For almost a decade now, global business leaders have heralded the beginning of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, which refers to how technologies like AI, robotics, IoT, autonomous vehicles and computer vision are blurring the lines between the physical, digital, and biological spheres.
Industry 4.0 has paved the way for transformative changes in business, unleashing advances in business process automation in the front and back office, driving unprecedented productivity and growth. However, concepts and advancements from Industry 4.0, have been slow to reach the IT infrastructure and operations space.
Has Industry 4.0 impacted your organization? If so, what was the outcome or better yet, was there any at all?
Many organizations continue to struggle with disparate systems, heterogenous infrastructure, and various automation technologies. Automation for most organizations has failed to mature beyond basic runbook and scripts, the idea of leveraging AI to learn, understand and automate is conceptually understood, but beyond their reach.
The world needs a better way to orchestrate all the automation taking place today. I&O leaders today are faced with the challenge of conceptualizing how various automation tools and capabilities are used to deliver multifunctional outcomes. Many of these automation technologies differ to an extent and require expertise, that may or may not be accessible to many organizations or cost an excessive amount to acquire.
If that wasn’t hard enough, most I&O leaders are challenged with statements like, “ it would be nice if that was consolidated all on one screen. And, if it’s not too much to ask, it needs to be all sorted out for my unique business requirements and existing technology deployments. And it needs to deliver the benefits of automation on day one.”
This complex “everything that can be automated should be automated,” type of solution has become known as Hyperautomation. But it’s not the elusive unicorn you might think.
In fact, it’s why we are all so excited about the recent announcement by Hitachi Vantara that has introduced Hitachi Infrastructure Orchestration as a Service. This solution delivers ready to use orchestration and automation capabilities that provides an automated digital experience across an organization’s unique IT operations management (ITOM) toolchain. The solution is made up of a modular group of Software as a Service (SaaS) offerings and managed services capabilities that are tailored to the environment and requirements of an organization. Together, the solution provides:
- Continuous insights, intelligence and automation across the IT enterprise
- Enhances traditional ITSM and ITOM operations with service-based infrastructure delivery and autonomous operations
- Applies advanced hyperautomation toolchains such as machine learning, artificial intelligence, business process management (BPMS), integration (iPaaS), and IT process automation
Hitachi Infrastructure Orchestration as a Service is a powerful set of capabilities designed to breakdown data silos, liberate data from across the enterprise and allow organizations to put that data to work to become more predictive, more proactive, and more automated. By applying advanced intelligent automation across the IT enterprise, the solution enhances traditional ITSM and ITOM with artificial intelligence for IT operations (AIOPS), while providing IT process automation creating service-based infrastructure delivery and autonomous operations. The solution can enhance a broad range of IT operations processes including, but not limited to, anomaly detection, event correlation, behavioral and root cause analysis (RCA) to improve monitoring, service management and provide zero touch resolution.
Automation has been a big part of IT operations for decades, so it’s worth taking a moment to examine how this is so new and why it’s so important now. Most of the automation in place today is focused on repetitive human tasks that can be anticipated in advance by software developers, and creating runbooks and scripts, for example. Even with advanced tools, such as robotic process automation, the technology is still limited to structured data and repetitive tasks – the kind of automation that’s based on the idea that machine and man work in silos, independently.
This technology is rarely intelligent, agile, or scalable. Most automation today is based on eliminating commodity-based work from a human being. The type of automation that most of us need now, and the focus of Hitachi Infrastructure Orchestration as a Service, orchestrates multiple technologies with the goal of driving end to end process automation. This kind of automation is based on the idea that everything is automated and that man supports machines for risk mitigation at key points in the process. This approach provides intelligence to automation, while liberating employees to focus on more higher value tasks. In other words, automation that helps organizations make better decisions, anticipate opportunities or disasters, make correlations and optimize complex environments with limited human interaction.
Here are some common examples.
From Insights to Intelligence to Action
Breaking down data silos to get insights and intelligence into the IT enterprise is a struggle for most organizations. Providing meaningful metrics into their data center, such as capacity, utilization, inventory, and health check is key for many IT executives, However, what if you could provide not only insights but capabilities to act on the intelligence. For example, many storage administrators struggle with capacity metrics for capacity planning. Providing trends, utilization and forecasting metrics can help eliminate the need for manual reporting and forecasting. However, integrating insights with actions is key to creating a smarter organization. IT storage managers need a platform that provides not only insights into their storage, but also intelligence on when new capacity is needed integrated with automation capability to provision storage from request to fulfillment with little to no human interaction.
Storage Provisioning at the Speed of Need
Storage provisioning for an increase in capacity has three large buckets of process, request and data gathering, scheduling and technical execution. Most organizations have automated the technical execution steps that an administrator uses to add a volume. However, most have not automated what they consider to be the business process steps of the request and the scheduling. Many organizations see weeks to sometimes months for a request to be made, information gathered about the app, storage availability, application risk registry, storage array selection, manager approvals, finance approvals and change control documentation. Once completed a human then works on scheduling the action and automation isn’t present until the administrator logs in to perform the action. I hear a lot of I&O owners state, “I don’t own all of that work; I only own the execution.” However, they are not sure why the end user (app owner) is upset with the total amount of time such a request takes. The reality is that if you automate the request process and the scheduling you could have an end-to-end process that provided the storage increase at the speed of need. Furthermore, you could apply trending and forecasting to the consumption metrics and tell the application owner when they would need that additional volume a full quarter ahead of the need; eliminating all wait time and allowing the applications to scale as required with no human intervention.
Hitachi has taken a modular approach to the main components and services that make up each solution. Now two customers are the same so a one size fits all approach would force far too great of a compromise. Here are the main offerings used to form the solution:
- Hitachi Infrastructure Services Central
Unified entry point to the Platform providing access to a single pane of glass for visibility and operations execution
- Hitachi Autonomous Operations
Captures monitoring and alerting, removes the noise with event correlation, and responds with intelligent automated operations using AI/ML technology
- Automation Orchestration Service from Hitachi Vantara
Orchestrate multiple technologies, platforms and tools creating a consolidated operations engine to deliver an Infrastructure as a Service
- Hitachi Infrastructure Intelligence
Deep analytics and insights of the operating environment. Providing custom reporting and dashboarding across the infrastructure landscape.
And of course, there is the Automation Workflow Assessment Service from Hitachi Vantara to help sort out the often-complex set of unique requirements that many organizations have.
Unlike many advanced automation solutions that promise the latest and greatest machine learning and artificial intelligence, Hitachi Infrastructure Orchestration as a Service isn’t a bundle of custom design solutions that your staff has to figure out how to apply so it delivers the right answers in your environment. That’s the advantage of X as a Service. Your solution designed, deployed and run by experienced people so you get the answers, prediction, and collective automated wisdom from your environment right away.
Hitachi Infrastructure Orchestration as a Service may be capable of many things, but at the end of the day, it is designed to flatten out those obstacles to your digital transformation.
- Accelerating the Data-Driven Enterprise – The Vision by Gajen Kandiah
- Data-Driven and Cloud Ready Infrastructure – The Q&A with Russell Skingsley
- Cloud Management for the Modern Workload – The Q&A with Premkumar Balasubramanian
- Hitachi Vantara – All Systems Go
- Read the Press Release: Hitachi Launches New Application Reliability Services
- Read the Press Release: Hitachi Launches New Data Infrastructure Solutions for Private and Hybrid Cloud
Be sure to check out Insights for perspectives on the data-driven world.
Jeremy Fields is Vice President Automation Practice, Global Services, Hitachi Vantara.