In the old days, IT was tasked with managing infrastructure, primarily by controlling the physical devices that moved, processed and stored data. In the abstract cloud era, the name of the game is orchestration of the disparate systems and platforms that data invariably encounters as it makes the journey from raw information to valuable knowledge.
But while many of the actual orchestration processes will be automated using increasingly intelligent algorithms, IT still has a job to do in not only crafting the policies that will govern data and application movement but in selecting and provisioning a robust orchestration platform from an increasingly diverse set of vendor solutions.
According to Markets and Markets, the cloud orchestration sector is on pace to nearly triple by 2021, growing from $4.95 billion today to $14.17 billion, with a compound annual growth rate of 23.4 percent. The key driver, of course, is to craft the most efficient, effective use of cloud resources, although demand for self-service provisioning and high-speed application support is also part of the mix. As the digital economy unfolds, service fulfillment will come to dominate the IT landscape and companies that can provide rapid, reliable infrastructure at a moment’s notice will derive greater profitability with tighter margins and foster stronger brand loyalty among users.
Cloud providers like Amazon are keenly aware of the need for orchestration, given that their proprietary solutions are often at odds with legacy data center infrastructure and even the home-grown private clouds that enterprises have deployed. The company is home to numerous third-party solutions, including the new Fugue platform that is now available in a free version to help users manage large data sets and ensure regulatory compliance. The system can be employed by DevOps teams to oversee the full lifecycle of their apps across AWS infrastructure and service stacks.
Security orchestration is also a key component of cloud architectures, given the many ways in which third-party infrastructure can be vulnerable to data breaches. A company called Tufin recently joined the AWS Partner Network to allow easy integration of its Orchestration Suite to Amazon users. The platform provides end-to-end visibility and change automation to allow services to maintain an equal security posture across multiple deployments, effectively speeding up the deployment and provisioning process and providing enhanced connectivity and uptime. The system provides centralized management of Amazon Virtual Private Clouds (VPCs) as well as instances hosted on legacy data center infrastructure.
Orchestration platforms are also emerging for key data segments, such as business intelligence and customer relations processes. New York-based Pneuron recently upgraded its business orchestration software with robotic automation and enhanced scalability options to halve the time and expense of managing intelligence, creating reports and applications, and even devising entirely new operating models. The platform provides scripted execution of website interaction to automate data entry and results extraction, while also supporting dynamic scalability across disparate clouds for Big Data processing. New Sharepoint, Exchange and Unix shell scripts also allow the system to reach into legacy data environments without additional coding.
For years, enterprise executives have been clamoring for more data resources. The cloud provides greater scale than any single organization could possibly need, but in an ironic twist, it leads to entirely new challenges when devising an integrated, cohesive environment.
Orchestration helps bridge the divides that exist across cloud platforms and gives users the ability to meet their data needs with a great deal of autonomy, all the while remaining firmly within established architectural guidelines. The last thing the enterprise needs is to recreate in the cloud the same silos that hamper productivity in the data center.
Arthur Cole writes about infrastructure for IT Business Edge. Cole has been covering the high-tech media and computing industries for more than 20 years, having served as editor of TV Technology, Video Technology News, Internet News and Multimedia Weekly. His contributions have appeared in Communications Today and Enterprise Networking Planet and as web content for numerous high-tech clients like TwinStrata and Carpathia. Follow Art on Twitter @acole602.