This is a guest post for the Computer Weekly Developer Network written by Raymond Ma, in his position as General Manager of Europe at Alibaba Cloud, the digital technology and intelligence backbone of Alibaba Group.
In more specific terms, Alibaba Cloud offers IaaS (infrastructure as a service) + PaaS (platform as a service) cloud services that include elastic compute, data storage, relational database services, big data analytics and processing, anti-DDoS protection and Content Delivery Networks (CDN) technologies.
Raymond Ma writes as follows…
Cloud is inherently aligned, suited and engineered to benefit from the advantages that stem from automation and autonomous control in all its forms.
Because we start from an abstracted virtualised foundation of computing resources which are predominantly software-defined, we can use cloud automation platform technology to automate the provisioning and management of cloud resources and run a more highly-performant, more agile and most cost-efficient organisation.
Automation applied at this level enables a business to provision and manage cloud resources in a self-service automated fashion in a way that opens the door to the increasingly sophisticated levels of AI that we can now leverage across the modern compute and data stack.
A majority of existing users of cloud services in Asia are expecting to increase their investment in the cloud technology in 2023 while 46% of the businesses plan to increase their investment in automation, according to a new survey report entitled “The Next-Generation Cloud Strategy in Asia”, commissioned by Alibaba Cloud.
Depth, density & data-driven diversity
If we consider the number of cloud automation platforms currently available, we can see depth, density and data-driven direction, but we can also see diversity.
That diversity manifests itself in some popular cloud automation platforms and the question now then, logically enough perhaps, comes down to what exactly should customers/users look for in a cloud automation platform in terms of functionality?
Key among the functions required is the ability to automate an organisation’s cloud infrastructure and services. A solid cloud automation platform should provide the business with the tools and capabilities needed to manage any given total cloud environment – which may span on-premises private cloud, public cloud services and hybrid cloud portions where instances or workloads traverse both.
What should those tools offer?
They should provide a business with the means to handle the provisioning, monitoring and managing your of cloud resources for contemporary cloud environments that may encompass elements of migrated technology mixed with cloud-native elements, all aligned for modern technology requirements in the age of real-time data streaming and always-on continuous computing.
Cloud automation platform
A solid cloud automation platform includes a self-service portal that allows users to provision and manage cloud resources on-demand. It also provides a unified interface for managing cloud resources, including compute, storage, networking and security.
With an ability to support multiple cloud providers and cope with flexible pricing models, a functional cloud automation platform will also help to improve the performance of applications and services running on the cloud.
For example, Alibaba Cloud supports Cloud Operations (CloudOps) by helping businesses create and configure multi-cloud and multi-cluster environments for easy and secure application management. This includes Kubernetes cluster provision and network scaling, application data backup strategy, cluster logging and monitoring, multi-cluster management.
The potential of cloud automation is as vast and unlimited as our architectural imagination can drive us.
Used diligently, cloud automation platform technology can help organisations to save time and money and to improve the performance of their cloud-based applications and services.