Don’t we all love automations? You set and forget something and it does it’s work.
When I started in Information Technology way back in 1985 we all talked about having automations to do our work. If you ask me, the tools to do this in a good way just exist for 10-15 years. Zapier for example was founded in 2011.
For me this is what automation should have been all the time. Employees click together their solution to streamline their work.
Which solutions can be hosted on your own infrastructure?
The big names in the automation business don’t allow you to host your own automations. They make money by charging you for operations/tasks. This is perfectly fine and in many cases the easiest and fastest way to start automating pieces of your work.
However, there might be situations, more data and bigger workflows, where it becomes too expensive to run public cloud solutions. Take for example IOT, what if you want to use these automations for every sensor event that happens?
For these type of solutions you need to host your own automation solution. We have selected the following solutions that are capable of doing some automations:
- N8N: full visual automation solution;
- Activepieces: full visual automation solution;
- Directus: data connections and visual flows;
- Budibase: data connections, apps and flows.
What infrastructure do you need?
The easiest way to get started is running a machine on Digital Ocean. I’m not an infrastructure guy but we have been able to setup machines in safe environments over and over again.
Digital Ocean is not our sponsor but we use their affiliate system. We use their products on a daily basis for customers and internal projects.
Easy docker management
We prefer to run our automations inside a docker container. However, to avoid manual configurations etc. we use a control panel which can setup docker containers in an easy way. A few months ago we discovered Easypanel.
When you create your server at Digital Ocean you can pick the Easypanel template from the Marketplace.
After that you are ready to install some of the mentioned automation solutions.
What can you create?
The sky is the limit but you need to understand these tools are mainly used to automate things between data and cloud applications. For desktop applications you need RPA, Robot Process Automation.
We have been able to create ETL tools for customers and hookup systems like: Visma.net, Televend (vending), Digital Ocean, MySQL, WooCommerce, Prestashop and may more.
What we have notices on day to day usage is that a combination of some of these tools works best. Better make sure you keep an eye on the automations!