Cloud automation is the technology that conducts all kinds of tasks associated with cloud computing and services without any human interference by combining different cloud management techniques. Cloud automation is necessary for any enterprise or business considering automation.
It uses a network to scale, share and abstract resources and run various workloads. But neither cloud nor cloud computing constitutes a technology in itself. Cloud automation is where the actions of cloud computation can be automated entirely without any human involvement.
To help you understand everything about cloud automation and its benefits, this article discusses cloud automation vs cloud orchestration, the benefits of cloud automation, and its most common use cases, so read until the end.
What is Cloud Automation?
Cloud automation helps developers and IT teams scale, abstract, and share resources across the cloud network automatically. When cloud computing came into play, it was advertised as a simple way for IT teams to access the resources at any time, anywhere.
However, there’s much more to cloud automation than simply allowing easy access to resources. There are many requirements for resources, including individual testing, identifying, verifying, and taking down resources that require human effort.
Cloud automation is not automatically built into a cloud infrastructure; it is rather facilitated by the cloud vendors like Azure, Cloud Foundry, AWS, Puppet, OpenStack, Cloudify, etc. Also, cloud automation is not readily available and requires hard work, especially in the beginning. But once you successfully automate cloud infra, you can efficiently perform complicated tasks with just a few clicks.
Cloud Automation Vs. Cloud Orchestration
People often use the terms cloud automation and cloud orchestration interchangeably, but they are not the same; they are similar but not identical. Cloud automation refers to the automation of a single task, whereas orchestration refers to automating an array of tasks.
An application usually has various nodes like frontend and backend. The processes at each of the nodes can be automated, but if the timings or the versions do not match, it can lead to a system failure.
Cloud orchestration will manage the entire process as the timing, process, and subsequent updates can be automated consecutively. It prevents the systems from failing and collapsing.
Cloud orchestration can be advantageous for giant enterprises requiring multiple cloud resources to operate various functions simultaneously. That said, even smaller enterprises or individuals can use cloud automation to their benefit.
Benefits of Cloud Automation
In addition to the obvious automation advantage, the other benefits of using cloud automation include:
Better Efficiency In Operations
The tasks that would have otherwise required days or weeks to be completed can now be done with only a click. Automating the tasks that are monotonous and repetitive in nature can substantially enhance operation efficiency along with reduced development and production time.
It also motivates the employees since they can focus on other important tasks without having to be burdened by repetitive IT tasks.
Many data-sensitive and mission-critical processes need to be protected in any IT process. With manual interference, many IT personnel or developers would continuously log in at various junctures, compromising security.
However, such risks can be easily evaded by incorporating automation solutions. You can deploy 100% of the securities across the entire network. The system would be protected against malicious activities, and there would be no risk of account compromise.
Continuous deployment automates the pipeline of applications to increase software update frequency. Cloud automation can be a massive bonus for teams working for the DevOps paradigm, Continuous deployment, or even quality assurance and testing.
A system failure, cyber attack, accidental erasure, or software failure can occur at any time. But if the backup processes are automated to the cloud, which continually would backup the procedures for both on and off-premise systems, it would save the company from any unfortunate data loss.
When organizational systems are set up manually, the admins have almost no view of current progress and what is happening. This can be solved with automation since it gives a view of which systems and processes are running in real-time.
It also allows centralized control and sets up a standardized procedure for setting up resources. So, admins would have much more control over the organizational infrastructure with cloud automation.
Easy Business Scalability Using Cloud Computation
Since most businesses today work in agile environments, they must always be on their toes to adapt to constant changes. The developers and IT teams have to constantly perform application and network configurations so that the systems are ready to be scaled up as and when required.
The infrastructure may need more processing power, bandwidth, and storage during peak time to meet the increased resource requirements. For such situations, the systems need to expand quickly; otherwise, it can lead to system failure.
Cloud automation and orchestration can provide enterprises with the agility and scalability required for such a dynamic work environment.
Simplify Complex IT Processes
Cloud computation creates a heterogeneous IT infrastructure that can cause significant operational obstacles. But these deployments can be simplified by using a cloud automation framework. When IT works efficiently within an enterprise, the entire organization and all required business processes run smoothly.
It can be a nightmare to fix a broken system and make it whole again. But cloud computation makes it easier since it allows continuous monitoring of the processes and cloud management.
Automation can also identify potential issues and resolve them automatically. Let’s say there is a situation where a server fails; in that case, the cloud automation process can instantly shift the workloads to temporary servers at various locations to allow the system to continue running.
Common Cloud Automation Use Cases
The most common use of cloud automation is infrastructure provisioning. The IaC (Infrastructure as Code) sphere must be defined using configuration files and launched automatically following the configuration.
The configuration files must be continuously updated to the latest version, controlled, tested, and evolved. Integrating cloud automation with IaC becomes much more efficient and powerful as both public and private clouds can control the infrastructure.
The workload can be managed most efficiently by scaling the system automatically. Autoscaling is a feature of cloud automation that can be integrated into workloads and is provided by all cloud vendors.
When using public clouds, it is necessary to continually update the resources, and keep track of costs and processes, which can be achieved with cloud automation. Cloud automation, as mentioned earlier, allows admins to monitor the work infrastructure and adjust the workloads.
Develop And Test Automation
One can automatically deploy the resources required to test and develop applications by using cloud automation. The developers must have realistic work environments and continuous delivery and deployment to cater to the most agile environments.
Cloud automation on public clouds is most commonly used for continuously deploying workload pipelines and generating work environments suitable for developers.
The hybrid cloud environments are usually intricate, elaborate, and complex. The integrations required by it are also similar in nature for both public and on-premise systems. Cloud automation makes the process slightly less complicated by synchronizing the local and cloud data centers.
The assets are necessary for conducting ‘cloud bursting,’ which shifts the workload to a cloud when local resources cannot support it anymore. It also helps in disaster recovery by remotely using a DR site that replicates the on-premise environment.
Access And Identity Management
When enterprises move to cloud environments from legacy systems, monitoring all the end-users and the access required at different cloud levels isn’t easy. It is also challenging to approve the access rights manually to each end-user as it is tedious and time-consuming.
Also, there is always a risk of providing access to the wrong user, leading to errors in the system that can seriously affect the organization’s security. But using cloud automation, Identity and Access Management (IAM) becomes secure and structured. Automating the IAM policies significantly reduces the chance of errors by automating the entire process.
Deployment Of Application
Application deployment moves an application from the environment where it was built to the environment where testing for its production would be carried out. But this process can be very time-consuming and loaded with errors if executed manually.
Cloud automation automates the shift, allowing most CD/CI platforms to automatically deploy applications to any reputable public cloud.
All modern organizations generally use hybrid and multi-cloud environments. These work environments are complex and intricate. Errors in such processes would lead to a fatal system failure. In addition, the IT teams are required to maintain both public and on-premise systems.
Automation makes the entire process more efficient by limiting human interference and access by different teams and developers at various nodes. The workload pipeline is automated, and it improves the cost tracking process, efficient delivery of work, and automatic synchronization of updates.
To top it all off, both multi-cloud and hybrid environments can be combined, increasing speed, scalability, and consistency.