Ken Jackson is President of Americas for UC4 Software and brings more than 20 years of software experience to UC4. Before joining the company, Jackson served in sales and management roles at CA, IBM/Tivoli, ASG and Candle Corporation.
According to a recent survey conducted by Vanson Bourne on behalf of UC4 Software, almost half of the 300 IT managers surveyed are planning to develop a hybrid IT environment - a blend of physical, virtual and cloud infrastructure. And two-thirds of respondents consider managing workloads in a hybrid environment challenging or very challenging.
For years, the widely adopted solution for managing workloads and business processes has been to use job schedulers to do batch processing overnight. Business processes could be sequenced and executed in predictable ways and scheduling tools were only required to support notions of day, date and time to meet corporate and/or departmental needs.
While batch scheduling still accounts for as much as 50 percent of the processing that gets done, enterprises today require a high state of operational readiness with the flexibility to adapt their business to the challenges of the market at any time, 24/7. To support this “less planned, more on-demand” world, you need Intelligent Service Automation.
Intelligent Service Automation is the Bridge to the Cloud
The next phase in the evolution of workload automation, Intelligent Service Automation makes end-to-end automation possible, meeting all of today’s requirements AND extending automation to virtual and cloud environments. According to the UC4 survey, eight in 10 respondents say automating between hybrid environments is important or very important. Increased confidence in automation between hybrid environments would increase the use of virtualization in 84 percent of cases and increase the use of cloud computing in 81 percent of the cases.
At the 30,000 foot level, it’s easy to see the benefits of virtualization and cloud computing – better server utilization with reduced footprint, reduced cost, ability to add capacity on-the-fly - but once you virtualize 25 to 30 percent of your environment, there’s a barrier. How do we manage all those new virtual machines?
On the cloud front, most companies are still evaluating how to take advantage of the elasticity and cost-benefits without jeopardizing the processes running in their physical data centers. Customers ask me all the time, how do we get from here to there? How do we protect the complex web of business processes that touch multiple people, departments, applications and databases?
You need a bridge – a bridge that can transport the automation that has kept business running smoothly into these new computing environments. Ask yourself – can your automation platform:
- Support all mainstream applications, operating systems and platforms?
- Handle not just mainframe, but also virtualized environments, SOA and the cloud?
- Sense and predict changing conditions and allow you to respond?
- Integrate your applications with the rest of your infrastructure?
Intelligent Service Automation makes automation not just a night shift job on an application, but a critical component of the enterprise imperative. This new breed of technologies is going beyond the world of scripting and simple time-based events and moving into a place where applications and events can be driven dynamically in response to constantly changing business conditions. From where I sit, the transformation of workload automation into Intelligent Service Automation is just the first wave. The next year will be an exciting period of innovation largely driven by the evolution of IT itself.
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