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What is Cloud Orchestration? Automating and Managing Cloud Infrastructure

Technical Writer

The cloud has evolved from a supplementary tool to an indispensable foundation for successful businesses. Implementing a cloud infrastructure involves provisioning and configuring individual cloud resources, such as virtual machines, storage, and networking components, ensuring consistent configurations across multiple environments, and scaling resources to meet fluctuating demands. These processes are time-consuming and error-prone when done manually.

However, with cloud orchestration, businesses can automate their cloud mechanism and spend more time on other tasks—from brand positioning to product roadmap prioritization. According to a 2024 report, the cloud orchestration market is expected to reach a staggering $95,512.2 million by 2034, growing at a year-over-year rate of 15.5%. This growth highlights the importance of cloud orchestration. This blog post will discuss the benefits of cloud orchestration and the right tools and strategies to help your cloud business grow.

Summary

  1. Cloud orchestration automates cloud resources’ deployment, management, and scaling across multiple platforms.

  2. Cloud orchestration tools enable efficient resource allocation, consistent configurations, and improved agility.

  3. DigitalOcean offers the API, CLI, App Platform, and managed Kubernetes (DOKS) service to simplify and orchestrate business cloud operations.

What is cloud orchestration?

Cloud orchestration is a comprehensive approach to automating and managing cloud resources across various cloud platforms and services. It enables organizations to coordinate their cloud resources’ deployment, management, and scaling.

Cloud orchestration aims to streamline cloud operations, reduce complexity and costs, improve efficiency, and deliver a seamless experience across the whole cloud domain. By implementing cloud orchestration solutions, your business can optimize resource utilization, improve security, and deliver services efficiently to their end-users and business users.

💡Mastering the intricacies of cloud infrastructure management is no easy feat, but cloud orchestration paves the way for continuous automation and control. DigitalOcean provides you with the right tools, processes, and comprehensive documentation that guides you to scale your cloud operations effectively.

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Benefits of cloud orchestration

In complex cloud ecosystems such as multi-cloud and hybrid clouds, where automated tasks and processes are involved, orchestration helps maintain coherent process flow across these varied environments. In managing the entire lifecycle of cloud-based resources, cloud orchestration software, and tools provide the following benefits:

Efficient resource allocation

Cloud orchestration can help your organization to manage its cloud resources efficiently by automating resource allocation, scaling, and cloud data management processes. For example, an e-commerce platform can automatically provision additional web servers and load balancers during peak traffic periods (e.g., offers or season sales). This ensures optimal performance and prevents site downtime.

Improved operational efficiency

Cloud orchestration tools help IT teams focus on more strategic initiatives by automating repetitive tasks and complex processes, monitoring cloud metrics, reducing manual efforts, and minimizing the risk of human error. For instance, an orchestration platform can automatically deploy application updates across multiple environments, ensuring consistency and reducing the possibility of configuration mismatches.

Accelerated service delivery

Cloud orchestration can help your business deliver services faster by intelligently deploying the process and enabling continuous deployment. A software development company might implement orchestration to automatically provision development, testing, and production environments, reducing the time to market for new features and applications.

Optimized resource utilization

Cloud orchestration solutions provide visibility into resource usage patterns, allowing organizations to optimize resource allocation and prevent over-provisioning or under-utilization. By optimizing resource utilization, your business can reduce its operational costs and increase cloud ROI, freeing up marketing budgets that can be reallocated towards efforts to drive growth and acquire new customers.

Cloud orchestration also ensures improved cloud application performance through continuous deployment, scaling, and monitoring of applications. For example, a SaaS company can use orchestration to dynamically scale storage capacity horizontally or vertically based on actual usage and ensure efficient cloud cost management.

Improved security and compliance

Cloud orchestration can help your organization maintain consistent security standards and follow best security practices across its cloud environments by automating configuration validation, compliance testing, and the application of security policies. For example, cloud orchestration can help a financial institution ensure sensitive data is stored and accessed according to industry regulations and internal policies.

Consistent configuration management

Cloud orchestration helps maintain consistent configurations across multiple cloud environments, reducing the risk of configuration drift and ensuring predictable behavior. This would benefit companies with a hybrid cloud management strategy that can use orchestration to standardize configurations across private and public cloud platforms.

Increased agility and scalability

Cloud orchestration can enable your company to quickly scale its infrastructure and adapt to changing business demands. A rapidly growing startup can leverage orchestration to automatically provision and configure additional resources as its user base expands, ensuring a great user experience.

Cloud orchestration tools

Cloud orchestration tools provide a unified approach to orchestrating various components of the cloud infrastructure, enabling businesses to achieve greater efficiency through a channelized approach. Some common types of cloud orchestration tools include:

1. Infrastructure as Code (IaC) tools

IaC tools like Terraform and Pulumi allow users to define their desired infrastructure state using declarative configuration files. These tools orchestrate the provisioning and management of cloud resources across different cloud providers, ensuring consistent and repeatable deployments.

2. Configuration management tools

Tools like Ansible, Chef, and Puppet are used for configuration management and orchestration. They automate software and system configuration deployment, configuration, and maintenance across multiple servers or cloud instances, ensuring consistent and standardized environments.

3. Cloud provider orchestration tools

Major cloud providers like DigitalOcean, AWS, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform offer their own orchestration services and tools. These services enable users to automate and orchestrate the deployment and management of cloud resources within their specific cloud ecosystem.

4. Container orchestration tools

Orchestration platforms like DigitalOcean Kubernetes (DOKS) and Docker are designed to manage and orchestrate containerized applications. They handle tasks such as container deployment, scaling, load balancing, and health monitoring, enabling efficient management of containerized workloads across clusters of hosts.

5. Workflow automation tools

Workflow automation tools like Apache Airflow are designed for orchestrating and automating complex workflows and pipelines. They coordinate the execution of multiple tasks, handle dependencies, and provide visibility into the overall process flow.

6 cloud orchestration strategies

Cloud orchestration strategies can help your organization strategize its cloud operations, improve operational efficiency, and accelerate the delivery of cloud-based services. This section explores the cloud orchestration strategies to automate various processes across multiple cloud environments, from provisioning to decommissioning.

1. Implement automated scaling and load balancing

Define scaling policies based on resource requirements and performance goals. Once the policies and goals are set, configure monitoring and alerting systems to track utilization metrics and implement auto-scaling capabilities to automate resource provisioning or decommissioning based on predefined thresholds. Configure load balancing services to distribute traffic across multiple instances, ensuring optimal performance during high demand.

For example, a gaming platform, PlayFlow Cloud, uses DOKS to automate and scale their game servers effortlessly, enabling them to serve thousands of game developers worldwide while optimizing costs and performance.

2. Automate provisioning and deployment

Use cloud orchestration tools to define your desired infrastructure state using declarative configuration files. These tools can automatically provision and configure cloud resources like virtual machines, containers, load balancers, and storage volumes based on your specifications, ensuring consistent and repeatable deployments across different cloud platforms.

For instance, a web application can be automatically deployed with the necessary compute instances, networking configurations, and databases, reducing manual effort and potential human errors.

3. Incorporate continuous integration and continuous deployment (CI/CD)

Integrate cloud orchestration tools with your code repositories, build systems, and test frameworks to automate the application deployment process. Orchestration tools can trigger automated build, test, and deployment pipelines, ensuring that validated code changes are perfectly deployed to various environments (e.g., development, staging, and production) without manual intervention. This approach enables faster iteration cycles, reduces time to market, and minimizes cloud sprawl.

4. Ensure configuration management and compliance

Implement cloud integration and configuration management tools to ensure consistent configuration and compliance across your cloud environments. Find the right orchestration tools to automate the application of configuration settings, software installations, security policies, and compliance checks to cloud resources and follow organizational standards and industry regulations. This approach mitigates the risk of configuration drift and helps maintain a secure and compliant cloud infrastructure.

5. Improve lifecycle management

Define and automate processes across the cloud resource lifecycle using cloud orchestration tools. After the automation process, integrate backup and disaster recovery techniques to avoid data loss. Configure policies for automatic resource termination based on utilization thresholds or predetermined schedules. This streamlined approach optimizes resource usage, reduces manual overhead, and ensures a well-governed, cost-effective cloud environment aligned with organizational policies.

6. Enable self-service and governance

Deploy self-service portals and governance controls within your cloud orchestration platform, enabling authorized users like developers or business teams to self-provision and manage resources. Define role-based access controls (RBAC), resource quotas, approved configurations, security policies, and cost limits through codified governance policies. Regularly review and update policies to align with evolving organizational requirements and cost optimization strategies.

For instance, a developer can self-provision a new virtual machine through a self-service portal, while governance policies automatically enforce approved resource configurations, security controls, and cost limits based on the developer’s role and department.

Embrace cloud orchestration with DigitalOcean

DigitalOcean’s products enable businesses to automate and streamline cloud operations, ensuring efficient resource management and accelerated service delivery.

Empower DevOps Workflows with the DigitalOcean API and CLI

DigitalOcean API and doctl Command-Line Interface (CLI) orchestrate and automate the provisioning, configuration, and management of DigitalOcean resources, such as Droplets (virtual machines), Load Balancers, and Volume and Block Storage. These powerful tools allow you to define and execute automated tasks, enabling consistent and repeatable deployments for your cloud environments.

Smooth application deployments with the DigitalOcean App platform

DigitalOcean’s App Platform deploys and manages your applications on DigitalOcean’s infrastructure effortlessly. The App Platform automates scaling, monitoring, and deployment tasks, enabling you to focus on building and delivering your applications without worrying about the underlying infrastructure.

Experience Kubernetes orchestration with DOKS

DigitalOcean’s fully managed Kubernetes service, DOKS (DigitalOcean Kubernetes), manages your containerized applications and services. While there are many managed Kubernetes services, DOKS simplifies the deployment and management of Kubernetes clusters, allowing you to take advantage of container orchestration capabilities while offloading the operational overhead.

Whether you’re automating infrastructure provisioning, streamlining application deployments, or orchestrating containerized workloads, DigitalOcean provides the tools and solutions to accelerate your journey to streamlined cloud operations and efficient resource management.

Sign up today to simplify your cloud journey, accelerate service delivery, and grow your business.

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