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Modernizing without compromising mission-critical systems

This blog is the third in a four-part series on infrastructure automation for government agencies that are modernizing digital systems while grappling with budget and staffing constraints and the challenges of COVID-19. Read the second post here.

The COVID-19 pandemic moved up the timeline for digital transformation projects considerably. Improvements that may have been slated for months or years down the line quickly became mission-critical, as the workforce moved to telework and services previously performed in-person moved online. It suddenly turned into a mad dash to modernize as soon as possible.

While government has generally been successful in implementing the initial transition, there is more to do. Digital transformation brings new risks and costs that must be managed, and requires knowledge and solutions that ease the burden of new system deployment and management. The most effective way of mitigating errors and threats to mission-critical systems is to embrace automation.

Digital transformation and risk mitigation

Most federal agencies have highly complex IT environments with hundreds—if not thousands—of legacy systems working together. It’s a delicate balance that must be handled with a deft touch. Deploying a new system or upgrading an existing one brings substantial risk. One configuration error in any system could negatively impact mission-critical applications. Without an effective deployment platform, the risks are even greater.

Puppet understands what’s at risk when deploying and what can happen when a configuration fails. Puppet Enterprise’s infrastructure automation solution greatly reduces the uncertainty of deployments and enables IT managers to launch new or upgraded systems with confidence. Removing this guesswork also reduces costs and frees up IT departments to spend more time developing and less time deploying.

To mitigate risk, federal agencies typically standardize OS and application configurations to improve efficiency and reduce risk. However, this carries its own set of burdens. This manual configuration requires substantial time. The work is tedious and consumes hours and resources that would be better spent on other high-impact projects. To add to the challenge, every OS requires a specific knowledge base. That means that IT operations must have deep knowledge of every OS, increasing staffing costs.

How Puppet Enterprise reduces complexity

Puppet understands government pain points and how automation can help. Dozens of agencies rely on Puppet Enterprise to effectively and intelligently automate system configurations across thousands of servers—without needing hundreds of hours of manual work. This reduced burden means IT staff can be redeployed to more strategic efforts and agency-wide digital transformations can be accomplished faster and more effectively.

After a one-time setup and deployment, you can have the confidence that systems will remain stable. Subsequently, you can automate repetitive tasks and continually reinforce desired state to manage drift. Then, Puppet Enterprise performs checks every 30 minutes to ensure compliance.

Puppet Enterprise also includes Impact Analysis. IT administrators can use the platform to test the potential impact of changes without risking infrastructure. Removing uncertainty makes integrating or upgrading systems much easier. Impact Analysis tells administrators what will happen when a system is deployed, how it will impact IT infrastructure, and why it is happening.

Customers that switched to Puppet Enterprise saw an average deployment frequency improvement of 2.5 times. Deployments that used to take months to complete can now be done in hours.

Puppet Enterprise means quicker deployments with reduced risk.

Managing rapid change

Rapid modernization is essential to supporting your mission. However, mission continuity is equally critical. A modern automation platform can help with efficient delivery of both new applications and systems, while mitigating the risks of impacting mission-critical systems. In the next blog, we will examine how a next-generation automation fabric can take this a step further and help accelerate complex digital transformation programs.

Alexa Sevilla is a Principal Product Marketing Manager at Puppet.

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