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 Change the SNMP Port on CentOS

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Introduction

SNMP, or Simple Network Management Protocol, is widely used to communicate with and monitor network devices, servers, and more, all via IP. In the previous article, we installed an SNMP agent on a CentOS 6.5 server. This agent allows for the collection of data from our server and makes the information available to a remote SNMP manager. To add a little security, we’ll now change the port that SNMP listens on.

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How To Install Grafana on CentOS 8

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What is Grafana?

This article is a step-by-step guide on how to install Grafana software on CentOS 8 server. Grafana is a popular open-source visualization and analytics monitoring software. It renders graphs, charts, and alerts when connected to supported data sources. It is commonly used with time series databases like Prometheus, SQL databases like MySQL logging, and document databases like Loki, etc. You can additionally install hundreds of plugins and dashboards from the official library. 

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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 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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How to Check Server Load on a Windows Server

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What Does Server Load Mean?

Checking a server’s load allows us to evaluate server resources and confirm they are sufficient for any running application. It enables us to troubleshoot slow performance and reliably pinpoint any server resource that may need attention.

While there are many tools and options available, today let’s focus on our Windows VPS Task Manager as a means to help us quickly see what is going on, and interact with applications, processes, and services to identify the load. This article will also include an introduction to Resource Monitor as it can be opened from Task Manager to provide more detail.

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Checking Liquid Web Services Status

Reading Time: 2 minutesLiquid Web promises you a 100% uptime guarantee for your servers and services, and we hold to our promises by offering the most competitive SLA credits in the industry. You can read about our promise to you in our Terms of Service. But sometimes, bad things happen. Never fear! You can check the status of all services online at Liquid Web. Checking the status will help you troubleshoot and make sure that a service is really down, or if another issue is preventing you from reaching your sites and services.
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Monitoring your server in WHM

Reading Time: < 1 minuteIn this article we will briefly cover the basics of monitoring your server via WHM. By following this process you will learn how to find: service status, resource usage, and Apache stats. Continue reading “Monitoring your server in WHM”

How To Install and Configure SNMP on CentOS

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Introduction

SNMP, or Simple Network Management Protocol, is widely used to communicate with and monitor network devices, dedicated servers, and more, all via IP. In this case, we’ll be installing an SNMP agent on a CentOS VPS server, which will allow for collection of data from our server, and make the information available to a remote SNMP manager.

Pre-Flight Check

  • These instructions are intended for installing SNMP and doing a very basic configuration.
  • I’ll be working from a Liquid Web Core Managed CentOS 6.5 server, and I’ll be logged in as root.

Continue reading “How To Install and Configure SNMP on CentOS”