Efficient and cost-effective IT plays an increasingly important role for a companies success. Especially the increasing operational requirements such as 24/7 operation, high availability, large amounts of data and high performance are a major challenge in times of IT shortage. The financial and time pressure on IT departments is also aggravating.

To increase data center efficiency, IT infrastructures need to be automated. Equally important is the standardization and automation of data center processes to review and streamline current data center management solutions in terms of efficiency and economic performance.  The results of agile development must be made available at short notice. The same applies to the creation and operation of the associated infrastructure.

Automation in the Data Center Is Useful

for a large number of recurring tasks

for certain activities that require many manual steps

to enforce IT standards

to reduce downtime

What Advantages Do Automations Yield?

Frameworks like terraform or ansible are best suited to automate workflows. They enable easy provisioning of services and facilitate operations. Decisive advantages are:

  • Reproducible installation and configuration procedures
  • Central configuration option
  • Control by user and role concept
  • Documentation of infrastructure adjustments
  • Increase of quality by reduction of manual interventions

How Can Automation Be Implemented Successfully?

Software for management and administration should be as simple and intuitive to use as possible, but still effective. The installation and training effort for the administrator must be kept within limits.

A central component to schedule and monitor automation tasks is beneficial. Robotron relies on Ansible for automation.

How Does Ansible Work?

Ansible connects to the respective target computers using passwordless SSH or Windows Remote Management (WinRM). It executes the scheduled activities using Python or Powershell.

There is no need to install additional services or agents on the target computers.

Features and Benefits

Modules are small logical units for processing a defined task. These are written in Python and are used in tasks in Ansible. Roles combine tasks and variables to encapsulate a complex task. A playbook represents a sequence of work instructions. Often it only lists roles that still need to be processed, which makes the playbook clear and understandable.

The inventory provides an overview of the IT infrastructure. In an inventory, servers or server groups can be stored, and the software running on them, such as web servers, databases, application servers, can be defined. The clustering of systems based on individually selected properties also occurs there. Ideally, the inventory is compiled dynamically from the CMDB available in the company. The interaction of modules, roles, the playbook and the inventory delivers the desired results on the target systems.

Deployment of Infrastructures in Cloud Environments

In order to provide cloud infrastructures and cloud services in an automated way, we use the open source tool terraform. Infrastructures are defined and made available with the help of a declarative description language.

  • The working directory is initialized via terraform init. This step forms the beginning of the project and is carried out once.
  • With terraform plan the execution plan is generated to build up the desired infrastructure. In this step the configuration steps are compiled, which are necessary to reach the desired target architecture.
  • Terraform apply makes changes to the infrastructure based on the defined plan. Once this step is complete, the previously defined infrastructure is available.
  • At the end of the project, terraform destroy can be used to dismantle the known environment.

Connectors can be used to address various cloud providers such as Oracle Cloud, AWS, Azure, etc.

These Robotron Services Support You on the Way to Data Center Automation

Commissioning of the automation platform (based on Ansible)

Ansible platform maintenance and support

Provision of standardized playbooks

Creation of individual playbooks according to customer requirements

Consulting services

Ansible licenses

Workshops

Conclusion

We can offer a comprehensive portfolio of services to customers who are considering automating their IT infrastructure. Especially in the environment of databases, we provide solutions and services for the automated IT operation in cloud environments:

  •    virtualization and containerization
  •     automated deployment and operation in system and database environments
  •     pre-built playbooks that are applied in the customer's data center

These solutions are also available for optimized data management systems such as engineered systems and appliances.