How I Stopped Worrying And Learned To Automate

by Bob Plankers on June 25, 2012 · 11 comments

in Cloud,Site Administration,System Administration,Virtualization

My wife and I had a daughter, almost two months ago now. Going into it, I completely underestimated how single-tasking kids are. My grand plans of blogging (at all) and writing and doing all sorts of big cool things while I had time off were suborned by a lot of seemingly simple tasks. Feed her. Feed myself. Change her diaper. Rock her. Clean up the house. Try to get some sleep. As a result, the only big thing I’ve been able to do is read a couple of novels, a few pages at a time. Well, that and keep a kid and a wife healthy and relatively happy.

I see a lot of parallels between my last two months and “the cloud.” The one thing I have been able to do is some writing about what exactly “the cloud” means, and I’ve tried to stress in those writings that clouds aren’t really about technology. They are about people & process, time & money, and the technology is just a means to an end. One of the things that is always stressed with clouds is automation, and, in particular, automating routine tasks to save staff time. But automation is one of those areas that’s fought against, partly because automation tools stink, and partly because it seems easy enough to just keep doing all the little things yourself.

But before you know it two months will have gone by and you won’t have done anything of note, because you’ve been so busy doing all the little stuff. Seth Godin, in his post yesterday, called it “little work,” and implored his readers to “carve out time for the big work.” It hits home for me as I look back on the last two months and all the little things I did, and all the big things I didn’t do.

So that’s what I’m doing for the next two months: automating all my small work so I have uninterrupted time for all the big stuff. Of course, I just need to figure out exactly how I’m going to automate things. Anybody who follows me on Twitter probably saw some of my frustration last week with VMware Orchestrator. What a mess. But that’s a whole other blog post in the making…

I’m also accepting suggestions for how to automate the small work at home, like cleaning the house and feeding my daughter. :) Though this might be the excuse I needed for a Roomba…

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