Business Benefits of Automation and Orchestration
Many of the business benefits of cloud computing can be attributed to two key components: automation and orchestration. Although virtualized environments allow you to save on hardware and software costs, they cannot, by themselves, deliver other benefits such as business agility, scalability, reduced labor and administrative costs, faster time-to-market, and others.
In this post, we introduce you to cloud automation and orchestration, and explain how they bring about the benefits cloud environments are highly known for.
What is Cloud Automation and Orchestration?
Although closely associated with one another (and in advanced data centers, utterly inseparable), automation and orchestration are actually two different things. In the context of cloud computing, the first one automates tasks, while the second one automates processes or workflows.
Cloud automation, for example, automates individual tasks of, say, provisioning a server or deploying an application. In doing so, it reduces the total time required to roll out services from weeks or days to hours or minutes.
Speed is good but it’s when you introduce a sense of direction when you’re able to accomplish something meaningful. That’s where orchestration comes in. It allows you to bring together an assortment of automated tasks into a well-coordinated workflow or series of workflows, ultimately culminating in fast, efficient, and secure delivery of services.
So what are the benefits of cloud automation and orchestration? Here are a few:
Allows IT staff to focus on more valuable projects
Through automation, you can speed up repetitive tasks like provisioning servers, installing and configuring operating systems and applications, allocating storage, and more. Through orchestration, you can simplify management of complex, disparate systems and workflows that make up the cloud environment. Because time and manual intervention is significantly reduced by these two, you will in turn gain the ability to lower your administrator-to-server ratio and reallocate staff time to more valuable projects.
Cloud automation and orchestration tools typically include self-service portals that enable users to pick from a catalog of standardized offerings of cloud resources and services, which they can then provision on their own within pre-defined limits.
This not only drives innovation and efficiency for DevOps teams but also consequently enables line-of-business end users quick access to the services they need to accomplish their own business-related tasks. All this creates a positive domino effect that speeds up delivery of your organization’s products and services.
Enhances business agility
We’ve always talked about how the cloud boosts business agility. Agility is particularly needed during sudden surges in computing demand (e.g. during Holiday Season) and during the ensuing drop. Over this period, IT infrastructures need the ability to scale up and then scale down – fast. This rapid scaling up and scaling down can only be achieved through cloud automation and orchestration.
Enables efficient use of IT resources
If you think about it, a cloud infrastructure’s rapid provisioning and self-service capabilities can consume more compute, network, and storage resources more quickly. That’s why orchestration is very important. It performs intelligent workload placement so that resource pools are utilized more efficiently, and therefore, more cost effectively.
Ensures security and automates compliance
The duty of securing IT assets, especially in light of rising cyber threats and regulatory compliance requirements, can always be a challenge. This becomes even more challenging when you also have to secure each deployed server and application.
Cloud automation and orchestration allows administrators to create policy templates for service deployments. These templates can have corporate and security policies baked into them to ensure that risks are mitigated and compliance requirements are met at each deployment.
Still have more questions about cloud automation and orchestration? Jelecos has answers, and we’re happy to help.