Automation: IT's Path To Innovation

Interop ITX speaker explains how automation enables IT teams to move up the stack.

Matt Oswalt

April 5, 2017

3 Min Read
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The IT industry comprises many disciplines, each with its own challenges and trends. However, if there’s one thing that they have in common, it’s that they’re all expected to innovate at an exponentially faster pace each day.

Automation is one way for technology teams - whether working for IT vendors or end users - to improve the way they innovate on new ideas. Automation can help move the needle forward by enforcing and standardizing daily workflows that are normally done manually, and instead automatically perform these same decisions in code or within an automation framework, freeing the team to move up the stack and deal with new challenges.

For instance, network engineers and operators spend a large amount of time dealing with mundane tasks like configuring new network devices, troubleshooting bad cables, and dealing with end users' connectivity problems. On top of that, there's the ever-present inbox full of false-positive alerts that renders any hope of proper network monitoring useless.

We’ve dealt with this reality for so long that we forget there is so much more value we as IT professionals can provide to the business. We’re so desensitized to dealing with the monotonous that we haven’t been able to break free and explore new capabilities as quickly as we would like.

The reality is that automation isn’t magical; at its core, automation is all about those same inherent mental workflows that every operator goes through each day when responding to changes in their environment. However, instead of relying on a human to play an active role in the decision-making system, automation frameworks allow the operator to describe those workflows as code, enlisting machines to make those same decisions on his or her behalf.

About four years ago, I started to seriously dive into the world of automation. At first, I was applying the skills I learned to the area of network infrastructure, but I quickly moved into other areas of IT, like storage and virtualization, and even the internet of things. Now, automation is my sole focus, and over the past four years, I have observed a few key principles that can determine the success or failure of any automation initiative.



I am very excited to be able to talk about these principles, and more, in my upcoming talk at Interop ITX, "Fundamental Principles of Automation." This is one of the most personal talks I’ve ever prepared, because it represents a significant portion of my career, driven by something I’m very passionate about.

For this session, I’ve prepared several compelling demonstrations that illustrate a few principles I believe are key to the success of any automation initiative. Each will have a few fun, engaging demonstrations, as well as some real-world industry examples, so that you can instantly envision how to apply these principles in your own environment. I will not be promoting specific implementations or frameworks; my goal is to give you a firm grasp on the fundamentals, so that you can be set up for success in the long-run, no matter which technology you choose to leverage in your environment.

I hope you’ll consider joining me in Las Vegas in May. I’ll be around for several days to discuss automation, skillsets, or just general geeking out. Reach out to me on Twitter to share your automation journey.

Don't miss Matt at Interop ITX! Register now for Interop ITX, May 15-19.


About the Author(s)

Matt Oswalt

Software Engineer, StackStormMatt Oswalt is an automation junkie, currently focusing on building quality software for automation initiatives across technology disciplines, and sharing these ideas with the community. You can find him writing about his experiences at, or on Twitter as @Mierdin.

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