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Infrastructure Automation on IBM Z in Cloud Pak for Watson AIOps 3.4

By Warren Zhou posted 5 days ago


As companies modernize their software development practices – using microservices, Cloud-Native, CI/CD, DevOps, etc. – they are finding they need more from their provisioning and infrastructure management solutions. But how can they handle the new complexities of a hybrid cloud world while keeping pace with innovation?

Talent attrition

Organizations must deal with managing the expensive and time-consuming tasks of processing thousands of incidents per month, e.g. sifting through daily logs for minor incidents, and carrying out procedures to mitigate major business impacting outages. Consequently, these organizations experience burnout and attrition in their Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) because of overuse/misuse of the SMEs’ high-level skills to solve often preventable problems. Talent attrition issues are compounded by an enterprise facing a precipice of highly-skilled mainframe administrators retiring – their absence creates a vacuum of operations knowledge.

The logical next step many enterprises are taking is to leverage data analytics – driving resiliency and more proactively identifying and resolving issues. In the latest release of IBM Cloud Pak for Watson AIOps, existing AI and data-augmented IT incident prevention and remediation capabilities have been enhanced with support for Infrastructure Automation run on IBM Power and Z mainframe systems. Based on the community-driven innovation cultivated through the open-source ManageIQ project, Infrastructure Automation ensures that the applications and infrastructure your business depends on are always on and perform cost-effectively. Mainframe integrations support the growth in IBM Z workloads, which is driving the need for both tool and cost optimization for long-term sustainability.

Why IBM Z?

IBM zSystem mainframes are the most powerful, secure platforms for enterprise transactions in the world. IBM's infrastructure has always been responsible for running much of the global economy, and that remains true today as organizations transform to deliver digital services. Clients across every industry have come to rely on the computing power and resiliency of IBM’s infrastructure to address ongoing challenges like IT complexity, data management and cyber threats. Regardless of the cloud technologies involved, IBM’s ability to help process, integrate, store and secure client data efficiently and seamlessly is unmatched.

According to a recent report by Intellyx:

“The mainframe must be central to an AIOps adoption effort not because it is somehow more important than the rest of the stack, but simply because it is an essential element of most business-critical workflows.”

Infrastructure Automation on IBM Z enables key use cases for clients:


Provisioning IT

  • Infrastructure-as-code enables teams to share templates across multiple instances and provision repeatable infrastructure with confidence
  • Manage services – compose complex full-stack services with ease using Terraform and Ansible
  • Provide RBAC controlled self-service access for developers to provision the infrastructure they need

Managing IT and its lifecycle

  • Discover and visualize hybrid infrastructure in clients’ environments – discoverable inventory includes Bare metal, hypervisors, containers, and clouds
  • Deliver insights – monitor the utilization and report on performance metrics including trending data and charge back reports
  • Establish controls - Security, Compliance, Alerting, Policy-Based resource, and configuration enforcement


Flexible integrations

  • Systems management, Tools and Processes, Event Consoles, CMDB, RBA, and Web Services
  • Manage change risk - GitOps principles are followed for repeatability and auditability of infrastructure provisioning
  • Execute resource optimization recommended by Turbonomic with Infrastructure as Code based provisioning by AIOps
  • Ansible-based automation - execute playbooks, automate provisioning, and configure actions to remediate


Infrastructure Automation

How Infrastructure Automation fits into the larger picture of other Cloud Pak for Watson AIOps components, aiding users with automated IT incident remediation.

Some key capabilities of Infrastructure Automation to highlight:

Managing the lifecycle of VMs

Discovery of hybrid cloud infrastructure and topology outlining relationships in an IT environment

With user specification of parameters such as Source Image to Import (e.g., AIX, Oracle, SAP, etc.), bucket within data storage, and Source PowerVC Provider, users may easily transfer VM images between on-prem and off-prem environments.

Advanced reporting

The Advanced Reporting capabilities available enable users to gain insights about the performance of their hybrid cloud environments. For example, users can view data about Operating Systems, Hardware Information, and Network Information of their IBM Power Virtual Server (i.e. off-premise) and IBM PowerVC (i.e. on-premise) systems.

Through the capabilities showcased, clients have been able to utilize Infrastructure Automation to great advantage. One client makes heavy use of self-service capabilities, including the use of automated reusable scripts and integrations with ServiceNow as a store front.  The client can sync content with their GitLab repositories and provision for data centers. Another client is managing hybrid environments and costs across several vendors’ cloud platforms. The automated deployments using Infrastructure as Code supports a secure and organized journey to cloud.

Further reading

Want to learn more about best practices for taking a hybrid approach to AIOps on IBM Z? You can do so in this presentation or learn about best practices in blog form. And you can continue to stay informed by joining the AIOps on IBM Z community.

Once you’re ready to work through the installation of the Infrastructure Automation component of Cloud Pak for Watson AIOps, you can read through our documentation to guide you through the process. Once Cloud Pak for Watson AIOps is up and running, expect rapid insights with driven resolutions through automated actions!