PagerDuty Blog

Automating Work in Real Time Through the PagerDuty Operations Cloud

Did you catch PagerDuty’s Fall Launch? We revealed a raft of new capabilities to help our customers accelerate critical work as part of the PagerDuty Operations Cloud. We announced general availability of PagerDuty Rundeck Actions. We also previewed early access for Rundeck Cloud.

The PagerDuty Operations Cloud includes the ability to automate work such as event driven automation, and automating incident response.

These new offerings reflect PagerDuty’s vision to democratize automation for all users. We do this by allowing engineers to delegate automated IT processes to IT users. This way employees can take real-time action themselves to get their work done.

Bridging the Automation Gap

Companies these days are awash in “task automation”.  This includes Python and bash scripts, Ansible and Jenkins frameworks, and cloud infrastructure platforms such as the Amazon EC2. These automations are designed for specific purposes. They are often only usable by the experts who deploy them.

Other users have need for the operations performed by this automation. Yet, they must escalate to the experts to have that automation executed for them. We call this disconnect the “Automation Gap”.

PagerDuty closes the automation gap by making automation available to the people who need it.

Three kinds of disconnects interplay to create the Automation Gap. These are knowledge gaps, skills gaps, and access gaps. Gaps in knowledge are a reflection of how vast and complex our IT environments have become. No single person can know specific context, version, and dependencies, of every component. Specialization is a must. Skills gaps are the reality that different users have different technical skill sets. Not everyone knows how to administer a database, or automate a continuous integration pipeline. In fact, the time of a company’s most skilled technicians are usually in high demand. Anything that can offload their work helps scale the business. Finally maintaining security according to best practices is what causes access gaps. IT staff should not have wide access to super-user credentials.

A gap between automation and the people who need the results is called The Automation Gap

The Rundeck platform by PagerDuty helps bridge these gaps. Now engineers can delegating automation to stakeholders. This cuts escalations, interruptions, and waiting time. Engineers standardize automation into operational processes. This makes it easier for colleagues to traverse knowledge and skills gaps. Processes can incorporate existing task automation as individual steps in an operational workflow. This abstracts the context of each step allowing a consistent operational experience. Rundeck also helps optimize and improve security.  Processes can run privileged operations on resources without needing to share secrets to users. Rundeck integrates with single-sign-on (SSO) to enable role-based access control (RBAC). Rundeck logs all activity at process and step levels to comply with audit requirements.  Finally Rundeck plugs into operations platforms and applications that IT users work in. These include Jira, ServiceNow, PagerDuty, and even Slack and Microsoft Teams.  This means IT end users can get access to operations they need, in the context of screens they work with.

Rundeck is about enabling your end users to do what before only your expert engineers were able to do. And, it’s in this spirit that we’ve designed our new products, Rundeck Actions and Rundeck Cloud.  Now incident responders and other IT end users can get work done in real time instead of waiting.  Operations close out faster. IT teams see fewer interruptions. Everyone is a lot less frustrated.

Connects Responders to Automated Diagnostics and Remediation 

Rundeck Actions connects automation to incident responders in PagerDuty. It allows automation engineers to connect and curate automated calls. Engineers can then publish and delegate this automation for use by first responders. These calls invoke automation in production environments to run diagnostics and repair actions.

See the power you can provide to your responders to run diagnostics and repairs.

Rundeck Actions connects with production environments through an Action Runner. The Action Runner sits behind a firewall calls back to the Rundeck Actions endpoint. It looks for steps to execute. and returns output from automation.  PagerDuty then records this feedback into the incident timeline.

Rundeck Actions is now generally available and has an ambitious roadmap ahead of it. Planned features include integrating to Slack and Microsoft Teams, and PagerDuty Event Orchestration. Let us know if you’d like a demo of Rundeck Actions.

Automate Operations Without Operating the Automation With Rundeck Cloud

Rundeck Cloud provides the benefit of automating IT processes, without having to maintain automation servers. Users work in the same design time and run time user experience as Rundeck Enterprise.  The only difference is the operating environment is provided as a service.

Rundeck Cloud delivers the same general automation capabilities as Rundeck Enterprise with these additional features:

  • Fast start: Get access to the design time environment in minutes rather than waiting for an installation process.
  • Always up to date: Upgrades and patches are applied automatically, so you always have the latest software capabilities, bug fixes, and security updates.
  • On demand scaling: Adjust capacity as needed to fit your automation workload.
  • Built for availability: A resilient infrastructure with redundancy and load balancing is handled for you according to our service level agreement (SLA)
  • Hardened security: Built using best practices for security means you can comply with safety and security requirements by integrating with your SSO and privileged access management, while logging a comprehensive audit trail.

Similar to Rundeck Actions, Rundeck Cloud securely connects to your production infrastructure through a Cloud Runner that sits behind your firewall or VPC. Think of the Cloud Runner as a remote execution server that calls back to the Rundeck Cloud endpoint looking for job steps to execute.

A single Rundeck Cloud instance can be associated with multiple runners, which means Rundeck Cloud can act as your process automation control plane across disparate environments, cloud accounts, and SaaS services.

We are accepting limited sign-ups for customers who want to try out Rundeck Cloud in our Early Access program. We expect Rundeck Cloud to be generally available sometime early2023.