Process automation and advanced tools for incident, change and release management give IT service desk tools the ability to operate with extreme efficiency, helping them become much more responsive to business demands. However, IT service management teams also have to interact with the technology configuration, and the complexity they face here can be overwhelming. This is especially true if organizations have yet to invest in the types of advanced service desk systems that enable more rapid, intelligent and responsive operations.
Process excellence is often discussed as an increasingly necessary component of ITSM operations because customers are demanding better responses to their support requests. However, an issue that gets less discussion is how more efficient, rapid operations in IT also demand precision and efficiency from the service desk. This need is heightened by the growing focus on automation in data centers.
The rise of automation in data centers
Automation has been a talking point in the data center industry for a while, with functions like virtual machine provisioning and documentation often discussed as low-hanging fruit. However, virtualization's continued march into every nook and cranny of the data center has led to an even greater dependence on automation, a trend that could disrupt the data center industry as a whole. According to a recent study from Markets and Markets, the increasingly pervasive nature of virtualization offers significant potential for innovation and forward progress, but it also poses a significant threat to operational stability in the event that organizations do not effectively keep pace with innovation in this area.
The study found that the market for data center automation solutions is expected to rise at a compound annual growth rate of approximately 18.97 percent during the period of 2014 to 2019. Through 2014, the market will rise to a value of $3.16 billion, and continue to climb, eventually reaching $7.53 billion by 2019. This growth comes as organizations face staggering capital and operational expense challenges as they try to continue scaling their architecture to support rising data capacity and processing challenges.
Keeping up with the need to scale to larger data center configurations can prove incredibly difficult as businesses try to handle with innovative technologies and service delivery models. Virtualization is the platform for this progress. Software-defined server configurations have become common, but software-defined networks and storage systems are also rising. This move toward a software-defined data center is using the full power of virtualization to abstract data, apps and services from the actual hardware, allowing organizations to add a layer of intelligence and automation to the configuration.
All of these factors come together to create significant potential for operational cost savings and reduced capital expenses on hardware, but leveraging these gains depends on having an intelligent service management scheme that can make sense of the more complex, software-defined data center.
Getting the service desk ready for automation
A software-defined data center that is heavily automated will feature an incredibly complex and unpredictable configuration, making it much more difficult to manage change and release task. Day-to-day challenges in areas like incident and problem management will also come into play, but change and release are especially noteworthy. If you want to make a more intelligent, faster-paced data center, you need put the same focus on creating a sophisticated, transparent and responsive service management suite.
Solutions like a CMDB, business process automation and specialized release management tools all play a key role in giving ITSM teams the visibility they need to effectively analyze the data center, pin down the nuances of the configuration and perform key management tasks with minimal risk.