Introduction to Orchestration in the Enterprise

Frank Browning
Last Updated on May 7, 2023 by Editorial Staff
May 7, 2023
Reading time < 4 minutes

This is the first part of a 7-part series on the salient features that IT professionals should look for in high-performing IT infrastructure orchestration platforms for enterprise use cases.

The Challenge

Are you tired of manually managing your IT infrastructure? Do you feel like you’re stuck in the IT version of Groundhog Day, performing the same tasks repeatedly? It’s time to break the cycle and bring some automation and orchestration into your life. Don’t worry; you won’t be replaced by robots just yet. But if you don’t automate, your competitors might just leave you in the dust!

If you’re looking to improve your IT infrastructure, orchestration is one of the essential tools that you need to know about. Orchestration is a process that helps automate and manage the different components in an IT infrastructure. It is essential for businesses looking to stay competitive in a fast-paced, digital world. In this article, we will cover what orchestration is, how it differs from automation and the key features that make up an IT infrastructure orchestration platform.

Defining Orchestration vs Automation in the IT Infrastructure

Automation and orchestration are often used interchangeably, but they are two distinct concepts. Automation is the process of using technology to handle tasks without human intervention. On the other hand, orchestration is a higher-level process that manages and coordinates multiple automated tasks to automate, or orchestrate, an IT operation. In an IT infrastructure context, automation refers to single actions that can be performed by a computer program or script on a particular area or domain of the infrastructure, while orchestration involves managing the execution of multiple automated tasks to achieve a specific goal.

When considering automation and orchestration, it’s important to note that automation needs to be built in a way that can be trusted to handle activities without human input. This means that automation needs to be tested, validated, and monitored to ensure it performs as expected. It is also important to ensure that automation is secure and adheres to compliance and regulatory requirements.

Orchestrating Operations in IT Infrastructure

When we talk about orchestration in the IT infrastructure, we are referring to the process of managing a sequence of automated tasks to achieve the full automation of an operational process. This is different from automation, which is focused on performing individual tasks. In an IT infrastructure context, an operation can consist of many different tasks that need to be executed in a specific sequence to achieve a particular outcome. For example, an operation of deploying a server for a particular application may involve provisioning a new virtual machine, configuring it with the necessary OS & software, deploying it on a specific network, updating security policy, etc. for the server to be operational. Orchestration helps to ensure that these tasks are executed in the correct order, with the right inputs and outputs, and that any dependencies or constraints are handled correctly. To read more on the difference between automation, orchestration and cross-domain orchestration check out our blog here.

Salient features of an IT infrastructure orchestration platform

An IT infrastructure orchestration platform is essential for managing complex IT environments, and there are several key features that you should look for when evaluating a solution:

  1. Importance of Integrations – The platform should support integration with other systems and tools in your IT environment to ensure that you can manage all your resources from a single pane of glass on an open, plug-and-play platform.
  1. Importance of Customizability at the Enterprise Level – The platform should be highly customizable to meet the specific needs of your organization.
  1. Importance of Ease of Adoption – The platform should be easy to use and manage, with an intuitive user interface and straightforward workflows for both developers and operations.
  1. Importance of On-Prem/Hybrid Cloud – The platform should support on-premises and hybrid cloud environments, providing flexibility and choice.
  1. Importance of Event-Driven Automation – The platform should ingest events and have a rule system to seamlessly perform closed-loop automation to automatically detect and remediate issues in your environment.
  1. Importance of Application History & Metrics for Compliance and Audits – The platform should provide metrics and reporting capabilities to help ensure compliance with regulatory requirements and internal policies.

An orchestrator is an essential tool for managing complex IT environments, and it is critical to ensure that your organization is using an IT infrastructure orchestration platform that supports the features that you need to manage your resources effectively. By selecting a platform that supports integrations, customizability, ease of operations, on-premises and hybrid cloud environments, event-driven automation, and application metrics, you can ensure that your organization is well-positioned to compete in today’s fast-paced digital world. Click here to see an introduction to our orchestration platform, Composer; the event-driven orchestration platform.

In Part II of this series, we will look into the Importance of Integrations for Orchestration Platforms, where we will look into why connections with other tools and services within your IT environment are key to a value-adding orchestration platform.