I think the correct phase for this one is “Don’t try and boil the Ocean”, if you try and automate everything at once you will end up with a broken system and will ultimately fail.
Identify the areas that cause you the most pain at the moment, the tasks that take the most time or need the most people to currently work. Once you have identified these areas take a look at the tasks that make up this process. What part of the process is the biggest pain today, the one that is loosing you the most time and effecting service delivery? That’s a great place to start.
Once you have automated this area and showed the results that have been achieved by automation, only then move on to the next item that causes you pain. Following this iterative approach and over time you fill find that you have automated a good amount of your datacenter operations and over time the cost of automation will exceed the value.
More Automation tips
More tips from this series created by myself and Thomas Corfmat for a session at VMworld 2013 can be found below (updated as published), if you have a login for VMworld.com you can also watch the full session here.
Automation Tip 7 – Testing
Automation Tip 8 – Documentation
Automation Tip 9 – End to end automation
Automation Tip 10 – Follow the “Automation Triangle”