CLOUD AUTOMATION. How Cloud Automation Can Help You Scale Your IT Services

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1 CLOUD AUTOMATION How Cloud Automation Can Help You Scale Your IT Services

2 TABLE OF CONTENTS Introduction 03 Business Benefits 07 Administrator Benefits 11 Technical Considerations 14 Conclusion 17 2

3 INTRODUCTION Defining Cloud Automation

4 INTRODUCTION Defining cloud automation DEFINING AUTOMATION Merriam Webster defines automation as, the automatically controlled operation of an apparatus, process or system by mechanical or electronic devices that take the place of human labor. Further, it says that scalability is, [the capacity to be] easily expanded or upgraded on demand. But what do these processes mean for cloud computing? WHAT IS AUTOMATION-FACILITATED SCALING Automation has been the end goal as we progressed through phases of technical innovation. From the calculator to smartphones, automation has been injected into every aspect of our lives. For decades, the vision for technology has been to create tools that serve humanity and give you back those precious hours spent on the routine. In the past, we glorified the role it would play in the future by envisioning androids and computers with full voice recognition and control. While these are on the horizon, we ve already begun moving in that direction through automated home and GPS systems in addition to many others that are making the move toward automated task completion and decision-making. Using automation to facilitate scaling will further simplify this process in the cloud and create an operation that is efficient and effective. As your cloud solution expands and contracts, automated scaling makes corrections to your environment in order to create continuous optimization for your end users. Automated scaling removes some of the manual processes from your technical staff, reducing the stress of continuous monitoring for scale and performing the scaling process. 4

5 WHERE IT S GOING In the last several years there has been a push toward consolidation of tasks, or sending a complex set of tasks to an automation system to perform them much faster than manual processes allow. Going forward, you will see automation play the role as the decision maker, giving software the capability to make rational decisions about how to react to rapidly changing environments. Automation systems will eventually make decisions in milliseconds, quite the improvement over the relatively slow human response time. Cloud scaling has become a trend for many service providers because it allows you to save on operational costs. Especially for cloud environments that have unpredictable traffic influxes, cloud scaling can help your business provide the appropriate amount of resources necessary to give your end users the capabilities they need when they need them. It has become even more important in recent years that companies do more with less. Cloud scaling through automation allows you to customize a solution based on your go-to-market strategy. Through automated processes, cloud scaling has facilitated the emergence of two main types of service providers: managed service providers and self-service providers. Companies that want to control the provisioning of customer resources can take charge of the process through a managed service methodology, in which end users must directly contact you so that your administrators can provision. Alternatively, a self-service model allows your customers to provision their own resources on demand without assistance from your technical staff. INTRODUCTION 5

6 WHY SHOULD I USE CLOUD AUTOMATION TO SCALE IT RESOURCES? Automation is a key component in cloud computing and helps make otherwise complex cloud management systems easy to understand, monitor and manage. To put it simply: automation in the cloud is important because the cloud is too big and complex for a set of legacy tools to react in the amount of time that consumers of this age expect and demand. It is this automation component that allows us to gain a full understanding of all parts within our cloud environment, enabling us to make decisions based upon real time data and analytics for the holistic environment, for example scaling. Cloud automation, when used for scaling purposes, can monitor your cloud environment and make appropriate changes as necessary to provide the resources that are requested by end users. This removes some of the manual monitoring and provisioning processes from your technical staff, allowing them to focus on the core competencies of your business. Cloud scaling through automation allows you to customize a solution based on your go-to-market strategy. INTRODUCTION 6

7 BUSINESS BENEFITS How Automation-Facilited Scaling Benefits Service Providers

8 BUSINESS BENEFITS How automation benefits service providers HOW SCALING USING AUTOMATION BENEFITS YOUR BUSINESS The ability to scale your resource is beneficial for your business on several fronts. Incorporating scaling capability using automation into your environment helps make processes easier to maintain for your technical staff, allows you to provide consistent service to your customers, increases your bottom line and provides a wide range of control. IMPORTANCE IN BUSINESS USE Scaling with automation in a cloud environment is important for your business because it: Simplifies creation and set up of cloud computing resources Facilitates otherwise complex adaptive processes Supports your business ability to do more with fewer resources These are key attributes that your technical staff and end users can leverage when provisioning a solution and are necessary to reduce the complexities of cloud management. SIMPLIFY CREATION AND SETUP OF CLOUD COMPUTING RESOURCES Increasing your bottom line is a top priority for every business. Scaling capabilities help you achieve this goal by introducing an environment that can steadily grow and contract, and the ability to sell compute resources turns your IT department into a profit center. These new profits can help you cover the costs of upgrading equipment, paying employee salaries, or meeting software and hardware maintenance costs. 8

9 Cloud automation technology allows your company to manage multiple cloud zones, nodes and locations through a single interface, making multi-zone deployments easy and efficient. Offering multi-zone environments allows your business to provide a true second site for disaster recovery, giving you a more comprehensive recovery solution for your consumers. Further, an automated system allows you to provide your consumers a solution that is always at optimum performance. From a single pane platform, the details for each zone and virtual machine can be seen at a glance within an easy-to-understand user interface, enabling simplified scalability of zones and locations. SUPPORT YOUR BUSINESS ABILITY TO DO MORE WITH FEWER RESOURCES With cloud automation you can easily scale customer support by utilizing a central ticketing system. Cloud automation aggregates relevant data for your technical staff from any cloud environment on your infrastructure (for example the IP address of the VM, number of machines or amount of storage used in white label, private or public cloud environments). This simplifies the support process for your technical staff by giving them all of the data they need to more efficiently resolve a customer issue. Tickets can then be updated within the system so other support personnel will always be up-to-date with any given issue for more cohesive support. BUSINESS BENEFITS 9

10 Cloud automation allows you to simplify your business by enabling scalability of business processes such as provisioning virtual machines, metering services and generating invoices. It seeks to reduce business processes to a minimum amount of steps. Automation, a network operations center and other software allows your team to focus their attention on your customers rather than IT infrastructure. As cloud automation continues to mature, it promises to provide a full range of configuration, setup and management options in addition to its current capabilities, like a single sign on platform for cloud-level management, to create scalable business processes. FACILITATE OTHERWISE COMPLEX ADAPTIVE PROCESSES Automation gives your software the capability to not only provision a set of compute resources for a consumer or internal employee s virtual machine, but also set up all the networking, software and licensing that is necessary to get an asset up and running. This has been a valuable tool for system administrators everywhere because it alleviates the burden placed on valuable IT staff, freeing them to work toward other mission-critical goals. The features of integrated infrastructure provide your team a holistic view of your cloud environment for ease of monitoring and management, and allow your staff to scale monitoring and provisioning processes. From the network operations center, you can monitor environmental dynamics and networking, which sends alerts to your tech team to let them know when you need to upgrade your environment to accommodate for your growing customer base. Cloud management can help you see where your cloud system needs attention and allows you to provide an environment that is guaranteed to meet your customers needs, often times sending alerts to issues and allowing you to correct those before they are affected. BUSINESS BENEFITS 10

11 ADMINISTRATOR BENEFITS Simplifying Administrative Processes

12 ADMINISTRATOR BENEFITS Simplifying administrative processes STREAMLINE BUSINESS PROCESSES Cloud automation helps create a scalable metering and billing system by automatically provisioning necessary networks to aggregate usage data. A cloud automation system integrates existing billing structures with its new features for a seamless transition. This integrated approach gives administrators full access to the cloud environment at all times and can auto-populate invoices based on recorded usage of individual accounts. These are then sent to your end users according to the pricing standards your business has set. Utilizing this method of billing alleviates the burden from your finance and accounting department by creating an automated invoice to ensure streamlined and consistent service for your end users. Customers that utilize cloud services save themselves time and money, and your company increases its bottom line by streamlining business processes and providing products and services through on demand resources. ENHANCE SERVICE QUALITY Customer service becomes scalable with cloud automation because data is collected to supplement trouble tickets from end users, simplifying the response process. Employing cloud automation software will enhance your service quality by automating your customer processes. This provides consistency for your customers and streamlines your workflow behind the scenes. Cloud automation also enhances your support ticket system. Customers can access support through a portal that gathers information for their trouble server and their requests are aggregated in a single system on the back end for your technical staff to review and address immediately. Not only does this speed up the process of obtaining help from sys admins, but it also gives your support personnel the information they need up front so that they can provide the best possible experience for your end users. 12

13 CONTROL AND MANAGEMENT Administrators gain total control over their environment despite the use of cloud automation. It exists as a tool to help simplify the administrator s daily tasks by aggregating data and providing monitoring in a single location. Administrators maintain the ability to assign levels of authorization to users, add or remove any hardware or software, and access all user accounts, among a long list of capabilities. Automating some of the cloud processes enables scalability within the cloud environment by enabling all of your IT personnel to perform even difficult tasks with the assistance of an automated process. Simplify tasks for your administrators without sacrificing control of your cloud environment. ADMINISTRATOR BENEFITS 13

14 TECHNICAL CONSIDERATIONS How to Leverage and Integrate Cloud Automation

15 TECHNICAL CONSIDERATIONS How to leverage and integration automation INTEGRATING AUTOMATION SOFTWARE WITH YOUR HARDWARE Cloud automation is an integral part of your cloud environment that can simplify management for your IT personnel and enhance the end user experience. Through cloud automation your legacy hardware communicates with other components of your cloud environment. A true automation solution is able to utilize any type of hardware and software system and optimizes them for cloud use. This capability dramatically simplifies the process of scaling and reduces the burden placed on technical staff during the implementation process. TOTAL CONTROL OF MONITORING AND MANAGEMENT Cloud automation resources are also necessary to create a holistic monitoring and management system that gives your administrators the power they need to adequately control your environment. Monitoring and management are key tools that all IT personnel need to maintain a cloud environment. The integrated nature between software and hardware layers is what gives technical staff the real time data they need to effectively monitor all components of your cloud environment. Because of cloud automation, your monitoring and management systems can scale with hardware and software additions so your technical staff can leverage these invaluable resources as your needs grow. 15

16 USING LEGACY INFRASTRUCTURE The use of cloud automation software allows augmentation of current infrastructure by tying together all of your hardware into a single interface that can be used to monitor and manage your cloud environment. It gives you insight into detailed statistics on your cloud including the virtual machines that are running and stopped, public IP addresses allocated, and network traffic. In addition to an overview of your environment, it gives you detailed information such as CPU and RAM usage for each virtual machine, I/O weight, storage allocation and power usage. This is an invaluable resource for your administrators as cloud accounts are added to your environment. Technical staff are able to manage from both a high and granular level from a single location, simplifying the management process and enabling your business to scale to accommodate a growing customer base. AUTOMATED PROVISIONING Cloud automation functionality removes the manual process of assigning IP addresses, allocating storage and all the other processes that go along with creating a new virtual machine. This is done through the use of cloud templates that provide increased efficiency and ease of management for administrators. This allows true on demand service for consumers by reducing manual processes required of your technical staff and frees them to work on other mission-critical tasks. As opposed to processes without cloud automation, staff can save time and produce a scalable provisioning process. TECH CONSIDERATIONS 16

17 CONCLUSION Moving forward with cloud automation

18 CONCLUSION Moving forward with cloud automation WHY USE CLOUD AUTOMATION TO SCALE YOUR BUSINESS Automation will continue to be an important part of what drives software and hardware teams as we move forward. Simplicity and innovation are what drive us and will lead to ever more impressive tools for any business to harness. Cloud automation software is a necessary component of your cloud service model to facilitate ease of scalability. The degree to which you adopt the technology will be dependent upon your budget and unique business model. The more you adopt, the easier it will be to scale while reducing cost, streamlining your workflow and enhancing service for your end users. WHO NEEDS CLOUD AUTOMATION FOR SCALING Selling a cloud environment that includes cloud automation technology creates a system for your end users that is more stable, saves your company money, and helps you attract and retain customers. While there is an initial upfront cost, it is well worth the investment and requires little to no attention from your technical staff. It is more important than ever for managed and self-service providers to produce servers that are consistently available. Cloud automation simplifies provisioning, monitoring and management for administrative staff in order to yield an environment that is scalable and meets end user needs. 18

19 PARTNER WITH A VENDOR Finding a partner that can provide hardware and software integration to enhance your cloud environment is key to your success as a service provider in the cloud computing industry. Partner with a company that can complement your business model and offer full cloud automation technology for your administrative staff and end users. The investment now will make all the difference for your future. Appcore provides cloud automation software to simplify the complexity of cloud environments. To learn more about our custom solution, watch the Appcore AMP experience videos. CONCLUSION 19

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