On-demand pricing is a headline features of cloud platforms. Cloud infrastructure hosting clients pay for the resources they use. There’s little need to have idle infrastructure lying around because deleting resources is a low-friction process — something that’s not always true of physical infrastructure deployments.
As a virtual infrastructure platform, the cloud also lends itself to automation. Cloud web interfaces — and especially cloud APIs — allow cloud vendors and users to automate common processes, reducing the cost of managing infrastructure processes and freeing up personnel to focus on tasks that generate value for the business.
Automated deployment and provisioning of cloud infrastructure empowers businesses to consolidate IT operations, reduce errors, and increase efficiency.
If you’ve been a developer or IT pro for a few years, you’ll remember what it used to take to have a server deployed and provisioned with the necessary software environment. If, as a developer, you needed additional physical hardware to deploy or test a new feature, the lead time could be measured in weeks or even months. You’d submit a request for access and wait until the IT department deployed and provisioned servers. Or you’d wait until they told you why you couldn’t have those resources.
The cloud is a very different environment. The time between requesting resources and them being delivered is slashed to hours, or minutes if the developer is able to deploy their own cloud servers. That’s because the process is automatic and — in many cases — there doesn’t need to be a human in the loop at all. It’s all handled in software.
The cost savings can be profound: fewer IT staff are involved, there is less administrative overhead, and, most importantly, new features can be tested and deployed very quickly.
Automated scaling means that infrastructure deployment can closely match the business’s real needs. Because deployment and provisioning is automated, new infrastructure is ready as soon as it’s needed.
It’s possible to integrate load monitoring software with a cloud platform’s API and automatically deploy fully provisioned server resources to meet the exact needs of your application. And, as I’ve already said, the same automated systems can remove cloud resources when they’re not needed. Infrastructure deployments grow and shrink automatically depending on the current needs of the business.
Continuous integration is the process of pushing code to a repository several times a day and testing it automatically. Continuous deployment will put that code into production when it passes the necessary tests and oversight — some companies deploy new code several times a day too.
Continuous integration and deployment are only feasible at scale because of cloud automation. CI platforms use cloud automation to spin up virtual servers as testing environments, run the tests, and then bring down the testing servers, all automatically without any intervention.
Continuous integration and deployment with automatic infrastructure deployment reduces the cost and complexity of development and testing, and helps companies get code into production quickly.
Cloud automation can help businesses save money, but what we’ve discussed today is only the tip of the iceberg. Take a second to think about the infrastructure processes your business would benefit from automating — exciting isn’t it?