When speaking of IT trends, it’s important to take care and not toss about the typical cliches such as AI; the catch-all word that is “security” (of course everyone in the right mind wants their systems to be “secured”); and obviously the enigmatic “cloud“. These generic terms encompass such broad concepts that it almost means nothing to someone with a modicum of tech knowledge. AI (Artificial Intelligence) for instance includes multiple sub-disciplines such as machine learning, which in itself requires skills in other disciplines like linear algebra for example. “Security” touches so many topics, it is literally impossible for me to delve into half of the concepts in this brief article. Don’t even get me started on the cloud and the virtualization (another buzzword) technology that powers it.
With that said, an upcoming trend that may be unsettling for IT professionals who are settled in their ways is automation. Machine creation and provisioning services technology have been around for years. With the impending explosion of VDI on the horizon (coincidentally, the name of a popular VDI application produced by VMware) and other cloud-based services (I’ll refer to it the whole application stack as the cloud for simplicity’s sake), automation will be the technology that can upend an IT professional’s career.
Machine deployment is just one example of what automation can do for the IT professional when what used to be manual processes like patching, inventory management, managing RBAC and the other tedious day to day tasks can now be orchestrated from the top down. One of the great pains in deploying large quantities of machines is making sure that each computer contains the same operating system (build included), necessary drivers, required applications, and network/domain membership and verification of the PC’s likeness across the board. No small feat when dealing with hundreds or thousands of machines. This does not even include the time it takes to provision the multitude of machines once it’s been decided what will go on it and how to track it. That’s yet another hurdle in the deployment process. However, with automation systems such as MCS, PVS, runbooks leveraging the technology of open source software like Ansible or proprietary technologies with Citrix Provisioning Services or Microsoft Azure‘s aptly named Automation, the ability exists to run the exact same tasks an unlimited number of times with minimal supervision by the overworked and underappreciated systems admin.
Understanding of the concept and in-depth knowledge of how to use the technologies will be an imperative skill for the IT professional and will trend in 2019 and in the years to follow.