What is Cloud Automation?
Cloud automation refers to the implementation of tools and processes in an effort to reduce the manual intervention associated with provisioning, configuring, and managing public, private, and hybrid cloud environments.
Installing cloud infrastructure automation tools can relieve workflow bottlenecks, reduce errors, cut costs, improve efficiency and scalability.
Why Cloud Automation?
The cost of moving to a cloud platform has been steadily decreasing, making it an attractive option for enterprises of all sizes. Incorporating cloud automation as a part of the cloud migration can contribute to additional cost savings due to the increase in productivity and the reduction of errors.
As virtualization and cloud computing continue to rise in popularity, the tasks associated with managing these environments multiply, as does the associated workload. Manually deploying and operating functions such as scaling, provisioning, configuring resources, setting up virtual machines, and monitoring performance is repetitive, inefficient, and often prone to errors that can affect availability.
Modern technology stacks are vast, dynamic, and ever-evolving, comprised of many different moving parts. Datacenter administrators are unable to shoulder the burden of configuring and deploying each and every component in real-time, while also identifying and implementing potential improvements.
Cloud automation is essential to a successful transition to leveraging cloud infrastructure and can include tasks such as automated storage and backups, managing security and compliance, changing configurations and settings, and deploying code.
Automation tools help ensure optimal performance from the system and its resources by streamlining activities that relate to cloud computing, and can further improve efficiency by reducing the need for IT teams to manage repetitive tasks or make decisions about capacity or performance in real-time. Utilizing automation to run workloads in a cloud environment rather than on-premises can maximize your budget and your resources.
Key to DevOps Success
DevOps is both a philosophy and a set of practices that emphasizes and encourages collaboration between software developers and IT operations teams in order to better coordinate development, deployment, and maintenance of software and systems. The goals of a successful DevOps transition include:
faster development phases
less time between deployments
more stable and scalable infrastructure
fewer workflow bottlenecks
improved satisfaction and productivity of teams
One of the core tenets of DevOps involves optimizing software development lifecycles -- essentially creating higher quality products more efficiently and effectively. A cloud strategy that includes automation can have a positive impact on the IT infrastructure by enabling your system to push out multiple changes, while automatically monitoring and detecting problems, and rolling changes back if performance problems occur as a result. The ability to deploy new code without risking the stability of the system is critical to continuous delivery, and supports faster resource deployment and scaling.
Managing cloud services via automation creates a clear set of predictable processes and policies that can be easily adapted to the changing needs of your business, resulting in greater control and increased agility of your system.
As the popularity of cloud platforms continues to rise, finding ways to automate certain processes becomes imperative to the ability to manage existing systems while allowing ample time for innovation and improvements. Automating cloud management allows for better IT governance without using more resources and/or increasing the workload of staff.
Cloud Automation vs Orchestration
Cloud automation and cloud orchestration are both important aspects to developing an effective cloud system strategy, and understanding the difference between these terms and the intent of each is crucial to implementing a system that will improve efficiency.
Cloud automation involves using cloud management tools to achieve tasks without manual interference. Auto-provisioning servers, backing up data, or discovering and eliminating unused processes are some of the tasks that cloud automation could accomplish without real-time human interaction. Cloud automation streamlines tasks or processes to improve efficiency and reduce manual workload.
Cloud orchestration is about achieving objectives via cloud infrastructure by strategically organizing automated tasks. Cloud orchestration combines low-level tasks into processes and coordinates them throughout the entire infrastructure, often consisting of multiple locations or systems
Cloud automation defines the deployment and management of tasks to be automated, and cloud orchestration arranges and coordinates those defined tasks into a unified approach to accomplish intended goals. In a metaphorical sense, if cloud automation is a puzzle piece, then cloud orchestration is the arrangement of those pieces to form a completed puzzle. Although cloud automation can occur without cloud orchestration, a well-defined and thoughtful cloud deployment incorporates both techniques.