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    January 27, 2023

    The Benefits of Extending Automation to Cloud Processing

    Valerie Fowler, Product Manager for Automation at Broadcom, explores why a ‘manager of managers’ makes much more sense than point scheduling tools.

    At the 2022 Automation Virtual Summit, Valerie Fowler, Product Manager for Automation at Broadcom, highlighted how quickly the landscape for IT operations is changing and the impact the cloud is having on workload automation (WLA). For example, SaaS is replacing on-premise in the applications space. Legacy applications are being rewritten as micro services and cloud-based ERP is the de facto way forward. The location for hosting these applications is changing too, whether it’s private/public cloud, multi-cloud or a hybrid of the two.

    When it comes to WLA, the type of workload being managed and where work runs is completely different to what was orchestrated in the past.

    However, there is one certainty: the preferred cloud provider today may not be the preferred choice tomorrow, which makes it imperative to not be locked into any single cloud provider.

    So, what are your options for automation in this modern cloud world?

    You may be looking at a cloud-based application that has built-in scheduling, such as Azure Data Factory. Or, you may be considering a workflow orchestrator such as Azure Logic Aps, Airflow, or AWS Step Functions.

    At first glance, it seems logical to use the scheduling capabilities of one or more of these cloud providers. After all, they offer basic scheduling functionality such as date, day of week, time, repeat. Some are built for specific processing requirements; some feature pre-built operational integrations that an enterprise automation solution may not provide. Most claim to be like Cron.

    Don’t be deceived. The demands of your data center are more complex and sophisticated than anything Cron can offer. Moreover, a reliance on multiple scheduling tools across the different application groups can quickly result in islands of automation. When that happens, you’ll be tasked with managing workloads across two, three, five, or more different interfaces. Each needs to be learned, has a separate log-in, and separate capabilities.

    All of this results in increased WLA complexity, increased errors, resources tied up in overlapping processes, and higher overall costs.

    MoM to the Rescue

    There is one advantage to these Cron-based schedulers: they all provide RESTful Web services APIs for integration. This is where Broadcom comes in. Our strategy for enterprise WLA is to take advantage of these APIs to provide integrations to cloud scheduling and workflow orchestration solutions.

    This gives IT operations an end-to-end WLA capability with comprehensive command and control – all through a single interface. Here at Broadcom, we refer to it as the ‘Orchestrator of Orchestrators’ or ‘Manager of Managers’. Or MoM, if you prefer!

    Broadcom introduces a holistic approach to automation: an agile, unified platform to accelerate your automation strategy and drive faster business transformation.

    The specific benefits include:

    Reduced risk

    • Centralized monitoring and visualization
    • Proactive alerting and SLA management
    • Forecasting and reporting
    • Scalability/high availability

    Increased agility

    • Corporate calendars
    • Intelligent event sensors and event triggers
    • Supports legacy/cloud/multi-cloud dependencies

    Compliance and governance

    • Symbolic variable substitution
    • Complete audit trail
    • Role-based security controls

    Your team is the expert on enterprise automation and has the responsibility for ensuring business applications run smoothly and SLAs are met. While workload types may have changed, the requirements for your enterprise automation remain the same: speed, reliability, and reduced risk.

    Having the right strategy in place now can help prevent future chaos. So ask yourself this simple question: would you prefer to have multiple overlapping and potentially complex schedulers, or a ‘MoM’ with the capabilities to meet future challenges, whatever their shape or form?

    You can catch up with all the presentations from the 2022 Automation Virtual Summit here.

    Tony Beeston

    30-year veteran that started in IT Operations working for financial services and telecommunications companies in the UK. Tony has spent the last 20 years specializing in delivering modern automation to businesses globally. Starting as a consultant, designing and delivering automation policies to companies around the...

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