Incorporating cloud platform services is perhaps the most critical aspect of any cloud-native infrastructure. It will not be an agile, cloud-native infrastructure unless it includes intelligent IT automation, data management, data protection, and DR (disaster recovery) across the complete hybrid cloud environment. Let’s take a look at what we mean by intelligent IT automation.
Due to the complexities of today’s enterprise IT environments, organizations need to approach managing their hybrid and virtualized infrastructures with intelligent automation processes. Rather than using the conventional interactive and manual approach, native cloud infrastructures need to embrace the Infrastructure as Code (IaC) paradigm.
When combined with data center orchestration solutions, IT becomes more agile and responsive to the management controls of their data centers. Not only does this significantly improve application service deliveries, but it also improves the quality of life for IT staff, and as a result, will improve employee retention.
This paradigm is about being able to reproduce (or restore) a full application computing environment in minutes. Infrastructure as Code (IaC) is the management of infrastructure in a descriptive model, using the same versioning as DevOps uses for source code. Infrastructure represented as code can also be validated and tested to prevent common deployment issues. Here are four resulting benefits:
1. Quick Provisioning of Hybrid Data Center Services
Automation makes provisioning much quicker and more efficient because it allows tedious tasks to be performed faster and more accurately than with a manual process. Even with proper and thorough documentation, manually deploying IT systems can take hours compared to a few minutes with the IaC paradigm.
2. Quick Recovery from Any Critical Event or Error
When a server goes offline due to an unknown error, it might take several hours to audit the system and find out the root cause accurately. With IaC, this audit can be completed quickly and in a repeatable, reliable way.
3. Elimination of Snowflake Environments
Over time, each environment becomes a snowflake, that is, a unique configuration that cannot be reproduced automatically. These inconsistencies lead to significant issues during application deployments. Manual hotfixes, configuration tweaks, and software updates turn infrastructures into snowflakes, making them harder to manage and even harder to replicate.
4. Automated IT Operations
Once in the cloud, it is vital to monitor and control your cloud infrastructure, including having automatic alerts if it has been modified or is experiencing anomalistic behavior. Moving to the cloud requires the ability to roll back or roll forward configuration changes or patches across your complete infrastructure automatically. If not addressed quickly, mis-configurations can potentially expose security vulnerabilities, which can be magnified once in the cloud.
As enterprises adopt hybrid cloud-native strategies, intelligent data management across those public and private clouds need to become a top priority.