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Task automation and workflow orchestration with virtualization

By nature, virtualization already eliminates a lot of manual processes, but task automation and workflow orchestration can make your infrastructure even more efficient.

Automation is a key tenet of cloud computing, but it’s also important for virtualization -- the stepping stone

to the cloud. In a virtual infrastructure, task automation means you can easily manage virtual machines (VMs) and carry out monitoring, testing and performance checks with limited button-pressing required.

Task automation tools allow you to automate VM provisioning and other operational tasks across your virtualization platform and third-party applications. And with workflow orchestration, you can string together a series of processes to automate a particular task.

Vendors have been getting in on the automation game with a variety of tools. VMware’s vCenter Orchestrator, for example, automates workflows by linking VMware products together to ease operations management. 

Released in July 2011, VMware vSphere 5 focuses on increased server automation, where its Distributed Resource Scheduler (DRS) technology can now automatically load-balance overloaded disks using Storage vMotion. You can also improve task automation with scripts and commands through tools such as Windows PowerShell.

Server management isn’t the only area that benefits from virtualization automation. IT process automation can include everything from an operating system deployment to a VM startup or failover. You can also automate disaster recovery and chargeback methods with tools such as VMware Site Recovery Manager and vCenter Chargeback.

Remember, monitoring is still important: Don’t just leave your processes alone. There are even numerous tools that can automate performance monitoring, reporting and alerting.

 With this guide to task automation and workflow orchestration in a virtual infrastructure, you’ll learn which processes you can automate and which server automation tools are best for your data center.  

This was first published in August 2011

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