Over the past several weeks we have discussed the four types of automation. We by describing provisioning and configuration automation, and why zipping the two together help you build automated infrastructures. Next, we showed how automating monitoring data can make your architectures resilient. This post is about orchestration automation. It will show that infrastructure automation isn’t really complete unless you’ve integrated all of your automation together.

Build Automation for the Entire Infrastructure

Infrastructure automation is about connecting systems and weaving services together into a single harmonious working environment. However, building portable, reusable automation for infrastructures is an area of automation that often gets overlooked.

Because of this much of the automation tooling we have wasn’t built with connecting every system together in mind. This is a significant oversight in how the automation tooling has been built.

Robust Infrastructures Require Orchestration Automation

We already discussed how monitoring data automation helps you build resilient infrastructures. However, to take your infrastructure to the next level you must go beyond resilient. What if there was an automation system that allowed individual systems to continue to refine, add, change their characteristics after they were provisioned?

For this to happen, an automation system would allow the individual systems to go through repeatable infrastructure pipeline operations, reach known good states, and wait for additional actions. Also, the automation system needs to have an understanding of the role of each infrastructure components.

This is what orchestration automation does. This type of automation is hard because it needs to keep track of the state of individual members of the entire system. For every part of the system it needs to know:

  • Current state
  • Intended final state
  • Required information along the way. 

Additionally, orchestration automation performs standard operations on a cluster-wide basis:

  • Build certificates
  • Create and manage keys
  • Share tokens

Don’t Give Up Too Soon!

Too often, some automation is created but it is abandoned and the finish wiring is done by hand. Maybe you assume that you won’t build integrated systems or clusters very often. So you end up building a static underlay for your infrastructure. Or maybe you put the infrastructure into an Ansible inventory. But since that’s really just a giant file, it also becomes static once it’s been applied. 

The essence of orchestration automation is being able to describe how the entire system is constructed of many pieces in an automated, repeatable way. The ability to repeat and describe the system so that pieces and parts of it can be reused in many places without having to reinvent the whole system is a critical component orchestration automation. 

Most critically, orchestration needs to be considered its own type of automation. The extent we are able to automate cross-system actions enables us to influence productive, reusable infrastructure pipelines on single systems. These single systems can then do provisioning and configuration, add monitoring, and perform discovery and data collection. 

Real Talk

There is no aspect of automating a full system lifecycle that does not involve integrating with the other types of automation. Orchestration automation that makes things easier for the whole system as well as other types of automation. 

RackN Digital Rebar can help you on your orchestration automation journey. Check out a free trial today!

%d bloggers like this: