Editor's note

It takes time, money and a skilled staff to run and maintain an enterprise cloud efficiently. And, as those cloud environments grow more complex, admins face more responsibilities. Cloud automation and orchestration can step in to unburden IT teams.

Cloud automation and orchestration are must-haves in management tools to reduce manual, repetitive tasks and minimize human error. They create predictable workflows and manage resources that move between private and public environments. With a streamlined process that cuts out manual work, admins can deploy and redeploy applications more quickly.

Use this guide to get started with cloud automation and orchestration, evaluate popular provider tools and avoid misuse.

1The basics of cloud automation and orchestration

Cloud automation and orchestration aren't the same thing. Rather, they go hand in hand. Automation applies to individual deployment and management tasks, while orchestration arranges and coordinates the automated processes. Appropriate tools are available through top cloud providers, as well as third-party vendors, and each type has its tradeoffs. While automation and orchestration free up IT teams to focus on other tasks, they don't automate away higher-level IT jobs. In fact, IT organizations need people, such as automation engineers, to oversee these tools.

2A necessary role in hybrid and multi-cloud

Hybrid and multi-cloud are complex deployment models that have too many moving parts to manage and monitor manually. Different clouds require different integration setups and have different configuration requirements -- and human error could derail workloads. Cloud automation and orchestration tools are key to maintaining uniformity across multiple environments. Additionally, these tools not only save time, but also money, with automatic monitoring capabilities that can take action within certain parameters without human intervention.

3Cloud provider's native services

Top public cloud provides, such as AWS, Microsoft Azure and Google, offer numerous automation and orchestration tools to meet enterprise demand. Evaluate options such as Google Cloud Composer, Azure Automation and AWS CloudFormation. Each one has its own strengths and weakness, so choose the tool that works best with given workloads and other processes.