Why is it called automation?



  • Why are tools like ansible, puppet, chef etc called automation?

    It's not automation and they are not automatic tools, they are manual tools. If it requires manual intervention it's by definition not automated.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Automation

    If it was automation, actions would happen automatically without manual intervention. If you for instance had something that would install and start or destroy cloud VMs automatically depending on the load, that would be automation. If you had something that would migrate VMs automatically away from overloaded hosts or change settings automatically that would be automation. If you enter what packages you want in a playbook and run a script it's not automation, it's just a script...



  • It's called automation, because like with any automated system, it'll repeat a process or do as instructed over and over.

    It isn't called "Magic" because it's not magic. The system need to be instructed on how "you want things" and it makes it happen based on the instructions you provide the system to follow.



  • @Pete-S said in Why is it called automation?:

    Why are tools like ansible, puppet, chef etc called automation?

    It's not automation and they are not automatic tools, they are manual tools. If it requires manual intervention it's by definition not automated.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Automation

    If it was automation, actions would happen automatically without manual intervention. If you for instance had something that would install and start or destroy cloud VMs automatically depending on the load, that would be automation. If you had something that would migrate VMs automatically away from overloaded hosts or change settings automatically that would be automation. If you enter what packages you want in a playbook and run a script it's not automation, it's just a script...

    Would you ever want a complete level of automation? Of course the tools themselves aren't automated, but they can help us automate tasks or micro tasks on clients.

    I am not sure what the goal of your argument is here? Are you just saying they are incorrectly defined as automation tools?



  • @Pete-S said in Why is it called automation?:

    If it was automation, actions would happen automatically without manual intervention. If you for instance had something that would install and start or destroy cloud VMs automatically depending on the load, that would be automation. If you had something that would migrate VMs automatically away from overloaded hosts or change settings automatically that would be automation. If you enter what packages you want in a playbook and run a script it's not automation, it's just a script...

    A script is automation, too. In any automation you still have to tell the thing to start, everything done without intervention after the start command is the automated portion.



  • @Pete-S said in Why is it called automation?:

    Why are tools like ansible, puppet, chef etc called automation?

    It's not automation and they are not automatic tools, they are manual tools. If it requires manual intervention it's by definition not automated.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Automation

    If it was automation, actions would happen automatically without manual intervention. If you for instance had something that would install and start or destroy cloud VMs automatically depending on the load, that would be automation. If you had something that would migrate VMs automatically away from overloaded hosts or change settings automatically that would be automation. If you enter what packages you want in a playbook and run a script it's not automation, it's just a script...

    Automation is the technology by which a process or procedure is performed with minimal human assistance. <-- in the wiki article you linked.



  • @Pete-S said in Why is it called automation?:

    Why are tools like ansible, puppet, chef etc called automation?
    It's not automation and they are not automatic tools, they are manual tools

    They aren't called automation. They are called automation tools. By using these automation tools, you can automate your systems. The idea behind them is that once you set up your tools correctly, it is automated. Most people don't, so it might seem like they aren't designed around automation. Any automation tool can be used for other things, of course.

    But they are not meant for manual intervention.



  • @bnrstnr said in Why is it called automation?:

    A script is automation, too. In any automation you still have to tell the thing to start, everything done without intervention after the start command is the automated portion.

    Right, automation begins after automation has started. Which sounds funny to say. But if automation didn't need human intervention, then then that automation would have to be a sentient being that evolved on its own and decided to automate your things without you expressing the desire for it to do so.



  • @Pete-S said in Why is it called automation?:

    If it was automation, actions would happen automatically without manual intervention. If you for instance had something that would install and start or destroy cloud VMs automatically depending on the load, that would be automation. If you had something that would migrate VMs automatically away from overloaded hosts or change settings automatically that would be automation.

    You just described what these tools are exactly for, though.



  • @Pete-S said in Why is it called automation?:

    If you enter what packages you want in a playbook and run a script it's not automation, it's just a script...

    "Just a script" would be "just another term for automation." All IT automation is "a script". Other than being compiled, scripts are the only possible means of automation.



  • @scottalanmiller said in Why is it called automation?:

    @Pete-S said in Why is it called automation?:

    If you enter what packages you want in a playbook and run a script it's not automation, it's just a script...

    "Just a script" would be "just another term for automation." All IT automation is "a script". Other than being compiled, scripts are the only possible means of automation.

    Right. They are literally just a series of commands done in order. If you aren't running commands, what are you doing?



  • @wirestyle22 said in Why is it called automation?:

    @scottalanmiller said in Why is it called automation?:

    @Pete-S said in Why is it called automation?:

    If you enter what packages you want in a playbook and run a script it's not automation, it's just a script...

    "Just a script" would be "just another term for automation." All IT automation is "a script". Other than being compiled, scripts are the only possible means of automation.

    Right. They are literally just a series of commands done in order. If you aren't running commands, what are you doing?

    So you'd have to qualify using a GUI to install/setup whatever as automation.

    Just an FYI.



  • If we do the car analogy an automatic transmission will shift whenever it sees fit depending on input from the cars speed, how much the engine has to work, what you do with the gas pedal etc. A manual transmission requires you to shift gear when you see fit, using a clutch to disengage the engine from the drive train etc.

    If we had a button that activated a script that would shift gear on a manual transmission would this make it an automatic transmission? No, it would not. It would still be manual.

    But if we had written a script that would change gears when it wanted depending on certain criterias then we would have an automatic transmission. That script would have to run continuously.



  • @Pete-S said in Why is it called automation?:

    If we do the car analogy an automatic transmission will shift whenever it sees fit depending on input from the cars speed, how much the engine has to work, what you do with the gas pedal etc. A manual transmission requires you to shift gear when you see fit, using a clutch to disengage the engine from the drive train etc.
    If we had a button that activated a script that would shift gear on a manual transmission would this make it an automatic transmission? No, it would not. It would still be manual.
    But if we had written a script that would change gears when it wanted depending on certain criterias then we would have an automatic transmission.

    So.... how is that unlike Salt, Ansible, etc.? Like an automatic transmission, once set up, it drives for you. Even steers. So your example seems to be showing how, since you don't need to press a button, it is automated.

    Also, automatic transmissions have overrides for when their automation isn't good enough.



  • Likewise, in a factory that is fully automated thing will start and stop automatically. Things will happen automatically all the time. Not magically because there is obviously code behind it.

    If a person would have to press a button each time something has to happen it would not be an automated factory.



  • @Pete-S said in Why is it called automation?:

    Likewise, in a factory that is fully automated thing will start and stop automatically. Things will happen automatically all the time. Not magically because there is obviously code behind it.

    If a person would have to press a button each time something has to happen it would not be an automated factory.

    But it had to be setup to do so in the first place.



  • @Pete-S said in Why is it called automation?:

    If we do the car analogy an automatic transmission will shift whenever it sees fit depending on input from the cars speed,

    Based on input from the driver of the vehical, applying more or less pressure on the accelerator or brake.

    So yeah, you're still telling the system "what you want it to do".



  • @scottalanmiller said in Why is it called automation?:

    So.... how is that unlike Salt, Ansible, etc.? Like an automatic transmission, once set up, it drives for you. Even steers. So your example seems to be showing how, since you don't need to press a button, it is automated.

    It's unlike the "automation" tools because they don't do anything by themselves.



  • @Pete-S said in Why is it called automation?:

    Likewise, in a factory that is fully automated thing will start and stop automatically. Things will happen automatically all the time. Not magically because there is obviously code behind it.

    If a person would have to press a button each time something has to happen it would not be an automated factory.

    So if the factory isn't setup that a dump truck can't drive up and just unload a bunch of metal onto a magical belt and the factory can't sort it out it's not an automated factory?

    Your logic here makes no sense.

    Some intervention is always required, just like with your car analogy that proves you're very clearly wrong.



  • @DustinB3403 said in Why is it called automation?:

    @Pete-S said in Why is it called automation?:

    Likewise, in a factory that is fully automated thing will start and stop automatically. Things will happen automatically all the time. Not magically because there is obviously code behind it.

    If a person would have to press a button each time something has to happen it would not be an automated factory.

    So if the factory isn't setup that a dump truck can't drive up and just unload a bunch of metal onto a magical belt and the factory can't sort it out it's not an automated factory?

    Your logic here makes no sense.

    Some intervention is always required, just like with your car analogy that proves your very clearly wrong.

    Most factories have some manual processes yes. Those parts of the factory are then not automated. If it was fully automated the dump truck would have to be automated too.



  • @Pete-S said in Why is it called automation?:

    @DustinB3403 said in Why is it called automation?:

    @Pete-S said in Why is it called automation?:

    Likewise, in a factory that is fully automated thing will start and stop automatically. Things will happen automatically all the time. Not magically because there is obviously code behind it.

    If a person would have to press a button each time something has to happen it would not be an automated factory.

    So if the factory isn't setup that a dump truck can't drive up and just unload a bunch of metal onto a magical belt and the factory can't sort it out it's not an automated factory?

    Your logic here makes no sense.

    Some intervention is always required, just like with your car analogy that proves your very clearly wrong.

    Most factories have some manual processes yes. Those parts of the factory are then not automated. If it was fully automated the dump truck would have to be automated too.

    So then you understand that in order to get a car to move, you have to build the engine in a manner in which the pistons can be moved, the spark plugs fire, the brakes and accelerator all work.

    The same thing with something like salt or ansible, you have to build the car or factory, from there it'll do what it's programmed to do.



  • @Pete-S said in Why is it called automation?:

    Likewise, in a factory that is fully automated thing will start and stop automatically. Things will happen automatically all the time. Not magically because there is obviously code behind it.

    If a person would have to press a button each time something has to happen it would not be an automated factory.

    Right, but again, just like Ansible or Salt. You seem to be arguing that they are automation with each example.

    And that factory is run by.... just a script. That's what does that automation there.



  • @JaredBusch said in Why is it called automation?:

    @Pete-S said in Why is it called automation?:

    Likewise, in a factory that is fully automated thing will start and stop automatically. Things will happen automatically all the time. Not magically because there is obviously code behind it.

    If a person would have to press a button each time something has to happen it would not be an automated factory.

    But it had to be setup to do so in the first place.

    Yes, true. That the job of automation engineers in that case.

    An automated assembly line for instance would have robots working on it. Someone has to program them initially.

    If it was humans working on the assembly line it would not be an automated assembly line.



  • @Pete-S said in Why is it called automation?:

    @scottalanmiller said in Why is it called automation?:

    So.... how is that unlike Salt, Ansible, etc.? Like an automatic transmission, once set up, it drives for you. Even steers. So your example seems to be showing how, since you don't need to press a button, it is automated.

    It's unlike the "automation" tools because they don't do anything by themselves.

    What? They do EVERYTHING by themselves. That's their purpose. What do you mean that they don't do anything? Everything you are describing - having them do all of the work without human input, is exactly what they are for. Anything else and you are misusing them.



  • @Pete-S said in Why is it called automation?:

    An automated assembly line for instance would have robots working on it. Someone has to program them initially.
    If it was humans working on the assembly line it would not be an automated assembly line.

    Even automated robots need to be put into mode by humans. They don't just up and move on their own whenever they want. Like @scottalanmiller said earlier, they would have to be sentient otherwise. All automated processes have to be started somehow.



  • @Pete-S said in Why is it called automation?:

    @JaredBusch said in Why is it called automation?:

    @Pete-S said in Why is it called automation?:

    Likewise, in a factory that is fully automated thing will start and stop automatically. Things will happen automatically all the time. Not magically because there is obviously code behind it.

    If a person would have to press a button each time something has to happen it would not be an automated factory.

    But it had to be setup to do so in the first place.

    Yes, true. That the job of automation engineers in that case.

    An automated assembly line for instance would have robots working on it. Someone has to program them initially.

    If it was humans working on the assembly line it would not be an automated assembly line.

    Right, exactly like Salt or Ansible or Puppet. Set it and away it goes. You only need to get involved if you want to modify the automation.



  • Okay, everyone hold up. The issue has to be that @Pete-S isn't understanding what these tools are and is thinking that they are remote access tools like MeshCental or ScreenConnect and isn't understanding that they are state engines which, by definition, are automation as there can be no human intervention in the state machine.

    So the discussion going on is going to go nowhere and just be an argument unless we address explaining that the underlying problem is that he's not trying to redefine automation, but doesn't know what Ansible and Salt are for.

    We are all trying to describe automation, but everyone agrees on what automation is. It's that Salt is automation is what is being missed.



  • So let's start with this... once SaltStack is set up, what does @Pete-S think that the role of a human would be?



  • @scottalanmiller said in Why is it called automation?:

    @Pete-S said in Why is it called automation?:

    Likewise, in a factory that is fully automated thing will start and stop automatically. Things will happen automatically all the time. Not magically because there is obviously code behind it.

    If a person would have to press a button each time something has to happen it would not be an automated factory.

    Right, but again, just like Ansible or Salt. You seem to be arguing that they are automation with each example.

    And that factory is run by.... just a script. That's what does that automation there.

    No, it's not the script per se that makes it automated. It's the behavior of the system.
    When you have set up ansible for instance you still don't have any automation anywhere. And you have nowhere to define automatic behaviors or responses.



  • @Pete-S said in Why is it called automation?:

    When you have set up ansible for instance you still don't have any automation anywhere. And you have nowhere to define automatic behaviors or responses.

    See... but that is the ENTIRE purpose of Ansible. All of it. Ansible is the "behaviours and responses" system. Without that, it doesn't exist.



  • @Pete-S said in Why is it called automation?:

    @scottalanmiller said in Why is it called automation?:

    @Pete-S said in Why is it called automation?:

    Likewise, in a factory that is fully automated thing will start and stop automatically. Things will happen automatically all the time. Not magically because there is obviously code behind it.

    If a person would have to press a button each time something has to happen it would not be an automated factory.

    Right, but again, just like Ansible or Salt. You seem to be arguing that they are automation with each example.

    And that factory is run by.... just a script. That's what does that automation there.

    No, it's not the script per se that makes it automated. It's the behavior of the system.
    When you have set up ansible for instance you still don't have any automation anywhere. And you have nowhere to define automatic behaviors or responses.

    FFS no shit.

    Because that is what the Automation Engineer is doing. Settingup Ansible.


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