IT automation isn’t a particularly new idea, but with the rise of platforms like Puppet and Chef it certainly is becoming a lot more industrial. The challenge is there are now multiple flavors of IT automation framework in use across the enterprise.
To address that issue StackStorm has created an open source event-driven framework for wiring together everything from Puppet and Chef to Amazon Web Services and Github.
StackStorm CEO Evan Powell says the company will soon release version 1.0 of StackStorm, which will form the basis of the company’s commercial support services, followed by a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) implementation later this year.
StackStorm essentially provides a central repository through which patterns and workflows created in any IT automation tool can not only be stored, but also easily shared. That capability means that rather than having to reinvent the same configuration wheel again, IT operations teams can more easily leverage all the provisioning and configuration work that has gone on before, both inside and outside of the IT organization.
At the moment, organizations such as Rackspace are also using version 0.8 of StackStorm to automate the DevOps process by integrating various IT automation with application monitoring software delivered via the cloud by New Relic.
In general, data center environments are becoming both more heterogeneous and more distributed. In addition to virtual and physical servers, IT organizations need to now add containers to the list of entities that need to be managed. As organizations collaborate more it’s not uncommon for them to be standardized on different sets of IT automation tools.
Most of the scripts that IT operations teams develop are also a form of intellectual property that not only needs to be shared; it needs to be protected. To guard against IT administrators walking off with that intellectual property every time they leave the company StackStorm provides a way to retain code in a way that enables IT organizations to continue to leverage it long after the person who wrote it has left.
Obviously, there are still pockets of resistance to IT automation inside the data center. Not only are some IT managers concerned about what could happen when IT automation goes wrong at scale, IT administrators often consider the scripts they write to be their own proprietary property.
But given the immensity of the challenges associated with managing IT at scale these days, it’s clear that resistance to IT automation is increasingly becoming futile.