Negative Argument for IT Automation: Jurassic Park?

Sitting at a recent IT event the commentary turned to forecasting IT’s future.  The speaker gave an innocuous prediction about how automation is replacing the average IT worker.  The industry has decided and is transforming with terms like DevOps, software defined networking, and emphasis on scripting leveraging Microsoft PowerShell, Ansible, or the liking.

Later that evening, the family and I caught Jurassic Park on television.  The story of scientists creating a theme park with genetically resurrected dinosaurs from DNA located in petrified tree sap.  The movie is amazing, still.  Interestingly, I found myself watching and comparing the movie’s themes and messages with the morning’s event.

IT Industry Visionaries Say… The future is Custom Automation.

Dr. Ellie Sattler: So, what are you thinking?

Dr. Alan Grant: We’re out of a job.

Dr. Ian Malcolm: Don’t you mean extinct?

The Cost Of Custom And Automation Dependence:  It’s Not Cheap

John Hammond: Dennis, our lives are in your hands and you have butterfingers?

Dennis Nedry: [laughs] I am totally unappreciated in my time. You can run this whole park from this room with minimal staff for up to 3 days. You think that kind of automation is easy? Or cheap? You know anybody who can network 8 connection machines and debug 2 million lines of code for what I bid for this job? Because if he can I’d like to see him try.

Deploying Custom IT Using Automation Is A Journey

John Hammond: All major theme parks have delays. When they opened Disneyland in 1956, nothing worked!

Dr. Ian Malcolm: Yeah, but, John, if The Pirates of the Caribbean breaks down, the pirates don’t eat the tourists.

IT Developers Argue Automation Reasons For Operational Greatness

John Hammond: I don’t think you’re giving us our due credit. Our scientists have done things which nobody’s ever done before…

Dr. Ian Malcolm: Yeah, yeah, but your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could that they didn’t stop to think if they should.

The Fallout Of Automation Dependence:  It’s Never Flawless

Dr. Ellie Sattler: But you can’t think your way through this, John. You have to feel it.

John Hammond: You’re right. You’re absolutely right. Hiring Nedry was a mistake, that’s obvious. We’re over-dependent on automation. I can see that now. Now, the next time, everything is correctible…

Dr. Ellie Sattler: John…

John Hammond: Creation is an act of sheer will. Next time it’ll be flawless.

Realizing IT Automation Dependence Isn’t A Viable Reality.

Dr. Alan Grant: Hammond, after careful consideration, I’ve decided, not to endorse your park.

John Hammond: So have I.

Last Thoughts

This was meant to be a humorous take on a serious topic that is affecting the IT industry in big ways.  Long time IT architects and engineers recognize there may be simple truths here, but the fight to automate everything continues to rage on.  Granted, many shops have seen irrefutable gains in this space.  Look deeply inside those cultures and those leaders.  I suspect you’ll find the extraordinary, the exceptional, outspoken, the fighter, and maybe even crazy.

I like to play in those spaces too, but sitting at DevOps, Cisco, and other user groups around DFW, the constant theme I see and hear, many with frustration in their voices, is the desire and want is there but the capability, knowledge, culture, and leadership is not.  Creation is an act of sheer will.  But, the definition of insanity is creation and sheer will gone asunder.

\\ JMM

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