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Why Automate?

Automation Overview

The IBM Garage Methodology describes in detail why Automation is key in the Cloud world. In simple terms, Cloud computing is costly and rapidly scales beyond the capacity of human administrators.

While compute, network, storage costs have continued to decrease, the required investment in operations personel has increased. "The cost of infrastructure, even at scale, is negligible compared to just the average monthly overhead of an employee, regardless of the employee's country of residence."

To estimate the cost of a solution, you can use a formula with three factors: (1) The number of people who are required to touch (2) some number of systems (3) some number of times. If you can reduce any of those three factors, you can decrease the cost of the solution and improve profitability.

If you're required to log in to a server, you failed. Think in terms of operator-to-server ratio, which is another great metric in the cloud industry. The popular brands in cloud, such as Facebook and Google, claim openly to have operator-to-server ratios of something like 1:10,000. At that scale, operators don't have time to log in to individual servers. Instead, they are riding around data centers on scooters, looking for smoking blade servers and replacing them. Everything must be automated, from beginning to end. Servers are cattle, not pets. If the servers misbehave, they are replaced.

While most organizations are not at the 1:10,000 scale, if you can focus your operators at the higher value tasks by using unattended automation to reduce the number of times people need to touch the systems, you can decrease the cost of the solution and improve profitability. Some might argue that you don't need to worry as much about decreasing the number of systems because an increasing number of systems in the solution is usually a sign of growth and health. Real profitability occurs when you can decrease the number of times people are required to touch the systems. This allows operators to focus on higher-value work and it also leads to an improvement in the operator-to-server ratio.

Cloud Paks are no different to any other software system. Any time that an operator has to touch a system to install, configure or update a Cloud Pak, cost is incurred and the operator is taken away from a high value task. This guide focuses on automation of the entire Cloud Pak stack including Infrastructure, OpenShift, Cloud Paks and end user applications to enable customers to run Cloud Paks in Production in a low-touch, high value manner.



Github is a popular version control system. It is used to store the declarative configuration for the infrastructure, services and applications. It will serve as the source of truth for GitOps, provides a nice audit history for all the changes to the cluster and the Git history can be used to revert changes to a previously known good state.

Get started with Git and GitHub using this guide.


Terraform is an open-source infrastructure as code software tool that provides a consistent CLI workflow to manage hundreds of cloud services. Terraform codifies cloud APIs into declarative configuration files.


Ansible is a universal language, unraveling the mystery of how work gets done. Turn tough tasks into repeatable playbooks. Roll out enterprise-wide protocols with the push of a button.

OpenShift GitOps

OpenShift GitOps is an OpenShift add-on which provides Argo CD and other tooling to enable teams to implement GitOps workflows for cluster configuration and application delivery. Red Hat OpenShift GitOps ensures consistency in applications when you deploy them to different clusters in different environments, such as: development, staging, and production. Red Hat OpenShift GitOps organizes the deployment process around the configuration repositories and makes them the central element.

Get started with OpenShift GitOps using this guide.

OpenShift Pipelines

OpenShift Pipelines is a cloud-native, continuous integration and continuous delivery (CI/CD) solution based on Kubernetes resources. It uses Tekton building blocks to automate deployments across multiple platforms by abstracting away the underlying implementation details. Tekton introduces a number of standard custom resource definitions (CRDs) for defining CI/CD pipelines that are portable across Kubernetes distributions. Tekton has a public catalog of shared Tasks and Pipelines.

Get started with OpenShift Pipelines using this guide.

Helm v3

Helm is a package manager for Kubernetes, providing a mechanism to manage applications. With Helm Charts, one can compose a complex applications along with its dependencies. Each Helm Chart has a default configuration which can be easily over-written with environment specific settings. The Charts are hosted on a registry, can be version controlled and easily shared. Helm provides a template engine to reduce yaml duplication and abstract parameters for user input.

Get started with Kustomize using this guide.


Kustomize is a Kubernetes native configuration management tool. It is used to reduce yaml duplication, providing a way to share common resources and over laying it with just the differences between environments. Kubernetes application resources have their operational properties defined using YAMLs. As these resources move through environments such as dev stage and prod, Kustomize provides a natural way to adapt (customize!) these YAMLs to these environments. Kustomize is built into the kubectl and oc commands via the -k option, it makes configuration management both easy and natural.

Get started with Kustomize using this guide.


Sealed Secrets is a Kubernetes cluster-side controller and tool for encrypting Secrets. It is used in conjunction with kubeseal, a client-side utility that uses asymmetric encryption using the public key certificate. A SealedSecret custom resource is generated and when it is deployed into the cluster, the controller will decrypt the secret using the private key and generate a standard k8s Secret. For the Production Deployment Guides, Sealed Secrets is used in the tutorials for demo purposes and for production, one should use a Key Management Service (KMS).