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Cloud Computing: Automation Is the Word

Automation is a powerful driver for cloud computing

The public cloud definitely has its place. Services like Gmail and Salesforce.com, to name just a couple, can provide a valuable service to any large enterprise. But let's face it: Most large, publicly traded companies probably aren't going to feel comfortable farming out every aspect of their computing infrastructure. Yet in today's tight economic environment, they may be looking for the same kind of efficiencies while still remaining in the relative safety of their own data centers.

That's where the private cloud comes into play. You can begin to take advantage of the economies of scale you get with a cloud via virtualization. And in the deal, as a bonus, you gain from the power of automation.

What do we mean when we say automation? It means you are taking a set of tasks with a fairly complex set of underlying functionality and hiding that complexity from the end user. The user sees a menu of tasks, selects an item, and it comes back with a set of results.

It needs to be fast, efficient and repeatable. That last item is particularly important when designing an automated system.

For example, you may set up a task for setting up a SharePoint collaboration site. Microsoft SharePoint software is everywhere. It's a billion-dollar business, and one of its strengths is that it's fairly simple to set up a site. But how do you make it even easier? You set up a form and you ask for the people involved, check boxes for the services people want such as a calendar, hard drive space, a web site, a blog and so forth.

Automation is a powerful driver for cloud computing. When done correctly it lets end users handle tasks previously handled by IT staff, leaving IT to do what it does best -- handle the big picture items, leaving the resources portal as an automated, systematic, self-service machine.

More Stories By Benjamin Grubin

Benjamin Grubin is a 15-year veteran of the technology industry with experience in security, software engineering, marketing, consulting and management. He is the Director of Product Management & Marketing for Cloud Technology Partners, overseeing products that accelerate cloud development and migration. Mr. Grubin has worked with Fortune 100 companies to modernize their infrastructure and support next-generation management and security technologies. He is also a frequent presenter at conferences, seminars and panels on topics including cloud computing, IT service management, virtualization, and IT security.

Mr. Grubin holds an MBA from Harvard Business School as well as both a Master of Science in Computer Science and Bachelor of Science in Economics and Computer Science from Tufts University. Follow Ben on Twitter at @bgrubin.

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