Automated management is critical to the success of cloud computing, given its scale and complexity. But, most systems do not satisfy one of the key properties required for automation: predictability, which in turn relies upon low variance. Most automation tools are not effective when variance is consistently high. Using automated performance diagnosis as a concrete example, this position paper argues that for automation to become a reality, system builders must treat variance as an important metric and make conscious decisions about where to reduce it. To help with this task, we describe a framework for reasoning about sources of variance in distributed systems and describe an example tool for helping identify them.