As industry organizations continue to grapple with the impact and changes brought on by the coronavirus pandemic, the range of applications for automation technologies is expanding. Automation experts say IT leaders need to understand and capitalize on important trends around containers, continuous integration (CI)/continuous delivery (CD), Kubernetes and related issues.
Automation is often inseparable from efficiency. People often think of automating something as making it more efficient, whether that means the way work is done, its process and results, or the overall business of the organization and its day-to-day operations.
Automation is also often associated with another term: simplification. For example, the expected outcomes that streamlining the organization's work and processes will produce and how the organization operates.
In IT, this means simplifying increasingly complex systems and environments. Consider running containers at scale, managing hybrid and multi-cloud infrastructures, and increasingly cloud-native environments. At a time when the environments in which organizations operate, including on-premises facilities and cloud platforms, are as complex as ever, automation is critical to keeping things as simple as possible.
IT leaders in every industry sector need to pay attention to automation trends in all aspects. The major trends in IT automation can be boiled down to simplifying the way people, processes, and tools work.
"2021 will usher in a rapid rise in automation with a focus on making customers' jobs easier and simpler, especially as the current pandemic continues to spread," said Ravi Lachhman, chief technology officer at Harness.
The next step in automation IT leaders will gain some flexibility in recruiting talent as highly specialized cloud-native operations expertise moves toward automation, Lachhman added.
Here's an in-depth look at the automation trends and insights to watch in 2021。
1. New applications of automation technology after the epidemic
E.G. Nadhan, chief architect and strategist for North America at Red Hat, said that due to the unforeseen outbreak of the epidemic in 2020, the interaction between people has been limited. Hence, contactless mechanisms for employee and customer interactions of organizations will see increased adoption in 2021. This trend extends the application of automation technology to areas that require human contact, which can improve the overall customer experience.
Nadhan pointed out: "The epidemic has also acted as a catalyst, accelerating the expansion of internal networks and the automation of routine tasks. Automation is arguably designed for times like these."
2. Dramatically reduce complexity
Frankly, 2020 has been a challenging year for many individuals and organizations. This, Lachhman said, will lead to an automation and architecture strategy for the coming year. He believes that, wherever possible, there needs to be a big push to use automation to remove complexity, partly to address the problems and a lot of persistent uncertainty facing remote work, but also because it is fundamentally more complex than ever before. It's complicated all the time.
"With the push toward cloud native and Kubernetes, it's not uncommon for large organizations to have millions of lines of YAML code across the enterprise," Lachhman said. "As the cloud native ecosystem explodes, so do the options and the complexity." It also increased."
Lachhman predicts that 2021 will focus on reducing complexity rather than simply moving it from one stack to another, taking a page from the Site Reliability Engineering (SRE) playbook and championing simplicity, repeatability and automation.
Emily Brand, chief architect at Red Hat, also sees more organizations focusing on site reliability engineering (SRE). "More and more organizations are focusing on Site Reliability Engineering (SRE) as a way to reduce labor intensity on staff through smarter, more targeted automation," he said. "Choose low-complexity investment Revolutionary high-value automation will be the focus of most infrastructure and operations teams in 2021."
Lachhman sees continuous integration (CI)/continuous delivery (CD) pipelines as a key area of focus. In particular, more teams will focus on how they deploy (leveraging automation where possible) rather than what they deploy.
"Complexity comes in many forms, but reducing the risk of how changes are deployed is a major part of the complexity equation," Lachhman said. "When adopting a new technology, the main problem facing the learning curve is operational complexity: how to deploy, how to patch, what happens. How to roll back when there is a problem, and how to verify and observe."
Lachhman has worked in various development teams where he has put his Java/JEE skills to good use. But at each organization, he encountered more promiscuous deployment models that often required the expertise of key team members to operate, especially when things were not going well. Continuous integration (CI)/continuous delivery (CD) pipelines are adapting to this paradigm shift and bringing more standardization to the details of deployment.
"Continuous integration (CI)/continuous delivery (CD) platforms are becoming increasingly agnostic in terms of what to deploy and how," said Lachhman. "If several different technologies are utilized, they can be deployed by one platform agnostic, And complex operational tasks like rollbacks will be automated by the schema. This is very useful because we can handle the iterative changes we need with more confidence if something goes wrong."
3. More automation and more orchestration
"2021 is the year of orchestration of automated workflows across domains that fills a gap in a fully digitally transformed organization," said Michael Cardy, Red Hat's chief technology strategist and director of Canadian solutions architecture. , automated configuration, management, and orchestration of applications and services.
Orchestration tools such as Kubernetes and enterprise Kubernetes platforms such as OpenShift help IT leaders more easily manage complex tasks and workflows.
Cardy added: "Automation and orchestration are different, but related concepts. Automation can reduce or replace human interaction with IT systems, and instead use software to perform tasks to reduce cost, complexity and errors, thereby helping businesses improve their business Efficiency. Orchestration works at a higher level and decisions are expected to be made based on changing conditions and requirements.”
4. The tools around Kubernetes are more mature
Kubernetes is fundamentally an automation technology itself. As it matures and adoption continues to grow, expect to see more automation built around and usage of Kubernetes.
Eran Bibi, director of DevOps and cloud platforms at Aqua Security, said: "2021 will see more automation around Kubernetes, especially around the deployment process. These tools need to ensure that application definitions, configurations and environments are controlled. Deployment and lifecycle management are handled in an automated fashion."
A big driver of this trend will be the simplification of Kubernetes for developers and DevOps teams, especially those new to the platform. For developers, the ideal is to focus on product and quality rather than complex Kubernetes deployments and operations. Automating Kubernetes deployment and operations will allow developers to focus on what they do best.
Bruno Andrade, CEO of Shipa, said: "We will see more automation applications moving towards automation in terms of the creation and deployment of Kubernetes objects (about 50 objects now), configuration files and application deployment itself. , enabling developers and DevOps teams to leverage Kubernetes without any Kubernetes expertise."
5. CI/CD tools will work better with Kubernetes
Continuous integration (CI)/continuous delivery (CD) pipelines and Kubernetes will continue to gain traction as the focus of IT automation in the coming year. And, there will be renewed focus on how these two modern IT technologies work together.
Gordon Haff, technical evangelist at Red Hat, said, "An important automation trend is the development of continuous integration (CI)/continuous delivery (CD) systems, making them more suitable for Kubernetes." Haff pointed out that some existing tools may not necessarily be able to Works well with orchestration platforms that otherwise introduce complexity.
Haff noted that Tekton and Argo CD are two projects in this space that are likely to gain traction in 2021. Both of these are examples of specific tools that will facilitate greater automation in Kubernetes deployments.
"Tekton is an open source project that provides a framework for rapidly creating cloud-native continuous integration (CI)/continuous delivery (CD) pipelines," Haff said, noting that Tekton was originally part of the Knative project but has since be independent. As a Kubernetes-native framework, Tekton makes it easier to deploy across multiple cloud providers or hybrid environments.
Argo CD is one of a growing menu of Kubernetes operators in the emerging ecosystem around orchestration platforms.
"Argo CD is a declarative GitOps and uses Git as the source of truth for declarative infrastructure and applications. It can automatically deploy the desired application state in the specified target environment," said Haff.
6. Kubernetes manages more workloads than in the past
When it comes to operators, Harness's Lachhman believes there will be a more concerted effort to leverage automation again to eliminate workloads that were once thought to be well-suited for containers and Kubernetes from those considered non-initiators, such as stateful applications. program) boundaries.
"Over the past few years, workloads that require state, persistence, clustering, consistency, or order of operations are not suitable for Kubernetes," Lachhman said. The Kubernetes ecosystem has caught up quickly. With the introduction of operators, container storage interfaces With further development and the hard work of the CNCF Storage SIG, the infrastructure is catching up. Vendors and projects are also getting more accustomed to multiple Kubernetes nuances."
Underpinning this shift is the increasing automation of aspects such as infrastructure and resource provisioning. This major automation simplifies things that were previously difficult or even impossible to do.
“Workloads that were unsuitable five years ago now look more attractive and can be deployed on cloud-native infrastructure and Kubernetes,” Lachhman said. “Bridging the gap that people who are usually deployed outside of Kubernetes is accustomed to, and providing them with new capabilities.” paradigm that will develop rapidly in 2021."
7. Automation will learn a lot from the pandemic
The coronavirus pandemic has been the catalyst for many automation efforts in 2020, not just in IT, but across business processes and operations. For some organizations, this is a good thing. For other organizations, there may be some lessons learned for 2021.
Automation projects facilitated by the pandemic will have a major impact in the year ahead. “Organizational leaders turned to automation in 2020 to complement and enhance digital transformation efforts, which have been significantly accelerated by the pandemic,” said Alex Day, Senior Vice President, Americas, Signavio. Advancements take months to achieve as organizations look to automate in search of greater efficiencies at scale."
This will have major ramifications in the coming year. Most forms of automation, such as RPA, don't actually improve processes on their own. They just help run faster and more often. It's not a good thing if the underlying process is broken. What we will see in 2021 is a widening gap in automation between organizations that understand this before embarking on large-scale automation projects and those that do not.
“By 2021, we’ll see a clear line between organizations that automate effectively and those that don’t, depending on how well an organization understands the underlying processes it’s automating,” Day said. Disruption of an automated process is often more harmful than the implementation of automation.”
Day expects the use of related methods and techniques such as process mining to grow significantly in 2021 as more organizations realize that their understanding of how their business actually works is not as deep as they think.
Day said: "I would like to see a significant adoption of process mining, modeling and simulation before implementing automation projects, which will help pave the way for better process implementation and more autonomous organizations. This will help organizations achieve the operational excellence it seeks through more efficient automation."
Karl Chan, president of Laserfiche, expects a similar divide between organizations taking a strictly do-it-yourself (DIY) approach to automation and cloud infrastructure and those seeking help from vendors. If it's a company like Uber or Netflix, of course there are plenty of resources for a full-scale DIY strategy. However, most organizations will benefit from outside help.
Chan said, "Over the past year, the pandemic has been a catalyst for organizations embarking on digital transformation, especially to the cloud. In 2021, we will start to see organizations classify themselves into two categories. : An organization that is trying to build a cloud computing infrastructure by itself, and the other is to seek third-party providers to help them build IT automation work.”
8. Expanding use of Robotic Process Automation (RPA)
Robotic process automation (RPA) will develop rapidly in the coming year. It’s safe to say that there will be a wave of development around this particular form of automation—the use of software robots to automatically run certain rules-driven, computer-based tasks—in the coming year.
Although containers, continuous integration (CI)/continuous delivery (CD) tools and Kubernetes will likely dominate the automation conversation in IT, robotic process automation (RPA) and other forms of process automation, there will still be interest from organizations . In addition, it is expected that RPA may be combined through overlapping or complementary technologies, thereby enhancing the basic functions of RPA in some way.