Automation in the Cloud: What to know when you’re starting out.

July 26, 2013 by Diana Nolting

This is a series of posts appearing weekly that highlights the unique experiences, questions and successes individuals have their first year in the cloud. Posts are based on clients and non-clients alike. To submit your question or story, tweet @Bluelock.

The benefits of cloud grow exponentially when you leverage automation. Automation and cloud go hand in hand to increase efficiency and improve your experience.

When you’re a first-time user of cloud, automation is another daunting task that can cause some fear and trepidation in the beginning. But with a little guidance, automation won’t be overly complicated and can greatly increase your efficiency.

“How can a user leverage automation in the cloud to improve their experience?”

According to Bluelock CTO Pat O’Day, what’s really cool about the cloud is that it is designed from the ground up for automation.

“For those of you that still hand roll your software releases, your patching or your security updates, with the APIs that are available in most cloud platforms today, you are able to automate those functions,” O’Day continues. “With scripting or a Devops tool like Chef or Puppet you can build either deployment scripts or automate the activities you would normally perform with a mouse or a keyboard.”

Those activities can be dynamic as well. O’Day recalls a common use case when individuals will set the initial environment very small, but as more traffic comes in it tells the script to go ahead and grow the environment based on traffic.

“So, if a server or a pool of servers is under 75% utilized, it can run on 3 servers. But, if it goes above, automatically spin up a 4th server. And if that 4th server is above 75% utilization, automatically spin up another server, and a 5th and so on,” O’Day explains.

The automation of the addition of servers can continue to get really big and take care of the users that come in.

“But, the really cool part is that it can go the reverse that process as well and get really small,” explains O’Day. “That shrinks your footprint to the original size so you’re back down to saving a lot of money.”

O’Day explains that kind of automation is the normal, expected thing to do with cloud, but because most private datacenters the assets were fixed it was hard to take advantage of automation like that.


Interested in other first year tips and tricks? Here are some recent first year success blogs. 

Security Concerns with Horizontal and Vertical Cloud Scaling >> 

How to Ensure your Cloud Budget is Aligned with Your Spend >>


And, you can hear Bluelock CTO Pat O'Day answer questions about the first year in the cloud live in this online Purposeful Clouds podcast with Alma Redhead. Listen now >>