databases. They’ve been designed to meet the needs of modern businesses today and in the future, if as outlined in LogicMonitor’s Cloud Vision 2020 survey, 83% of enterprise workloads will be in public, private or hybrid cloud environments by 2020.

In addition to meeting performance, scalability and efficiency goals, infrastructure powered by Oracle SPARC servers and Solaris meets head-on the increasing threat of cyber attack with advanced security capabilities, including data encryption and decryption, application memory protection, one step patching and user access features.

Businesses that are modernising and getting cloud-ready, need look no further than Oracle SPARC and Solaris. Further reading is available by downloading the Oracle Solaris for Dummies Guide.

Useful Links

Gartner Survey of CIOs

Cloud Vision 2020: The Future of the Cloud

Oracle SPARC, Solaris, Oracle Database Optimisation

Optimising Infrastructure for Your Business- Critical Applications?

CIOs that are looking to optimise their infrastructure in order to ensure applications run more efficiently and at peak levels, which has to be everyone really, may find it difficult to know where to look. Some server and software platforms may be cloud-ready but might not be suitable for running legacy applications, which mean a huge investment across the board. Not something most CIOs are prepared to do or have the budget for. Other hardware and software may be suitable for upgrading on-premise infrastructure, but isn’t cloud-ready, so the CIO has to make impossible, immediate decisions about what to move to the cloud, which will inevitably be subject to change.

The Oracle SPARC and Solaris platform is different. Because it is built using the same binary interfaces, applications built on earlier releases can still run as effectively as before, yet the new hardware and software is cloud-ready and enabled for any point in the future when the organisation deems it necessary or prudent to move workloads or applications to the cloud.

This key element of Oracle’s architecture allows businesses to modernise in stages, spreading the cost out to a more manageable level and minimising disruption along the way. This is very positive, especially in light of Gartner’s prediction that whilst spending on data centre systems will continue to grow through 2018 and 2019, it will grow at an increasingly slower rate. Businesses will be looking for new ways to maximise their budgets yet still get the best performance from their applications.

Where Oracle applications are run on an Oracle SPARC and Solaris platform, performance is totally optimised. Oracle Database offers complete IO visibility, instances can be started quickly and resized dynamically for minimal disruption, SPARC servers can be zoned to allow multiple versions of databases to be run on the same server, moving between them easily. SPARC servers also provide end to end encryption and capabilities which dramatically speed up database performance. These are exclusive capabilities to SPARC servers and Solaris and really do make it an easy choice for CIOs seeking transformational performance.

Oracle Virtual Machine is also optimised when run on SPARC servers, at a great price. Oracle VM are speedily deployed and allow flexible migration of active domains and encryption for security during migration.

SPARC and Solaris aren’t just suitable for the latest Oracle applications, although if developed on a SPARC and Solaris platform, new applications can then run on older versions of the OS or be recompiled to run on X86, but this also works vice versa with older applications running on a next generation SPARC and Solaris platform, because of the neutral API it uses. This sort of architecture means Oracle SPARC and Solaris are future proofed and non-proprietary, both high priorities on the technology wish list of many organisations.

To find out more about how to future-proof and optimise your infrastructure with SPARC and Solaris, read the Oracle Solaris for Dummies Guide.

SPARC and Solaris

Ten Reasons to Run Your Business on SPARC with Oracle Solaris

In a list of top ten predictions for the data centre in 2018 published earlier this year, IDC talked a lot about standardisation. In the complex world of the enterprise data centre, standardised hardware, software and processes can bring huge benefits in terms of scalability,streamlined maintenance contracts, improved user knowledge resulting in less downtime (hopefully) due to human error and faster deployment of additional resources.

If you are looking to standardise your server infrastructure, Oracle SPARC servers offer a more scalable and highly reliable server architecture than leading popular alternatives for business-critical systems and applications. The high-end, mid-range and scale-out servers in the SPARC portfolio mean they are a great choice for enterprise workloads. SPARC servers also run Solaris, which provides a secure, robust and flexible foundation for public, private and hybrid cloud environments.

So, what are the main reasons for choosing SPARC systems with Oracle Solaris?

1. Namely because you can enjoy transformational performance and efficiency gains, particularly for Oracle databases and applications, which are greater than with any other commercial processor.

2. Because your hardware is optimised to match your applications and databases. SPARC servers have been engineered to optimise the entire technology stack so that you can your databases and applications securely, speedily and more cost effectively.

3. Prior investment in applications is not wasted. SPARC servers support your legacy applications, both on premise and in the cloud, so your existing investment is optimised and your data centre can be modernised with minimal disruption.

4. Analytics are crucial in today’s data driven enterprises, in fact, IDG’s CIO Tech Poll: Tech Priorities for 2018 found that 60% of CIOs surveyed planned to increase spending on analytics this year. SPARC servers have built in features to accelerate database queries and offer data decompression for better analytics performance.

5. Oracle developer tools are built to work better on SPARC servers and can help identify coding errors, improve security and get new applications to market faster.

6. Open source software is free, non-proprietary and incredibly flexible. What’s not to like about that? SPARC servers running Oracle Solaris allow developers to adopt open source and take advantage of new security and analytics capabilities on your own scripts.

7. & 8. Security is paramount in the enterprise data centre. SPARC servers offer built-in encryption and Software in Silicon and Solaris protect data at rest and on the move. In addition, SPARC servers and the Oracle Solaris offer protection for applications in memory, access controls, automated patching, and security compliance auditing.

9. To future proof your investment, Oracle offers a guarantee that they will delivery binary compatibility until 2034, at least.

10. SPARC servers and Oracle Solaris provide a clear path to the cloud, using the same technology on premise as in the cloud, and applications and databases can be migrated to the cloud at any time without modifications. Speedy and simple.

Ten very compelling reasons to choose SPARC and Oracle Solaris as your enterprise data centre infrastructure, now and in the future.

Useful Links

IDG CIO Tech Poll

IDC Top Ten Data Centre Predictions

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