Orchestration is the practice of automatically configuring, coordinating, and managing applications, computer systems, and services. It primarily helps IT teams manage complicated workflows and perform tasks with ease.
Orchestration often requires identifying and understanding the many processes involved in accomplishing tasks and tracking the steps involved across various environments. These include mobile devices, applications, and databases.
In sum, orchestration refers to automating a series of tasks to work together seamlessly.
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Why Is Orchestration Important?
The main goal of orchestration is to optimize and streamline multiple tasks in a complicated workflow or process that often involves a myriad of systems. Most businesses employ orchestration to eliminate redundancies in operations. That way, it would be more manageable to take products and services to market.
Companies with adequate technology infrastructures in place use orchestration to speed up software development, daily transaction batch processing, application and server management, and data analytics.
Consider this scenario: A company needs to update its software. At first glance, it may seem the task can be quickly done with the simple insertion of code into an existing program. That solution is prone to human error. And when it fails, the IT team needs to spend considerable time to fix mistakes that can impact operations.
IT experts typically manage hundreds of servers and applications. That said, going through every affected system or service to fix errors can cost the company time and resources.
Orchestration allows IT teams to automate individual processes without the risk of causing errors.
What Is the Difference between Orchestration and Automation?
We said orchestration could automate, so how does it differ from automation?
Automation and orchestration are two different but related concepts. Automation processes aid businesses in streamlining operations by removing human intervention. Like orchestration, automation assigns systems tasks that help organizations address complex problems with fewer errors. But, unlike orchestration, automation is often done to only a single job.
Orchestration automates several processes across systems that run on different platforms. And so, we can say that automation is only part of orchestration.
What Are the Challenges Involved in Orchestration?
While orchestration is beneficial for organizations, it does come with several challenges such as:
Complex Life Cycle Management
One of the downsides of orchestration has to do with life cycle management, particularly that which involves a distributed process. Why? IT teams need to carry out deployment only after considering a massive number of dependencies.
In some cases, they need to identify at least 20 individual steps before new software can be deployed. They also have to consider different management processes. They must think about upgrading, scaling, and configuring orchestration tools as well.
Orchestration is also reliant on connectivity, especially for companies that use a hybrid cloud setup. Private cloud deployment relies heavily on local area network (LAN) connectivity. Organizations need to have robust infrastructures to ensure their network stays connected during orchestration.
Another significant issue is security. Not all orchestration tools come with encrypted application programming interfaces (APIs). Those that do not will always pose security risks. Organizations that use third-party packages may not always receive necessary updates and patches on time. As such, their IT teams may need to set up additional security systems to ensure protection.
So, what is orchestration? Simply put, it is the process of automating multiple processes across a multitude of individually configured systems.
The orchestration market is still young. That said, users should note that they are prone to inconsistencies and bugs.