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Cloud automation 101: Efficiently scaling your web-based infrastructure

In the crowded software space, agility, adaptability, and innovation are key to beating out competitors and winning customers. Cloud automation plays an important role in enabling businesses to swiftly pivot, fearlessly experiment, and foster innovation. By automating manual processes, companies accelerate time-to-market and optimize their use of cloud resources.

In this article, we delve into how cloud automation can accelerate business responsiveness, increase operational efficiency, and support cost-savings .

An introduction to cloud automation in business

According to DigitalOcean’s Currents report 2022, 85% of startups and SMBs recognize that investing in technology is crucial for ensuring the long-term resilience of their businesses. Moreover, according to a January 2023, IT and IS leaders from diverse industries intend to expand their use of cloud resources.

This shift towards cloud-based tools and solutions is significantly influenced by cloud automation, which streamlines the deployment and execution of tasks and infrastructure resources.

What is cloud automation?

Cloud automation is the use of technology to create, execute, and manage automated actions and tasks within a cloud-based computing environment. It involves employing specialized processes and tools to minimize or eliminate manual operations associated with managing cloud workloads and services.

This approach can be implemented on workloads hosted in private, public, and hybrid cloud environments within organizations. It involves the use of scripting, APIs, and other technologies to create automated workflows and streamline operations. The goal is to minimize manual intervention and enable seamless and efficient management of cloud resources.

The significance of cloud automation

Cloud automation has become an essential component of modern IT infrastructure. As businesses increasingly rely on cloud computing to store and process their data, the need to automate repetitive tasks is growing. By automating these tasks, organizations can free up their IT staff to focus on more strategic initiatives and improve overall productivity.

Automation is poised to take center stage in 2023 and beyond. According to a recent Gartner survey, 80% of organizations are expected to leverage product-oriented automation teams to expedite automation initiatives. This marks a substantial rise from the less than 25%reported in 2021. Furthermore, eight out of ten infrastructure and operations (I&O) leaders now consider automation among their top five strategies for reducing costs.

Cloud computing facilitates accelerated development, while automation elevates these enhancements to the next level. By incorporating tools such as Git for version control, establishing CI/CD pipelines for rapid updates, and adopting Infrastructure as Code (IaC) for resource provisioning, development teams can unlock substantial time savings.

Benefits of using cloud automation in business

The implementation of cloud automation in businesses brings forth benefits that significantly enhance business operations. Some of the benefits include:

Increased efficiency and productivity

Cloud automation significantly increases both efficiency and productivity. By automating repetitive and time-consuming tasks, it frees up your team to focus on strategic initiatives. Furthermore, it accelerates the delivery of IT services, enabling your business to respond more quickly to changes in the marketplace.

Cost savings

By automating routine tasks, cloud automation eliminates the possibility of human error, saving costs associated with rectifying such errors. Additionally, it reduces the need for team members to manage and support these tasks, leading to operational cost savings in the long run.

Improved reliability and consistency

Cloud automation ensures that tasks are performed consistently every time. This uniformity reduces the risk of errors and improves the reliability of your business operations.

Enhanced security and compliance

With built-in governance and security protocols, cloud automation can help your business maintain compliance with industry standards and regulations. Automated tasks also carry less risk of security breaches as compared to tasks carried out manually.

Scalability and flexibility

Cloud automation enables easy scalability of operations in line with business growth. It also offers the flexibility to adapt to evolving technologies and business needs.

Types of cloud automation

There are various types of cloud automation practices, each targeting specific aspects of cloud management. In this overview, we’ll explore the key categories, from resource allocation and configuration to security and monitoring, highlighting their significance in modern cloud operations.

  • Resource allocation and autoscaling: Autoscaling is fundamental in cloud computing, providing flexibility in resource usage and enabling cost-efficient pay-as-you-go models.

  • Streamlined configuration: Framework configurations are defined and implemented automatically, fostering integration opportunities with associated cloud services.

  • Efficient development and deployment: Automation is key in continuous development, spanning code output, version control, testing, and deployment.

  • Automated tagging: Tags are keywords linked to resources, aiding in the management of resource ownership and facilitating the organization of resource lookups and actions. Resources are tagged automatically based on predefined models and operational conditions.

  • Robust security controls: Cloud environments are configured with automated security controls, regulating access, scanning for vulnerabilities, and monitoring performance.

  • Comprehensive logging and monitoring: Cloud automation tools log all types of activities, while monitoring filters are established to detect anomalies and unusual events.

To attain cloud automation, an IT team should use orchestration and automation tools designed for operation atop their virtualized environment.

As technology continues to evolve, the field of cloud automation is experiencing the emergence of several influential trends shaping the future of cloud computing and operations. Some of the significant trends include:

  • AI-enabled cloud automation: The integration of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) into cloud automation tools, enabling more intelligent and adaptive automation processes.

  • Serverless automation: Leveraging serverless computing platforms to execute automation scripts in a scalable and cost-effective manner, eliminating the need to manually manage infrastructure.

  • Event-enabled automation: Implementing cloud automation triggered by real-time events or data, allowing for automatic and responsive actions based on changing conditions.

  • Multi-cloud automation: Efficiently managing and orchestrating resources across multiple cloud providers, ensuring smooth operations in a multi-cloud environment.

  • Security and compliance automation: Integrating cloud automation with security compliance frameworks to perform automated security checks and audits, enhancing overall cloud security.

  • No-code and low-code automation: Empowering non-technical users to create and deploy automated workflows with minimal coding skills, democratizing the automation process.

These trends offer new possibilities for organizations to optimize their cloud operations and embrace the benefits of advanced technologies like AI and serverless computing.

Leveraging cloud automation with DigitalOcean

DigitalOcean’s cloud automation services are designed to simplify the complexities of cloud management. From automated backups and scaling to floating IPs and team accounts, DigitalOcean automates a wide range of tasks, making cloud operations more efficient and straightforward. DigitalOcean offers a variety of tools and services that can be used to automate cloud operations. These include:

Cloud-init

Cloud-init is a standard tool that can be used to automate the initial configuration of Droplets. This can be used to install and configure software, create users, and set up networking.

DigitalOcean API

The DigitalOcean API allows you to automate the creation, management, and destruction of Droplets and other DigitalOcean resources. You can use the API to write scripts or integrate with other tools to automate your cloud operations.

DigitalOcean Marketplace

The DigitalOcean Marketplace offers a variety of pre-built applications and services that can be deployed with a single click. This can help you to quickly and easily deploy complex applications without having to manually configure them.

DigitalOcean Terraform Provider

The DigitalOcean Terraform Provider allows you to use Terraform to manage your DigitalOcean infrastructure. Terraform is a popular infrastructure as code (IaC) tool that can be used to automate the deployment and management of infrastructure in a variety of cloud providers.

Expand your cloud automation strategy with DigitalOcean

Automating your cloud infrastructure with DigitalOcean can save your business time and money, improve efficiency, and reduce the risk of human error for your business. If you’re considering implementing cloud automation in your business, explore DigitalOcean’s range of cloud automation services today. For further inquiries or consultations, please reach out to our sales team today.

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