The best automation tools for sysadmins

Rick Blaisdell

August 10th, 2017

Artificial Intelligence and cognitive computing have made huge strides over the past couple of years. Today, software automation has become an important tool that provides businesses with the necessary assets to keep up with market competition. Just take a look at ATMs, which have replaced bank tellers, or smart apps that have brought airline boarding passes to your fingertips. Moreover, as some statistics reveal, in the next couple of years, around 45 percent of work activities will be replaced or affected by robotic process automation. However, this is not the focus of this post. Our focus here is about how automation is helping us to keep up the pace and streamline our activities. So let’s take a look at system administrators. There are plenty of tasks performed by sysadmins that could easily be automated. To make the job easier, here is a list of automation software that any system administrator would be interested in:

  1. WPKG – The automated software deployment, upgrade, and removal program that allows you to build dependency trees of applications. The tool runs in the background and it doesn’t need any user interaction. The WPKG tool can be used to automate Windows 8 deployment tasks, so it’s good to have in any toolbox.
  2. AutoHotkey– The open-source scripting language for Microsoft Windows that allows you to create mouse macros manually. One of the most advantageous features that this tool provides is the ability to create stand-alone, fully executable .exe files, from any script, and operates on other PCs.
  3. Puppet Open Source – I think every IT professional has heard about Puppet and how it has captured the market during the last couple of years. This tool allows you to automate your IT infrastructure from acquisition to provisioning and management stages. The advantages? Scalability and scope! 

As I mentioned, automation has already started to change the way we do business, and it will continue doing so in the upcoming years. It can represent a strong motive to increase service to your end users. Let’s take a dive into the benefits of automation:

  • Reliability – This might be considered one of the highest advantages that automation can provide to an organization. Let’s take computer operations as an example. It requires a professional with both technical skills, and agility in pressing buttons and other physical operations. Also, we all know that human error is one of the most common problems in any business. Automation removes these errors.
  • System Performance – Every business wishes to improve performance.  Automation, due to its flexibility and agility, makes that possible.
  • Productivity – Today, we rely on computers and, most of the time, we work on complex tasks. One of the perks that automation has to offer is to increase productivity using job-scheduling software. It eliminates the lag time between jobs, while minimizing operator intervention.
  • Availability – We all know how far cloud computing has come and how much hours of unavailability can cost. Automation can help by delivering high availability. Let’s take, for example, service interruptions. If your system crashes, and automated back-ups are available, then you have nothing to worry about. Automated recovery will always play a huge role in business continuity.

Automation will always be in our future, and it will continue to grow. The key to using it to its full potential is to understand how it works and how it can help our business, regardless of the industry, as well as finding the best software to maximize efficiency.

About the Author

Rick Blaisdell is an experienced CTO, offering cloud services and creating technical strategies, which reduce IT operational costs and improve efficiency. He has 20 years of product, business development, and high-tech experience with Fortune 500 companies developing innovative technology strategies.