The Global Economy Needs Digital Infrastructure Automation More Than Ever

April 13, 2020 - Marc Chenn

The global economy is leaning heavily on digital infrastructure automation with social distancing and remote work becoming the necessary norm at this time. All things considered, the digital services we often take for granted are performing incredibly well, and many industries and business are beginning to see the benefit of remote work in some scenarios.

As the CEO of SaltStack I have a unique appreciation and insight into what happens behind the scenes of your favorite digital entertainment service, or workplace collaboration tool, or crucial government and healthcare IT systems. But like all business leaders today, I am wrapping my mind around this strange, new reality, trying to quickly understand where the SaltStack business needs to pivot or stay the course.

Coronavirus has created a new, more intensive digital reality for most of us. A massive amount of work, technology, and human capital goes into keeping our critical government, healthcare and business systems available and secure. I am proud of the IT operations and security teams who work diligently, and intelligently, often using infrastructure automation, to keep our digital lives running seamlessly in the background.

What we’ve seen in the pressure cooker of the last few weeks represents anything but an overnight success. Our digital world has been years in the making with innovation spawning innovation. Decades of effort, billions of dollars, and IT and security professionals focused on reliability planning, infrastructure architecture, security strategy, and the efficiency of DevOps make our digital lives possible. 

Source: @mba_ish

Our Digital Infrastructure Has Answered the Call

Every time I email, call, Slack, Zoom, stream or check news for the latest I’m amazed, but not surprised, at how well our digital infrastructure has answered the call.

SaltStack infrastructure automation and orchestration is behind the scenes, but right in the middle of it all. This is why SaltStack exists. Our world runs on extremely complex digital infrastructure that has become massive in scale and scope. Very talented developers, IT, network, and security operators work tirelessly to keep it all running. But it wouldn’t be possible without automation. 

At SaltStack we make virtual robots that help their human masters automate the work of infrastructure maintenance and security, ultimately allowing our workforce to keep working, our binge watchers watching, and most importantly keep our healthcare providers, critical infrastructure services, and government agencies online and providing life-sustaining services.

But like every CEO of every business in any industry right now, I keep a close eye on the impact COVID-19 is having on our world generally, and on the IT industry and SaltStack business specifically. Last week 451 Research surveyed 820 IT decision makers with questions focused on the impacts to businesses of the global COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak.

You can get the full survey results here, but these are the responses and questions from the survey results I found particularly enlightening:

Q. Which strategic plans has your organization delayed, reduced or halted as a result of the situation surrounding the coronavirus outbreak?

A. The top strategic plan most commonly being put on hold by enterprises is, by far, the hiring of new staff (34%).


Q. Please indicate what your organization is currently experiencing or expects to experience as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.

A. Among enterprises surveyed, 41% are already experiencing increased strain on internal IT resources, and another 14% expect to begin experiencing increased strain within the next three months.


Q. Please indicate whether your organization is spending more or less money as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.

A. 34% of all enterprises surveyed, both large and small, plan to continue to spend money and increase spending on projects IT operations teams will be expected to implement and maintain, specifically: network infrastructure, hybrid cloud infrastructure, and information security. Of note, 51% of companies surveyed with more than $1bn in revenue plan to spend more money on digital transformation projects.

451 Research – Digital Pulse -Coronavirus Flash Survey, March 2020

The impact of coronavirus on infrastructure operations and security will be a cascading snowball. New hiring is frozen, the existing IT team is less productive, yet business continues to demand more technology and security. Most IT professionals I know will respond, “so what’s new?” But this is the point, and the reason why SaltStack exists, the only way to do more with less in IT and security is to automate.

You can always try a hosted instance of SaltStack Enterprise for a first-hand, self-guided tutorial.

The need for IT and security automation has never been more important. This was true two decades ago when I first started selling systems management software, but it is so much more essential today. Consider, today there are hundreds of millions of servers powering the Internet, all things mobile, and digital business. Twenty years ago the number of servers in production was a small fraction of what it is now. The tools built back then are not capable of automating the complexity and scale of what we have today.

In the best market conditions infrastructure and SecOps automation drives innovation, provides competitive edge, and expands business efficiently. In these challenging market conditions automation is needed more than ever to help businesses optimize and secure existing infrastructure investments.

SaltStack solutions for infrastructure automation and security operations are behind the scenes today helping keep digital business be productive and secure. Next time technology just works for you thank an IT pro…the unsung enablers of our new digital reality.