With automation, you can have the computer do the boring and repetitive work and save time by using these helpful apps and methods. Then you can get on with the really important stuff.
If you visit the subreddit /r/sysadmin, you can read all about automating boring and sometimes time-consuming tasks. One user wrote that he was quite surprised—to put it mildly—when he heard that his company’s service department took a whopping 45 minutes to create a user. He wrote a few scripts in PowerShell, and now it only takes five minutes. That’s a quick payoff. Another person described how he eliminated the need for an entire FTE with 73 lines of code. That’s why it pays to delve into tools that make your job easier.
Speaking of which, PowerShell is a must for system administrators in a Windows-based organization. For anyone who is not yet familiar with PowerShell, it’s Microsoft’s powerful scripting tool that allows you as an administrator to have virtually all administrative tasks performed automatically. It has no interface, so it must be executed in a command window. But that’s what makes it so incredibly fast. PowerShell is built on the .NET Framework and contains standard ‘cmdlets’ (pronounced command-lets) for specific tasks. These can then be called from scripts, including parameters. Since 2016, there is also the PowerShell Core that works on other operating systems, including macOS and all kinds of Linux variants.
If you’re really skilled at programming, you can also do all kinds of things in Python. The standard work for this is Automate the Boring Stuff with Python , which contains hundreds of code listings for tasks ranging from the very simple to the wickedly complicated. By the way, it’s a great book for getting started with Python. Read it free online at the link above! There is also a new book worth checking out: Beyond the Basic Stuff with Python.
If you really dislike programming, there are also interesting tools that work on the basis of a ‘trigger’ that generates an ‘action.’ You can think of the trigger as the ‘if this, do that,’ and the action determines what to do if the condition is met. Since you don’t have to write any code and barely any script, this is referred to as a low-code or no-code environment. One of the best known is Zapier. Because you don’t need to program, the word ‘macro’ is more appropriate here than ‘script.’
So what can you do with it? For example, you can use Zapier to feed information from one app to another. When you upload a new video to YouTube, you can automatically put it in a Facebook post. Or you can automatically place someone who registers via an online form in WordPress on a mailing list. Another well-known tool is Microsoft Power Automate (formerly Microsoft Flow), which works in a similar way. Low-code/no-code environments are rapidly gaining ground because they allow you to not only automate tasks, but also to quickly create programs for end users without having to write (much) source code.
Deploy and manage software automatically
And finally, deploying software to multiple computers. You don’t have to do that manually anymore, right? Not if you use a tool like Easy Software Deployment, which automatically installs software on the computers you specify on a network. Similarly, you can push updates to all users and monitor who is using what software. You can also perform various common system administrator tasks by default with Easy Software Deployment. For example, you can remotely shut down or reboot a computer, or connect to the default local admin shares C$ and Windows$. You also can see who is logged in and what the IP address of the computer is. And you can start a Remote Desktop Connection directly from Easy Software Deployment. That certainly saves you from having to create quite a few extra scripts for your automation tasks!
Automating daily management tasks is child’s play with Easy Software Deployment. Schedule a free demo here and discover all the possibilities.