Automate the Mundane

Azure Automation provide IT with the ways to make their jobs more interesting. Got a task you're sick of doing? Automate it away!

For IT pros, monotony is just part of the game. However, with tools like Azure Automation, many of our daily tasks that we have set to mental autopilot (yet still eat up a good chunk of the day), can be reduced so that more vital and interesting work can be done.

Azure Automation provides a comprehensive suite of tools for automating cloud management tasks, including the deployment, monitoring and maintenance of resources. It not only eases the burden on IT staff but also enables businesses to achieve better operational efficiency and compliance.

Whether you're a developer trying to automate your code deployment pipeline or an IT administrator looking to streamline system updates, Azure Automation has a solution that can be tailored to your specific needs. But first, you need to know how to utilize these powerful suite of tools.

That's where Travis Roberts, Microsoft MVP and IT consultant, comes in. While his 20 years of experience covers a wide swath of IT topics, Azure is where his passion lies. And his passion will be on display this November during his session, "Automate the Boring Stuff with Azure Automation," at this year's TechMentor conference in Orlando, Fla.

Ahead of his talk, which will focus on getting you up and running with Azure Automation, he sits down with Redmond to share why IT needs to utilize this tool, and how automation can change how we work.

Redmond: For the IT pros just starting out with Azure Automation, what do you think are the best use cases that they can start applying it to today?
Roberts: Any repetitive task that can be done with PowerShell or Python are good candidates for Azure Automation. New user on-boarding or automating support tickets are good examples. The best part about Azure Automation is there is little barrier to entry. As long as there is an Azure subscription in place, they can get started with no up-front costs. Azure Automation, like other Azure PaaS Services, is billed based on consumption. You only pay for what you use.

Inside the Session

What: Automate the Boring Stuff with Azure Automation

When: November 14, 4:15-5:30 p.m.

Who: Travis Roberts, Sr., CIO, CTO and IT Director

Why: "Any repetitive task that can be done with PowerShell or Python are good candidates for Azure Automation."

Find out more about  Live!360, taking place November 12-17in Orlando, Fla.

How much does Azure Automate's capabilities dovetail with Azure's AI capabilities?
Azure Automation uses PowerShell or Python runbooks to manage automation tasks. The runbooks can be linked with Web hooks and pass variables between them. Both PowerShell and Python can programmatically make web calls and access APIs. The capabilities to integrate with AI is a certainly possible.

What level of expertise with PowerShell do you think IT pros should have to take the best advantage of Azure Automation?
An understanding of PowerShell or Python will go a long way with Azure Automation. For those starting out, there is a large PowerShell community online that offers scripts and other resources. Azure Automation also offers a graphical PowerShell runbook. A graphical runbook allows users to create runbooks while removing some of the complexity of underlying PowerShell code.

How do you suggest IT pros balance the benefits of automation with the need to make sure that unsupervised automation doesn't go haywire somehow?
The goal of automation is to reduce IT professionals' workload or respond quickly to an event. Azure Automation can provide both, but there is some setup and monitoring required to make sure things are working correctly. Azure Automation provides built in monitoring and alerting with Log Analytics. In addition, runbooks can be configured to alert when it encounters an error.

So, Microsoft promises cross-platform support with Azure Automation, but in practice, does using Azure Automation require you to be more of an Azure shop vs. a non-Azure shop?
Azure Automation runs PowerShell and Python runbooks and can extend securely into an on-premises or multi-cloud environment with hybrid workers that run on both Windows and Linux systems.

To learn more about how you can effectively construct a cybersecurity assessment, don't miss Valerio's upcoming talk, titled "Automate the Boring Stuff with Azure Automation," this November. Register today!

About the Authors

Gladys Rama (@GladysRama3) is the editorial director of Converge360.

Chris Paoli (@ChrisPaoli5) is the associate editor for Converge360.


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