Cloud automation tools are widely leveraged in the business world. A growing array of point solutions that help automate infrastructure, integration, cloud service apps, file sharing, and more have emerged to meet an overall enterprise shift to the cloud.
As organizations start down the path to the cloud, a significant shortcoming quickly emerges. Most automation solutions have a big limitation: they either work in the cloud or work on-prem – but not in both worlds.
A Cloud Only Development World
While the cloud has become a common new development platform, a minuscule number of enterprises rely on it solely. Legacy systems found on-premises are still quite common. As a result, most organizations use a hybrid IT strategy that takes advantage of on-premises investments alongside newfound cloud benefits. Companies running a hybrid IT environment require automation engines that connect and orchestrate preprogrammed processes across cloud and legacy systems.
Lacking such orchestration capabilities, organizations often turn to a cobbled-together automation system setup, where multiple point automation tools are leveraged. Such work is challenging and complicated as today’s applications have various interfaces. Once the work is done, firms find themselves supporting multiple cloud service provider (CSP) cloud schedulers, custom scripts, a growing number of application-specific job schedulers, and on-premises focused automation platforms. Rather than a boon, automation turns into a bane. Their development and operations teams spend much of their precious time maintaining homegrown connections rather than enhancing customer value streams.
Cloud Automation Tools in a Hybrid World
To avoid the above-mentioned headaches, enterprises have turned to platforms that work not only in the cloud but also support their on-prem infrastructure. Such a product bridges the gap between cloud and on-prem automation. With it, they gain a single view and centralized control of all their automation and orchestration workflows.
Such a solution is not theoretical; it is now available and solving automation and orchestration challenges for a growing number of organizations. The answer lies in an enterprise software category called workload automation (WLA). Let’s dive into some common cloud automation tool use cases that are supported by a modern WLA solution:
Ease Cloud Migrations
Businesses are moving to the public cloud in growing numbers. Worldwide end-user spending on public cloud services is forecast to grow 18.4% in 2021 and total $304.9 billion, up from $257.5 billion in 2020, according to Gartner, Inc. Most organizations have a legacy application that would benefit from such a change; however, moving them often requires rewriting large parts—or even the entire program -- from scratch. A modern WLA solution automatically registers and allocates resources at runtime. This approach makes it one of the most important migration tools you can use when you are in the midst of an on-prem to cloud transformation. The right WLA solution does not care if your application is in the cloud, on a mainframe, or in a container. It simply connects to each and controls the necessary automated processes.
Automating Hybrid Cloud Applications
Many corporations find themselves caught between the old and the new. They have legacy automation solutions in place but need new tools that bridge the gaps between the two programming worlds. A WLA serves as a cloud automation tool that connects to on-prem platforms and applications. Notable, hybrid cloud is typically a reference to a combined public and private cloud system. Often, organizations will take advantage of the mix of workload scheduling and managed file transfer capabilities built into WLA solutions to break down these automation silos. The goal is to orchestrate automated IT processes across their entire hybrid cloud environment from a single solution.
Data Pipeline Orchestration
Corporations are awash in information: the collective sum of the world’s data will grow from 33 zettabytes (1 ZB byte = 1 trillion gigabytes) in 2018 to 175ZB by 2025, a Compounded Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 61%, according to International Data Corp. (IDC). The information comes in every format imaginable. As a result, DataOps teams often create custom scripts or use native integrations to automate the collection and movement of raw data through a data pipeline that delivers insights to the business. However, this approach is prone to human error. Another limitation is that IT teams cannot manage and view the entire process centrally. Because data management tools span a mix of on-prem and cloud applications, it’s important to leverage an orchestration solution that can help bridge the gap across the entire hybrid IT ecosystem. For this, a proper big data pipeline orchestration solution is typically the answer.
Cloud Infrastructure Management Automation
Developers constantly need to spin up new virtual machines (VMs). Devs will either create this cloud space on their own, absent of IT’s support, or be required to submit a ticket that requires manual intervention from IT staff. Neither of these options is ideal. With a WLA solution, automated workflows are pre-designed to allow a developer to enter a ticket into a ITSM solution, like ServiceNow. The ticket then automatically generates a container that is sent to the cloud. Not only does the workflow create the cloud space based on pre-determined IT sanctioned templates, but it also turns off the cloud instance when the developer is done, reducing virtual sprawl.
Orchestrating a Multi-Cloud Environment
Most companies have more than one cloud system. As a result, they need to connect processes and data from vendors, like AWS, Google, and Microsoft. Multi-cloud environments create programming complexity. With workloads dispersed across different platforms, IT teams struggle to ensure security and governance. In addition, businesses lack a unified view of the overall health of their infrastructure. Cloud automation tools that only service cloud environments will often support a multi-cloud environment on their own. So, they are great for this sole use case. However, if you have data that you’re connecting one or more of your cloud service providers to, again, you’ll need to look into a solution that operates across your hybrid IT environment and helps you achieve your multi-cloud automation goals. Hint, hint… again, enterprises have solved this problem with workload automation.
Organizations are embracing the cloud for many business reasons. But it’s difficult to keep their legacy infrastructure running while moving workloads to the new cloud-based infrastructure in a piecemeal fashion. There is a disconnect between newer cloud automation tools that only offer support for cloud applications/platforms and a reality that most businesses still need to support their older on-prem systems. Deploying the right WLA tool bridges that gap and moves them from the old to the new gracefully.
If you are interested in learning more about Stonebrach’s service orchestration and automation platform, which is designed to support hybrid IT environments, be sure to check out the Universal Automation Center.