5 Trends Changing Server Configuration Management

#1: Ops is becoming more tactical

Ten years ago the goal for systems management was to use one set of tooling to manage a diverse set of platforms for the entire lifecycle of a server. There are still some organizations who have such a model, but most have dropped the ambition to use one tool to rule them all. Many shops are moving towards tactical tooling that is “best of breed” and keeping a siloed approach to automation use cases.

#2: Infrastructure is less important

Infrastructure is becoming less important from an investment perspective and is being viewed as a commodity. This trend started with virtualization and is accelerating with cloud. Ironically configuration management problems only get worse with the ability to easily provision more resources but organizations are tackling those problems in silos.

#3: DEV is driving DEVops

In most organizations operations is still being viewed as an obstacle to business progress. That has been the driver towards external and internal cloud. The whole devops trend is being driven by DEV and not ops so the typical value achieved by say server automation is nice, but time to market of releases is what’s driving IT spend.

#4: IT is already lean

One of drivers for server automation 10 years ago was increasing operational efficiency. Are OPS teams running at high efficiency? No, but from a staffing perspective they are running so lean that there is no headcount to reduce. In an environment where server count is growing it’s still very easy to justify a big automation project, but if server count is going down and headcount stays flat it’s hard to justify a large automation spend.

#5: Outsourcing

Depending on how the outsourcing arrangement is setup, it can either be a driver or a roadblock for automation. In a lot of deals the outsourcer needs to invest in automation to meet their SLA’s but many times it can also be the opposite. I’ve seen many cases where the outsourcer resists automation because they are financially rewarded for operating in an inefficient manner.