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Cloud & Hybrid Workload Automation: Software & Use Cases in '24

Today’s businesses are increasing their flexibility while managing costs by adopting a hybrid cloud strategy. According to Statista, industries have increased their cloud workloads and had an uptick in 2020 as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic.1

Cloud and hybrid workload automation software help businesses execute and manage workflows in a cloud and on-premises environment. According to McKinsey, automation of workflows on cloud services helps businesses gain agility and flexibility, and it saves businesses from spending time, effort, and costs on manual tasks.2

This article will explore the differences between cloud and hybrid workload automation, the top 10 tools, and 7 use cases of hybrid & cloud workload automation that enhance agility and productivity in business processes.

What is the difference between cloud and hybrid workload automation?

Cloud Workload Automation (CWA) is made for cloud environments like public, private, and multi-cloud setups. It helps automate tasks on different cloud platforms. This type of automation works well with the flexible nature of cloud resources, meaning it can adjust well as needs increase or decrease. CWA is really useful for businesses that are fully in the cloud or moving to the cloud. Its main job is managing tasks and data analysis in the cloud.

Hybrid Workload Automation (HWA) deals with cloud and on-premises environments (like an office or data center). It helps manage tasks in both these areas, linking traditional data center work with cloud services.

HWA is essential for companies with both on-premises systems and cloud services. It’s especially useful when some data or programs need to stay on-premises for reasons like safety rules, performance, cost, or security, but the company also uses cloud technology. This type of automation connects and organizes resources and tasks across both the traditional IT setups and cloud-based systems.

FeatureCloud Workload Automation (CWA) Hybrid Workload Automation (HWA)
Environment Focus Designed for cloud environments (public, private, multi-cloud). Manages both cloud environments and on-premises data centers.
Ideal For Businesses fully in the cloud or transitioning to cloud.
Organizations with a significant presence in both on-premises and cloud environments.
Cloud-centric integration capabilities. Integrates with a variety of cloud services and APIs.
Integrates with both cloud services and traditional on-premises infrastructure.

If you are already looking for cloud or hybrid automation solutions, check our article(s) for workload automation tools and job schedulers for each area:

Top 10 cloud workload automation software

ActiveBatch4.6 based on 246 reviews
RunMyJobs by Redwood4.7 based on 148 reviews
Fortra’s JAMS4.6 based on 162 reviews
Stonebranch4.5 based on 85 reviews
Control-M4.4 based on 58 reviews
AutoSys4.4 based on 48 reviews
Nutanix Cloud Manager4.3 based on 31 reviews
Rackspace Hybrid Cloud4.2 based on 26 reviews
IBM Workload Automation4.2 based on 22 reviews
CloudBolt Hybrid Cloud Management
4.3 based on 4 reviews

*Reviews are based on Capterra and G2. Vendors are ranked according to their reviews except for sponsors of this article, whose links are included in the table above.

Top 7 cloud workload automation use cases

1. Regulatory compliance

Failure to comply with data privacy regulations can result in fines and damage to a business’s reputation. As regulations change over time, businesses need to stay up-to-date with them. 

Hybrid and cloud workload automation tools help businesses store, classify, and use data. Regularly scheduled tasks for security audits, compliance checks, and updates can be automated, ensuring that these critical activities are performed consistently and without fail, thereby reducing the risk of security breaches and non-compliance penalties.

For example, BlueBay Asset Management, a financial investment company based in the United Kingdom, successfully implemented ActiveBatch Workload Automation to centralize job scheduling and improve system performance. The solution allowed them to automate critical business processes, such as risk assessment and trading software updates, SSRS reporting, and IT operations and infrastructure management. BlueBay achieved cost savings, improved compliance, and increased visibility in their workflows. 3

2. Cloud provisioning

If a business uses virtual servers, configuring and provisioning services manually takes a lot of time. This can result in low performance and high costs. Cloud automation tools build some templates and guide how the configuration of virtual servers should be done. Thereby, infrastructure configurations are scaled easily and do not take much time. By adopting cloud automation, businesses can simplify the process of network management by automating the allocation of resources.

Real-world example: Amazon moved its operations to the cloud in 2010 and benefited from cloud automation in many services. The company automated its provisioning system on the cloud and controlled scaling capacity efficiently. 4

3. Application deployment

Hybrid and cloud automation improves overall operational efficiency by significantly reducing the time taken for deployment, freeing up the development team to focus on creating new features and improving the application rather than spending time on repetitive deployment tasks.

HWA and CWA tools also reduce errors caused by manual interventions, enhancing the deployments’ reliability by leveraging cloud automation in application deployment; organizations can make the process more efficient, reliable, and fast, leading to quicker releases, cost savings, and improved application quality.

Real-world example: Walmart, an e-commerce market giant, adopted a cloud platform to deploy applications across numerous cloud servers. The company also uses cloud automation on server-build processes and software configuration.5

4. Monitoring and remediation

Hybrid and cloud automation tools can be used to set up automated monitoring of applications and infrastructure. Cloud automation tools can specifically collect data on various metrics, such as CPU usage, network traffic, disk space, and more, across all resources in the cloud environment. This data can be used to analyze the performance and health of applications and infrastructure.

Automated monitoring systems can provide real-time visibility into the system’s operations, enabling you to detect anomalies as they occur. They are capable of generating alerts based on predefined conditions, notifying the responsible teams instantly if a problem arises.

When it comes to remediation, cloud automation tools can take predefined actions based on specific conditions. For instance, if a server goes down, the tool can automatically spin up a new server to ensure continuity of service. This ensures that any problems’ impact is minimized and services remain available to users.

Using Infrastructure as Code (IaC), you can also maintain a version-controlled ‘desired state’ of your infrastructure. If any deviations from this desired state are detected, the system can be automatically corrected to match this state. This makes maintaining consistent environments easier and reduces the risk of configuration drift.

Automated remediation can also be used in the context of security. If a potential security threat is detected, the system can take immediate action, such as isolating a compromised system or applying a necessary patch. 

5. Scheduling and Resource Management

A common struggle businesses face is the efficient allocation of cloud resources. Through its smart scheduling capabilities, hybrid & cloud workload automation ensures that tasks are executed at optimal times and under predefined conditions. For example, a company that processes vast amounts of data overnight might schedule these workloads during off-peak hours to reduce costs via workload automation or job scheduling software. This is analogous to a manufacturing process where tasks are scheduled based on their dependencies to maximize throughput while minimizing idle time.

6. Enhancing Scalability 

One of the primary uses of hybrid & cloud workload automation in scalability is its ability to allocate resources dynamically based on real-time demand. In a scenario where an organization experiences fluctuating or unpredictable workloads, manual scaling of resources can be slow and inefficient. Hybrid workload automation tools can automatically scale resources up or down, depending on the current workload.

One of the best examples of how hybrid & cloud workload automation can impact efficiency is during events like Black Friday or Cyber Monday. E-commerce companies, for instance, can use these tools to dynamically scale up resources to handle the high load and then scale them back down when normal traffic patterns resume. This flexibility ensures a seamless customer experience while optimizing cloud spending.

7. Automation of other manual tasks on the cloud

Manual tasks are prone to human errors and can result in significant losses for businesses. Hybrid and cloud automation enables businesses to automate manual and tedious tasks in a cloud environment. HWA and CWA tools codify workloads on the cloud and enable the tool to repeat it in the future.

Hybrid and cloud automation removes error-prone practices and accelerates workload processes. Based on the rules set by the criteria, cloud automation tools easily detect the delineations and notify the user about them. By automating workloads on the cloud, businesses can manage their workflows quickly, securely, and reliably.

Real-world case study: Netflix automated an essential part of its DevOps on the cloud and gained flexibility and agility in releasing new changes to its website.6 In case of any issues with the changes on the website, users return to previous versions and continue to watch without interruption, thanks to cloud automation.

How does Cloud Workload Automation differ from traditional workload automation?

Unlike traditional workload automation, which is often limited to on-premises data centers, CWA extends these capabilities to the cloud. This means it can handle dynamic cloud resources, scale according to demand, and integrate with various cloud services and APIs.

Can Cloud Workload Automation support multi-cloud environments?

Yes, most CWA solutions are designed to support multi-cloud environments, allowing businesses to automate workloads across different cloud platforms and service providers.

Is Cloud Workload Automation Secure?

CWA solutions typically offer robust security features, but the overall security also depends on the specific cloud services being used and the user’s compliance with best security practices.

How does Cloud Workload Automation integrate with existing IT infrastructure?

CWA solutions can often be integrated with existing IT infrastructure through APIs, connectors, and plugins, allowing for a seamless blend of cloud and on-premises resources.

How does Hybrid Workload Automation differ from traditional workload automation?

Traditional workload automation typically focuses on automating tasks within on-premises data centers. In contrast, HWA extends these capabilities to include cloud environments, offering a unified approach to managing workloads across both on-premises and cloud platforms.

Can Hybrid Workload Automation support multiple cloud providers?

Yes, most HWA solutions are designed to work with multiple cloud providers, enabling businesses to manage and automate workloads across different cloud environments seamlessly.

Can Hybrid Workload Automation assist in cost reduction?

By optimizing resource utilization and automating routine processes, HWA can help reduce operational costs and minimize wasteful expenditure on IT resources.

Further Reading

To learn more about automation and orchestration, feel free to read our articles:

If you are looking for automation and orchestration tools, you can visit our hub for the automation software landscape.

If you have other questions about cloud workload automation, we can help:

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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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Cem Dilmegani
Principal Analyst

Cem has been the principal analyst at AIMultiple since 2017. AIMultiple informs hundreds of thousands of businesses (as per similarWeb) including 60% of Fortune 500 every month.

Cem's work has been cited by leading global publications including Business Insider, Forbes, Washington Post, global firms like Deloitte, HPE, NGOs like World Economic Forum and supranational organizations like European Commission. You can see more reputable companies and media that referenced AIMultiple.

Throughout his career, Cem served as a tech consultant, tech buyer and tech entrepreneur. He advised businesses on their enterprise software, automation, cloud, AI / ML and other technology related decisions at McKinsey & Company and Altman Solon for more than a decade. He also published a McKinsey report on digitalization.

He led technology strategy and procurement of a telco while reporting to the CEO. He has also led commercial growth of deep tech company Hypatos that reached a 7 digit annual recurring revenue and a 9 digit valuation from 0 within 2 years. Cem's work in Hypatos was covered by leading technology publications like TechCrunch and Business Insider.

Cem regularly speaks at international technology conferences. He graduated from Bogazici University as a computer engineer and holds an MBA from Columbia Business School.

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