Operations Orchestration Review

We are trying to automate as many of the processes as possible, so the automation is the most valuable aspect.

Valuable Features

The automation, hands down. That's the future of our company and the direction we're going in. We are trying to automate as many of the processes as possible, so instead of taking two weeks to deploy a server it takes 15 minutes.

We started with our VM systems, and now we're looking at physical systems. Also, in my area of expertise is monitoring, so within that flow, we also deploy monitoring as well as part of the automated service. Based on a matter of minutes, rather than a matter of days. Huge benefit.

Improvements to My Organization

It's cost effective. The time you get the applications up and running generates more revenue for the company sooner. Also personnel, it doesn't require as many people to be involved. Of course, money is number one within the company. But yet, just the pure time and the time it takes to get infrastructure up, going and ready.

We have such a huge environment. When we're standing up new applications, new systems or existing applications, we've got to find ways to make things faster to keep up with demand, keep up with the competitors, and to be the leading institution in our industry. Definitely always finding new ways to make things faster and better. Of course, that eliminates human error. When we automate, everyone knows exactly what to expect, from the process, rather than introducing a point of failure - human error.

Room for Improvement

I'm not quite sure, because the toolsets that are introduced out of the box are very helpful. Once you get that learning curve, when it clicks, it's kind of like a game to me. Once you have the personnel who can really get into it and really enjoy it and make things better, I really cannot find any specific examples for you to say that I wish this was better, because it offers you so many options. You're developing something so it's kind of how you want to do it. There's so many different ways that you can develop your flow, so they have a ton of options for you.

I'm not a developer by trade. I actually come from an operations background. I have a little bit of scripting experience, and when I took this on, we actually had a contractor come in and guide the work. Once he did that, and then once they left, I took over those flows and just thrown out there in the water. Sink or swim. When you have to do it, it was something I picked up in a really quick. Once it clicked, we were off. We just kept going.

You have to have a subject matter expert. You have to have that SME to have that mindset of a developer. You need to have someone with some development experience. Not saying you have to, because it can be learned, but it is easier to have someone to have that experience and to have that mindset. But you do have to have that dedicated resource, I guess you could say to stay on top of it, because if you don't stay into it, once you create these flows, and if they're very customized, some of them in my experience can get quite large. You have to keep up with what's being added, what's being updated and know exactly what's going on, because over time you can kind of forget things that are happening within the automations.

Stability Issues

We have had some issues with memory usage, but that's something that we beefed up and made the system more robust. We added new servers, and actually helped tremendously. We created guidelines around how the flow should be created to sustain stability, because if you have folks who introduce to many bugs to their flows, it can actually bring the system down. We have a team that monitors it.

Scalability Issues

It's exploding as more and more departments start using the application, we add more servers. I think of you need that directive from senior management. As long as it's something that the company wants, and they want to move forward with, you'll get the resources for it.

Customer Service and Technical Support

Usually what I do is I contact the team that oversees the product, and if there's any issues, then they would contact HP, which I think they have done a few times. I've never heard any complaints from them about it.

Initial Setup

I didn't have any involvement with the deployment of the application, so I'm not sure.

Other Solutions Considered

I'm not at the level to know why they chose Orchestration. But since they've chosen it, it's been a great tool. Very powerful tool. Introduced a lot of flexibility within the company. Something we've been very pleased with. It's really exploded within the company.

Other Advice

Have someone create guidelines. Make sure you have the folks who have that development mindset. Just have those guidelines to keep the stability, because once you start it, you really need someone to have the experience to guide the folks into it. But once they see what the features are out of the box, how to create those flows, and once they get started, then I think it's pretty easy.

**Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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