Part of what makes a modern data estate "modern" is its automated functionalities. Automation brings enormous benefits to organisations, including time and cost savings.
What tasks within a modern data estate can be automated? What other advantages can automation deliver? How can Microsoft Azure help you automate your modern data estate?
What Is a Modern Data Estate?
A modern data estate is the term used to describe all of the digital information your organisation has. There’s more data out there than ever before, and as a result, firms need a way to store it, analyse it, and gain insights from it.
What does a modern data estate look like? At the average company, you might find line-of-business applications, databases, CRMs, and social media information. Firms that have embraced IoT will have streams of data coming in from sensors as well.
What Automation Means in a Modern Data Estate
What does automation look like in a modern data estate? It means that components can be controlled, deployed, and monitored programmatically. "Programmatic" refers to an action that can be performed through code rather than through a user interface.
There’s always been some level of automation in data estate components. Data warehouses are an excellent example; hand coding was once the only method that would automate functions within that repository. Eventually, ETL and ETL for data warehouses came into vogue, with data warehouse automation being the latest automation method.
What Functions Can Be Automated in a Modern Data Estate?
There are four functions you can automate in a modern data estate:
- Process automation
- Configuration management
- Update management
- Build and deploy resources
When you perform manual tasks, there’s a higher risk of errors. Cloud management tasks are no exception. Making mistakes in cloud management tasks wastes time and money, and it can have nasty consequences that can take ages to fix.
Process automation makes those manual cloud management tasks a thing of the past. You can author runbooks in a graphical UI, PowerShell, or Python.
If you have Windows-based servers, you’re familiar with the need for desired state configuration (DSC). DSC is essential for configuring, managing, and maintaining these servers. It allows a PowerShell script to specify the configuration. DSC uses a simple, standard way that’s easy to understand.
You can automate configuration management when you use the right tools. Automating DSC means that you can manage DSC resources and apply configurations to virtual or physical machines. You can also monitor and automatically update machine configuration across physical and virtual machines, Windows or Linux, in the cloud or on-premises. Moreover, you can collect inventory about in-guest resources and track changes across services, daemons, software registry, and files.
‘Updating software is my favourite activity!’ says no one ever. It’s a tedious, time-consuming task that takes employees away from higher-value activities. Nowadays, software updates can be automated.
Update management lets you update Windows and Linux systems across hybrid environments. You’ll have visibility of update compliance across the cloud and on-premises systems. Also, you can schedule deployments to orchestrate installation of updates within a certain maintenance window.
Build and Deploy Resources
Building and deploying resources takes precious time and energy. With the right tools, you can automate those processes.
The right tools allow you to deploy Runbooks automatically. You can also integrate into development tools such as Jenkins and Visual Studio Team Services. This ensures continuous delivery and operations automation.
The Benefits of Automating Modern Data Estate Processes
Why should you automate your modern data estate processes? Automation delivers two key benefits: cost savings and time savings.
It’s a fact that manual processes are highly inefficient. The resources you spend coding something by hand would be much better used figuring out how to create more value for the organisation. Automation allows you to save money by eliminating these inefficiencies.
Automation also saves time. Think of how long it takes to carry out manual processes. If you make an error, you’ll have to go back and correct it. Automation, on the other hand, doesn’t have that problem; because you’re not entering information manually, the risk of errors drops substantially.
How Microsoft Azure Helps Automate Processes in Your Modern Data Estate
Microsoft Azure enables you to automate processes in your modern data estate, making your processes more efficient and cost-effective. Its cloud-based automation tools simplify previously manual processes.
With Azure, you can monitor update compliance across Azure, on-premises, and other cloud platforms for Windows and Linux. You control when updates take place; you can schedule them within a defined window of time.
Configuration management in the cloud becomes easier with Azure, too. You can author and manage PowerShell configurations, import configuration scripts, and generate node configurations. Azure Configuration Management lets you monitor and automatically update machine configuration across physical and virtual machines, Windows or Linux, be they in the cloud or on-premises.
Azure also allows you to integrate with mission-critical services. Write runbooks graphically in PowerShell or Python, so you can integrate Azure services or public systems for deploying, configuring, and managing your end-to-end processes. Deliver on-demand services by orchestrating across on-premises environments using a hybrid runbook worker.
In addition, Azure gives you the ability to deliver reliable services, faster. As your operational tasks increase, you can rely on your server-less runbooks to automatically grow. That capability lets you provide services quickly and consistently because you’re no longer focusing on maintaining the management system.
Enlighten Designs: Partnering with Microsoft to Automate Your Modern Data Estate
Enlighten Designs has been helping clients get the most out of their data since 1998. We’ve been a proud Microsoft partner for 15 years. Our partner competencies include Application Development, Data Platform, and Data Analytics, for all of which we’ve received a Gold certification. To learn more about automating your modern data estate, contact us.