The process of scaling, provisioning, and configuring cloud resources manually is time-consuming and error-prone. Consequently, it can affect your availability or performance, taking a lot of time from your team that could instead be invested into mission-critical tasks.
A solution to this problem is cloud automation. Keep on reading this article to learn how this powerful technology helps businesses to reduce their operational costs and boost their productivity.
Table of contents:
What is cloud automation and how does it work?
Easy access to cloud resources on demand is great, but not so much when you also have to manage them. Just think about how much time you spend managing virtual machines, setting up virtual networks, and configuring availability and performance.
To make things easier, automation removes all these tasks from your plate. Cloud automation is a powerful method for reducing the amount of time and effort your team uses to configure cloud services. You can apply this technique to private, public, and hybrid environments.
By eliminating the time-consuming and error-prone process of deploying and managing cloud workloads, you get more time available for troubleshooting. This is necessary to keep your applications running smoothly.
Furthermore, manual cloud deployment might result in security issues that can put your business at risk. Automation helps make your infrastructure and tech stack more consistent.
To realize the benefits of DevOps, you need IaC, tight feedback loops, and continuous delivery – and they all rely on automation.
Benefits of cloud automation
Cloud-based operations are the future. Managing them is going to get really easy – you won’t even have to lift a finger.
When you have fewer manual processes, you also see fewer errors. A faster and more automated process means less time wasted on error diagnostics and more time spent developing new things and innovating.
A new way to optimize software delivery is automating the deployment pipeline. DevOps teams that follow best practices and deploy continuously can take advantage of automation tools that deploy software to cloud-based environments.
Greater security and resilience
Certain tasks are best done by machines – for example, logging into mission-critical systems. If you automate these jobs, you no longer have to rely on humans. This reduces the risk of human-made errors or account compromises. A smart way to enforce security in your organization is to build security best practices into automated workflows.
Governance at the highest level
When companies use manual systems or ad-hoc solutions, employees may not be able to see what is actually running. How can infrastructure be controlled without a centralized view? This is another automation superpower. It lets you standardize your infrastructure, giving you more control over how your company’s applications are running.
Cloud automation and cloud orchestration are not the same thing
Building an effective cloud strategy is critical for success. Automation and orchestration are two different approaches to realizing this purpose. It’s important to understand their separate functions to build a strong overall strategy.
A lot of companies forget about some of the important tasks that happen in infrastructure management. There are many things that can be automated in the cloud, from provisioning servers to backing up data.
Cloud orchestration helps you achieve your goals in the cloud infrastructure by organizing automated tasks. To make the most of your infrastructure, you should create processes and coordinate them so that they’re applied consistently.
Although cloud automation is incredibly helpful for deploying and managing your infrastructure, it doesn’t define a strategic direction to reach your goals. Cloud orchestration takes the tasks defined by cloud automation and puts them into an intelligent, strategic plan that gets you closer to your goals.
These use cases demonstrate the value of cloud automation
1. Automated resource provisioning
Choosing the right virtual machine (VM) can be a challenging task; there are many different types to choose from, and each comes with a set of unique parameters. How are you supposed to know which ones have the optimal cost-to-performance ratio?
Here’s what automation can achieve in managed Kubernetes solutions when used to provision resources:
- The server application is experiencing a surge of traffic. The automation tool creates new pods to handle it, but they don’t have enough CPU. The pods are falling behind in processing tasks, so we need to add more CPU cores.
- The solution adds a new 16-core node automatically within two minutes as needed.
- After the application starts seeing an influx of traffic, the tool adds an extra 8-core node within one minute to ensure that the traffic is handled.
- Once traffic drops below a threshold, two nodes are removed from the cluster to prevent waste of resources.
2. Reducing redundancy and saving money
Cloud automation solutions play an essential role in cloud cost optimization by shutting down unused instances and processes.
Organizations often face the challenge of dealing with orphaned instances or shadow IT projects with poorly accounted for resources. Such zombie infrastructure assets continue to generate monthly bills, giving you nothing in return.
Cloud automation can identify zombie IT infrastructure and address the problem before it snowballs into a massive cloud bill at the end of the month.
3. Infrastructure as Code (IaC)
Infrastructure as code, or IaC, is a method of establishing control over IT infrastructure by using configuration files or scripts to automate processes. This can be a useful strategy for IT departments managing sensitive data in the cloud.
Cloud automation can extend control over nearly all aspects of infrastructure, allowing orchestration of complex systems:
- Cloud automation processes can access resource pools and define common configuration items, such as VMs, containers, or virtual private networks.
- After that, the application components and services can be loaded into configuration items.
- Finally, they can select and combine them to create an improved operational environment.
4. Application development and testing can be improved
Continuous delivery and continuous deployment require that dev/test environments be part of automated development pipelines. Automation is the primary method of serving the continuous delivery pipeline on the public cloud.
With today’s modern development methods, however, it’s possible to deploy resources rapidly, scale them as necessary, and then re-purpose them once testing is over.
5. Designing hybrid cloud
Hybrid cloud environments present a unique set of challenges—including the need to integrate on-premises and public cloud systems. Cloud automation helps address some of those challenges.
To make cloud bursting possible, automation solutions can synchronize assets between local data centers and cloud resources. You can load applications into the cloud when local resources are overextended.
When cloud automation is used in conjunction with the hybrid cloud, disaster recovery scenarios enable the remote site to mirror the on-premises environment.
Are you ready for cloud automation?
Cloud automation is a time saver. It’s faster, more scalable, and more secure than manual management and optimization of cloud resources. The technology is just getting started but reports clearly show that it may soon become a real force multiplier for businesses.