The Agile Enterprise
7 Key Advantages of Cloud Infrastructure Automation
Cloud-based operations are bringing new agility to the enterprise, and with it, a new toolset. Cloud-based Continuous Integration (CI), Continuous Delivery (CD), and Infrastructure as Code (IAC) tools are streamlining and accelerating the development lifecycle. Not long ago, developers had to wait weeks or months to provision new infrastructure. Now, teams can spin up new cloud resources at the click of a button.
This new, dynamic environment and rapid pace of development also comes at a price. Running workloads on a modern distributed infrastructure of cloud resources can quickly become complex and difficult to manage. Effective cloud infrastructure management requires monitoring and maintaining control over a lot of moving parts. Teams need total visibility into everything happening in a company’s cloud environment across departments, such as changes to user access privileges, resources left unused or underutilized, and ports that are open and publicly accessible.
Cloud complexity presents significant challenges when it comes to managing cost, security, and compliance at scale.
Using cloud infrastructure automation and self-healing tools can help enterprises stay in control of their IT stack. However, some businesses still have reservations about maintaining security while using automation tools. In this article, we describe seven key benefits and considerations for leveraging self-healing automation tools to manage your cloud.
1. Less Management Overhead
Managing a fast-changing enterprise cloud environment demands continuous attention to tasks like:
- Sizing and resizing instances to provide the best possible balance of cost and performance
- Allocating and reallocating workloads to take full advantage of discounted capacity
- Provisioning volume sizes of persistent block storage
- Purging old backups that are no longer needed
- Enforcing security policies and locking down resources
In addition to core cloud responsibilities, it’s also important to oversee a variety of other aspects of your infrastructure, such as analytics, database, networking, and content delivery services across different cloud accounts.
Cloud optimization and self-healing capabilities, like those bundled into CloudCheckr, make this entire process significantly quicker and easier.
Automation tools monitor your infrastructure to identify configurations and settings that aren’t in line with best practices. The self-healing aspect can then enforce policies by automatically performing tasks on your behalf, giving you the option to review actions before fixing them—or even proactively act based on your predetermined specifications.
2. Highly Responsive
The longer you leave unused and underutilized resources running, the faster your cloud costs add up. Further, the slower you respond to security issues, the greater the risk of attack.
Automation can provide immediate responses to undesirable or potentially harmful changes in your infrastructure—acting quickly to reduce costs and address vulnerabilities.
For example, automation can:
- Rebalance and resize AWS Reserved Instances so you get a bigger bang for your buck
- Maintain cost-efficient database cluster sizes
- Stop and start instances, in line with usage, to help lower your dynamic laaS expenses
Whether you prefer to fully automate event responses or to actively review them first, off-the-shelf optimization and security fixes can help your team save time and avoid unnecessary delays from tedious manual procedures.
3. Total Visibility into Cloud Resources
It’s impossible to optimize or secure cloud resources you don’t know you have. Yet, as humans, we’re highly prone to missing things.
CloudCheckr’s comprehensive automation around cost and security helps eliminate the problem of human error and always ensure you have total visibility into your entire enterprise cloud environment.
Continuous monitoring is also crucial to an efficient and cost-effective infrastructure. CloudCheckr monitors your environment 24/7 to keep tabs on cloud cost and security at all times—weekends, public holidays, and the wee hours of the night.
4. Consistent and Reliable
Automation allows you to take a less hands-on approach to managing your cloud so you can focus on other areas of innovation and growth within your business. With CloudCheckr automation, you will continue to receive reports and action reminders so you can stay hands-off while never losing control over your cloud.
What’s more, unlike humans, automated tools perform tasks consistently and correctly every time. This is essential to upholding best practices such as identifying resource waste, enforcing strong passwords, and implementing consistent tagging policies.
5. More Robust Infrastructure
Cloud automation also helps you to maintain a stable, fault-tolerant IT environment. For example, solutions designed for AWS can automatically schedule snapshots of individual EBS volumes, RDS instances, and Redshift clusters.
Likewise, they can create Amazon Machine Images (AMIs) from your EC2 instances, so you can launch duplicate versions of your servers. You can use these to:
- Enhance your infrastructure resiliency
- Add more capacity to handle an increase in workload
- Terminate unhealthy instances and replace them with healthy ones
6. Deeper Insights
Intelligent automated cloud solutions can detect patterns in your log data that humans cannot see. Automated detection can alert you to potential security threats, compliance issues, and wasteful infrastructure expenditure.
You can also receive auto-generated recommendations on configurations like instance sizes so you don’t have to spend hours on manual calculations before you’re able to make an informed operational decision.
Moreover, these tools are often developed by cloud financial and security experts and are built around a library of best practices. In the current cloud landscape, where security skills are at a premium, automation and self-healing can play a vital role in the everyday technicalities of maintaining compliant infrastructure.
Above all, the more accomplished tools will have the capability to consolidate all your cloud data, from different accounts and vendor platforms, into a single pane of glass—giving you deep insight into widely dispersed enterprise IT environments.
7. Highly Scalable
When you start your journey in the cloud, hosting a few small-scale deployments, it’s relatively simple to manage your workloads and keep costs and security risks in check. As your infrastructure scales, so does the complexity and time overhead required to manage it. This means manual management is only viable in the short term.
By contrast, automated cloud management tools offer you the freedom to grow, scaling with your cloud and requiring relatively little additional time and effort.
Automation Leads to Agility
Cloud users may feel that automation represents a loss of control over their infrastructure. However, most of the time, the opposite is true.
With any viable cloud optimization solution, you can tailor your level of automation to unique organizational needs, such as what resources you want to include or exclude from your processes, what you want to review first, and what you want to perform automatically.
Teams can also stay informed of all changes via email or your cloud management console. Finally, you can also choose to run tasks daily, weekly, or monthly—down to the minute. With the right cloud automation solution, you can operate in the cloud with confidence.
When you automate critical tasks across your cloud environment, it becomes easier for a business to maintain agility and innovation at scale. CloudCheckr automates cost, security, and inventory management and optimization. Talk to one of our experts about how we can help you win with cloud infrastructure automation.