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Breaking down cloud orchestration and its benefits on your IT ecosystem
In a classical music orchestra, different instruments come together to perform the same musical piece. In the same way, cloud orchestration involves organizing and coordinating various automated IT operational tasks to develop a consolidated, efficient workflow. With organizations increasingly using a combination of cloud offerings, including public, private, hybrid, and multi-cloud services, the resulting ecosystem is enormously complex, with data and applications operating across multiple environments. To control these diverse workloads in an automated, orderly fashion, organizations need cloud orchestration tools to manage everything as a single workflow. Cloud orchestration is quite a challenging task as it usually involves different types of cloud solution offerings (public, private and hybrid clouds) that are often located across different geographies. At its core, cloud orchestration combines, manages, and ultimately offers the best of three worlds—CloudOps, DevOps, and ITOps.
It is no surprise that cloud computing helps IT enterprises minimize capital costs and operational expenses. It handles mountains of data and processes across multiple systems, thus acting as the brain of your organization's IT ecosystem. This makes management of these resources a gargantuan task, given the complexity of cloud environments and the nature of tasks in a full-blown IT enterprise. Cloud orchestration and automation, two significant but ambiguous cloud computing concepts, go hand-in-hand throughout the service management life cycle. Though they are subsets of cloud computing, the two terms are used interchangeably.
In essence, cloud automation optimizes tasks, and cloud orchestration optimizes processes. Automation involves single, individual tasks performed in a defined sequence, strict security guidelines and permission grants, etc. Cloud orchestration, on the other hand, bundles multiple such individual tasks into a more streamlined workflow. It ensures the performance of each of these tasks concerning one another within a single workflow. For example, deploying and configuring a web server can be automated. Whereas, combining multiple such automated tasks under a single workflow is cloud orchestration.
Automation involves a lot of manual coding. This poses the threat of human error occurring during the process of cloud automation. Cloud orchestration identifies these automation codes and recognizes them as building blocks. These code blocks are later reused under different scenarios depending on the service delivery objective. This way, cloud orchestration helps you evade error-proneness by optimizing the amount of code required to execute a single workflow, and eliminates redundancy. While both these concepts offer individual benefits, the combination of development processes (through automation) and operations (through orchestration) paves the way for building more robust cloud infrastructure for your IT environment.
If cloud automation is an apple, then cloud orchestration is the apple tree. While automation handles individual tasks, orchestration combines these automated tasks with various individual functions into a larger and more streamlined workflow. Common automation tasks include providing servers, storage, databases, and networks to optimize the deployment and management of IT operations and processes. Besides, cloud orchestration also ensures proper maintenance of all your cloud resources.
Cloud orchestration centers offer dashboards that provide a birds-eye-view of your entire cloud estate and ensures complete visibility. An ideal cloud orchestration center has features that allow you to monitor and modify virtual server instances. It slashes precious person-hours invested in your IT operations and allows your agents to focus on more critical tasks that require their complete attention. According to field experts, orchestration offers centralized management of accessibility, security, and resource policies to ensure your cloud ecosystem's efficient control.
With powerful automation tools, orchestration improves the cost governance as it encourages and manages the economical usage of your IT resources. Since it offers optimized tools, cloud orchestration enhances cloud services with automation and self-service processes. This significantly reduces infrastructure costs for enterprises and encourages long-term cost savings. In simpler terms, it helps you get in your CIO's good books.
Cloud orchestration solves various problems associated with the cloud computing domains. It can automate simple and small operations without any human intervention. It can also create predictable processes (through code blocks) that can reduce the risk of errors while improving the reliability and consistency of your IT operations.
Like all IT projects, cloud orchestration cannot be implemented overnight. Orchestration and automation are long-term processes and heavy on investments. But with the right tools and best practices, the benefits that IT enterprises reap are huge—cost savings, eliminating redundancy, optimizing overall IT operations, etc. A successful cloud strategy requires both cloud automation and cloud orchestration to work hand-in-hand. This, in turn, requires a solution capable of powerful automation features and advanced monitoring levels. It should also support managing your applications in a highly dynamic cloud environment, where app-data increases multi-fold with every passing moment.
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