What is IBM Automation foundation?

IBM® Automation foundation is an intelligent automation platform. IBM Automation foundation is aimed at providing Robotic Process Automation (RPA) driven hyperautomation solutions to users who are looking to resolve challenges and inefficiencies in business and IT processes.

Lack of integrated automation across business and IT processes are resulting in higher operational costs and huge inefficiencies in the processes for the organizations. Automation, even if it exists, is in silos and most of the organizations have various disparate tools that are used to create atomic units of automation at different steps in the process. Inconsistency and the operating costs of maintaining the different sets of tools are a challenge for companies.

Organizations are exploring the possibilities of investing in intelligent automations to improve their business and IT processes, by augmenting existing automations or creating new automations, which are currently carried out by a human. This automation landscape forms the basis of hyperautomation. Hyperautomation provides end-to-end automation of business and IT processes that uses RPA, Process Mining and a combination of other automation technologies.

IBM Automation foundation provides a foundation for the IBM Cloud Paks for Automation. Each Cloud Pak is a domain-specific set of capabilities that augments it. IBM Automation foundation provides the user interface which IBM Cloud Paks extend. It provides an event framework based on Kafka, Flink, and Elasticsearch for IBM Cloud Paks to use. It also provides a platform to train machine learning models, store, and manage the trained models and then serve them to derive inferences.

IBM Cloud Paks with IBM Automation foundation together provide an intelligent automation platform that provides RPA-driven automations for users who are looking to resolve their challenges and inefficiencies in business and IT processes.

Red Hat® OpenShift® Container Platform provides the secure and stable infrastructure for Automation foundation.

Software or services that are bundled with Automation foundation

You can access the following software and services when you install Automation foundation:

Configuration guidance

IBM Automation foundation provides a foundation for the IBM Cloud Paks for Automation. Each instance of IBM Automation foundation is contained within a Kubernetes namespace (OpenShift project). The configuration and resources for an instance of IBM Automation foundation can be found in the namespace.

IBM Automation foundation creates an instance of the IBM Automation platform user interface (Platform UI) in its namespace when requested by Cloud Paks that are created in the same namespace. The Cloud Paks extend this UI with their own capabilities. Behind the scenes, each Cloud Pak creates an instance of an internal Cartridge custom resource and IBM Automation foundation watches for this resource. The default configuration of the Platform UI uses the cluster's default storage class and self-signed certificates, and this is in general sufficient. You must override the default configuration if at least one of the following conditions is true:

To override the default storage class, create an instance of the AutomationUIConfig custom resource. If there is already an instance in the namespace, edit the existing instance. It is not possible to modify the storage class after the Platform UI is successfully created (because that would discard the UI's data) but it is possible if the Platform UI is not yet successfully created. There can be at most one instance of AutomationUIConfig in a namespace.

Some Cloud Paks also use the event framework that is built on Apache Kafka that is provided by IBM Automation foundation. These components can take different amount of resources based on the wanted availability, capacity, and performance. The configuration is controlled by an instance of the AutomationBase custom resource. There can be at most one instance of AutomationBase in a namespace.

If you are using a Cloud Pak that uses the event framework, you must determine your capacity and availability requirements and create an instance of AutomationBase. Profiles with various sizings are provided as a starting point for configuration as described in the system requirements. The components of the event framework are created only when required by a Cloud Pak.

You can configure as suggested in the following steps:

  1. Create an instance of AutomationUIConfig if the default configuration is not sufficient, such as if you need to provide the name of a storage class.
  2. If you are using a Cloud Pak that uses the event framework, create an instance of AutomationBase based on your expected workload.
  3. Create an instance of your Cloud Pak. The Platform UI and event framework is automatically created.