By Scott Seaton, Logicalis US Business Development Specialist, Solution Providers

Brought to you by IBM Softlayer

As presented in our last blog, automation accelerates the DevOps process. At the same time, automation reduces development risk and enables software firms to lower costs by reducing the number of resources required to bring software into production.

The next step in the evolution to achieving Continuous Delivery is orchestration. Orchestration builds upon automation by creating push-button deployment capabilities across public, private and hybrid clouds as well as on-premise solutions. For each application deployment, software firms can take advantage of the specific environment that meets their performance, security and compliance requirements at the lowest possible cost.

Rather than relying on just one or two cloud providers, software firms can leverage orchestration to build relationships with multiple cloud providers and then determine which service is best for each application. For example, software that needs to comply with HIPAA might run in a private cloud while software that requires high-performance computing might utilize something like Cloudera, a cloud platform geared towards business intelligence.

The Key Benefits of Orchestration

Orchestration lets you take advantage of who offers the lowest cost of the day and also helps you direct the given load to the appropriate cloud environment. You can set the rules ahead of time for performance, security, compliance and compute resources—and the orchestration platform intelligently directs the appropriate compute load to the best data center. Software firms can thus utilize multiple cloud instances among several cloud providers.

Deploying an orchestration platform is important to combat the current trend of shadow IT, where software developers can simply run a credit card to set up a server online and create another cloud within the company. If that cloud is not orchestrated properly in compliance with corporate security and policies, the developer may be opening up the company to breaches and possible audit violations.

An orchestration platform also prevents bottlenecks in spinning up new cloud instances. And by wrapping orchestration around the automation process, you can take advantage of SoftLayer, AWS and Microsoft Azure as well as on-premise environments and private clouds. Orchestration can enforce policies in each of these environments and makes it easy to know when to turn off machines so you don’t incur unnecessary expenses for servers still in the cloud that go unused after their initial deployment.

Building an Orchestration Platform

The leading orchestration platforms rely on a combination of tools with services built around the tools. The platform enables you to achieve Continuous Delivery while essentially becoming your own broker of compute loads—provisioning new servers across different infrastructures on premises and in cloud. You can then layer over the necessary management, monitoring and security attributes of an automated and compliant ITIL framework that provides the following capabilities:

  • Stack provisioning of physical and virtual infrastructures including OS, database, network, storage, security, compliance, patching policies and monitoring.
  • Dynamic scheduling and execution of patch windows for server groups.
  • Environment promotion (gate release) that links to code repositories for building, staging and deploying code, and for promoting applications as well as moving the code base among environments.
  • Regression testing to execute quality control scripts on-demand or upon application deployment.
  • The ability to build IaaS, PaaS and SaaS offerings in conjunction with existing strategic IT investments.
  • The spin-up and spin-down of environments with capacity monitoring to provision additional just-in-time capacity.
  • Automated deployments of complex databases such as Oracle RAC and DB2.
  • Multi-tier application deployment to configure and deploy multi-tiered applications.

With an orchestration platform that provides these capabilities, software firms can ensure each cloud and on-premise environment meets the necessary standards. They can and then determine where each application should be deployed when ready for production.

An automated orchestration platform also saves DevOps a ton of resource hours while allowing software firms to take advantage of the brave new world in the cloud. Pricing wars are driving costs down, and innovations are making it possible to deliver new services to customers that can generate additional revenue streams.

In our next blog, we will examine the final building blocks for achieving Continuous Delivery.

Logicalis is a global cloud and managed services leader with nearly 4,000 employees operating in 24 countries. Our Solution Providers Practice is dedicated to enable, support and accelerate software companies’ growth across global markets with reduced time and risk. To find out how we can help your firm, click here for more information.