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What is Cloud Automation?

Austin Fuller

11 min read

Cloud automation. You’ve likely heard that buzzword (buzz phrase?) tossed about, but what does it mean and what’s the business value?

Get out your notepad. It’s time to discover precisely what cloud automation can do for your organization.

Simply put, cloud automation refers to processes that reduce or eliminate manual work to deploy and manage cloud computing workflows and services. We’re talking about storage and backup automation, addressing security and compliance challenges, aiding financial management, making quick work of configuration and settings changes, and deploying code as fast as your developers can build new features and fixes.

That’s right — it’s an infrastructure-wide affair. Automation tools optimize your cloud environment while reducing the need to perform repetitive tasks or make real-time decisions about capacity or performance. They help developers, security personnel, and IT engineers free their time to do what they do best while your systems stay up and running — and within budget.

As cloud automation minimizes the drudgery of manual tasks, it injects speed, efficiency, and agility into traditionally slow and cumbersome processes. The business impacts are massive:

  • Time lost to mundane tasks? Regained!
  • Innovation stalled by routine maintenance? Revitalized!
  • Budget stretched thin? Reallocated!

Implementing cloud automation boosts business agility, enabling faster responses to market changes and business needs. Watch out, competition.

Ready to learn more about how your organization can implement cloud automation and all the benefits you’ll reap? Onward!

Cloud Automation Benefits

Cloud automation is a must to compete — or at least keep up — with others in your industry. By 2027, the cloud will be the most pervasive form of computing. And by 2025, 70 percent of organizations will have implemented structured automation in their cloud computing processes. So, with the global cloud automation market estimated to soar to a whopping $480.5 billion by 2030, cloud automation’s desirability — and impact — is simply undeniable.

Cloud automation helps teams speed up tedious, repetitive, error-prone, and generally time-sucking tasks, such as:

  • Creating users and granting them permissions
  • Sizing, provisioning, and configuring virtual machines (VMs) and other resources
  • Invoking virtual networks
  • Monitoring and managing availability and performance

In short, cloud automation tools streamline operations and free your teams to be more productive.

Why Do We Need Cloud Automation?

If the advantages outlined above aren’t enough to convince you that cloud automation is necessary, consider the following example.

Imagine you work for a global e-commerce company encountering frequent surges in website traffic during flash sales. Teams are manually scaling the infrastructure during these peak periods, and they are struggling. As a result, your organization has some pretty slow response times. Those flash sales aren’t much help if the only “flash” is how quickly potential customers get frustrated and leave.

To help, your company can implement cloud automation tooling to scale its infrastructure based on real-time demand. Automation provisions and deprovisions resources dynamically, optimizing performance during peak traffic periods without overspending on a typical day.

But these are just some of the benefits of cloud automation. There are plenty more.

Faster Deployment and Time-to-Market

Cloud automation, continuous deployment, and DevOps empower developers to release apps and updates more efficiently. Cloud automation tools make setting up development and testing resources quick and easy, streamlining the product development cycle.

The result? Quicker time-to-market, optimized business processes, frequent feature updates, and boosted product quality and customer satisfaction — every business’ dream and a competitive edge-keeper.

Scalability

Automating cloud computing processes also lets you auto-scale as needed. This snazzy feature helps your systems automatically increase or decrease available resources depending on preset rules or usage changes. Teams get what they need when they need it.

Additionally, cloud automation supports cloud governance and effective resource use. You can easily track, monitor, and control resource consumption, ensuring that applications function well without paying for resources you don’t even use. Accounting will rejoice.

Cloud automation’s scalability support can transform businesses of all sizes. For example, leading job listing site Indeed leveraged automation to painlessly provision new Amazon Web Service (AWS) accounts as they grew. The process used to take a whole week to complete. Kion helped convert it into an instant, self-service system. Indeed now successfully handles their 150% increase in account requests with a 10x reduction in provisioning time!

Security

Of course, everyone cares about security — but if you’re in the healthcare industry and bound by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), an e-commerce biz subject to the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), or working within a government agency, you already know security is a matter of the law.

Cloud automation helps standardize and enforce security policies across your organization’s entire cloud infrastructure. This approach reduces the risk of a simple human mistake causing a nasty vulnerability.

And with the help of automation tools, you can monitor your cloud systems in real time for breaches or unusual activity. If something sketchy happens, these tools can take automated, immediate actions like blocking the IP addresses, isolating affected instances, or even shutting down systems to stop the issue from spreading.

Cost-Effectiveness

Investing in cloud automation can save stacks of money over time. For one thing, automating time-consuming tasks like infrastructure provisioning and configuration management reduces labor costs significantly.

Plus, because automation reduces the likelihood (and frequency) of human errors, there’s less time dedicated to fixing bugs and fewer instances of costly downtime. You’ve likely read more than one story about an organization forgetting to turn off a cloud-based computing job, resulting in a big bill.

Automation also lets you adapt to changing demands quickly, optimizing resource allocation while avoiding unnecessary expenses. By streamlining operations and boosting efficiency, your investment in cloud automation could pay for itself many times over.

Protection from Zombie Infrastructure

Zombies are fun when you’re watching The Walking Dead or channeling your inner Dolores O’Riordan, singing “Zombie-eh-eh” at karaoke night. But IT zombies are never as fun and rarely as musical — they’re scary and costly. They assume the form of zombie infrastructure — where users lose track of the cloud resources they’ve provisioned, continuing to rack up charges month after month.

Automation in the cloud stops this unnecessary drain on your finances, effectively cutting down waste and optimizing costs. NASA knows this all too well. They had to manage an enormous volume of data from satellites, aircraft, field measurements, and other programs. With Kion’s help, NASA enforced project-specific budgets in AWS, avoiding regulatory violations and cost overruns.

Challenges of Cloud Automation

Cloud automation is game-changing — but it’s not flawless. When implementing cloud automation, you’ll likely encounter a few challenges. Fortunately, automation tools like Kion can help.

Integration Hiccups

You’ve heard the saying, “Can’t we all just get along?” It feels cliché, but deep down, we know compatibility is a hefty pain point. If your cloud automation tools aren’t compatible with your existing systems and workflows, you’re in for a serious headache of disrupted workflows, increased downtime, and more problems than you started with.

To overcome integration hiccups, your organization needs to closely assess existing systems, prioritize standardization, support team communication, and leverage APIs to ensure smooth data exchanges.

To keep these integration issues at bay, turn to Kion. It helps you avoid integration hiccups via a unified platform that seamlessly integrates with your cloud environments. Its pre-built connectors and APIs ensure the various tools will play nicely, simplifying implementation and reducing the likelihood of compatibility challenges.

Upfront Costs

While automation should eventually save you lots of money, the upfront expenses can feel a tad jarring. Integrating cloud automation tools often generates high upfront costs due to several factors:

  • It takes significant resources to customize and configure the automation to meet specific organizational needs (no instant fix here).
  • Implementing these tools requires skilled expertise, and while your team might be great, you may have to seek specialized experience elsewhere.
  • Adding integrations, training staff, and testing workflows take time away from improving your products and growing the business.
  • Legacy systems might require extensive modifications or replacements, which could cost a boatload of money.

These upfront costs can strain budgets and hinder how fast you adopt automation solutions.

To minimize upfront costs as you implement automation, prioritize proper planning, assess existing infrastructure for compatibility, choose scalable solutions, and leverage open-source tools. Also, consider deploying your automation in phases to spread out expenses.

Or, you can shrink these upfront investments by choosing a flexible model — Kion. Its pre-built integrations and user-friendly interface also reduce the time and resources you need to implement your cloud automation, saving even more in the long run.

Legacy Thinking

No one really likes change. There’s nothing like a good ol’ comfort zone. Manually managing the cloud might feel like a cozy, perfect memory foam pillow for your developers that guarantees them a good night’s sleep as long as it’s there.

But now you’ve given them a feather pillow instead, and they’re wondering, “Will this be comfortable? What if I don’t sleep as well? Wait, am I allergic to feathers?”

Your organization may be up against this kind of legacy thinking. It often involves rigid processes, resistance to change, and little understanding of how cloud-native technologies will help everyone. To fully leverage the benefits of cloud automation and stay competitive in the rapidly evolving digital landscape, everyone must embrace a modern mindset — but that doesn’t mean they want to.

Don’t worry. You can combat this change-resistant mindset. Prioritize clear communication about cloud automation’s benefits, offer comprehensive training, involve employees in decision-making, and showcase success stories to build everyone’s confidence in the new approach. They’ll soon realize why you’re so excited about cloud automation’s transformative potential for your organization.

Kion makes cloud automation tooling more accessible and approachable to change-averse team members via its intuitive interface, straightforward workflows, and ample support resources. Guided onboarding empowers users to navigate the platform confidently, encouraging a smoother transition to automated processes. Soon, your workers will branch off, finding even more ways to automate tasks and save resources.

The Intricacies of Multi-Cloud Computing and Automation

A multi-cloud environment uses several cloud computing and storage services from various cloud vendors.

Organizations adopt a multi-cloud strategy so that they’re not stuck with just one vendor, have a backup plan in case something goes belly up, and can cherry-pick the best solutions. Maybe one provider is a machine learning superstar while another is the go-to for excellent storage options. Why settle for one when you can enjoy the best of all worlds?

However, multi-cloud automation poses some challenges. You should account for these factors to remain competitive and effective.

  • Managing security across platforms — Each platform has its unique set of security measures and protocols, and ensuring data security across platforms can be tricky. Kion’s unified security management feature helps enforce standard security policies across all your cloud platforms.
  • Budgetary controls across clouds — When working in a multi-cloud environment, controlling your budget and monitoring costs can be tricky. Without clear visibility into resource consumption across all clouds, you lack a holistic view of spending, making it easier to zoom right past your budget.

    Kion helps you control (and stick to) your budget across cloud environments by providing real-time cost analysis, resource optimization, and centralized governance. Its holistic, easy-to-understand view of your cloud spending helps you optimize costs while maintaining seamless operations across various cloud providers.
  • Fragmented workflows — Creating a seamless workflow within a multi-cloud setup is vital, especially when each platform’s interface and processes are unique.|

    Kion takes the complexity out of cloud automation with holistic, user-friendly, and powerful tools. These solutions help you seamlessly manage, control, and optimize your multi-cloud environment through automated cost controls, user provisioning, compliance support, and tools to uncover ways to save.

With Kion’s help, it’s easy to automate even multi-cloud environments — without breaking the bank.

Kion: The MVP of Cloud Automation

That’s the 411 on cloud automation. It helps your organization swiftly adapt to market changes, customer demands, and business needs. Automation streamlines workflows to improve productivity and accelerate your time-to-market. It helps lower costs, boost your business’ agility, and improve your security posture — all while nurturing scalability.

Selecting the right cloud automation tool is critical for single and multi-cloud architectures. It needs seamless compatibility with diverse cloud environments, flexible integration options, and comprehensive features to optimize performance and efficiency.

Kion offers unparalleled versatility and ease of use. With its extensive support across cloud providers and pre-built integrations, Kion empowers you to implement automation strategies across your entire cloud infrastructure.

Kickstart your automation journey with Kion. We’ll help you untangle the knots to turn single and multi-cloud challenges into limitless opportunities.

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About the Author

Austin Fuller

Austin has nearly a decade of experience in enterprise software and cybersecurity and is an AWS-certified cloud practitioner.

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