Data center automation: 10 vendors you should know

The network not only has become the computer, it has become the data center as well. Vendors are rushing to provide end-to-end coverage of the automated and expanding concept of the data center.
Written by Joe McKendrick, Contributing Writer

The new data center that is evolving doesn't look like the centers we had come to know in years past. The racks of servers and storage disks may be greatly reduced, or absent altogether, displaced by the cloud. Likewise, the site of staff members moving about -- checking cabling, components, and temperatures -- may also be a thing of the past. The new data center may be a federation of smaller, edge data centers, or simply an administrator sitting at a desk with a laptop or even a mobile phone. The new data center blend seamlessly with the network. 

Recognizing this, data center automation vendors are focusing on delivering highly integrated virtual networks and compute resources that deliver full data center capabilities, or blend as seamlessly as possible with existing on-premises or physical environments. 

Here are 10 vendors in the data center automation space you should know.


BMC, which has operated in the mainframe and large systems management space for many years, offers TrueSight Automation for Servers, designed to enable administrators to provision, configure, patch, and maintain physical, virtual, and cloud servers. The tool also helps with achieving compliance with pre-configured policies with best practices and regulatory standards. Additional network automation and management software reduces network outages and downtime by automating configuration, change, and compliance.


Broadcom's CA unit has also delivered mainframe and large systems management tools for many years, and the company's CA Automic Workload Automation (AWA) reflects that heritage. AWA is a product suite that provides workload automation for IT services across multiple platforms, applications, and operation systems. This includes batch processing and job scheduling. 

Chef (a subsidiary of Progress)

Chef Enterprise Automation Stack (EAS) is a set of open-source solutions that provides a common approach for automating application delivery, infrastructure configuration and compliance auditing. The product set includes Chef Automate, an enterprise platform that enables developers, operations and security engineers to collaborate on delivering application and infrastructure changes. Chef Habitat is an open-source solution that provides automation capabilities for defining, packaging and delivering applications to environments on multiple operating systems or deployment platforms. Chef Infra is a configuration management tool for defining infrastructure as code (IAC), making the process of managing configurations and system state automated and testable. 


Cisco provides scalable automation modules that starts with infrastructure automation, followed by enterprise and hybrid cloud or application automation. These modules include Cloud and Systems Management; Cisco Application Policy Infrastructure Controller; Cisco Cloud Accelerators; Cisco Intelligent Automation for Cloud; Cisco Intelligent Automation for SAP; and Cisco Intercloud Fabric for Business. Cisco Unified Computing System (UCS) is a data center server computer product line composed of computing hardware, virtualization support, switching fabric, and management software, which combines industry-standard, x86-architecture servers with networking and storage access into a single unified system.


ConnectWise Automate provides scripts, monitoring, and automation capabilities. Components include IT Automation, which programmatically offloads routine IT workloads; Asset Discover, which automatically detects and tracks the presence and behavior of connected devices: Endpoint Management, which provides access to user devices; Patch Management, which enables administrators to configure, test, and install software updates on devices; and Remote Monitoring, which enables administrators to monitor, discover, and resolve IT issue-network bottlenecks, application performance issues, and security threats.

Juniper Networks

Juniper Automation focuses on the network management side of the data center, incorporating Paragon Automation, which focuses on active service assurance. The product set includes Juniper's Apstra solution, a turnkey automation solution that assists with the process of designing, deploying, and operating data center networks.  Paragon Active Assurance is a programmable test and monitoring solution for physical, hybrid, and virtual networks. Paragon Insights (formerly HealthBot) is a network health and diagnostic solution that provides operational intelligence across all service provider, cloud, and enterprise network domains, from network access to servers in the data center. 

Micro Focus 

Micro Focus Data Center Automation (DCA) automates infrastructure patching and IT compliance, as well as real-time visibility into the risk and compliance state of the data center, and process orchestration. DCA components include Continuous Compliance Management; Advanced Process Orchestration; and Reporting and Extensibility.


Microsoft Azure Automation is a cloud-based automation and configuration service that supports management across Azure and non-Azure environments. It comprises process automation, configuration management, update management, shared capabilities, and heterogeneous features that support both Windows and Linux systems.


The Puppet Enterprise Platform includes Puppet Enterprise, which is designed to enable organizations to scale multi-cloud infrastructure as their automation footprint grows, and Relay, an event-driven automation platform. Puppet Enterprise Platform provides three styles of automation: task-driven orchestration, model-driven infrastructure as code and API event-driven workflow.

Red Hat (a subsidiary of IBM)

Red Hat's Ansible Automation Platform provides automation through its Ansible Engine, which is built on Ansible, an open-source human-readable language. Ansible Tower enables administrators to centralize and control IT infrastructure with a visual dashboard. Red Hat also supports OpenStack, an operating system that helps build a cloud infrastructure or manage local resources as though they were a cloud. 

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