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Solving for scripts: Why IT should codify its fleet

Sudeep Charles Senior Manager, Product Marketing, Progress
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System administrators perform numerous repetitive tasks daily in a typical IT department. IT teams are always looking for better ways to automate these tasks. Scripting can help—but it can go too far.

IT teams mostly write scripts to get around time-consuming fleet-management tasks that need customizations or are not available out of the box from a mobile device management (MDM) tool. Automating specific endpoint-management workflows also sometimes requires scripting.  

Scripts fall short, though, when tasks become complex and require configuration changes. System administrators spend a lot of time on these challenges, which can overburden their workload.

Hero culture

Scripting contributes to a "hero culture" in the organization, wherein the heavy lifting is done by an elite few, resulting in knowledge silos. This lack of collaboration risks stunting operations. When someone solves a problem by writing configuration scripts or code to automate something, the script is lost when the person who wrote it leaves the firm.

As an organization’s IT complexity grows, so too does its scripts' complexity. Developers benefit most from working with methodical, elegant code that has been standardized throughout the organization. Unfortunately, they typically end up with isolated islands of automation with messy scripts.

This exacerbates scripting’s other fundamental problems. Typically, scripts are at once brittle and inadequately structured, while posing critical data risks.

Inadequate structures

More devices usually mean more scripts. It is inefficient to write one set of scripts for Windows and a different set of scripts for macOS or Linux. Even without this problem, teams spend a lot of time updating and documenting scripts, which become more complex and incomprehensible the longer they exist.

Moreover, scripts are limited in what they can do. They are basically a series of if-then statements, with none of the flexibility of actual code.

Scripting is more informal than structured coding projects, which include check-in/check-out, revisions and rollback, testing, and deployment. As such, scripts can damage code. Sometimes, they may not even be compatible with new builds. Scripts can cost teams extra time in fixing errors.


Scripts are too brittle for today’s IT environment. While most IT tasks today can be automated, the automation itself needs to be hardened.

When a flawed automation script causes a failure, it is difficult to tell if the failure is due to errors in the script or errors elsewhere in the process. This puts the release cycle on pause, backing up future releases. Because the problems in automation are usually unknown at the time of implementation, it can be difficult to quickly update an automation script after it has been incorporated into the software lifecycle.

Critical data risks

There’s also a critical data risk that comes with scripts. Using scripting as an automation agent to just deliver code is one thing. It's another thing entirely to use scripting to automate tasks. If the automated script doesn't know where to put vital data, it may ignore it or destroy it.

Ultimately, the biggest issues with scripts are those of consistency and visibility. When you run a script, the outcome is not always the same. Scripts do not account for configuration drifts. There is no fleet visibility or audit control. Scripts are not version-controlled, which makes debugging difficult. Most importantly, relying on scripts does not ensure continuous compliance.

Most of these issues can be avoided by fleet codification—in lieu of scripts.

Benefits to codifying endpoint management

Codifying your IT resource fleet can save the day from unreliable scripts. Codification automates the configuration of diverse, complicated systems while defining security and compliance standards as human-readable code. This allows quick packaging and distribution of applications across various settings. 

Organizations receive many more benefits from codifying their infrastructure, some of which are outlined here:

Better collaboration between developers and IT

To improve working efficiency, development and IT operations must collaborate—but the goals of each team are different, and the teams may be using different tools. Endpoint coding breaks down the barriers between teams, allowing them to easily upgrade resources—or even introduce new product form factors—without changing the endpoint-management solution.

Faster configurations

Centralized policies govern how devices are configured and which software runs on them. These policies represent the foundation of infrastructure automation, which speeds up endpoint configuration. They establish system baselines and allow targets to be configured at the user or system level.

More user satisfaction

Users often detect scripting issues before IT teams do. Organizations that codify their fleet find more satisfied users. Providing a one-of-a-kind, component-based service in a short amount of time leads to user happiness and a positive perception of IT teams within organizations.

Less shadow IT

When users are more satisfied, the organization will have fewer shadow IT deployments—helping to ensure quick reactions to new IT requirements. By codifying the fleet through assisted deployment, IT assures improved endpoint security as well as correct compliance with corporate IT standards. This aids in budgeting and pricing allocation.

Faster app lifecycles

Coded IT fleets enable faster app lifecycle management, ensuring visibility into every endpoint device in the IT infrastructure. This provides transparency and real-time control—saving time through automation and orchestration, while increasing efficiency by applying policies and patches.

Reduced costs

Codifying your fleet decreases operational expenditures. In just a few minutes, a business can configure and deploy a fully tested and compliant new IT infrastructure asset, with little or no human intervention. This means less time spent on tickets and maintenance—saving a lot of money. 

Increased standardization and performance

Finally, codifying increases standardization. When new infrastructure is coded, there is consistency in each set of instructions.

Ditch the scripts and codify your fleet

Scripts can become complex and behave inconsistently. Maintaining scripts for a large fleet is time-consuming and labor-intensive because scripts repeatedly run when the same task is performed across multiple platforms. A script may run differently from a terminal and via MDMs, making debugging difficult. And scripts take time to properly develop because IT teams must thoroughly test them before deployment, as there are chances that they might be running untracked scripts.

In the modern business landscape, coded businesses are industry leaders, provide excellent customer service, and are well positioned for the future. They innovate and move quickly, maintain security and compliance at scale, and deliver applications to their systems using repeatable patterns. High-performing organizations understand how to use code to automate the secure delivery of infrastructure and applications at scale.

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