What is Cloud Automation?

Cloud automation involves various tools and services that businesses use to eliminate the tedious, time-consuming process of manually operating parts of the cloud. Because manually managing a cloud and cloud workloads can keep an IT team away from more critical, high-value projects, more businesses are choosing to invest in cloud automation to eliminate that strain. Not to mention, cloud automation can be used for any cloud type, including private, public, hybrid, multi-cloud, and more.

Cloud infrastructure automation

Without cloud automation, IT teams must manually deploy cloud workloads on their own. This responsibility is, unsurprisingly, tedious and slow, and IT admins must perform repetitive, laborious tasks like:

  • Managing cloud resources
  • Setting up virtual machine (VM) clusters
  • Creating virtual networks
  • Deploying cloud workloads
  • Staying on top of availability and performance standards

Over the course of performing these tasks, human error is bound to spring up. On top of being repetitive and unexciting, the risk of error is always present, which can potentially expose security vulnerabilities that can put the cloud architecture and even the enterprise itself at risk. These errors also necessitate troubleshooting, a task that delays the workload's availability.

That’s why more organizations are choosing to implement cloud automation, which uses orchestration and automation tools to automate otherwise laborious manual tasks. First, orchestration lets IT admins turn their normal processes into a code. Next, automation effortlessly performs these tasks. If done right, cloud automation can reduce the burden of manual processes, save time and money, eliminate human errors, and more.

Why should businesses implement cloud automation? 

Cloud automation doesn’t only impact an IT team. On the corporate level, businesses can be far more productive and innovative when their IT department isn’t focused on completing menial tasks. Instead, IT can allocate its resources into more important projects that can strengthen their business’s competitive standing..

Not to mention, when IT admins and engineers are reassigned and up-leveled onto more high-level, engaging activities, they benefit from watching their skills grow in their role. And for the business overall, they’re able to enjoy improved employee retention.

Benefits of cloud automation

There are numerous benefits that come with automating routine, time-consuming cloud operations. Below is a list of the main benefits organizations with cloud automation have realized.

For every dollar invested in automation, $100 will be returned over a 5-year period.

Employees can be up-leveled to more important positions and contribute to more important, value-driving tasks.

In a private cloud, cloud automation works to adhere to policies and compliance standards.

Cloud automation reduces costs since less administrative and IT time needs to be spent on once-manual tasks.

Better scalability thanks to time freed from performing daily tasks. Automating cloud tasks enables an organization to scale without allocating money and time to now-automated projects.

Cloud automation can self-detect, self-heal, and auto-correct security threats. When a business grows, some of these security concerns can slip by, so automating threat detection is key.

Use cases for cloud automation

There are multiple use cases for cloud automation, and while all cloud automation tools and frameworks accomplish the same goal, every business has unique goals and use cases to consider when pursuing a cloud automation service. 

The first and most common use case for cloud automation is establishing infrastructure as code (IaC). First, the cloud will find and categorize compute resources into pools, which then lets users add and deploy more resources no matter where they live in the datacenter. Cloud automation services can then use these pulls to identify common configuration items—VMs, containers, storage logical unit numbers (LUNs), and virtual private networks. From there, these services will place application components onto configuration items. Alternatively, they can create instances. Finally, those items come together to form a unified, deployable environment.

Cloud Automation Infrastructure
Cloud automation workload management

Second, cloud automation can also be applied to workload management. Take, for example, an application performance management (APM) tool, which can be configured to monitor a deployed workload and how it performs. From there, alerts will automatically scale the environment, like adding clusters, removing container instances, and other features to ration or improve resource consumption. Not to mention, cloud automation is also key in workload lifecycle management. Workloads in the cloud are rarely there long-term, and cloud automation can remove them when they're no longer needed.

Third, hybrid and multi-cloud environments can realize benefits from cloud automation. Because these kinds of cloud environments are most prone to human error and complexity, it’s imperative to implement cloud automation to reduce the strain. By automating private cloud tasks and driving integration with the public cloud, businesses will realize decreased complexity.

Cloud automation in hybrid and multi-cloud environments
Cloud automation scheduling

Fourth, application developers can have their busy schedules freed thanks to cloud automation. Certain application development methods require rapid resource deployment and scaling. These include methods like continuous delivery (CD), continuous integration (CI), and DevOps. Used to test new software releases, cloud automation allows these resources to be reused.

Finally, cloud automation can let businesses create consistent setups for their workflows, delivering ultimate visibility into the business’s resource consumption. Businesses can then see what’s being used, who’s using them, and plan accordingly to improve their resource consumption. From there, businesses can also predict their future resource use and deliver a reliable service quality.

Cloud automation business workflow

Companies that automated their clouds

Hitachi using Cloud Automation

"Beam has helped us in many aspects, enabling us to add value for customers by helping them in saving costs, as well as giving them best practices for cyber security."

UCSD uses cloud automation

The single-dashboard visibility and automation provided by Beam enables UCSD to better understand and control all its cloud expenditures—while saving staff time and effort so they can focus on other tasks.

In Loco Media cloud automation

In Loco Media’s CTO used Beam’s Cost Governance application to see all possible AWS cloud savings and generates customized cost-saving recommendations based on customers specific infrastructure.

Related Resources

GigaOm Report: Remove Hybrid and Multi-Cloud Complexity

How Automation Improves Multi-Cloud Security & Compliance

2019 Cloud Usage Report

Learn more about cloud automation

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