Data center automation is the process of managing and automating the workflow and processes of a data center facility.
Data centers are simply centralized locations where computing and networking equipment is concentrated for the purpose of collecting, storing, processing, distributing or allowing access to large amounts of data. They have existed in one form or another since the advent of computers.
In the days of the room-sized behemoths that were our early computers, a data center might have had one supercomputer. As equipment got smaller and cheaper, data processing needs began to increase and they have increased exponentially. Data centers started networking multiple servers (the industrial counterparts to our home computers) together to increase processing power. It connect them to communication networks so that people can access them, or the information on them, remotely. Large numbers of these clustered servers and related equipment can be housed in a room, an entire building or groups of buildings. Today’s data center is likely to have thousands of very powerful and very small servers running 24/7.
Data center automation enables the automated and unattended execution of critical workflows and processes on servers and other data center equipment, including:
- Scheduling routine data center processes such as backups, replication, downloads/uploads, application events, and other items that previously required manual effort.
- Monitoring data center components and automatically alerting key respondents when a problem occurs.
- Maintenance functions such as patching and updating equipment.
- Service provisioning and configuration of standardized infrastructure resources for development, testing, or deployment of new apps, including new physical, virtual, or cloud server.
- Application service delivery within minutes of a user request, fulfilling approved user requests without manual intervention.
- Delivery of additional application workload on demand, such as additional Web servers, app servers, or load balancing capability or for automatically moving network traffic from a highly trafficked Data Center to a Data Center with spare capacity.
- Compliance, which includes auditing and reporting of live configurations; comparing current and past configurations to spotlight differences; and implementing rule-based policies for regulatory standards such as the Defense Information Security Agency (DISA), Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA), and Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX).
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