The Growing Importance of Cloud Orchestration

    Despite lingering concerns about security, reliability and, yes, costs, the enterprise is still very eager to migrate workloads to the cloud. And not surprisingly, cloud providers are equally eager to take on enterprise workloads.

    So what’s the problem? From an operational perspective, the main stumbling block appears to be the lack of effective tools to manage the data environment once it leaves the confines of the data center. And this becomes particularly worrisome when, as is often the case, data is not limited to a single provider but is divided among many.

    This is why cloud orchestration continues to be a primary, albeit elusive, goal for the enterprise. According to Persistence Market Research, orchestration is on pace to top $20 billion in market value by 2025, representing 14.6 percent compound annual growth. The main driver will be the increased use of SaaS-based management solutions, which are becoming increasingly embedded in broader cloud management stacks. As the need for more efficient infrastructure grows, these platforms will naturally seek to spread workloads to the lowest-cost provider while still maintaining centralized control for the data owner. And this phenomenon is equally prevalent among small businesses and multinational conglomerates.

    Cloud orchestration, in fact, is becoming such an important element to emerging data infrastructure that software developers are starting to break it out as a key business initiative. GigaSpaces Technologies, for instance, recently announced plans to spin off its Cloudify unit so it can focus more singularly on cloud management and orchestration. The company said the move had been more than a year in the making, but the rapid uptake of hybrid clouds and the rise of software-defined infrastructure made its TOSCA-based orchestration platform a crucial component to harnessing disparate data ecosystems ranging from OpenStack and VMware to Amazon, Azure and Google.

    Meanwhile, Red Hat is targeting multi-cloud orchestration as one of the core assets in the latest RHEL release, 7.4. The company envisions enterprises that have already incorporated Linux into their server infrastructure will want to extend that environment across multiple providers for both traditional virtual architectures and newly containerized workloads. The release provides enhanced security features like event auditing, device management and file system access control, as well as automated workflow management across distributed, heterogeneous RHEL deployments. In addition, the system supports multiple chip-level architectures like IBM Power and z System and 64-Bit ARM.

    Orchestration within a Linux ecosystem is helpful, but many organizations would no doubt want to extend that to other operating systems, as well. That is the goal behind Luxembourg’s NoMachine, which recently released the NoMachine 6 platform consisting of a cloud server suite and a family of Linux-based terminal servers. The company says it can now bridge the gap between physical and virtual resources running Windows, Mac, Linux and Unix workloads both within the data center and across the cloud. The system offers web-based access for clientless endpoints, plus support for the Raspberry Pi platform, with tools like automatic reconnection, detection of proxy server, and improved failback for clustered server architectures to enhance reliability and availability.

    The diversity of options in the cloud is both a blessing and curse for the enterprise. While it is always helpful to find just the right infrastructure to support a key workload, too much variety can lead to inefficiency, cost overruns and lost data.

    The enterprise has spent millions over the past decade eliminating silos in the data center. It would be a shame to see them recreated in the cloud.

    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.

    Arthur Cole
    Arthur Cole
    With more than 20 years of experience in technology journalism, Arthur has written on the rise of everything from the first digital video editing platforms to virtualization, advanced cloud architectures and the Internet of Things. He is a regular contributor to IT Business Edge and Enterprise Networking Planet and provides blog posts and other web content to numerous company web sites in the high-tech and data communications industries.

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