Automation is about making life easier; as simple as using a free meeting notes template.
For large-scale companies, automation reduces errors, saves time and, performs repetitive tasks. This frees up their human employees to focus on more important jobs.
One area where it’s highly effective is in the cloud.
Companies like Netflix and Amazon and even those who buy vanity numbers use public clouds for their services. It allows them to innovate without being setback by legacy technology.
But, as organizations grow, the number of cloud-based tasks increases. It can take an army of humans days to complete. Cloud automation will take only minutes.
Solutions like Google cloud RPA or any alternatives to WebEX can empower enterprises. Yet, cloud automation is often lacking in enterprise environments. It can sound intimidating.
In this guide, we’ll discuss this technology, answering two important questions.
What Is Cloud Automation?
Cloud automation uses automated tools to carry out workflows in a cloud environment. These workflows would otherwise occur manually.
It’s like on-premise automation, and many of the same tools are used for both. But, there are specialized tools for the cloud.
Unlike on-premise automation, cloud automation focuses on automating services and virtual infrastructure. It’s also suited to handle the scalability and complexity of the cloud.
Automation isn’t built into the cloud, so it can be costly and hard to set up. It requires expertise to carry out, but it’s a crucial element for any cloud strategy.
Why Use Cloud Automation?
Good cloud infrastructure encourages automation. This enables you to get the most value from your cloud services.
Cloud automation means cloud resources are used efficiently. It reduces manual workloads, minimizes errors, and improves security.
Automation and b2b seo agency provide big opportunities for scalability, agility, and efficiency. In simple terms, it’s able to perform complex tasks with the click of a button.
This speeds up how well your organization can adapt, which is helpful in today’s business climate. With cloud automation, you can respond to challenges and innovate faster.
Thus, it’s essential to understand what you can automate and softwares you’ll need, from the best affiliate marketing tools to the most reliable data backup software, that will help in achieving your aims.
From this, you can build an effective cloud strategy and accelerate digital transformation.
Types of Cloud Automation
We’ve answered two questions. What is cloud automation and why you should use it. Now let’s look at a few examples of how it can be applied.
Reducing manual workloads is a crucial part of any automation. Infrastructure provisioning is a typical use case when it comes to cloud automation.
Imagine you want to set up a collection of virtual servers. Configuring them one-by-one would take a team a long time.
Cloud automation tools can perform this task by automating template creation. The templates define each virtual server configuration. It can then apply them.
This type of infrastructure provisioning is known as an infrastructure-as-code (IAC) tool. It can be used to configure other types of cloud resources.
This type of automation allows organizations to scale their cloud infrastructure quickly. It gives them the added advantage of agility, and the ability to innovate more rapidly.
Identity provisioning and management
Some organizations could have hundreds of staff members, each requiring different privileges.
Setting up each policy manually will be a drawn-out processlong and potentially error-ridden. As employees come and go, managing access rights to cloud resources will be difficult.
Like in the example above, cloud automation can create templates. This time it’s for Identity and Access Management (IAM). These templates set up the user roles within your cloud environment.
This can be integrated into a central enterprise directory service. With it, identities across both cloud and non-cloud resources can be managed. This could be helpful for organizations that use mdm software solutions.
Using automation here goes beyond organizational agility. Onboarding new team members and modifying roles become easier and more efficient.
Not only does this save time, but it ensures a greater level of security.
It’s not unusual for companies to use many private and public clouds at once.
In this situation, cloud automation is crucial. It allows teams to deploy workloads to many clouds at once. They can then manage them from a single interface.
Organizations with a multi-cloud strategy can increase efficiency with centralized, automated tools.
These are a few common cloud automation examples. Several other typical tasks can be automated in the cloud:
- Application Deployment
- Application development and testing
- Monitoring and remediation
- Automatic communications with clients and customers
- Data backups
- Resource management
- Hybrid cloud environments
- Data discovery and classification
Benefits of Cloud Automation
Cloud automation can be tricky to set up, so why would you go through with it at all?
It saves time
Repetitive tasks are tedious tasks. By automating low-level manual processes, your staff saves time. With less pressure, they’re able to focus on more exciting projects and tasks.
Cloud automation improves security
The more people who can access a sensitive task, the more likely an accidental security leak will be. Ransomware attacks have also become a cause for concern. Automation reduces security vulnerabilities like these, by limiting non-essential access.
It boosts efficiency
With cloud automation, tasks are carried out faster, with the same high quality. What once took several days might now take a few minutes.
Cloud automation reduces errors
Human error is as sure as death. Using enterprise robotic process automation reduces errors for non-cloud processes. The same applies in the cloud.
As long as automation rules are correctly configured, errors will be a rarity. The need for oversight is also no longer required.
You can manage a small environment without automation.
But, if you want to grow and scale your business, cloud automation is a necessity. After all, more users mean more tasks.
Cloud Automation vs Cloud Orchestration
Cloud automation and orchestration are often used like they mean the same thing. But there is a difference when it comes to cloud automation vs cloud orchestration.
Cloud automation refers to the automation of a single task. Cloud orchestration refers to the automation of a host of tasks. It involves the automation of workflows across separate services and clouds.
In simpler terms, different cloud automation tasks can be coordinated and automated with orchestration.
For example, imagine you want to install an operating system on a server. The cloud automation steps you might use could be:
- Install an operating system on the server
- Configure the network on the server
- Set up IAM policies for that server
- Run an automation test to check everything works
With cloud automation, these are four distinct tasks. Each task has to be done individually and in the right order.
With orchestration, these tasks would be combined into one workflow. This permits the entire server set up to be automated in the correct order. It’s like pressing one button instead of four.
Cloud orchestration is essential for an enterprise setting. Here there are often too many cloud automation processes to manage on an individual basis.
Using a mix of both cloud automation and orchestration is vital. Used in conjunction it increases productivity and efficient workflows.
It’s particularly useful for multi-cloud solutions. Here, you may need to coordinate tasks across different services, teams, and environments. This would also reduce costly errors.
Cloud automation is in many ways a sub-category of cloud orchestration. You can have cloud automation without cloud orchestration, but cloud orchestration needs automation.
Cloud Automation Tools
The tools available for cloud native automation could fill a book. But, it can be split into two distinct categories:
Tools and services built into clouds
These automation tools are built into their respective platforms. As a result, they offer the highest level of integration. New cloud functionalities are thus immediately available.
Some examples are AWS CloudFormation and Azure Resource Manager.
As with anything though, there is a downside.
These tools generally only support the clouds that they are a part of. You can’t apply them to any other cloud, and you’re very much locked into your platform.
Tools from independent vendors
Independent vendors normally create third-party tools that are usable on any platform.
In general, these tools will work with any public, private or hybrid cloud platform. They are often open-source, though there are commercial options available.
They can have extra features and versatility that built-in platforms lack.
Some examples include Puppet, Ansible, Chef, Salt, and Hashicorp Terraform.
Unfortunately, these automation tools lag in implementing functionality. As they aren’t as integrated, they’re often playing catch up.
So, when a cloud provider introduces a new feature, it could be a while before you can use it.
As with any decision in the business world, the one you make will be based on your needs. Sticking to mature, established platforms will bring you greater stability than newer technology.
Use automation to orchestrate your clouds
The last few years have shown that things can change very quickly for businesses. How well you can adapt can be the defining trait that determines your survival.
A cloud-based business process automation solution can streamline, optimize and scale your business. It’s the only way to reach the full potential of your cloud environment.
By automating cloud management tasks, businesses are more agile. This gives them the ability to innovate quicker when faced with challenges. It’s essential for any large-scale cloud environment.
Furthermore, employees no longer have to spend time and resources on repetitive tasks. They can focus on developing exciting new ideas and tasks that aren’t automated.
Your long-term cloud management success depends on choosing an appropriate automation tool.
Define your budget and goals to have a clear picture of what you want to achieve.
Now that you have an idea of what you can automate, consider what tools you need for your uses to orchestrate your clouds. The rest is child’s play.
Grace Lau is the Director of Growth Content at Dialpad, an AI-powered cloud communication platform for better and easier team collaboration through a better local caller ID service. She has over 10 years of experience in content writing and strategy. Currently, she is responsible for leading branded and editorial content strategies, partnering with SEO and Ops teams to build and nurture content.
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