Automation enthusiasts are often born out of the results that teams achieve through successful automation projects. For many of us, "sleep more" is perhaps the most compelling benefit when updates can be done consistently, correctly, and rapidly across hundreds or more systems, networks, and cloud implementations. No one really enjoys midnight calls to resolve an issue.
And when it comes to security and compliance needs, we have seen teams face pressures to resolve risks quickly. When you can create the proper fix in an automation playbook, it can be executed across all impacted solutions in the global infrastructure. This solution can be fast and effective, so the risk is remediated quickly, without the human error that can occasionally creep in when you are doing the same things repeatedly.
But there are other benefits, too, such as allowing for more time to work on key priorities that add value or the ability to advance experience and skills. Here are some statistics we've used when trying to get some of my teammates on board with IT automation.
[ Download now: A system administrator's guide to IT automation. ]
The benefits of automation can be dramatic. There are numerous "hours-to-minutes" stories when the right automation solution is employed. Consider a couple of them.
- 20 hours → 30 mins
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina found that provisioning a single virtual machine (VM) or server took more than 20 hours of work—completed across 10 working days—and incurred charges from its managed service provider. With Red Hat Ansible Automation Platform, VM provisioning for a single server can now be completed in 30 minutes. Therefore, when they needed to quickly provision 1,000 VMs, the process was complete in fewer than three days. Contrast this to their non-automated time estimate of 16 weeks with 12 staff to complete the same work.
- 20 minutes → less than 1 minute
The City of Denver, without Ansible Automation Platform, required 20 minutes to create an individual Microsoft Teams environment. With Ansible Automation Platform, the same provisioning process took less than one minute. When the pandemic hit, Microsoft Teams use grew 514%, and having automation ready to help saved an enormous amount of time.
When IT must respond rapidly to needs like these, automation makes the job fast and efficient. You can find stories like these and more on Red Hat's case study page.
[ A free guide from Red Hat: 5 steps to automate your business. ]
Automation skills in demand
Everyone is always looking to advance their skills, as it is an essential need for all technical professionals. Automation is an important and emerging skill to add to your repertoire. Consider a few trends:
Ansible is ranked on the list of loved technologies
Automation skills are consistently showing up in surveys and trend reports with increasing popularity. In 2020, the StackOverflow Developer Survey found Ansible ranked ninth on the list of most-loved tools, and in the 2021 edition of this survey, Ansible is ranked as the eigthth most loved technology, as well as the sixth most popular in the other tools category. In 2019, Indeed.com's Hiring Lab report also found Ansible to be the third fastest-growing skill set, at nearly 1,300% growth between 2014 and 2019.
More than 40,000 LinkedIn jobs mention Ansible skills
Automation is at the forefront of enterprise technology strategies due to the impacts of the pandemic on operations, where automation helped with remote management. Companies saw automation's benefits first-hand, and this has accelerated the enterprise IT automation and management strategy. If you do an internet search, you will see many analyst viewpoints on the automation growth trend. This growth is also evident in available jobs. A LinkedIn search yielded around 40,000 job openings that include Ansible in their descriptions. Obviously, Ansible automation skills are sought after, making them a good skill to acquire.*
[ A free guide from Red Hat: The automation architect's handbook. ]
Deliver projects that matter
To best support the business, we believe that cross-functional IT teams must come together to deliver on important initiatives, such as digital transformation applications, expanded hybrid cloud platforms, modernized technology stacks, edge or Internet of Things (IoT) implementations, and more. Often, these initiatives will involve learning or using emerging technologies, and they help demonstrate and deliver value to key stakeholders like customers and your company's leaders. When you have more time to focus on these advanced projects, professional development and growth can follow.
Automation can help you automate rote tasks and complete lower-value work, so you can instead focus on these more attractive projects. For example, say you have to apply a patch to 500 systems to remediate a security vulnerability. Automation will dramatically reduce the time required, as the customer stories above show. As a result, you have much more time to focus on more innovative projects, which is good for both you and your company.
With freedom from manual tasks and plenty of automation skills, you may be interested in advancing your career as an automation architect. This eBook, The automation architect's handbook, will help you learn more about the best practices for forming an "automation-first" community and leading your company's automation strategy.
We hope you can see the automation benefits "by the numbers" for you and your company. We wish you the best in your learning journey, and we hope to see you at AnsibleFest as an automation enthusiast.
Recommended learning resources:
- Red Hat training module (free)
- On-demand and upcoming webinars
- Ansible Automation Platform videos
- The automation architect's handbook
- A free trial where you can build and run your first automation projects
* LinkedIn job search for Ansible in the description yields 40,600 results as of June 23, 2021. This number is even higher for "Ansible engineer" on this date.
[ Looking for more on system automation? Get started with The Automated Enterprise, a free book from Red Hat. ]