Runbook Automation

Keep your applications running, and recover quickly when something goes wrong

Automate routine and emergency IT operations tasks to minimize downtime, simplify maintenance, and unlock self-service.

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What is runbook automation?

Traditional runbooks are documents or wiki pages describing IT processes that keep your applications running smoothly. They're generally executed by a system administrator and often cover routine maintenance or incident response.

Runbooks are useful when they are:

  • Accurate – Incorrect or out-of-date runbooks can make things worse.
  • Discoverable – Team members need quick access to the current version.
  • Tested – Runbooks that haven’t been run recently are next to worthless.

Runbook automation improves upon runbook documentation by automating and enriching the process.

Octopus Deploy is a runbook automation platform – a place to keep automated runbooks, and enable your team to run them self-service.


Why automate runbooks?

Documents & wiki pages go out of date quickly, but there are other important benefits to runbook automation. These are what we consider to be the top three.

Minimize application downtime

Websites go down and infrastructure fails. Fast incident response to restore services or fail over is critical, and not a time to do things manually. In these emergency scenarios, the top priority is incident recovery, and the appropriate team can find a long-term solution later.

Simplify routine maintenance

Teams perform routine maintenance to keep applications and services running smoothly, like SSL certificate renewals, OS and tooling updates, log file gathering, and file and data cleanups. These jobs are ideal for runbook automation.

Self-service operations

System administrators and operations teams are often overwhelmed with emails, Slack messages, and help desk tickets asking them to fix problems or perform specific tasks. Runbook automation with role-based access control helps teams to reduce this burden by automating the most common tasks so team members can run them themselves.


All your runbooks in one place

If you use Octopus Deploy for application deployments, Octopus is already aware of your infrastructure and application settings, so there's less to configure and maintain.

Shared configuration with deployments

Octopus eliminates the need to configure your infrastructure and application settings twice because they’re already defined for use in your deployments. This makes it faster to get started with runbook automation, but it also makes it easier to maintain in the long term.

Runbooks and deployments share configuration settings, secrets, templates, scripts, and more so it’s easier to configure deployment and runbook processes.

Discoverability and visibility

Octopus creates a central location for teams to manage, control, audit, schedule, and execute runbooks. You can see when a runbook was last executed, you can see any changes to the runbook, and you can run the same runbook against different environments. Team members can easily find a runbook and click a big green button to run it. Everyone can see the output from the last run and whether it succeeded or not.

Runbooks can be published so every team member always gets the correct, tested version, ensuring the execution is accurate.

No additional permissions or local tooling

Octopus uses delegated permissions to implement security best practices so the system (i.e., the runbook automation platform) is executing runbooks against your infrastructure. This means that anyone with the appropriate permissions can execute a runbook without needing usernames and accounts that run specific scripts on specific servers. This simplifies automating and executing operations processes.

With Octopus executing runbooks, it’s far easier to manage the tools and dependencies required to automate emergency or routine maintenance tasks. This can be managed with jump boxes, pre-configured deployment targets, or dedicated worker pools with all the necessary tooling, so you don't need to describe the required tooling in a wiki-page or rely on local tooling in an individual account/login.


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Start a free 30 day trial of Octopus Server or Octopus Cloud, or contact us to discuss your goals and how Octopus Deploy might help.

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