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Every aspect of our life is being transformed by cloud-based tools. Changing consumer demands and digital transformation in business have made automation an integral part of every business. Automation is a cost optimizer. It is a reducer of toil in IT, especially those who are provisioning and managing cloud resources. The power of automation to reduce operational burdens and maintenance overhead cannot be understated.
There is no one size fits all cloud automation strategy. We live in a hybrid and multi-cloud age. On-premise public clouds and private clouds all have their administration frameworks. This adds to the complexity of managing and maintaining the cloud infrastructure.
In this blog, we will look at effective cloud automation strategies. We will discuss what it entails and what you should focus on.
The good news is that all the concepts that you use with infrastructure automation can be applied to cloud automation too. Techniques such as containerization, orchestration, and microservices architecture along with automated build pipelines such as CI/CD are all very relevant to cloud automation as well.
1. Visibility is foundational to cloud automation
What you can monitor you cannot automate. Observability and metrics are foundational to automation. The first thing you will need is having visibility across the entire portfolio of your entire cloud environment. Usually, the discovery capabilities of a cloud management platform will give you an inventory of all the resources available on the cloud under a single pane of glass.
Cloud platforms usually have this visibility and observability capability built-in. It s ideal to use provider-based native tools if you are using a single vendor. However, in a hybrid multi-cloud environment, native tooling can aggregate all the data into a single view.
You either have to manually bring all the data together or use a variety of tools to bring everything into one place. It is better to build tooling or use a cloud management and monitoring platform that offers all this information under a single pane of glass. The idea is to automatically unify all the data in one place this streamlines long-term operations.
2. Leverage auto-scaling
The advantage of hybrid cloud and multi-cloud is that you have elastic scalability. This ability to scale your infrastructure at a moment’s notice when your on-premise infrastructure is not enough can be a powerful mote. When organizations’ physical infrastructure cannot handle peak or excess capacity that’s needed, the public cloud can be used.
Manually adding cloud resources means you are missing out on one of the most important benefits of cloud automation.
There is a better way forward to avoid productivity losses and capacity errors. Auto-scaling ensures that instances are provisioned as and when required based on business rules and policies that you assign. It offers multiple approaches to autoscaling resources. Your team may not have the time or the resources to ensure that instances are provisioned on the fly – real-time as and when they are required.
There is another benefit of auto-scaling. Just as resources can be scaled up, there can be scaled down too. This ensures that your cloud costs can be optimized and the provisioned instances can be decommissioned on the fly, once again saving you a lot of money. There are of course some challenges, especially in a hybrid cloud environment. You have to templatize the rules in an automatable way. There is strategic decision-making and policy-making involved that will need a closer look. You need complete clarity of your auto scaling goals.
3. Plan a robust cloud cost monitoring and optimization strategy
As we mentioned previously, cloud spending is another area where automation can help. Cloud sprawl is a common challenge for companies that prolifically use the cloud in their business. Compute instance cost can spiral out of control and automation can make a very big difference here as well. The pay for use model means that you need to keep close track of the costs across your cloud environment.
As is always the case, with a hybrid cloud environment, there is no one-size-fits-all here. Different cloud providers will have different policies when it comes to scaling and you will have to create policy and business rules that are automatic and optimise based on specific metrics. They will have to be customized for each provider that you use.
Most cloud providers will empower you with reporting and planning tools that can help. There are several third-party tools as well. The idea of manually controlling cloud spending, doing it in an ad-hoc fashion is the last thing that should be on your mind. Organizations must use automated tools that can optimize costs based on specific policies and business goals.
4. Automate resource tagging
One of the biggest challenges in a hybrid cloud environment is the classification and ownership management of the different cloud resources. Resource tagging is a good strategy to manage, optimize and utilize cloud infrastructure.
It is usually impossible to know what is the impact of commissioning or decommissioning a resource without having visibility into ownership. This essential step can be automated. It can also be an automation enabler, helping you remove decision-making overhead when provisioning cloud resources. In addition, it can also help in aligning the business objectives with your cloud environment.
5. Automated, repeatable pipelines
Self-service deployment of your applications can automate a lot of provisioning challenges. It ensures that standards and best practices are followed. Additionally, it also helps you avoid error-prone manual tasks. To benefit from automation in this scenario you need to standardize and automate whatever is possible, not just in production but in all phases of the pipeline.
Embrace the future of cloud automation with iVedha
At iVedha, we believe in smart automation with bespoke tools that fit your cloud journey and you like a glove. Optimize your cloud through the power of our DevOp/SRE practice along with AI/ML and more. Get in touch with us to know more.