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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Docker For Beginners

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What is Docker?

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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.

Continue reading “Docker For Beginners”

How to Install Minikube On CentOS

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What Is Minikube?

Minikube is the name of a software program written in Go, which can build a local Kubernetes cluster on a single host. It uses a meager amount of resources to run a mini Kubernetes deployment. Minikube is mainly used for testing purposes using different scenarios or versions of Kubernetes

Continue reading “How to Install Minikube On CentOS”

The Best DevOps Tools for Infrastructure Automation

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Today, DevOps teams try to utilize automation as much as possible. This is to cut down on the sheer number of repeatable processes to limit man-hours worked, throttle development efforts, and to reduce the possibility of errors. This is also a business necessity to reduce overhead costs, increase the speed of the CI/CD process and increase customer satisfaction. There are multiple individual areas that need to be automated to have a fully autonomous infrastructure. Luckily, there are various tools we can take advantage of to help us automate our infrastructure and make sure we have well-developed DevOps processes. In this article we will go over the several of the best DevOps tools for our infrastructure systems.

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How to Install Docker on CentOS 8

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What is Docker?

Before we begin, let’s describe what Docker is. Docker is a set of virtualization tools that allows us to create, test, and deploy containerized applications quickly and easily on a dedicated server. It has become very popular and used almost everywhere in our daily lives. Thanks to containerization, we can quickly launch applications on different cloud platforms utilizing small bundles which contain all the needed packages, libraries and configuration file to run an application. These docker packages communicate via established network channels.

Docker Silhouette
Docker Silhouette
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The Benefits Of Containerization

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Fast, Portable and Secure.

Containerization is a technology that is taking the IT world by storm! It’s no surprise considering the considerable benefits of shifting to a container based deployment.

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Today we’ll be discussing the top benefits of containers, and why you might want to consider containers for your next web app. Let’s dig in!

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How To Install Docker on Ubuntu 16.04

Reading Time: 7 minutesAdding Docker to an Ubuntu server. Docker is an open-source software tool designed to automate and ease the process of creating, packaging, and deploying applications using an environment called a container. The use of Linux containers to deploy applications is called containerization. A Container allows us to package an application with all of the parts needed to run an application (code, system tools, logs, libraries, configuration settings, and other dependencies) and sends it out as a single standalone package deployable via Ubuntu (in this case 16.04 LTS). Docker can be installed on other platforms as well. Currently, the Docker software is maintained by the Docker community and Docker Inc. Check out the official documentation to find more specifics on Docker. Docker Terms and Concepts. Continue reading “How To Install Docker on Ubuntu 16.04”

How To Update/Upgrade Docker on Fedora 23

Reading Time: 2 minutes Docker is a container-based software framework, commonly used for automating deployment of applications. Containers are encapsulated, lightweight, and portable application modules. Continue reading “How To Update/Upgrade Docker on Fedora 23”