Automation and orchestration are the cornerstones of enterprise DevOps. The key drivers of embracing these practices are faster time-to-value, significant savings on man-hours and cost, and accelerated continuous delivery. However, organizations often use these terms interchangeably. Some coin orchestration as ‘workflow automation’ while others confuse it with task automation. This is mostly because of their overlapping capabilities and, sometimes, due to a lack of clear understanding. Let’s clear the concepts that separate orchestration from automation.
How orchestration is different from automation
Orchestration is the application of tools and technology stack to deliver a well-coordinated series of operations required to complete a process. For example, orchestrating a cloud service includes several discrete automated tasks such as, autoscaling of instances, spinning up load balancers, etc.
On the other hand, automation lies at the heart of orchestration—as a nucleus or subset that makes a small task recurring. You can automate a user login or information filling-in a purchasing process but enabling an end-user to traverse through the entire portal to place an order requires orchestration of automated actions that occur in sequence (steps) for a seamless user experience.
Leveraging a self-service IT orchestrator leads you to the bigger picture
According to Gartner, “I&O teams should consider implementing automation and orchestration to maximize agility.”
Tapping into the automation and orchestration area broadens your opportunity for quick-wins. Choosing the right orchestration platform is essential to maximize your ROI in IT operations. Outlined below are some of the functionalities to consider while considering a platform:
End-to-end orchestration of automated IT operations
DevOps-ready organizations seek to benefit from an orchestrator that not only increases their service delivery velocity but also reduces IT costs. Leveraging platforms like Micro Focus Operations Orchestration (OO) enables engineers to automate IT tasks at resource-level and further wire these tasks in coordination for a standardized, orchestrated process. The extensibility and open APIs allow OO to integrate with any of your existing tools or environment without any downtime. Besides, it is easy to configure for sequential as well as topology design patterns. Moreover, the platform offers an extensive library of over 8000 pre-designed, out-of-the-box workflows that are fully customizable and rich in content.
This kind of comprehensive IT process automation helps you gain complete control and governance over and across your service delivery operations, IT teams, environments, tools, and technologies.
Hybrid IT orchestration for ‘run-anywhere’ workflows
Many organizations run their IT operations across hybrid environments for ease of interoperability and greater agility. But, hybrid IT has its own set of downsides, including multiple IT silos and repetitive, time-consuming actions that are not worth an IT professional’s time. Orchestrating a mix of on-prem and cloud environments goes beyond customization and integration capabilities.
Micro Focus extends its solution capabilities from automating daily chores like system reboot, cleanup, or shutdown to cloud automation, continuous delivery, and more. Its best-in-class Hybrid Cloud Management (HCM) suite facilitates an interactive workflow designer for self-service provisioning of virtual machines (VMs), operating systems (OS), databases, and middleware. Operations Orchestration (OO) as a part of the HCM suite offering helps you build infrastructure as code and ensure structured content delivery and workflow management with text-based authoring.
Not only does HCM support reusable, repeatable service designs for any environment, but also lets you import critical process flows into the OO content library. The integrated release orchestration simplifies and speeds up application delivery.
Comprehensive workflows to automate and orchestrate actions of a complex process
Risk hunting, incident remediation, and disaster recovery (DR) systems take a lot of staff-hours and efforts if managed manually. Insufficient or scarce attention to these processes increases human-error rates.
The evaluation criteria for a unified orchestration solution must include the ability to identify and mitigate business risks proactively, thereby ensuring every component is configured correctly. OO’s resilient, secure architecture orchestrates your entire DR and incident management system by automating complex actions such as:
- Risk identification
- alert triggering
- Remediation or recovery based on the event type and criticality
Hence, end-to-end service management and delivery become a breeze.
Integrated ChatOps for powerful collaboration
Communication-driven DevOps is gaining momentum for its real-time, interactive capabilities that streamline the entire communication channel within and across IT teams. The interactive DevOps or ChatOps serves as a collaborative environment for uninterrupted communication between tools, technologies, and developers. OO features a collaborative chatbot, ‘Maestro’, that facilitates the execution of pre-designed scripts in response to triggers, alarms, or scheduled tasks. Organizations can perform redundant actions more accurately without human intervention or errors using Maestro.
Benefits of Micro Focus’ Operations Orchestration (OO) Platform
According to OO’s customer statistics:
- 93% of the total customer base is extremely or very likely to recommend OO
- About 80% of the organizations saved 250-2500 man-hours on redundant tasks per month
- 78% of the OO customers witnessed a significant increase in their service delivery and response time speed
The Bottom Line
Orchestrated IT infrastructure empowers organizations to instill agility, operational efficiency, and transform digitally at the speed of light. A self-service orchestration platform that reduces the friction between different teams (development, operations, system & admin, etc.) works as the synchronized brain of your IT. Modern enterprises must take a software-defined approach to evolve with the growing need for automation and orchestration.