Some equate IT operations with ‘keeping the lights on’. The implication is that it’s a passive function that runs behind the scenes to ensure that applications and services continue to tick-over as they should. This line may suit those trying to drive agendas around things like cloud and DevOps, but it demonstrates a poor understanding of what actually goes on in today’s operational environment. Sure, there’s an element of keeping existing systems running, but this is against the backdrop of a hugely dynamic IT landscape and a constantly evolving set of demands from the business. Keeping up with service level requirements and changes is challenge enough in relation to core business systems, departmental applications, end-user collaboration solutions, etc. But, the critical and demanding role of IT ops teams is further underlined when you add support for fast-moving new initiatives into the mix, e.g. implementation, monitoring and management activity associated with digital customer engagement, IoT, machine-learning, and so on. Not surprising then, that over three quarters of those providing feedback in a recent multi-national survey of senior IT professionals said the pressure on operational processes is increasing. Against this background, we explore the increasing critical role of datacentre automation, and some of the latest options for implementing it.