It's not easy or inexpensive to implement, but without automation you'll never get self-service or self-healing, or realize maximum ROI. Here's how to get started.
As with most complicated projects, you're better off building in automation from the get-go; retrofitting is more expensive and less effective. So we were somewhat discouraged with the results of our InformationWeek 2012 Private Cloud Survey. The good news is, this technology has reached a tipping point: 51% of 414 respondents are either building private clouds (30%) or have them in place now (21%). But when we asked those in the construction stage about nine critical steps, orchestrating automation across multiple subsystems came in dead last.
Let's be clear: No automation, no cloud. How do we figure that? NIST defines cloud as having five essential characteristics: on-demand self-service, broad network access, resource pooling, rapid elasticity or expansion, and measured service. Virtualization and solid WAN engineering will provide resource pooling, elasticity, and broad network access, but measured service and--most importantly--on-demand self-service aren't part of standard virtualization management suites. For these, automation is required.
Self-service isn't the only benefit. More efficient use of data center resources, self-healing, improved application availability, better power management, and preplanned responses to various scenarios are among the other potential benefits of a solid automation deployment.
Unfortunately, there isn't a standard way to do cloud automation; in fact, there isn't even agreement ...