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What is Automate?


Continuum Automate is a proven, open-source solution that delivers cloud management, agentless infrastructure management and operations automation for public cloud, private cloud and data center resources.

Automate is the only open source automation platform that spans all three levels of IT automation including provisioning, configuration and command/control. Automate works exactly the same both in the cloud and in your private data center, so one unified IT team can manage everything.

What is unique about Automate?

There are a million "automation toolkits" out there, and they all basically do the same thing. For every development language, for every platform, there is a tool for the job. Some are great, some stink, and most are in between. What they all have in common is they are compartmentalized, and picking one becomes the classic "Pros vs. Cons" comparison.

Automate is different. Have a script written in Ruby that's perfect for a specific job? Automate can use it. Another utility that uses Perl? No problem. And databases? Yeah, we can connect to almost all of them.

Automate can read data from an Informix database, parse and translate the results using a custom algorithm written in Python, kick off a cleanup job written in Perl based on a certain metric in the data, aggregate some results and insert them into SQL Server for the marketing team, and finally spin up a couple of servers in AWS for good measure.

Five technologies spanning multiple business groups. One tool. Automate.

How is Automate similar/different from Chef and Puppet?

Chef and Puppet are configuration management tools, whereas Automate is an enterprise automation framework. While there may be points of overlap - in the same way you could use a crowbar to drive a nail - we consider Automate to be complimentary to Chef and Puppet.

Automate really shines at making DevOps easy. If you're using Puppet to make sure all your servers come to life and maintain a consistent state that's perfect. If you're using Chef to bootstrap your AWS EC2 instances... awesome. Automate can take care of all the application specific maintenance requirements of your business after the infrastructure is up and running.

Is Automate a monitoring tool?

Automate is not a monitoring application by design, however it's unique and flexible design does allow Automate to perform monitoring in complex situations where out of the box tools are insufficient. The magic isn't in trapping a certain condition, rather what you do to reconcile the condition. Automate 'monitors' your infrastructure as needed, but only so he can fix things when they need fixing!

Does Automate work on Windows?

Automate does not run 'on' Windows, but is fully capable of interacting with your Windows infrastructure, from the Registry to Policy to executing programs, Windows is not a problem.

Several Continuum developers work on OSX. While installation scripts are not provided for MacOS, Automate does work well on this platform.

What language is Automate written in?

Automate components are written primarily in Python, with additional components in a combination of C++ and Javascript.

Do I have to install agents or "bootstrap" Automate onto my servers?

Short answer - No. From the beginning we have maintained an agentless design principle. Automate can interact and operate on virtually any system that offers a console interface over TCP/IP, in addition to being able to interact with most databases via their native drivers. Automate lives on his own hardware, and requires nothing extra. When Automate is not active, there is zero impact to your infrastructure.

Does Automate have it's own 'language'?

Automate doesn't have it's own programming language per se. What we've done is take the basics of procedural programming that you find in every language, such as variables, flow control, input and output, and generalized them. If a specific language is necessary or optimal, it can and should be used. One Task can easily (and most often does) utilize many 'languages', allowing you to use the best tool for each piece of the job.

Automate Tasks support a complete 'extensions' interface, allowing the community to contribute new and creative features that can easily be added to any Automate environment.

What is a "Task"?

A Task is an automation routine in Automate. Tasks can be as simple as one line - say starting an AWS image. They can also just as easily contain dozens of subroutines and hundreds of steps, essentially making a Task a full featured program. A key feature of a Task is their ability to accept versatile Parameters.

What is the "Task Engine"?

The term "Task Engine" has a dual meaning. First, the Automate Task Engine is a process that actually goes out and does the work defined in a Task. Second, the term can be used to refer to the actual server(s) that run Tasks.