We are living in a technology era with technology having a major impact on the economical system of the world. The business dynamics have seen a rapid shift in recent years due to an immense increase in smart devices, sharing real-time data on servers. As day-to-day businesses are getting more dependent on software systems, I.T. organizations are facing several challenges due to the heavy workload. The I.T. department’s major goal in the organizations is to contribute to the overall growth of the business while focusing on the quality, rapid response, and minimum downtime of the systems, but to achieve this organizations need to upgrade their processes over time.
The traditional server management systems are quite complex, consisting of hundreds of infrastructure components. These systems are difficult to manage and require a high level of skill set and need to be managed by different teams for the smooth operation of the services. This is where server automation comes into play, to be able to respond quickly to the business needs the I.T. departments are transforming their traditional infrastructure and workflows with modern and automated systems.
No doubt the main focus of Server automation is to automate the daily tasks and workflows, but it is much more than automating a few tasks and builds. Server automation helps in transforming the whole functioning of the I.T. departments by focusing on the quality, saving time, and hence the cost.
Let’s talk about server automation in detail, its different types, categories, features, and benefits, and how it works.
Server automation provides a single solution for different tasks and processes such as application deployment, code build, and managing virtual & physical systems. It increases efficiency and reduces human error by managing the workflows in a way that they automatically perform different tasks and processes that typically involve a number of complex steps.
There are generally two types of architecture for automation servers. The agent-based and agentless architecture. The agent-based comprised of a server-agent architecture and includes a core and an agent. The physical side of the server is called a core that can be configured on single or multiple servers. While the agent is the software that runs on the server operating system and communicates with the core to manage different workflows, tasks, and processes. Contrary to the agent-based, services in agentless architecture communicate directly with the cloud servers. Agentless services are also known as API-Based or Cloud-native services.
Server automation tools can be categorized into two categories i.e.
The primary purpose of the build automation utilities is to generate build artifacts through code compiling, linking source code, etc. On the other hand, build automation servers are web-based tools or software that are installed on server OS and their purpose is to execute the build utilities.
There are three types of server automation:
On-demand automation: This is the simplest type of automation where a user executes a script using a command prompt or any other tool like PowerShell, Putty, or Web app.
Scheduled automation: When a process or task takes place at a specific time e.g a scheduled database backup every night or a build scheduled at night time.
Triggered automation: This type represents the continuous integration process, e.g. whenever a commit is done, the server starts running a build automatically. Another example is a data backup process that started as a result of a system event.
IT departments and teams face different challenges when delivering project updates or packages. Issues like security, backups, build errors, etc are the major challenges that can be easily managed by server automation.
Let’s put light on some of the major features and benefits of server automation.
There is a huge amount of pressure on software teams to provide the deliverables or add new features within days or weeks. The new features cannot role out directly on the production server without testing them. The manual build is like a hurdle in this fast-paced environment. In the traditional way, build is done on one of the developer machines, and is a highly complicated and critical process. If a developer misses even a single file it could affect the complete build of the software.
Server Automation helps in streamlining and speeding up the build process, testing, and deployment. Server automation also helps in provisioning environments for the projects or builds to be tested against. The automation server uses the same commands that are used by the developers for the software build. There are different strategies for an auto-build like scheduled build or continuous integration that depends on your company or product requirement.
Security is a major concern for software teams, especially working on critical projects. In the manual build, multiple users in the team may have access to the server for the purpose of double-checking or as a need of a backup resource. Server automation eliminates this concern as only the automation server has access and is responsible for the deployment.
A manual process always has a chance of error no matter how mature the process is, as it would still be carried out by a human being. And a person can sometimes miss a step or make any other error, while automation is error-prone and there is a minimum chance of flaw.
One of the features of server automation is its instant feedback of every process or task taking place on the server. Documents and log files are generated automatically which helps the developers. Attune has an awesome built-in feature of self-documenting configuration files.
By taking the deployment load from the developers, they can focus more on the product development and hence improving the overall efficiency of the development team.
Thinking about taking the next step in your business? Contact ServerTribe to get in touch for more details about how server automation can be easily implemented at your organization