Automating System Administration: Landscape, Approaches, and Costs

Automation is essential for ecient system administration. This chapter addresses the following questins: What to automate? How to automate? And, when to automate? The “what” question is addressed by studying what system administrators do and therefore where automation provides value. The “how” question is about technologies for automation. We discuss three approaches—rule-based systems, control theoretic approaches, and workflow-based automation. The “when” is ultimately a business question that should be based on a full understanding of the costs and benefits of automation. For this, we provide a framework for doing such an analysis and apply it to software distribution.

By: Aaron B. Brown; Joseph L. Hellerstein; Alexander Keller

Published in: RC23928 in 2006


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