Automation and Orchestration is an omnipresent term having application in every stage of the journey to the cloud. These two activities reduce costs, errors in the processes and provide users with complete control and visibility over their cloud infrastructure. Both this process is widely different, though interchangeably used sometimes. Let’s have a thread–bare analysis of the difference between the two.
It is the practice of using a specific set of tools and processes to replace repetitive work done by the developers, cloud engineers and others by automating them within the cloud environment. For example, the cloud experts may be required to auto-provision different servers or backup data at regular intervals, negate zombie cloud instances and so on. Cloud provisioning software is used to automate provisioning. By using automatic backups, you can backup data several times without any manual effort. Automating or the practice of performing routine specific tasks without manual efforts helps in saving time, costs and ensures consistent performance without the chances of human errors. Cloud automation software tools can be used to automatically control the installation, configuration and operations of cloud systems.
Various Use Cases for cloud automation include :
- Management of workload- Automation helps in easing out scaling tasks such as the addition of more resources or removal of additional unused instances.
- Version Control- Cloud automation offers version control thereby helping track resource usage, configuration changes made and more.
- Infrastructure as a code (IAC)- With cloud automation, configuration items such as VMs, virtual networks and containers are defined, thereby helping in creating the operating environment for deployment.
Some of the common cloud automation tools include :
- AWS CloudFormation.
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Cloud orchestration involves the arrangement and automation of coordinated tasks resulting in the synchronized or consolidated workflow. It is the process of selectively automating the tasks required for managing workloads operations on the cloud in an integrated manner. Orchestration is dynamic, bi-directional with automation of numerous tasks, coordinated to build the business workflow. It is the framework that binds the automation routines within a specific workflow on the cloud
It aims at :
- Minimising redundancies in the workflow
- Quicker software deployment
- Ensure short-turnaround times from application development to market
- Streamline processes by automating repetitive tasks within it
- Coordinating multiple systems and processes
- Dynamically scale applications and systems on cloud
- Swift incident management
- Creation of automated alerting systems for monitoring workflows and more..
Few other differences
- Cloud automation doesn’t generally involve policy decisions that are out of the ambit of OS-level access control lists. Cloud orchestration involves handling of permission and security of automation tasks.
- With cloud orchestration visibility and control over the entire process or workflow is improved. This is not generally the case with cloud automation which involves a single or specific task.
The debate is not of whether one should go for automation or orchestration but creating the right blend of the two so that operations are simplified, IT costs are reduced and productivity increased. With a proper blend of the two, any company can leverage maximum benefits from the cloud.