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10 ways to integrate event-driven automation into IT operations

Try Event-Driven Ansible, a new open source project in developer preview that helps you create event-driven automation scenarios across IT domains.

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IT automation has come a long way since it came onto the scene around 2012, when developers completed the first code commit for what became Red Hat Ansible Automation Platform. Fast forward to today. Now you find customers of all sizes automating a broad array of use cases using this technology. You will also find a strong and vibrant community focused on enhancing Ansible technology and connecting it to the ecosystems of solutions where automation is needed.

Many customers are ready for more advanced automation. Event-driven automation can play a role in many use cases, including IT service management and IT domains where specific and flexible actions can be taken automatically, whether it is a simple notification of a condition or taking an action such as rebooting a server.

Automation helps teams to be agile and responsive while freeing them to focus on innovation and other priorities. It also helps improve work-life balance.

Event-Driven Ansible is an open source developer preview designed to flexibly enable teams to create event-driven automation scenarios across various IT domains (network, DevOps, security, CloudOps, infrastructure, and more). Red Hat is working with the community to provide feedback on the developer preview and to integrate this solution across the ecosystem. For example, sources, such as monitoring tools, can identify instances where Event-Driven Ansible can automatically take defined actions when a specific event occurs.

To learn more about how it works, take a free self-paced lab, access other resources, and give us feedback, visit the developer preview page.

Ways to use Event-Driven Ansible across your organization

So how can you apply Event-Driven Ansible to your challenges in managing a complex IT environment? Here are a few ideas, but our team would also like to hear your ideas for how Event-Driven Ansible can help you improve efficiency, employee satisfaction, and free time for innovation. Share your thoughts during one of our office hours, or visit our Contributing page to see how you can get involved.

1. Ticket enhancement and information gathering

A typical IT ticket workflow contains several troubleshooting steps and escalations. By automating one or more of these actions, including fact gathering, you can act on all of the workflow's steps and use the outcome to open the ticket and enhance and enrich the ticket information. As a result, IT teams can view the issue with all relevant information, speeding up resolution.

2. Basic response with optional service desk integration

As mentioned above, you can take advantage of your team's operational knowledge in an event-driven automation scenario. With the common troubleshooting steps codified, you can trigger the first steps in the response, such as a remediation. Not only can this result in faster time-to-resolution, but it can also help you maintain a work-life balance. What if event-driven workflows included collecting the relevant logs and paring them down with just the contextual information? What if you also integrated an event-driven automation solution with your service desk? You could be notified more quickly when a given issue occurs, and you can also automate specific actions very quickly.

3. User request management

How often must you administer forgotten password processes or provide user access management per week? Or better yet, give access to a resource for a specific task and validate that the user completed the job before removing their access? What if you automated this? You could gain more time to address priorities, cutting down on the need for extended work hours while reducing the potential for human errors when allocating or removing accounts or permissions.

[ Learn how Event-Driven Ansible works with our interactive, self-paced lab. ]

4. Event-driven network automation

Cloud applications are nothing without a network, so the pressure is there to ensure the network is secure, available, and performant.

What if the event-driven engine monitors the telemetry tools that identify issues and can either isolate or remediate them before a human can respond? Beyond troubleshooting, you can use telemetry about your network to drive critical actions. It is faster and can even address festering problems before they become outages and other issues. How about avoiding configuration drift? Or if a configuration changes on a network component? Events can even be generated and used to trigger a compliance action, maintaining the expected configuration. Similarly, you can initiate updates to infrastructure awareness solutions when network changes occur.

5. Edge automation

An edge device includes everything from branch office solutions to point-of-sale systems to Internet of Things (IoT) sensors and more. It must all be connected, secured, and managed. Event-driven automation could turn on the lights and power up the systems in the morning when triggered by the first person entering the site. As these devices proliferate across your organization, the IT team has the automation tools to manage their scope and complexity and can respond to environmental changes. Event-Driven Ansible's Rulebooks are based on an "if-this-then-that" construct and can help your organization manage and maintain these actions. For example, it can power up necessary edge devices if the badge scanner encounters an employee scan in the morning.

6. Security automation

Any security risk must be promptly identified and addressed. This requirement is one of the reasons for the extensive set of monitoring tools. When these tools flag an issue or concern, an event-driven automation solution can deliver log sources back to a security information and event management (SIEM) system for human intervention and triage or even to resolve the issue. Automated event-driven threat response can be as simple as shutting ports or devices when a risk is encountered and notifying you that the risk exists.

7. Tuning automation

Which technologies across your organization require continual tuning and adjustment? How many times per month are you taking these actions? For some teams, tuning occurs thousands or tens of thousands of times per month. What if you could use an end-to-end automation motion to reduce the amount of manual labor? What if automation could tune your systems in real time without human intervention? How would this impact your efficiency and cost? What would the impact be on your ability to respond to the needs of the business?

8. Scaling automation

Like tuning, how often are you manually scaling storage, processing, and network bandwidth to meet user demand on applications? What if an event-driven automation solution could watch buffer pools and other technologies, automatically adjusting as certain limits are reached? What impact would this have on business value from IT services?

9. GitOps automation

Using an event-driven solution with your "single source of truth" content housed on GitHub can help ensure your environment is operating as you want it to, aligned with compliance needs. Systems can notify Event-Driven Ansible when a technology no longer aligns with your single source of truth. It can trigger an action to reapply the single source of truth content. Event-Driven Ansible can begin a review of resources aligned to the policies when new code is checked in. It could initiate a review of the existing environment when policies are changed to determine what resources need to be changed to align with new settings.

[ Learn more about server and configuration management by downloading Ansible for DevOps. ]

10. Installation and provisioning automation

How long does it take to install and provision critical technologies such as servers, virtual machines, or cloud instances across your organization? Are you managing Red Hat Enterprise Linux manually? Using event-driven automation, optionally triggered from a service desk or self-service process, you can save time, eliminate manual efforts, and perhaps reduce vendor costs. Deployment automation could include notifying Event-Driven Ansible when a new resource comes online and provisioning standard services automatically.

Wrap up

These are just some of the use cases for Event-Driven Ansible. Start small and think big about ways you can apply Event-Driven Ansible to make your IT work simpler, faster, and more effective. As of this writing, Event-Driven Ansible is in developer preview. We suggest you take one of the free self-paced labs and give the open source developer preview a try. Then tell us what you think, including what integrations you need.

[ Get started with Event-Driven Ansible. ]

Topics:   Ansible   Automation  
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Cindy Russell

Cindy is a Product Marketing Manager for Ansible Automation Platform and brings many years of experience in developing technical practitioner and other marketing programs for software products including automation, analytics tools, database and related machine learning technologies, and developer More about me

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