What is Cloud Automation?

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What is Cloud Automation?

Cloud automation is a blanket term that is often used to denote specialized software, tools, and operations that help us reduce the manual effort when it comes to deploying and maintaining cloud-based IT infrastructure. Simply put, it is automating tasks programmatically.

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Did you ever wonder what happens when you place an order for a new VPS via the Liquid Web Manage Interface? Cloud Automation is behind all of that. Let’s dig in a bit deeper to learn what Cloud Automation is.

One key reason why automation is so widely embraced and used almost everywhere is that automation reduces the manual effort and intervention needed to deploy a set of tasks. Again, let’s take ordering a VPS as an example. When we placed our order before automation was in place, someone would have to manually allocate both the hardware and software resources. We would then install the OS, cPanel/WHM, and the other default server software, and we would test to make sure everything is working correctly.

Today, we can make an initial selection of our configurations based on the cloud environment of our choice, and so gain the ability to perform multiple complex tasks with a single click.

Benefits of Cloud Automation

Benefits of cloud automation are many, but I’ll list some of them so that you can get a better understanding of what Cloud Automation can do for your business and why it is a must-have if you are running an enterprise.

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  1. Agility: Businesses can scale quickly to better adapt to changing needs
  2. Speed: Increased deployment speed of cloud infrastructure and management
  3. Control: Better administration and centralized management of existing environments
  4. Security: Graduated levels of security provide more granularity when controlling permissions and access rights
  5. Resiliency: Downtime is revenue lost. The continuous monitoring of cloud services and automatic response to issues keep business processes running smoothly
  6. Change Management: Improving the CI/CD (Continuous Integration and Continuous Delivery) method ensures a better overall process cycle while lowering the possibility of software errors or a failure which increases development stability
  7. Cost: The TCO (Total Cost of Ownership) of our IT infrastructure is often significantly reduced

Once we have our automation system configured and ready for the delivery of programmed tasks, we will be able to deploy, integrate, and manage our systems quickly and effectively. Now that we know what cloud automation is and some of its benefits let’s talk about Cloud Orchestration.

Cloud Orchestration

We like to imagine Cloud Orchestration as Cloud automation evolved.
Using cloud orchestration, we can execute automated tasks at an exact time across multiple nodes. We have task A, task B, and task C. You need to run task C before B, and task A after B. Automation can handle these tasks automatically. Orchestration allows us to perform them in the correct order, in a specific timeframe with better fault-tolerant behavior.

Cloud orchestration is an ideal solution for enterprises that need to orchestrate and manage processes across hundreds of domains, systems, and teams. Now that we know the difference between automation and orchestration, it’s time to discuss some common uses of cloud automation.

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Cloud Automation Usage

Load balancing

Load balancing is the process of routing web traffic across multiple servers to ensure that resources are utilized in the best possible way. This can limit delays and improve the overall responsiveness of a site or application. Moreover, if one of our servers in a cluster goes offline, the website or application will not stop, as the rest of the servers in the cluster will take up the work for the server that went offline. Additionally, a new server can be restarted to replace the down server or service almost immediately.

Development and Testing

In today’s world, everything around us is continually evolving and changing. Think about your favorite software. Every update that comes out has to be tested in advance on multiple environments and platforms. In many cases, whole teams of developers are testing new updates. They need new settings generated directly, and this is where automation comes into play and shines. Developers can set up new environments with an OS, browser, and other tools that they need in a blink of an eye.

IaC (Infrastructure as Code)

IaC is actually one of the most common uses of automation. This process is what manages and deploys VM’s, cloud storage volumes (when you order new CBS or Object Storage platform, for example), networks, load balancers, and many other available components and services. Basically, we create templates to manage all of these functions and services and allow IaC to oversee these processes. Now that we have provided some examples of automation and its usage let’s review some of the most common cloud automation tools.

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Cloud automation tools

Kubernetes

Kubernetes is a widely used open-source system for automation used to manage containerized workloads and services. Today, all major cloud providers are offering their own branded versions of Kubernetes, including Google, Microsoft, and Amazon, to name a few.

Puppet

Puppet is one of the oldest tools in use today for use in IaC. When we are looking for a server cluster and management automation tool, Puppet meets that need. It is also an open-source software but does have an available enterprise version.

Ansible

Ansible is an IaC friendly tool developed by Red Hat. The enterprise version of this tool is called Ansible Tower, and it is capable of performing automation and orchestration tasks. We will conclude this article with Ansible.

Docker

Docker is a containerization software that is used for automating the deployment and management of applications within an isolated environment. This software allows us to “pack” and ship an application, along with all of its needed files, libraries, and dependencies, into a “docker container“. That container can then be easily ported to any Linux system that contain cgroups support within the kernel, and provides a container management environment. Docker is one of several containerization implementations (not to be confused with virtualization) based on this cgroups mechanisms built into the Linux kernel.

These are just a few of the essential tools used in cloud automation, but we have merely scratched the surface of the available devices and utilities available to us.

Overall, Cloud automation is a winning choice for many businesses if a stable, continuous, and permanent management of infrastructure is required.

Our Support Teams are replete with talented Linux technicians and System administrators who have an intimate knowledge of multiple web hosting technologies, especially those discussed in this article. If you are a Fully Managed VPS server, Cloud Dedicated, VMWare Private Cloud, Private Parent server or a Dedicated server owner and you are uncomfortable with performing any of the steps outlined, we can be reached via phone @800.580.4985, a chat or support ticket to assisting you with this process.

How to Install and Use Containerization

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What is Containerization?

Containerization is a form of virtualized operating system developed as a response to the many problems of hardware-level virtualization. Because the latter runs a full-blown guest operating system, it is very resource-intensive and incurs a significant amount of overhead, but containerization is much lighter. Since the containers share the host machine’s kernel, the resources are not wasted on running separate operating system tasks. This allows for a much quicker and lightweight deployment of applications.

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Choosing Your Cloud Sites Technology Setup

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Standing behind our Liquid Web Cloud Sites product, are server racks full of both powerful and stable Linux and Windows servers which power well over 100,000 sites and applications. Every Windows-based package is served from these clusters that are built and optimized especially for Windows. All Linux-based packages are also served from these same brawny server clusters created and specifically optimized for Linux. We use advanced load balancing technologies to automatically detect the type of technology you are running and route each request to the proper pool of servers.

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Cloud Servers vs Physical Servers: A Comparison

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Cloud Servers

Introduction

In this article, we will compare the similarities and differences of a cloud server vs a physical server. Every business has similar and different approaches in how they operate. The differences often relate to what is essential for that specific business: the clientele, the need to process information/orders, and how quickly market adaptation changes are needed.

Since almost every industry today has some type of online presence, hosting providers have adapted to offer products that solve many of the challenges that face todays businesses. One such hurdle a company must solve is which type of hosting infrastructure is best suited for their demands. These choices include both cloud servers and dedicated servers. Cloud servers and dedicated servers each perform distinct tasks based on use-cases, and can be a challenge to determine which environment will satisfy the requirements that a business requires.

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How to install Envoy Proxy on Ubuntu 18

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Today we will demonstrate how to install Envoy Proxy on Ubuntu. 

Envoy is a high performance C++ distributed proxy designed for single services and applications, as well as a communication bus and “universal data plane” designed for large microservice “service mesh” architectures. Built on the learnings of solutions such as NGINX, HAProxy, hardware load balancers, and cloud load balancers, Envoy runs alongside every application and abstracts the network by providing common features in a platform-agnostic manner.

envoyproxy.io/

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CentOS vs Ubuntu: 15 Factors to Consider!

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Let the Battle Begin!

Today we will be reviewing the major differences between CentOS and Ubuntu in a web hosting environment. Although this is not a fully comprehensive analysis of every single aspect of the numerous in-depth features of each operating system, it should provide a solid overview which will allow you to choose which system is best suited for your needs. Without further ado, let’s jump right in…

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Which Is Better: Cloud Hosting or Dedicated Server Hosting?

Reading Time: 5 minutesBoth Cloud and Dedicated servers are two types of hosting solutions that you will find across many professional web hosting companies. Whether you’re a small business or a thriving enterprise, the question remains: what is the difference between Cloud and Dedicating hosting and which one is the best solution for you?

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Creating A Cloud Product Using Reseller Plugin

Reading Time: 5 minutesIn the previous few articles we installed the WHMCS plugin and configured it with the VPS API. This article will cover the fun part, actually using the plugin to create new cloud based products! We’ll go over the plugin’s “Product Setup Wizard”, which makes it easy to create new products based on our Cloud VPS, Cloud Dedicated VPS, and Private Cloud products. Continue reading “Creating A Cloud Product Using Reseller Plugin”

Which Is Better? Private Cloud and On-Premise Hosting?

Reading Time: 2 minutesPrivate hosting services usually fall under two primary types:

  • (Externally) hosted cloud solutions
  • (Internally) hosted or on-premise hardware solutions (you manage your own hardware locally).

The primary differences between the two are:

  • Overall Cost (TCO)
  • Level of support required
  • Available scaling features.

On-Premise Hardware vs. Cloud Hosted Solutions

Every day more and more SMBs (Small to Medium Sized Businesses) are looking into Private Cloud solutions. A Private Cloud provides compelling benefits including improved ability to scale to meet demand, increased flexibility, and the elimination of potentially complicated and expensive server management costs. Continue reading “Which Is Better? Private Cloud and On-Premise Hosting?”

Why have a Private Cloud?

Reading Time: 2 minutesPrivate Cloud solutions are an excellent option for businesses and organizations that require: complete physical isolation for security, customizable server instances, and/or a high level of flexibility in their hosting infrastructure. On a Private Cloud server you will have the entire physical server is dedicated for your use. Allowing you to utilize and partition the server in any way you require. Continue reading “Why have a Private Cloud?”