Whatever “ops” you may be, you need a SST

There’s currently an “Ops Identity Crisis” happening in our industry. Sysadmins, techops, DevOps, and SREs are all worried that they are automating their jobs away, which sadly is the goal of most of their jobs, and a sign they are doing it well. At the same time, Developers and Software Engineers (some consider them the same, some do not) are worried that they will be phased out if they don’t have all the skill necessary to take over OPs tasks, which also may or may not be true depending on the goals of a particular organization.

We here at Device42 think that there are grains of truth in both the worries and in the opinions of the naysayers alike, in that one is sure to find a bit of each of the former situations playing out depending on where a given organization is in its lifecycle, where it has been, and where it wants to go.

That said, no matter what kind of OPS team you are or are working to move towards, to perform the task efficiently, your organization needs a Single Source of Truth (an ‘SST’) – a designated place to go in search of authoritative information, which usually consists of (at least at the center) a CMDB. A Single Source of Truth is a “data federation platform”, providing a single pane of glass view into your entire infrastructure, unifying once disparate data silos either via imports, auto-discovery, integrations, or in the case of an SST like Device42, it’s done using all of the aforementioned techniques.

Whether you think Operations Engineers are necessary, DevOps is the way to go, or believe that we should just leave well enough alone, one thing is for certain – To effectively manage an environment, you need a place to look to be able to find out anything you need to know about it, be it how many servers you have, what they do, what the next available IP is, how many networks you have, routes, etc. As Ops and Engineers alike become responsible for more and more systems, we remain human, and humans just aren’t that great at remembering the nuances of hundreds of systems, never mind thousands, not to mention all their interdependencies.

A single source of truth (SST) that can be used by everyone in IT is essential for successful operations. It can be consulted before a migration to understand how software, services, applications, physical and virtual servers, and network components interrelate and to understand their interdependencies. The SST is visible in ticketing systems so that when a device is referenced, everything about that device is available at the user’s fingertips — passwords, support and warranty contracts, IPs and remote URL’s, running software, services, and applications, and much much more — without repetitive data input.  

As important, all the SST information is available to drive automation. For example, a Puppet script can make a call to Device42’s RESTful API to get the next available IP for each server being built. Then, at the end of the script the new server’s information can be pumped back into Device42 via an API call. Similarly, Device42 webhooks can be used to trigger events in a variety of if-this-then-that type automation tools such as StackStorm, Zapier, Microsoft Flow, or any preferred tool. Since Device42 knows about every physical, virtual, and cloud server, network component, and application, webhooks can trigger on events caused by almost any infrastructure change.

So no matter what you think about ops, where your job description currently falls, and where you think it’s going in the future, one thing is for certain: A reliable SST like Device42 makes everyone’s life easier, and will support both the operations shop you run today, and the operations shop you plan on running tomorrow, and most importantly, will help IT support the business as efficiently as possible.

Check back again shortly for our upcoming blog post to learn how the IT as a Service model can help IT both align with and better serve the needs of your business. In the meantime, download our White Paper on the subject by IDC on behalf of Device42: “IT Agility and Business Alignment: Why you need a single source of truth.”

See you next time, and if you aren’t already a Device42 user, grab our Free Trial and experience the power of a Single Source of Truth for yourself!