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With businesses becoming increasingly dependent on IT systems which are constantly becoming larger and more complex, it’s critical that they are managed efficiently. Systems administrators are tasked with the management of these systems, with a large amount of their time being spent on repetitive processes such as deployment, configuration and updates. Puppet provides an expansible configuration management platform that can be used to help automate these tasks, increasing the speed, reliability and auditability of the process.
Puppet works by providing a language that allows you to define exactly how your infrastructure should be configured. This provides consistency across the infrastructure and increases security by ensuring all systems are configured correctly. If a configuration change is needed, the change only must be made once before it can then be pushed out and applied to the entire infrastructure. This also inherently improves the auditability of the infrastructure by ensuring all security and compliance policies are rolled out across the entire organization. A graphical dashboard allows the status all parts of the organizations infrastructure to be tracked and can generate reports, providing a quick and easy way to complete security and compliance audits.
The Health industry has some of the most onerous compliance requirements to ensure the strict security of patient data. Implementing Puppet would allow system administrators to streamline the compliance process by pushing required configuration and software updates across their entire infrastructure quickly and easily. An important part of demonstrating compliance of security policies is ensuring users only have access to the systems they are authorized to use. Puppet includes role-based access control features which allow administrators to assign specific permissions to users on both an individual and group level and can be integrated with existing directory services such as Active Directory and OpenLDAP. Ensuring users have access to the systems and hardware they require to complete their respective roles without impacting productivity whilst maintaining security and compliance is key to ensuring a successful workplace.
Larger Health organizations such as Ramsay Health Care which has “over 220 hospitals and day surgery facilities across Australia, France, the United Kingdom, Indonesia and Malaysia” (“About Ramsay Health Care”, n.d.) could take advantage of the high availability and scalability of Puppet. High availability configurations eliminate downtime by having multiple Puppet servers across multiple locations which provide failover and redundancy in the event of an outage at another location while also ensuring performance. Puppet can be configured to manage any number of nodes across any number of locations which can help consolidate staff and ensures consistency across all locations.
The Punctuated Equilibrium Theory suggests that within the Information Technology industry, technology is primarily in a state of equilibrium, with only minor changes occurring. However occasionally technology can go through short revolutionary period that can disrupt the equilibrium and bring on large disruptive change, which will then become the basis for the next equilibrium period.
Adoption of this technology offers to change how infrastructure is managed in a revolutionary way. The implementation and management of the underlying systems can be automated in a way that allows staff responsible for these tasks to spend less time on repetitive system configurations and fixing known issues. With business becoming increasingly reliant on on-premises, cloud and hybrid-cloud infrastructures it’s only a matter of time before automation platforms such as Puppet become commonplace.
Grudin, Jonathan. (2012) Punctuated equilibrium and technology change. interactions 19, 5 (September 2012) 62-66. doi: 10.1145/2334184.2334200
Krum, S., Hevelingen, W. V., Kero, B., Turnbull, J., & McCune, J. (2013). Pro Puppet. doi: 10.1007/978-1-4302-6041-7
Puppet. (n.d.). Puppet – The shortest path to better software. Retrieved March 11, 2017, from www.puppet.com
Puppet. (2016, August 2). How Puppet works.[Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QFcqvBk1gNA
Ramsay Health Care. (n.d.) About Ramsay Health Care. Retrieved 15 March 2017, from http://www.ramsayhealth.com/About-Us
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