IT infrastructures and cloud environments are becoming increasingly more complex due to the growing number of applications, services as well as users in various locations. Orchestration has to take place to guarantee optimal productivity nonetheless.
What is Orchestration?
Orchestration means flexibly combining several services into a useful complete concept, which offers companies numerous advantages.
During orchestration, complex IT service workflows are automated and combined by exchanging singularly existing processes with an optimally networked orchestration system. Orchestration ensures the collaboration of internal and external services, because if these links and interactions are missing then ultimately business processes are thwarted.
Advantages of Cloud Orchestration
The list of advantages of cloud orchestration is long, as it sets the prerequisite for an agile IT infrastructure. It increases companies‘ productivity and creates the basis for the requirements of modern markets, which expect fast and reliable provision of services in all business areas. In many cases the aim is an optimal interaction of existing IT infrastructure and cloud services.
The following list provides an overview of the advantages of orchestration, in particular relating to cloud services:
- Infrastructure utilisation is improved, cost savings
- Increase of cloud applications‘ performance
- Simpler administration of configuration, capacity, measurement of use and billing
- Costs are reduced by intelligent resource allocation within computer storage, mass storage and network infrastructure, also tailored to different geographical areas
- Quicker deployment of services as provisioning, administration and coordination are dynamically automated
- Development of a market place model, which allows business processes to be mapped more quickly, more flexible and location independent using IT and cloud services
- Simpler tracking of performance and availability of infrastructure and applications
- Risk of error with cloud processes is minimised, for example during provisioning or scaling
- Effective monitoring of security threats and compliance with security guidelines
- Early problem detection and avoidance
- Easing the IT department‘s workload
- Such an agile, powerful IT infrastructure forms the basis for innovation, for example during development of new services or business models.
The Changed Role of the IT Department through Orchestration
Through the enormous workload relief, cloud orchestration changes the role of the IT department. On one hand, it minimises the risk that the IT team makes mistakes while managing cloud resources, on the other hand, their position within the organisation is somewhat strengthened. If employees or departments within the organisation operate cloud services independently or use standalone IT solutions without the knowledge of the IT department, then this compromises the security of the entire IT infrastructure. Individually existing IT silos and known data islands, which work independently from each other and hence inefficiently, are merged in the course of orchestration. Cloud orchestration enables the IT department to establish itself as an IT broker, who regains control over the entire corporate IT.
The Procedure of Cloud Orchestration
Following a model described in the magazine CIO, the procedure of cloud orchestration can be arranged into five general steps:
- The orchestration process should start with an inventory of the IT infrastructure and the creation of a sustainable concept. Generally, hybrid IT models are used as an interim solution in order to switch later to multi-cloud concepts, which are classed as particularly
- In the second step a private cloud should be set up and existing systems, if necessary, transferred. So-called legacy systems can also be moved into the cloud.
- After the decision is made what to do with non-cloud-enabled IT systems, the cloud can be developed with additional modules. Here the aim is to further increase the flexibility of the entire system and to use potentials for cost savings.
- Then public cloud offers should be included in the framework to ideally meet the requirements on a cloud solution of various employees. Even though there should be close agreements with the departments during the selection of cloud services, nevertheless the IT department should maintain control to prevent shadow IT.
- It is important to remember to inform and sensitise staff with regard to “do’s and dont’s” when dealing with the cloud. As ease of use and efficiency are at the heart of these efforts, a self-service portal for staff is also a useful investment.
With the constantly increasing number of cloud services, demand also grows to link different service providers and applications. If no orchestration of cloud services takes place, productivity suffers and there is a threat of a shadow IT, which in turn holds big security gaps and causes high hidden costs. The most important advantages of cloud orchestration include lower administrative cost, a more agile IT infrastructure, better ease of use, user experience as well as immense cost savings. By combining different clouds into a multi cloud, these can be used in parallel and companies gain the optimal added value from these different advantages.
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