Infrastructure – the basic, underlying composition
of elements and their connections that form a system.
In IT “infrastructure” is a layered definition. It includes electrical and communication lines, and equipment. It includes computer and networking hardware, as well as server and operating systems software. Common use application software is also a part of infrastructure.
On the next layer it is a process of providing service, according to certain rules and procedures. Finally, it is people who design, implement, analyze, support, and maintain the entire system.
IT Infrastructure maintenance includes (but not limited to) the following service activities.
Green and aqua colored boxes represent the areas where we can find a significant amount of jobs that could be automated to improve efficiency and/or performance of infrastructure personnel.
For example, the following Microsoft Active Directory jobs are performed by administrators on a regular basis.
- Find or Create an Organizational Unit
- Find, Modify, or Create a User Account
- Find, Modify, or Create a Security Group
- Retrieve or Apply Security Policies as a scalable batch job, to a group of objects from dozens to thousands, on a single domain or a large cluster
- Scan and analyze data trees, generate comprehensive reports based on parameterized queries
Another example – Security and User Support jobs that include file/folder maintenance and network operations.
- Creation of folders and files
- Applying/Updating Security Permissions
- Managing network resources
- Retrieving/reporting system audit data
In an organization that has an IT Infrastructure supporting hundreds of nodes (that is – millions of users) maintenance jobs are a critical task. High volume and time constraints for processing of requests make those jobs a perfect candidate for automation.
That was a challenging project for me as it required a lot of investigation and analysis, experimenting, and learning about the back-end processes. Seeing the solution I implemented (it has been successfully employed) makes me proud not only because of reliability of functionalities but also because of administrators’ feedback on convenience and simplicity.
In the subsequent posts I will share both my observations and samples of technical implementation but the main conclusion once again confirms my vision and mission statement of this blog: automation works at its best when it is intended not to replace a human operator but to expand capabilities beyond the base level.
As they say, our administrators have got an additional d o z e n of hands and eyes now!