Automation is a big topic for companies, no matter the industry. Whether your job is in IT or another business area, you’re likely hearing about automating as a way of saving money, improving efficiencies, và removing inherent errors.
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Often, automation is a term that may be used only partially correctly. The term orchestration, by contrast, is used less outside technical areas, but it’s more often what we mean when we talk about automation. Whichever term, automation & orchestration are both essential to successful digital transformation.
In this article, we’re exploring the different but related concepts of automation and orchestration by:Defining automation and orchestration in ITClearing up the differencesSharing how beneficial both are, when used in tandem, in a DevOps culture
What is automation?
When we hear about automation, it’s typically in reference to making entire processes or workflows run. This isn’t quite right.
The definition of automation is setting up a single task to run on its own—automating one task. Automating a task can apply lớn both desktop-only tasks và cloud tasks. This single task can be anything:Launching a web serverStopping a serviceIntegrating a web appChanneling an gmail lớn a predetermined folder
Individuals can automate daily tasks lớn improve their efficiency, but companies of all industries và sizes look khổng lồ automation to increase efficiency at scale.
What is orchestration?
Frequently, orchestration is what we actually mean when we are talking about automating. Orchestration is automating many tasks together. It’s automation not of a single task but an entire IT-driven process. Orchestrating a process, then, is automating a series of individual tasks to work together.
If orchestration sounds more fancier than automation, that’s because it is—at least it is more complex. In enterprise IT, orchestrating a process requires:Knowing and understanding the many steps involved.Tracking each step across a variety of environments: applications, điện thoại devices, và databases, for instance.
More formally, the definition of orchestration includes the automated arrangement, coordination, & management of:Middleware
Use cases for orchestration
Orchestration takes advantage of multiple tasks that are automated in order lớn automatically exexinh tươi a larger workflow or process. These could be comprised of multiple tasks that are automated và could involve multiple systems.
The goal of orchestration is to lớn streamline & optimize frequent, repeatable processes. Companies know that the shorter the time-to-market, the more likely they’ll achieve sầu success. Anytime a process is repeatable, and its tasks can be automated, orchestration can be used to lớn optimize the process in order lớn eliminate redundancies.
For tech-enabled companies (which is practically everyone), the main use cases for orchestration include:Speedier software developmentManaging many servers và applicationsData analytics
Here’s an example: A developer needs to lớn enter a line of code throughout the software. At first glance, it the developer may think it’s a quick line of code that’s easy to lớn manually insert. But entering code manually, by hand, introduces the risk of human error. This risk must be minimized in live environments in particular. Even if this risk is introduced in testing, the developer still spends valuable time fixing an unnecessary error.
Instead, the developer can opt lớn orchestrate this additional code by automating the individual tasks that comprise the process of inserting this code. That’s nice on its own—it might not even seem necessary. Importantly, however, the developer ensures that bad code isn’t entered, increasing efficiency.
Automation & orchestration benefits
Automating one task may impress your users or make them aware that something has sped up a little bit. On its own, simple automations will not make a big perceivable difference. But when automation is built inlớn a series of processes và workflows, which are then orchestrated to run automatically, there can be endless benefits.
Common benefits include:Minimizing team interactions. Team collaboration is certainly valuable, but it can also introduce friction inlớn projects & processes. Orchestrating certain workflows & processes can minimize this friction among teams.Increasing productivity. Instead of using human power on rote tasks, you can work on projects that require human thought, decision making, and skills.Standardizing workflows & products. Standardizing processes & products across the spectrum means your processes and products are consistent and reliable—& your company will come khổng lồ be seen this way, too.Improving employee experience. Employees who spover their time on more creative, thoughtful, or challenging tasks, not plug và play tasks that can be automated, are more likely khổng lồ appreciate their work environment.
Automation and orchestration in DevOps
As DevOps ways of working are becoming the norm, holistic DevOps cultures are more common. And automation và orchestration are essential to lớn DevOps culture.
Here, in DevOps world, you’re likely both automating và orchestrating. Using both means they can be played off each other lớn streamline and accurately execute processes that lead to speedier & successful app deployments. You’ll likely start with automating individual technical tasks. Then, as you continuously automate, you’ll start orchestrating entire IT workflows that are comprised of numerous technical tasks.
Well-orchestrated IT processes enable, support, và empower key DevOps theories of continuous integration (CI) and continuous delivery (CD). The more processes that are orchestrated, the more DevOps engineers can work with other teams to lớn create apps that meet a lot more—perhaps one day all—requested requirements.
Get started orchestrating: Beginner tips
At this point, you may be wondering why you aren’t automating or orchestrating all your IT needs. Some people say this is the next step of DevOps—known as NoOps: when developers are freed from tasks altogether in order to continue innovation.
Automation & orchestration can occur on an individual level or on a team- or company-wide cấp độ. Both non-IT & IT employees can take advantage of automation suites that can integrate many popular apps, lượt thích tin nhắn, Microsoft and Google products, Slachồng, sales và sale tools, & a lot more – requiring no programming or coding know-how.
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Automating larger or more custom suites, lượt thích an in-house software solution, will require IT build out the workflows. In this scenario, you’ll need to lớn prioritize workflows & processes.
Here are a few tips on choosing how and what khổng lồ automate và orchestrate:Consider the business need. You could automate a million tasks that might make things easier for individuals or only IT teams—but this misses the larger goal of creating business value. Consider how much time khổng lồ spend on automating tasks that feel good but don’t help the business.Remember the goals of speed & accuracy. Automate tasks that applications or machines can vày with more tốc độ & accuracy than a human can. Even if it’s something small, lượt thích our example of inserting a line of code: this can avoid costly human errors.Orchestrate to lớn không tính tiền up employee time. Orchestrate workflows that miễn phí up the team. With less rote tasks, the team can tackle more valuable projects that are not easy to orchestrate, like creative and innovative sầu output, or the start of a new project.Choose projects that create significant and measurable business value. If you’re using orchestration only lớn tốc độ up how quickly tasks get completed, you’re not receiving the true business value that orchestration can provide.
As automation and orchestration continue khổng lồ improve tasks & automation, more teams – both IT and otherwise – are able to work towards an ikhuyến mãi hàng hóa that incorporates a larger amount, or eventually all, of the requested requirements.
How to lớn choose automation/orchestration tools
Because orchestration is a complex task by nature, a variety of tools can help you achieve sầu orchestration easily. When considering which tools are best, consider these factors:The task at hand. Do you need khổng lồ orchestrate IT infrastructure workflows, or software development workflows? The tools for these jobs are different.Simplithành phố. Is it simple enough or too simple?Auditability. Does your tooling create & support an audit trail, which many industries require for compliance?Scaling in production. Can your tooling handle scaling up or down as peaks demand?Data & analytics. As data overtakes us, will your tooling keep up with processing? One Control-M user shared how his company acquired two more companies, but with the right tooling, they experienced no major outages, loss of data, or scheduled processing.
Popular orchestration software
It’s nearly impossible lớn put together a menu of all the software that falls into this category. But here are some common tools that are popular for specific orchestration tasks—you’ll likely come across these as you begin your research.
Ansible: Continuous delivery
Ansible is an open source infrastructure automation tool that automates repetitive tasks for people working in IT, such as:Cloud provisioningConfiguration managementApplication deploymentIntra-service orchestration
This tool targets Continuous Delivery (CD), a DevOps principle within the software development lifecycle (SDLC).
Control-M: Application workflow orchestration
Control-M orchestrates the application & data sources that comprise a business service. It’s a more general job scheduler and manager for batch files. It comes after you would use Ansible, when you need khổng lồ orchestrate with other applications & data sources, to deliver a business service or business application, such as:End of day closeCredit approvalBillingPredictive maintenance
Where Ansible supports CD in applications, Control-M drives the execution, visibility, and control in production.
(Hear from real users how Control-M helps manage workflows.)
Jenkins: Continuous integration
Jenkins focuses on building software, particularly at scale. Jenkins supports continuous delivery & integration. It’s built on the Java Virtual Machine (JVM) with more than 1,500 plugins for automating most software delivery-related giải pháp công nghệ.
Kubernetes: Orchestration for containers
Kubernetes is container platsize that orchestrates computing, networking, và storage infrastructure workloads. Kubernetes orchestrates apps that you develop and ship in containers, making software development easier and laser-focused on the goal of the app—not the underlying infrastructure & environment. The general rule of thumb for K8S: if your tiện ích fits in a container, Kubernetes will deploy it.
(Learn more in our multi-part Kubernetes Guide, with articles và tutorials.)
What are SOAPs?
With many tools for automation and orchestration, it might get a bit confusing. Tech analyst Gartner coined the term SOAPs, short for Service Orchestration & Automation Platforms.
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It seems that Gartner expects SOAPs khổng lồ function as the single orchestration point for managing & executing automation tasks across the enterprise. That’s why they’ve recommended that Infrastructure và Operations (I&O) leaders invest in SOAPs—khổng lồ drive sầu digital innovation and business agility.
Chuyên mục: KHÁI NIỆM LÀ GÌ