How to Level Up Your Infrastructure Automation

June 7, 2023
10 min

It’s now widely acknowledged that DevOps has become the preferred methodology for software delivery. But making your Dev teams reliant on ITOps teams also has its drawbacks. The number of developers needing environments, the increasing complexity of those environments, and the scarcity of IT professionals with the expertise to configure and provision those environments creates bottlenecks in the software delivery lifecycle. Over the past few years, many companies have adopted infrastructure automation to solve this.

As organizations turn to infrastructure automation tools for delivering applications to their end users, they now are facing the challenge of achieving scale. Since every business has different requirements for their specific operation, there is no one-size-fits-all solution to achieve maturity of their infrastructure automation. That’s why Quali has developed the Infrastructure Automation Maturity Model™ to help business leaders and DevOps practitioners assess their positioning and plot a strategy for improvement by investing in the right platforms and tools.

How to Gauge Your Infrastructure Automation Maturity

As part of our mission to help business leaders better understand the possibilities and realize the maximum value of infrastructure automation, Quali’s Infrastructure Automation Maturity Model™ is built around real-world factors to ensure each level can be accurately assessed and measured. It contains five levels of maturity measured against attributes of four areas: culture, people, process, and technology. The five levels of maturity are defined as:

Level 1: Ad-hoc

Level 1 is characterized by infrastructure that is a piecemeal of new and old technology with a fragmented IT organization. Multiple methods and tools are required to provision infrastructure which necessitate highly skilled personnel. At this level, infrastructure change is challenging; it can incur greater risk and take a great deal of time.

Level 2: Automated

While infrastructure at level 2 is still a mix of new and old technology, organizations at this level are adopting cloud and using DevOps to drive change more efficiently. However, businesses at this level of maturity still have fragmented IT organizations with an even broader diversity of tools and infrastructure creating greater challenges as there is an increasing demand for skilled personnel.

Level 3: Frictionless

At the third level, enterprises need to deliver rapid changes while simultaneously managing risk. Cost, complexity, and standardization become key factors that must be addressed if they are to scale. They must begin to consolidate tools, save time, and reduce the need for costly high-skilled personnel. The challenge here is to find a solution that streamlines the delivery of infrastructure, making it virtually invisible to end users.

Level 4: Lifecycle

The primary characteristics that define level 4 of the Infrastructure Automation Maturity Model™ are achieving full governance, security, and change control without sacrificing the reputation of the business or control over costs. Infrastructure at this level should be managed from end-to-end to ensure optimization, reliability, and control.

Level 5: Self-defining

Level 5—the pinnacle of infrastructure automation maturity—is characterized by greater cost effectiveness, automatic enhancements, and the ability to constantly incorporate and execute on continual feedback to prove and maintain business value. The need for highly skilled personnel is no longer required and scale is easier to achieve.

What’s Next for Your Infrastructure Automation Journey?

We’ve discussed some of the key aspects of organization and infrastructure that define the five levels of infrastructure automation maturity, but this only scratches the surface. To learn in detail the key challenges that need to be addressed and how the technology, people, process, and culture are impacted as an organization advances to each higher level of maturity, read Quali’s white paper, “Infrastructure Automation Maturity Model™” to better understand how your infrastructure automation can evolve and improve over time.