Conquering Multi-Cloud with Standard Self-Serviceable Automation and Orchestration

Multi-cloud adoption is witnessing steady growth as organizations vie for digital transformation. While the primary objective of multi-cloud is to support DevOps teams in their CI/CD initiatives, infrastructure complexity and disparate toolchains can sometimes stand in the way of accelerated application delivery. 

Challenges in orchestrating multi-cloud environments

Complexity: A multi-cloud environment consists of different cloud architectural models, management dashboards, policies, and APIs, making it complex. Automation workflows that work in one cloud platform may not work in another.

Security: Multi-cloud increases the environment’s surface area for vulnerabilities and threats. Since data transits through different platforms and APIs, the possibility of a breach is high.

Compliance: Standardizing processes and policies in a multi-cloud environment, where each cloud provider has its own set of policies, is tough. 

Governance: DevOps teams have their own set of tools that are mostly open-source. Add to the mix the management tools offered by each cloud service provider, and governance becomes a pressing issue.  

To provide a higher level of abstraction and interoperability, it’s common practice to use containers. Containers allow applications to move between environments without worrying about the underlying architecture and APIs. However, they suffer from certain disadvantages, such as lack of persistent data storage and inability to work with other containers.

Orchestrating multi-clouds with third-party tools

To circumvent the above problems, organizations need to choose a tool that orchestrates across vendors and cloud platforms. Since multi-cloud is all about enabling DevOps, the orchestration tool must make it simple for DevOps teams to self-service provisioning of application and infrastructure services, such as load balancers, web application firewalls, TLS certificates, etc., by abstracting the underlying complexity. This way, they can focus more on building better applications. The orchestration tool should integrate with DevOps toolchains and facilitate infrastructure services as well to be deployed in a continuous manner with the requisite tests, so as to fit into the GITOps, CI/CD pipeline. Known as Continuous Infrastructure Automation (CIA), this approach allows for faster, more secure application deployments.

With self-serviceable automation and orchestration tools, DevOps teams can

Accelerate application delivery

  • Perform zero-touch orchestration and self-servicing by abstracting the complexity of application deployment and lifecycle management across tools (ITSM, ChatOps, etc.) and cloud platforms.
  • Reuse automation workflows across hybrid and multi-cloud environments, without worrying about the underlying technical nitty-gritty.
  • Provision infrastructure and applications faster by instituting an Infrastructure-as-Code (IaC) approach. Enhance infrastructure stability by bringing it into the CI/CD fold, where each change is tested before it is deployed.

Get detailed, holistic insights 

  • Gain application-centric visibility into the state, status, health, and performance of various service instances running in different, containerized environments and take remedial action in-case of event-triggered alerts. 
  • Monitor traffic flows, CPU utilization, error rates, uptime, etc. for heterogeneous applications from a single pane of glass. 

Ensure security, compliance, and governance

  • Establish an SSoT (Single Source of Truth) that discovers device configurations spanning multiple environments, backs up and stores data and configuration changes, and allows them to be restored during software upgrade failure or DR. 
  • Detect and correct configuration drifts before they manifest themselves in operation, standardize security policy implementation across platforms. 
  • Enforce governance in multi-tool, multi-tenant environments.
  • Get instant alerts on vulnerabilities, perform context-aware troubleshooting and auto-remediation, and get detailed post-mortem analyses to avoid future attacks.

Qualities that orchestration tools should possess for effective self-servicing

With on-premise and single-cloud environments, there are a limited number of services with well-defined permission sets. Multi-cloud environments come with an explosion of services, and administrators need to make sure DevOps teams have access to all the services they need, without compromising on the security and integrity of the environment. 

Role-based access controls (RBAC): The orchestration tool must provide granular access permissions that make it safer and simpler for different teams and functional roles to execute automation tasks. This way, no person can meddle with components that they’re not authorized to access. 

Integrations with existing solutions: The orchestration tool should possess built-in integrations with IAM services and protocols such as LDAP, RADIUS, TACACS, etc., and with GIT for establishing SSoT. 

Customizable service catalog and self-service portal: Often, it’s easy for teams to get lost in the maze of self-serviceable tasks. The tool should allow administrators to easily create personalized catalogs with selective automation tasks that users can log in via a portal. 

Zero-touch orchestration: The rise of citizen developers warrants that automation tasks should be easy to understand and execute by even non-developers. The automation workflows should be low-code, require only minimal inputs, and be context-aware so that they can run without much manual prodding.

Author's Bio

Nishevitha  Ramamoorthy

Nishevitha Ramamoorthy

Product Marketing Manager, AppViewX
Nishevitha is the Product Marketing Manager for AppViewX AUTOMATION+, a revolutionary application and network services management, automation, and orchestration platform. She uses content to give her audience the perfect blend of lighthearted fun and serious tech.