Automation, a tool like all others.

Automating processes is a powerful tool that can sometime pay huge dividends. But other times it can be a time sink

I find it does take drilling on some people, that automation is not THE answer to everything (42 is that answer 😉 I have directly encountered “That process if fully automated, therefore it is perfect and doesn’t require a closer look” even when the environment has changed such that the automation needed adjusting to accommodate the new reality. Perfection is the ideal we strive for but can never meet, and that includes the things we create, but we still get those who don’t get that concept which makes things harder than they need to be.

My early packet analysis training drilled in “Auto configuration is evil!” because of all the problems that can happen with it. This was Truth #8 from Laura Chappell of Wireshark U back when she was still at Novell. Perhaps this is a bit extreme, but facing the extremes is how we find the middle ground.
Many adherents of the current wave of automation and orchestration in virtualization circles, do stray to the extreme and need some tempering. The majority of organizations are too small (under 100 work loads, which is most of my client base) to benefit from any of the orchestration systems currently being pushed.

During Randall Munroe’s book tour for “Thing Explainer”, he described how he contemplated programming the drawing of the lines for “Tree of Life”, but stopped when he realized it would likely take him a month or more to get it right, when it would take him just a couple afternoons of doing it the “old fashioned” way which is what he then did. Clearly this is something he has to watch for regularly that he created a chart for “should I automate it”

A teaser of an example, replacing the “dot” and “at” in many posted email addresses with the appropriate characters. This is a totally automate-able exercise that some people do embrace, but when is that ever an efficient use of time and other such resources? I handily resisted, how hard did you have to fight that urge?

So for automation, only do so when appropriate.

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