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Automatic Provisioning

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There has been some chatter lately about automatic provisioning.  As an SME sysadmin, I work in an environment where there is no such thing as the concept of “chargeback.”  IT resources come out of the IT budget, and no other department ever has to pay for them or in any other way worry about the cost.  In this scenario, automatic provisioning is a terrifying concept to me.  The following is a rant I posted as a comment to an article on El Reg.  I apologise if the language or tone offends anyone:

Automatic Provisioning?

Over my rotting corpse.  Users (and especially managers) don’t give a flight-enabled euphemism about anything except that which directly affects them.  If you happen to work in a business where licensing costs are “IT’s problem” then the concept of automated provisioning is essentially like asking all members of IT to please go an slit their wrists with an HIV infected needle.  The very concept is ludicrous.
Users are the “people” (and I use the term loosely) who demand with raised voices, red faces and other tantrum-like symptoms a copy of the latest full Adobe CS suite so they can open a JPEG.  “Because the colour is rendered better in Photoshop.”  Not so they can EDIT a JPEG mind you, but so that they can VIEW it.  Why they need the whole rest of the suite is bloody beyond me.

Don’t forget that apparently saving a word document to PDF absolutely requires the latest Adobe CS Suite as well.  Apparently using PDF 995 would end the world.  Also; every single new task, render engine or what-have-you apparently requires a separate VM.  The capacity for which supposedly grows on trees.

Automatic Provisioning?  Like hell.  The day that the resources to provide the licenses and the storage/network/server capacity come out of someone else’s budget, they can automatically provision anything they want.  As it is, I have trouble just keeping critical business functions (such as e-mail, data storage, backups, web services, etc.) running under the existing budget.

I should add that training/”educating” users doesn’t help.  At all.  You can’t make someone actually care about something they don’t view as their problem.  There is no education platform, corporate policy or incentive package in existence that will ever cause the average Joe to grow two spoonfuls of give-a-shit.  If the cost of what they are “automatically provisioning” doesn’t hit them personally and directly, then they will simply look at it as “something the company/IT/my manager/someone-who-is-not-me” has to worry about and push the button to spawn another instance.

If you don’t restrain users, they will feast upon IT services long past the point where they have gorged themselves.

Automatic provisioning?  Over my rotting corpse.

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