The business world is rapidly changing, and enterprises must evolve or risk losing their competitive edge. Cloud automation ensures that enterprises can respond quickly in a rapidly changing environment while reaping the benefits of advances in IT technology. On the other hand, cloud orchestration takes automation to whole another level.
Experts claim that cloud automation is the first step towards DevOps as a part of the cloud model.
The winning trio for cloud success: Cloud Automation, Cloud Orchestration and DevOps
Cloud Automation and Cloud Orchestration
There is more than a semantic difference between cloud automation and orchestration. But both the processes simplify your cloud management tasks and contributes to each other.
Cloud Automation in the laymen terms is the process of performing a task with no manual intervention once configured. On the other hand, cloud orchestration implies the coordination of automated tasks leading to a consolidated process or workflow.
Automation not only helps in reducing the complexity of a cloud environment but also helps in scaling, in a repeated fashion. Cloud orchestration allows you to create an automated environment that coordinates more functions/operations, cloud services, and tasks for end-to-end automated processes.
Let’s clear the air with an example.
If an organization wants to spin up an entirely new environment to host new applications; then IT teams need to automate several tasks. To achieve this, they can automate the addition of new instances for scaling, elastic load balancers (ELBs), alarms, etc. IT teams can also leverage deployment automation tools like Code Deploy. These separate functions are some of the cloud automation processes.
Now, these automated tasks must occur in a particular order with certain permissions and policies. So, the team needs to complete manual tasks even though the bits of the environment are automated. This is where cloud orchestration comes into the picture.
Cloud orchestration keeps a check on required resources whether they are configured or not and develop interconnection between them. There are tools to leverage like AWS CloudFormation to create templates to orchestrate the processes into a workflow so that these workflows can become an API call.
The process of creating these templates arises challenges and takes time to execute. No matter, if your team is small and want to assign less manpower or, you have a large-sized team that wants a unified way of operating, the cloud orchestration helps you simplify the complex IT processes.
DevOps support the defined practices implemented with the help of defined templates that lead to continuous integrations and delivery. These templates reflect the expertise of your team to achieve automation with minimal or no intervention. Cloud automation is a task, cloud orchestration is a workflow, and DevOps are well-defined practices which altogether contribute to the required cloud processes.
Automation reinforces business innovation featuring Amazon, Netflix, Facebook, Walmart
Cloud automation is unlocking business values for the organization no matter small or big, leading to benefits beyond the bottom-line of profitability.
Facebook paved the way for social networks becoming an integral part of daily life. It relies on the open source code, Opscode for automated deployments and applications’ scalability. Moreover, Facebook leverages Chef configuration management software to facilitate automation.
FB has millions of users worldwide and it depends on automation to efficiently deploy applications and send it across servers around the globe and subsequently ensuring continuous website availability.
Netflix has been the poster boy for Amazon Web Services (AWS) and a strong advocate of DevOps. As an organization, cloud automation plays a significant role in Netflix’s online services.
The key tip that Netflix team practice is that their developers save new changes in a deployable web image, which when goes live receives all the traffic. If the new code persists any issues, then the user is routed to the older version. Due to automation, Netflix offers continuous and high availability to its users.
In 2010, Amazon started migrating its infrastructure to Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud.
Being an e-commerce website, Amazon needs to ensure that the website doesn’t go down even if flooded by the traffic. To ensure this, Amazon uses an automated provisioning system that automatically scales capacity in response to the traffic and prevents the website from going down.
Walmart was always big and in order to beat Amazon in the e-commerce market, they adopted the cloud automation and DevOps strategies.
They leveraged the Puppet, a configuration management software to bring automation intelligence in their distributed computing environments. This consist of corporate servers, public clouds, distribution centers, and stores.
Cloud automation holds the potential to lower cloud costs, free up human resources for other projects, ensure continuous delivery and reduce roadblocks.
Every organization is at a different stage of implementing cloud automation. A major pool of organizations has just started the automation, some are relying on individuals while others on teams to orchestrate the automation processes.
But to achieve true DevOps, organizations need to orchestrate automation tasks into standard IT workflows with flexibility.