Cloud automation and orchestration are two sides of the same coin. They’re both valuable processes and technologies that people often misunderstand. Most people are unable to distinguish between them, and often lump them together. Nonetheless, it’s important for IT teams to have a clear understanding of each one and how they relate.
Today, we’re going to explore these two technologies. That way, we can get a better understanding of the role each plays in the modern-day enterprise.
What is Cloud Automation?
Cloud automation is a set of tools and processes used to replace manual labor. It does this by taking advantage of the automated routines of a given task within the cloud environment. Cloud automation enables developers to avoid manual, repetitive tasks.
Likewise, this approach helps to make the public cloud more transparent and reliable. Cloud automation is a critical part of the DevOps methodology. This is because it facilitates the rapid deployment and scalability of cloud resources, as well as agility for continuous delivery and integration.
So, what are some popular use cases of cloud automation?
- Establishing an Infrastructure as a Code (IAC) environment. The purpose of this is to streamline resource management in the cloud and make workflows more efficient.
- Workload management in the cloud. Automation keeps track of system processes and allocates resources more efficiently.
- Workflow version control that comes in handy when auditing and monitoring the system changes of the cloud.
- Connecting disparate elements in the hybrid cloud. This allows applications residing in a public cloud to interact seamlessly with those residing in a private cloud.
Cloud Automation Example
Facebook’s social media network uses cloud automation to scale automatically whenever there’s a surge in demand. The social network maintains availability to users by monitoring workloads and allocating resources where needed.
What is Cloud Orchestration?
Cloud orchestration is a process or framework that allows developers to manage multiple workloads automatically across several clouds. In short, it’s the management of automated processes and workflows in the cloud.
Orchestration allows you to create automated environments and coordinate various teams, functions, cloud services, security, and compliance activities.
As such, cloud orchestration helps organizations eliminate costly mistakes and boost the productivity of their cloud infrastructures. At the same time, it provides them with an opportunity to effectively manage the bigger picture of their cloud automation.
So, what are some use cases of cloud orchestration?
- Automating multiple tasks, such as arrangement, coordination, and management of cloud services and systems, at once into a single workload for executing a large workforce.
- Automating tasks with cloud services providers, such as Azure and Amazon Web Services (AWS). You can build workflows across multiple cloud platforms that will enable your entire IT system to work as a unit.
- Connecting heterogeneous systems and managing networks in private and public clouds that might be geographically separated.
Cloud Orchestration Example
The Distinction Between Cloud Automation and Orchestration
Let’s look at an example. You want to orchestrate a backup and recovery process or workflow.
To do this, you need a cloud orchestration tool. You could go with a tool that’s native to your cloud service provider, such as AWS and Google Cloud. Or you could go with a third-party tool, such as CloudBolt.
The tool you opt for will call automated tasks in sequence around given logical events, such as the discovery of an error code or the time. Here’s an example of what this process looks like:
Make a backup of all databases
If error = 44
Start the recovery process
Bring up the backup database
This is an example of an orchestrated process that does a backup of the database every day at 2 a.m. But, at the same time, this process ensures if it encounters a code 44 error, then it’ll send the admin an e-mail notification. Then the system can bring the backup database online.
In our example above, “Make a backup of all databases” and “Start recovery process” are examples of cloud automation processes. The entire process is an example of a cloud orchestration process.
Cloud automation and orchestration work together. They’re interdependent processes that make it easier for organizations to manage their cloud deployments. It wouldn’t make sense to create an orchestration process that doesn’t call on several automated tasks. Likewise, it wouldn’t make sense to create automated tasks that aren’t a part of an orchestration process.
Overall, these two processes are equally valuable to IT admins. After all, the more tasks that rely on orchestration and automation, the fewer repetitive and manual tasks the IT department has to deal with.