Infrastructure vendors typically provide a plethora of management platforms for end users to wade through to deploy, configure and maintain their devices and services. While their intentions are good, they really make your life harder.

While the promised capabilities of both physical and logical infrastructure are often impressive, the ability of an end user to actually drive a given management platform can be frustrating and confusing.  It’s like navigating a winding pathway that weaves through swamps of drop-down menus, mysterious undocumented configuration text boxes and multi-select checkboxes.

How can you figure out which one is the holy grail that will actually bring IT operations success?

Leverage the Experts

 Fortunately, there are IT experts who understand the various platform capabilities and know how to get them humming. They have tirelessly tested and evaluated their way through the myriad of “user-configurable features” and “advanced options” to successfully build a working device, network, or service.

But how can you walk in their footsteps? And how can you simplify deploying devices or services in a production environment without having to decipher multiple management platform UIs – and their inherent hurdles – along the way?

Before jumping into the deep end, perhaps the most important thing to understand is that how you interface with these platforms does not need to reflect how your users interface with them. One path to consider – and a capability that many vendors are virally marketing – is the use of APIs embedded in their management platforms.

Automate with APIs

Automation of tasks by leveraging APIs is a hot topic, with few best practices. IT experts can often identify and explain many advantages of sharing data or triggering operations across multi-vendor platforms. But the IT expert who can also rapidly produce optimized, well QA’d scripts to perform these operations is rare. And they never have a light workload!

As more businesses focus on simplifying service management and enablement through platforms such as ServiceNow, it has become easier for IT experts to:

  • Identify and define best practice workflows for infrastructure automation
  • Map these out in a standardized automation platform, and
  • Share that workflow back to the originating service management platform for action.

In this new world, the IT expert defines the workflow required to automate, while the end-user uses their common service delivery platform to request and action.

Put the You in UI

Talk to your expert about implementing an automation platform for infrastructure processes that uses a simple drag and drop user interface. With today’s most advanced solutions available, users can create workflows but do not need in-depth knowledge of programming languages such as Python, Perl or PHP.

Instead, they can focus on defining automated workflows via a drag-and-drop interface, selecting capabilities from vendor APIs that can be structured and subsequently triggered from platforms such as ServiceNow.  There are solutions that enable automated processes to be defined and built by IT experts but provisioned by anyone.

And that will simplify everyone’s life.

To learn more, meet the experts at Gartner IT Symposium. Booth # 133, AI Marketplace, Atlantic Hall.