How Cloud Orchestration Solves Automation Growing Pains

Organizations around the world are moving more and more of their data and computing power to the cloud. While this has created robust and flexible computing environments, it has also burdened IT departments with the task of managing a growing number of application deployments and secure workflows. Data managers are increasingly turning to cloud orchestration to solve this problem.

What is cloud orchestration? 

Cloud orchestration is the use of code and configuration files to manage the core infrastructure and workflows across a cloud environment. It is used to tie together a number of independent automation processes into a cohesive and unified system for effective and secure infrastructure management. 

The most common workflows managed by cloud orchestration systems are those related to managing an application lifecycle. This includes tasks such as acquiring compute and storage resources, configuring the OS and networking, and deploying applications. This is particularly valuable for distributed microservices environments where interconnected services are constantly being created, configured, monitored, and destroyed.

Cloud orchestration vs. cloud automation

Cloud automation is the subset of cloud orchestration that involves programming repetitive tasks — such as configuring the networking on a new virtual machine. Cloud orchestration, on the other hand, involves managing a number of interconnected automation processes.

Cloud orchestration workflows typically have higher-level goals, including tasks such as auto-scaling distributed applications, inter-service configuration and dependency management, and high availability and disaster recovery.

Cloud Orchestration

Cloud Automation

Manages multiple automation tasks to achieve a higher-level workflow goal

Uses code to perform a single repetitive task

Handles permissioning and security of automation tasks

Does not typically implement policy decisions outside of OS-level ACLs

Provides monitoring and alerting for its workflows

Can send data to third-party reporting services

Ensures efficient utilization of cloud resources

Has minimal context of resources used outside of its specific task

Why cloud orchestration is important

As microservices become ever more prevalent, automation tasks are increasingly being relied on to handle repetitive jobs such as deploying applications and managing their lifecycles. However, managing these jobs at scale requires tools that can handle complex job dependencies, enterprise-level security policies, and flexible monitoring and visualization.

A proper enterprise cloud orchestration system:

  1. Reduces human intervention in managing automation tasks, saving time and money.
  2. Minimizes human error by automatically handling the setup and execution of automation tasks.
  3. Ensures only users with proper permissions can access and modify automation systems so that data and infrastructure stay safe.
  4. Provides generalizable infrastructure which removes the need to build ad hoc tooling anytime a new automation task is added.
  5. Simplifies the process for setting up a new data integration and automatically manages the governance policies around it.
  6. Has comprehensive diagnostic support, affording fast debugging and auditing capabilities.

Cloud orchestration solutions and tools

A good cloud orchestration solution reduces the friction and overhead of managing automation across diverse systems while maintaining strict security protocols. Furthermore, it must be flexible enough to adapt to changing requirements and handle diverse computing environments.

A cloud orchestration solution should:

  1. Handle complex job dependencies and ensure proper ordering of task execution.
  2. Ensure efficient usage of resources as to not over- or under-provision systems.
  3. Provide workflow scheduling and management tools to allow users of varying technical ability to operate them.
  4. Allow for bridging different environments such as private and public clouds.
  5. Have flexible and open APIs for connecting with external applications and exporting data without compromising security.
  6. Afford enterprise-level data security policy management that can connect with existing authentication systems.
  7. Provide monitoring, alerting, reporting, and auditing tools for flexible diagnostics.

The future of cloud orchestration

The cloud allows organizations of all sizes to quickly and cost-effectively deploy information systems without high upfront hardware investments or regular software maintenance. With flexible and scalable resource allocation as a core feature of modern cloud providers, enterprises can scale up their compute and storage resources as needed and can be confident that they’re running on modern and well-maintained hardware.

While such flexible scalability is powerful and efficient, it also forces the IT departments to provide solutions for deploying and maintaining the software systems that run on such infrastructure. This is the gap that cloud orchestration solutions are filling. By providing generalizable automation systems, orchestration software allows IT departments to focus more on business logic and customization rather than core cloud deployability infrastructure.

As more organizations rely on increased automation features in their cloud environments — such as auto-scaling compute — orchestration technology will only continue to become more and more essential. The added complexity involved in managing such automation is no longer feasible with manual intervention, so building sound and well-maintained abstractions is key to providing long-term stability.

Getting started with cloud orchestration

As enterprises move their data sources and connectors to the cloud, scalable data integration and governance tools are an essential component to any good cloud orchestration system. Data sources and governance policy frequently change within organizations and thus the systems that implement these workflows must be robust and flexible enough to accommodate such. 

Talend Data Fabric is a suite of applications that can help your organization properly structure, govern, and manage its data integrations in order to achieve a scalable cloud orchestration environment.

If ad hoc infrastructure and manual intervention are slowing down your organization and causing errors in your automation workflows, cloud orchestration may be the right fit to help scale and secure your growing data environment. Try Talend Data Fabric to begin your cloud orchestration setup.

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