IT Automation vs. Orchestration — Your Questions, Answered

by | Nov 28, 2018 | Automation & Orchestration

IT automation and orchestration are important concepts for the modern DevOps and organizational environment. As businesses seek out more efficiency form technology, and demands on scalable services grow, automation and orchestration are an important part of your toolkit. At the same time, the increasing migration to cloud-based infrastructure means that both automation and orchestration involve more moving parts, and integrating everything becomes even more critical.
In short, there are a few questions to answer — don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.

What is IT Automation?

Simply put, IT automation is simply creating a single task that can run automatically without any human intervention. Automation might involve sending a response email to a customer who has contacted you through your website, or adding a record to a database when a batch job is run. You can automate both cloud-based and on-premise tasks.

What is IT Orchestration?

IT Orchestration is automating lots of tasks together and integrating them to achieve a specific outcome. Whereas automation focuses on one task, orchestration combines all of those individual tasks. Orchestration can happen across multiple technologies, applications, datasets, middleware, systems, and more.
Orchestration is a good way to optimize repeatable processes that don’t need human interaction. Implemented well, orchestration will streamline workflows, lower costs, and significantly reduce issues and errors.
For example, orchestration can be used to run batch jobs in your computer systems. An orchestration process could log everyone out of relevant databases and software at 2 AM, lock the databases, establish the jobs that need to be run, run those jobs, verify a successful batch, then unlock the databases.

What Are the Benefits of Automation and Orchestration?

Although automating and optimizing one simple, standalone task may have a small effect, it’s the aggregate impact of automation and orchestration of entire processes that has a major impact. For example, automating a batch job will make the process much quicker and more efficient than having your IT engineers complete those tasks manually. Benefits include:

  • Less human errors and mistakes — human errors can often occur when transferring data from one area to another. Automating this process removes that risk.
  • Elimination of low-value, repeatable tasks for employees — by offloading low-value tasks to automation, you can free up employee time to focus on higher-impact work and initiatives. This also reduces boredom and frustration in a job role and can lead to higher morale.
  • Greater efficiencies for the business — automated tasks are much easier to scale and are more efficient than having a human workforce complete those actions. This leads to a more productive workplace and improved outputs.
  • Standardized processes and procedures — as a business grows, standardization becomes more important. This leads to less defects and waste in business processes and can also help and organization meet its regulatory and compliance needs.


What Are Some Tips for Automating and Orchestrating Efficiently?

Glad you asked — here are some areas to consider when it comes to optimizing your DevOps or general business environment.

  1. Make a list of all the tasks you could automate — ask your teams to brainstorm the tasks they currently perform manually.
  2. Prioritize tasks for automation — look at the impact of automating specific tasks, together with how easy it would be to do, the time it would save, and the business benefits.
  3. Start automating tasks — once you have a prioritized list, start to automate individual tasks, this will help you test out the automation process.
  4. Move towards orchestration by linking tasks together — once you’ve successfully automated and optimized distinct tasks, look at automating the integrations between different parts of the process.
  5. Continue to work through your prioritized list and automating / orchestrating as needed — you now move into a process of continual improvement as you identify, prioritize, implement, and test — both on an individual, automated task level, and an end-to-end orchestrated process level.

When it comes to automation and orchestration of tasks and processes in the cloud, we can help. We’ve supported hundreds of businesses like yours through cloud automation, orchestration, and optimization. If you want to maximize growth and efficiency, contact us today.