For those of who have been reading my articles, you'll recognize that I like options, and hate tedious work. Automating tedious work will be the subject of today's rant.
To Automate or not to Automate? That is the Question.
Recently, the team of technical writers here at SolarWinds was given the directive to start submitting daily reports, as opposed to weekly. As you could well imagine, I grumbled. After huffing and puffing to myself for a few moments, I began the task of automating this banal task. The automation was fairly simple. I wrote a script that scans various folders and calendars within Outlook, in addition to some work folders on my dev box. The script searches for any file or task that matches the current date. I then had the script take all of that collected information and neatly order it into a pre-addressed email that was to be automatically sent to the higher-ups every day at 4:30 pm. Voila! Tedious work be gone!
I thought I was clever by creating this script, then I thought again. Having an email automatically sent out on a daily basis to your boss without having reviewed it first seemed...let's just say, stupid. Suffice to say, 95% of my tedium has been defenestrated. (That's a $5 word you should look up .) I now have my report generated and sent only when I press the button and after having reviewed it first.
Automation is not a Substitute for Responsibility.
We all remember the movie, WarGames. In the opening scene, everything war related was automated up until the point nuclear warheads came into play. It was at this last stage that the human element was introduced to "turn the key." The plot focused on the removal of this human element and the potential consequences. (Think sending an unread, automatic email to your boss is bad? Sheesh!)
Yes, tedious work sucks. We know that. Automation is great. We know that too. The real point is (drum roll)...balance. "Lesson not just karate only, lesson for whole life. Whole life have a balance, everything be better. Understand?" - Mr. Miyagi (The Karate Kid).
SolarWinds and Balance
We have many products here that automate mundane tasks, and they can do almost anything. Let's take a look at SAM, for example. Once up and running, SAM can monitor your hardware, your applications, your logs, and so on. SAM also allows you to be alerted when something goes awry, and take action if this is your wish. The key here is that you are in control, not the machine. SAM has a wide array of features that help you automate your sysadmin world, not control it. Take a look at what it can do, with just a little help from you:
- Server & Server Operating System Monitors
- Server Management & Hardware Monitors
- Directory Server & LDAP User Experience Monitors
- Email Server & User Experience Monitors
- Messaging Protocol Monitors
- Database Servers & SQL User Experience Monitors
- Authentication Server Monitors
- Collaboration Server & User Experience Monitors
- Integration Server Monitors
- Application Platform & Custom Application Monitors
- Web Server Monitors
- Web Application Monitors
- SSL Certificate Monitors
- Internet Protocols
- Script Monitors
- File Monitors
For the complete list click here.