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What is an SOE?

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An SOE is a standard operating environment, or a specific computer operating system and collection of software that an IT department defines as a standard build.

SOEs help if you’re managing a lot of computers and want to reduce complexity. With SOEs, IT teams can automate the deployment and maintenance of servers and workstations.

Advantages of standard operating environments

To understand why SOEs are important, consider that a modern enterprise might manage thousands or tens of thousands of servers and workstations.

Deploying all these systems manually or semi-manually is expensive and error-prone. Without standardization, IT teams can be forced to create custom scripts to deploy and maintain multiple platforms. Inconsistent environments cost time and money as they require complicated maintenance. Training and support also become more expensive and complex.

SOEs are a foundation for predictable, repeatable, reliable IT infrastructure. With fully automated provisioning, systems can be deployed faster and with fewer errors. Then, when systems are online, an SOE helps ensure consistent and timely patching and other maintenance. 

SOEs let an organization: 

  • Eliminate error-prone manual tasks through automation and self-service.
  • Centrally manage provisioning, configuration, and patching.
  • Manage any license requirements and stay compliant with subscription agreements.
  • Reduce the time it takes to install, upgrade, and patch software.
  • Improve security and decrease shadow IT (individual teams provisioning their own systems outside of a standard process).

SOEs and cloud computing

In cloud environments, infrastructure is designed to scale dynamically and elastically. Servers are treated as single-workload devices that are deployed quickly, configured automatically, and easily replaced.

This approach deconstructs systems into layers and components that can be combined easily, released independently, and maintained as collections.

The rise of hybrid cloud architecture has made SOEs even more important, since they help ensure consistency across physical, virtual, container, and cloud environments. SOEs should work the same wherever they are physically deployed.

By organizing SOE builds under a centralized management platform, IT organizations can deliver fully provisioned systems in minutes, regardless of the underlying infrastructure.

SOEs for workstations

While SOEs are a natural choice for servers, another common use case is workstations. Enterprises can use SOEs to reduce complexity in the sprawl of employee laptops and desktops. Automation can simplify the processes of bringing new workstations online and keeping existing workstations patched with up-to-date software.

SOEs are less common for personal devices such as smartphones and tablets. With the bring-your-own-device (BYOD) trend, it’s common for employees to manage their own mobile hardware. When SOE isn’t an option, enterprises turn to other solutions, such as mobile device management (MDM), to enforce policies while allowing employees to connect with work on their own smartphones and tablets.

Red Hat and SOEs

Red Hat® Consulting helps organizations adopt SOEs by automating their infrastructure, which decreases time to market and reduces errors.

Using Red Hat Enterprise Linux® and Red Hat Satellite, Red Hat Services subject matter experts establish a framework for a consistent build process and a modernized patch management

Red Hat Consulting’s commitment to open standards, and unique insights into upcoming features and product roadmaps, make it an ideal partner for delivering automated SOE-based solutions for enterprise environments.

The IT management tools you need

Manage your Red Hat infrastructure for efficient and compliant IT operations using Red Hat Satellite. Establish trusted content repositories and processes that help you build a standards-based, secure environment.

Red Hat Ansible Automation Platform

Red Hat Ansible® Automation Platform is a foundation for building and operating automation across an organization. The platform includes all the tools needed to implement enterprise-wide automation.