Orchestration can be one of those ambiguous concepts in cloud computing, with varying definitions on when cloud capabilities truly advance into the orchestration realm. Frequently it’s defined simply as automation = orchestration.
But automation is just the starting point for cloud. And as organizations move from managing their virtualized environment, they need to aggregate capabilities for a private cloud to work effectively. The automation of storage, network, performance and provisioning are all aspects handled in most cases by various solutions that have been added on over time as needs increase. Even for organizations that take a transformational approach -- jumping to an advanced cloud to optimize their data centers -- the management of heterogeneous environments with disparate systems can be a challenge not simply addressed by automation alone. As the saying goes, “If you automate a mess, you get an automated mess.”
The need to orchestrate really becomes clear when various aspects of cloud management are brought together. The value to the organization at this stage of cloud is simplifying the management of automation – otherwise a balancing act to manage multiple hypervisors, resource usage, availability, scalability, performance and more -- based on business needs from the cloud, with the ultimate goal of delivering services faster.
With orchestration, the pieces are woven together and can be managed more effectively to ensure smooth and rapid service delivery -- and delivered in a user-friendly catalog of services easily accessible through a single pane of glass. In essence, cloud orchestration = automation + integration + best practices.
Without cloud orchestration, it’s difficult to realize the full benefits of cloud computing. The stitching together of best practices and automated tasks and processes becomes essential to optimize a wide spectrum of workloads types.
In addition to rapid service delivery, the benefit of orchestration is that there can be significant cost savings associated with labor and resources by eliminating manual intervention and management of varied IT resources or services.
Some key traits of cloud orchestration include:
• Integration of cloud capabilities across heterogeneous environments and infrastructures to simplify, automate and optimize service deployment
• Self-service portal for selection of cloud services, including storage and networking, from a predefined menu of offerings
• Reduced need for intervention to allow lower ratio of administrators to physical and virtual servers
• Automated high-scale provisioning and de-provisioning of resources with policy-based tools to manage virtual machine sprawl by reclaiming resources automatically
• Ability to integrate workflows and approval chains across technology silos to improve collaboration and reduce delays
• Real-time monitoring of physical and virtual cloud resources, as well as usage and accounting chargeback capabilities to track and optimize system usage
• Prepackaged automation templates and workflows for most common resource types to ease adoption of best practices and minimize transition time
In short, many of the capabilities that we associate with cloud computing are really elements of orchestration. In an orchestrated environment, organizations gain tools to manage their cloud workloads through a single interface, providing greater efficiency, control and scalability. As cloud environments become more complex and organizations seek greater benefit from their computing resources, the need for sophisticated management solutions that can orchestrate across the entire environment will become ever clearer.
Learn more about how cloud orchestration capabilities can help your business. And join the Cloud Provisioning and Orchestration development community to test out the latest cloud solutions and provide feedback to impact development.