Cloud Orchestration: Conducting Data for Better Business Outcomes


It's official: Cloud adoption is no longer an "if," but a "when." A new survey of more than 2,000 IT professionals found that more than 80 percent of organizations are now following a "cloud first" strategy. That is, they are prioritizing applications that can be acquired as a service or deployed in the cloud, as opposed to those that require hardware or physical servers and systems.

After all, what good are scalable, cost-effective, cloud services when they don’t play well with each other or with in-house systems?

While cloud automation can enable teams to do more with less, its success depends on thoughtful orchestration—which requires the human touch. After all, what good are scalable, cost-effective, cloud services when they don't play well with each other or with in-house systems?

Plus, even the most efficient automation in the world doesn't automatically align itself to organizational objectives. That's where people power comes in.

Cloud orchestration vs. automation

The conventional wisdom is that cloud-based automated processes don't require humans to make them work. Cloud orchestration means managing all elements of a cloud plat­form from physical to virtual resources, resulting in a consolidated process or workflow. Where automation makes a single app work intelligently, orchestration arranges apps in harmony, giving them specific tasks and timing direction, and enabling them to scale up or down in an orderly fashion.

When conducted well, orchestration results in a coordinated performance of every workflow, which can ultimately enable all users to be more effective in their jobs. It's a traditional three-tier architecture:

  • Infrastructure layer: This might include public cloud services like Microsoft Azure, or AWS, private clouds, or a hosted cloud like Syntheca.

  • Platform layer: Here we have elements like disaster recovery as a service (DRaaS), identity as a service (IDaaS), and mobile device management.

  • Software layer: Desktop, mobile, and Web apps, as well as virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) and file-sharing fit here.

These layers are managed by a collection of tools that can handle functions like deployment, provisioning, configuration, monitoring, and reporting. Together with an operations layer for storage resource management, all these tools feed into a streamlined, user-friendly service portal.

Three keys to expert data flow

So, what are some essentials when it comes to orchestrating an effective automation plan? It starts with some serious legwork: plotting out every single app, along with every single workflow. It's time-consuming, but a thorough inventory will optimize performance, issues remediation, and security.

Next, choose your management tools carefully. In Burwood's case, those tools include RightScale, a cloud management platform, Citrix Cloud components, ScienceLogic monitoring components, and NetBrain, a network monitoring tool.

Finally, ensure a clean and navigable user interface. All the best products, organized in the best way, can still add up to confusion if your portal is not clear or unified.

It's no secret that the cloud can help deliver maximum value in apps. What's gotten less attention is the importance of combining human and machine intellect into orchestrating better business outcomes.


May 22, 2017