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Azure Orchestration Tools: Boosting Cloud Efficiency in '24

In the evolving landscape of cloud computing, Microsoft Azure has positioned itself as one of the leading providers as it took second place after AWS with a 23 percent market share.1 Among the critical features that position Azure as one of the leaders in this domain are its orchestration tools – powerful utilities designed to streamline and automate the management of various workloads across complex IT environments. 

Orchestration is the automated configuration, coordination, and management of computer systems, applications, and services. Orchestration tools in Azure empower businesses to improve their operational efficiency and productivity by reducing manual tasks and enhancing resource optimization. This article explores the most significant Azure orchestration tools available today.

What are cloud orchestration tools?

Cloud orchestration tools are software products that help manage interconnections and interactions among cloud-based and on-premise resources. They allow businesses to automate deploying, coordinating, and managing complex computer systems, services, and applications within a cloud infrastructure.

What are the benefits and features of cloud orchestration tools?

1. Efficiency (from a computing perspective)

Orchestration tools can automate the deployment of applications and resources, saving significant time and effort. This can dramatically speed up server deployments, software updates, and more. By automating tasks and optimizing resource usage, orchestration tools can help reduce costs. They can ensure that resources are only used when needed and scaled down when not, preventing wastage.

2. Self-Service Provisioning

Cloud orchestration allows for self-service provisioning of operating system resources, where end-users can request resources as needed without going through a complex approval process. This can lead to faster deployment times and higher productivity for the tech team as they can focus on higher-value issues.

3. Standardization

Cloud orchestration tools help to standardize workflows and processes. They can ensure consistency in deployment and operations, reducing the risk of errors.

4. Scalability

These tools can automate scaling resources up or down based on demand. This ensures that applications can handle varying levels of traffic and that resources are used efficiently. For businesses operating in a multi-cloud environment, orchestration tools can simplify the management of resources across different cloud platforms. This allows businesses to utilize the unique benefits of each platform while still maintaining a unified management approach.

5. Improved Security and Compliance

Cloud orchestration tools can help enforce security policies and compliance standards across the cloud environment. Automated compliance checks and security measures can be implemented, reducing the risk of breaches and non-compliance.

6. Reliability

Cloud orchestration tools can aid in automating disaster recovery processes, ensuring continuous delivery and business continuity in the event of a disaster or outage.

Azure Orchestration Tools

ActiveBatch

ActiveBatch is a versatile tool designed for job scheduling and workload automation, equipping IT teams with the ability to automate tasks and sequences of jobs across diverse platforms. It can automate application workflows across the entire IT infrastructure, covering both multi-cloud and on-premise systems, serving as a unified workload automation solution.

With its low-code, user-friendly interface, ActiveBatch enables drag-and-drop operations and doesn’t demand advanced technical skills. It supports a range of enterprise applications and facilitates command-line operations while maintaining its user-friendly nature. Existing open-source job scheduling solutions can be integrated or simplified within the ActiveBatch framework, promoting effective automation for digital businesses. 

Source: ActiveBatch

Redwood RunMyJobs

Redwood RunMyJobs is a workload automation platform specifically designed for essential business processes. As a Software as a Service (SaaS) solution, RunMyJobs is developed to automate workloads, enabling users to effortlessly integrate varying systems and data, regardless of their IT landscape’s size or complexity. It facilitates a bridge between on-premise systems and private cloud SaaS solutions. It can operate in both multi-cloud environments and hybrid-cloud environments as it offers cloud services and cloud automation.

Azure Automation

Azure Automation is an orchestration service that allows you to automate frequent, error-prone cloud management tasks. It provides the ability to define runbooks, and scripts that automate operations in Azure.

With the use of runbooks, Azure Automation simplifies complex and repetitive operations. You can automate tasks such as deploying virtual machines, managing and correcting configurations, handling system updates, and more. Azure Automation supports various languages for scripting, including PowerShell and Python.

Azure Batch

Azure Batch is a cloud-based job scheduling service that parallelizes and distributes the processing of large volumes of data across many computers.

Batch allows you to scale out compute resources to achieve high throughput easily. You can run large-scale parallel and high-performance computing (HPC) batch jobs efficiently in Azure. This is especially useful when running large, complex jobs like media rendering, Monte Carlo simulations, or any task that requires heavy computation.

Azure Databricks

Azure Databricks is an analytics platform based on the Apache Spark project. It allows for the orchestration of data engineering and data science workflows.

Databricks notebooks can be scheduled to run as jobs, either periodically or as a response to a trigger. They can also be combined into workflows, offering robust data processing and analytical capabilities. Additionally, Databricks integrates well with other Azure services, making it easy to ingest, process, and export data across your Azure environment.

Azure DevOps

Azure DevOps is a set of development tools for planning, developing, testing, and delivering software. It includes an a pipeline orchestration tool called Azure Pipelines. It is an important tool for maintaining the integrity of data pipelines.

Azure Pipelines is a CI/CD service that can automatically build, test, and deploy your code. Pipelines is fully integrated with Azure, meaning it has native support for Azure’s vast service library. It can also deploy to other cloud providers and on-premises servers, making it a flexible and robust tool for any development team. 

Azure Functions

Azure Functions is a serverless computing service that allows you to run code on-demand without having to provision or manage infrastructure explicitly.

This service allows you to create small pieces of code, or “functions,” that run in response to various triggers. These triggers can be a specific time, an HTTP request, or an Azure service event. Functions are ideal for simple tasks or tasks that run irregularly, like scheduled jobs or responding to changes in data.

Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS)

Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS) is an open-source orchestration service for deploying, scaling, and managing containerized applications.

AKS streamlines Kubernetes management, deployment, and operations. It automatically covers underlying infrastructure and lets users focus on application development. With AKS, you can easily scale your applications, implement a CI/CD pipeline, and monitor the performance of your applications and infrastructure.

Azure Logic Apps

Azure Logic Apps is a cloud-based service that enables you to schedule, automate, and orchestrate tasks, business processes, and workflows when you need to integrate apps, data, services, and systems across organizations. Azure Logic Apps offers numerous products, such as Azure Scheduler.

Logic Apps is a designer-first integration service, meaning you can design your workflows visually with an easy-to-use interface and a vast set of pre-built connectors for various services. This service is exceptional for creating complex orchestration workflows that involve multiple disparate systems and require decision logic.

Azure Resource Manager (ARM)

Azure Resource Manager is a fundamental orchestration service in Azure. It allows users to manage and organize resources in Azure by deploying and managing various resources in a collective, organized manner.

With ARM, you can create reusable deployment templates that define the resources to deploy, dependencies among resources, and customizable parameters. This streamlines your deployment process and ensures consistency across your environments. ARM also provides role-based access control (RBAC), which adds a layer of security by controlling who can manage resources and what actions they can perform.

Azure Service Fabric

Azure Service Fabric is a distributed systems platform that enables you to package, deploy, and manage scalable and reliable microservices.

Service Fabric represents the next-generation platform for building and managing these enterprise-class, tier-1, cloud-scale services. It also provides comprehensive application lifecycle management capabilities such as provisioning, deploying, monitoring, upgrading, and de-provisioning distributed applications, all orchestrated and managed by Azure.

Azure Site Recovery

Azure Site Recovery is a disaster recovery service that allows you to orchestrate and automate your Azure resources’ replication, failover, and recovery.

Site Recovery provides simple, reliable disaster recovery capabilities for your applications, ensuring business continuity. With its automation features, you can minimize downtime and data loss if your primary site goes down.

BMC Multi-Cloud 

BMC’s Multi-cloud Management solution is a specialized product designed to drive digital transformation in organizations by facilitating unique and versatile management of multiple cloud environments. It comes packed with features such as cloud migration portals, cost prediction modules, and predictive service management, which assist in efficiently managing your cloud infrastructure.

Moreover, it empowers you to oversee and manage your hybrid cloud setups on-premises data sources through the BMC Multi-cloud management tool. This monitoring functionality not only facilitates the identification of issues but also aids in devising appropriate solutions.

Cloudify

Cloudify is an open-source solution for DevOps automation, offering a way to consolidate automation tools on a single platform. It establishes a unified management hub featuring the concept of “Environment as a Service,” which integrates a variety of built-in toolchains and integrations to handle diverse environments effectively.

Furthermore, Cloudify is designed to support multi-cloud and hybrid environments while maintaining an open architecture that supports plug-ins. It also automates DevOps workflows, enhancing the management of applications, particularly those that are complex.

Red Hat Ansible

The Red Hat® Ansible® Automation Platform is a comprehensive automation solution designed to configure systems, deploy software, and execute complex workflows. It offers tools that allow you to create, manage, and scale throughout the entire enterprise.

Ansible also demonstrates compatibility with Amazon Web Services, having the capacity to manage even the most intricate AWS environments through its Playbooks modules. This feature enables the repetitive deployment and substantial scaling of cloud environments across diverse geographic regions. Notably, Ansible is user-friendly, easy to install and configure, and does not require a steep learning curve or the necessity of an agent.

You can learn about workload automation tools on the pages that explain a few top vendors in detail:

Or check out complete vendor lists in these categories:

AIMultiple analyzed WLA vendors using relevant, public, and verifiable criteria covering vendor market presence and functionality.

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Access Cem's 2 decades of B2B tech experience as a tech consultant, enterprise leader, startup entrepreneur & industry analyst. Leverage insights informing top Fortune 500 every month.
Cem Dilmegani
Principal Analyst
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Altay Ataman
Altay is an industry analyst at AIMultiple. He has background in international political economy, multilateral organizations, development cooperation, global politics, and data analysis. He has experience working at private and government institutions. Altay discovered his interest for emerging tech after seeing its wide use of area in several sectors and acknowledging its importance for the future. He received his bachelor's degree in Political Science and Public Administration from Bilkent University and he received his master's degree in International Politics from KU Leuven .

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