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5 ways orchestration can help the enterprise right now

TracySiclair

Guest blog by Arthur Cole

Automation and orchestration are both intriguing and intimidating to the enterprise. On one hand, the idea of smooth, coordinated, and largely fail-safe processes has been the stuff of dreams for decades. But on the other hand, bringing order to the chaos that exists in most data centers must be complicated in itself, right?

 

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Surprisingly, no, provided the transition is conducted in an orderly and, well, orchestrated fashion. The key is to start small by identifying processes that stand to gain the most from integrated workflows and resource synchronization. While these may vary from enterprise to enterprise, experiences from recent field deployments indicate that automation and orchestration can produce immediate returns in the following areas:

1. Incident response

According to Enterprise Strategy Group, 98 percent of IT executives are challenged by incident response requirements, and 71 percent say the difficulty has increased in the past two years as more enterprise infrastructure leaves the confinement of the corporate firewall. At the moment, the sheer volume of threat data being collected makes it impossible to collect and process manually, so orchestration has the potential to improve everything from network and application layer visibility to analytics and recovery operations.

2. Quality measurement

Particularly in highly compliant industry verticals such as health care and finance, quantifying the outcomes and experiences of digital engagement is a time-consuming and thankless task. For the Mayo Clinic, lack of orchestration was inhibiting the ability to implement the advanced analytics needed to meet government regulations. By orchestrating key functions such as chart extraction and data abstraction, the organization was able to keep pace with internal and external quality assessment workflows to improve care and reduce costs.

3. IT services delivery

As the enterprise becomes more of a service provider than a builder and maintainer of infrastructure, the ability to coordinate the flow of data and applications across diverse sets of resources becomes paramount. As seen in companies such as Insurance Australia Group, orchestration can bring harmony to workflows, processes, change management, and a host of other functions, all through a user-friendly interface that allows average knowledge workers to create and customize their own work environments. This, in turn, improves data productivity, increases the pace and interconnectivity of digital processes, and reduces errors and failure rates, all while lowering operating costs—in some cases, dramatically.

4. Continuous integration/continuous development

The hallmark of emerging DevOps architectures, CI/CD relies on orchestration to maintain the libraries, applications, config files, and other tools needed to provide full lifecycle support for digital products and services. As Trend Micro's Mark Nunnikhoven points out on DevOps.com, orchestration provides baseline instructions for server provisioning and other functions while still leaving room for all the customization that typically comes with building highly targeted applications. Orchestration can also incorporate utility management, version control and updates, and a wide range of other disciplines so developers can focus more on meeting user requirements than managing systems.

5. Digital transformation

By itself, orchestration will not produce a digital business model for the enterprise, but it will aid the transformation in a crucial way by supporting the strategic flexibility and dynamic infrastructure that fuels collaboration and innovation. As HPE's Ailton Santos notes, large-scale initiatives require careful orchestration simply by virtue of the many pieces of the enterprise environment—and the IT stack in particular—they touch.

"It's one thing to know you need to be agile, dynamic, and interdisciplinary, but unless you have the infrastructure, processes, and technologies in place to actually facilitate those things, you won't succeed," he said.

Trying to build a next-generation data environment without orchestration is like trying to build a brick wall without cement. Sure, you can pile the bricks in the shape of a wall, but it won't be as durable nor as functional as a properly built wall.

For an enterprise industry that's becoming increasingly dependent on digital processes, orchestration is proving to be the only way to keep organizations from drowning in their own data.

 

Arthur Cole.jpeg

Arthur Cole.  With more than 20 years of experience in technology journalism, Arthur has written on the rise of everything from the first digital video editing platforms to virtualization, advanced cloud architectures and the Internet of Things. He is a regular contributor to IT Business Edge and Enterprise Networking Planet and provides blog posts and other web content to numerous company web sites in the high-tech and data communications industries.

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About the Author

TracySiclair

Tracy Siclair has worked for HPE for 20 years in various positions, all geared towards providing a better customer experience. She has a passion for thinking out-of-the-box and finding innovative ways to get the job done. While not on a computer for work, she enjoys watching her kids play sports, photography, videography, and the occasional game of billiards. Tracy resides in beautiful Fort Collins, Colorado.

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