Imagine you want to listen to music. You might simply turn on the radio. You want to listen to a song so you flip through stations, but don’t hear it. Maybe you are the type to call into the station to request a song. You then wait, and wait, and maybe you hear it, maybe you don’t (within the timescale you have available to listen).
Alternatively, you open Spotify on your desktop, mobile or even car. You get a slick user interface so you can select the genre of music you want to listen to, the artist, the song. You can even pick a category – Christmas music, party music, 80’s music and control the volume. Spotify will make suggestions on what you might want to listen to, but it is all there for you to self-provision on your own.
Now let’s use this to frame cloud orchestration. Without cloud orchestration, you are essentially calling a radio station asking for some resources to be provisioned with your needed configuration in whatever timescale they can accommodate. With cloud orchestration, you can easily enable your customers (or on behalf of them) to manage their cloud resources – provision, de-provision resources based on their needs – meter, bill and configure resources based on their needs, when needed. And because the cloud is about compute resources on demand, flexibility and cost-effectiveness, cloud orchestration enables you to be the Spotify of the cloud. And that’s a nice place to be.
Three Benefits of Cloud Orchestration
There are many benefits to cloud orchestration, here are three benefits for cloud service providers and their customers.
1. Agility – Flexibility isn’t all about on-demand provisioning. Another benefit is agility to provision exactly what the customer wants i.e. how much CPU, memory, disk space or what network or configuration is required and how the customer wants to allocate these. The customer can control exactly what they need through agile provisioning. This helps avoid costly hardware situations such as:
- In a traditional project, the hardware is used for a two month project. Project ends and the hardware sits unused. It can be an expensive waste.
- Hardware is reconfigured for another project. In this case, the benefits are that it’s reused, however the time to decommission the entire infrastructure by formatting machines, de-cabling and then rebuilding those servers into a new configuration could take weeks. It’s not particularly efficient and uses a lot of manpower.
- An agile cloud orchestration platform lets cloud service providers separate virtual from physical resources. The software allows users to completely reconfigure what’s working on a server in minutes. And if a project is over or not being worked on, that server can be used differently every hour if necessary. It’s all simply done through a control panel or an API where a user logs in, turns on or off what they need and the software handles the rest.
2. Visibility and Control – Cloud orchestration also provides the ability to have fine-grain visibility and control of what resources customers can actually use. By using metering, cloud service providers can check how bandwidth, networks and disk I/O, for example, are being used. Before orchestration, there was no way of knowing how costs were mounting. This greater visibility and control allows service providers to charge customers for what they are using. Furthermore, the customer benefits by not having to pay for what they are not using. Year-on-year or quarterly comparisons can also help the business manage and control how they will cope with peaks and troughs.
3. Self-service provisioning – While not every cloud service provider will want to offer self-service provisioning, the functionality is still important and cannot be offered without cloud orchestration. Some companies will want to enforce ‘delegation control’ where some people can provision servers, on-demand while others still need to request it. The ability to do this can offer a competitive advantage.
To read more benefits, download our whitepaper on the reasons you need cloud orchestration. It outlines the differences between traditional and virtualized servers and orchestration and advises on the mistakes to avoid when selecting cloud orchestration.