Netflix, Amazon, and Facebook are all pioneers and innovators of Cloud computing and technology.


Orchestration is an integral part of their services and complex business processes. Orchestration is the mechanism that organizes components and multiple tasks to run applications seamlessly.

The greater the workload, the higher the need to efficiently manage these processes and avoid downtime. None of these big industry players can afford to be offline. It’s why orchestration has become central to their IT strategies and applications, which require automatic execution of massive workflows.

Orchestration works by minimizing redundancies and optimizes by streamlining repeating processes. It ensures a quicker and more precise deployment of software and updates. Offering a secure solution that is both flexible and scalable it gives enterprises the freedom to adapt and evolve rapidly.

Shorter turn-around times, from app development to market means more profit and success. It allows businesses to keep pace with evolving technological demands.

Hand in hand with orchestration, enterprises use automation to reduce the degree of manual work required to run an application. Automation refers to single repeatable tasks or processes that can be automated.


Automation allows enterprises to gain and maintain speed efficiency via software automation tools that regulate functionalities and workloads on the cloud. Orchestration takes advantage of automation and executes large workflows systematically. It does so by managing multiple sophisticated automated processes and coordinating them across separate teams and functions.

In the cloud, orchestration not only deploys an application, but it connects it to the network to enable communication between users and other apps. It ensures auto-scaling to initiate in the right order, implementing the correct permissions and security rules. Automation makes orchestration easier to execute.

To put it simply, automation specifies a single task. Orchestration arranges multiple tasks to optimize a workflow. To understand orchestration vs. automation in more detail, we will take a look at each operation.

what is cloud orchestration compared to automation

What is Cloud Orchestration?

Cloud orchestration refers to the process of creating an automation environment across a particular enterprise. It facilitates the coordination of teams, cloud services, functions, compliance, and security activities. It eliminates the chances of making costly mistakes by creating an entirely automated, repeatable, and end-to-end environment for all processes.

It’s the underlying framework across services and clouds that joins all automation routines. Orchestration, when combined with automation, makes cloud services run more efficiently as all automated routines become perfectly timed and coordinated.

By using software abstractions, cloud orchestration can coordinate among multiple systems located in various sites by using an underlying infrastructure. Modern IT teams that are responsible for managing hundreds of applications and servers require orchestration. It facilitates the delivering of dynamically scaling applications and cloud systems. In doing so, it alleviates the need for staff to run processes manually. Automation is tactical, and orchestration is the strategy.

What is Cloud Automation?

diagram of the components of cloud management

In terms of software development life cycle, the process of cloud automation is best described as a connector or several connectors which provide a data flow when triggered. Automation is typically performed to achieve or complete a task between separate functions or systems, without any manual intervention.

Cloud automation leverages the potential of cloud technology for a system of automation across the entire cloud infrastructure. Results in an automated and frictionless software delivery pipeline eliminate the chances of human error, manual roadblocks. It automates several complex tasks that would otherwise require developers or operations teams to perform them. Automation makes maintaining an operating system efficient by automating simultaneously, multiple repetitive manual processes. It’s like having your workflow run on railways tracks.

By limiting errors in the system, automation prevents setbacks, which minimize the system’s availability and lower the overall negative effects on performance. This lessens the possibility of breaches of sensitive or critical information. In turn, the system is more reliable and transparent. Cloud automation supports the twelve principles of agile development and DevOps methodologies that enable scalability, rapid resource deployment, and continuous integration and delivery.

The most common use cases are workload management to allocate resources, workflow version control to monitor changes. To establish an Infrastructure as Code (IAC) environment, which streamlines system resources. To regulate data back-ups and act as a data loss prevention tool. And can act as an integral part of a Hybrid cloud system, tying together disparate elements cohesively, such as applications on public and private clouds.

Automation is implemented via orchestration tools that manage operations where these tools write down deployment processes and their management routines. Automation tools are then used to execute the procedures listed above.

Importance of Cloud Orchestration Tools

Microservices framework is prevalent in the modern IT landscape, with automation playing an essential part.

Repetitive jobs, which include deploying applications and managing application lifecycles, require tools that can handle complex job dependencies. Cloud orchestration currently facilitates enterprise-level security policies, flexible monitoring, and visualization, among other tasks.

Installing a cloud orchestra at an enterprise-level means that certain conditions have to be met beforehand to ensure success, such as;

  • Minimizing human errors by handling the setup and execution of automation tasks, automatically.
  • Reducing human intervention when it comes to managing automation tasks by using orchestration tools.
  • Ensuring proper permissions are provided to users to prevent unauthorized access to the automation system.
  • Simplifying the process of setting up new data integration by managing governing policies around it.
  • Providing generalizable infrastructure to remove the need for building any ad hoc tools.
  • Providing comprehensive diagnostic support, which results in fast debugging and auditing.
automating application deployment

Comparing Cloud Orchestration with Cloud Automation

Both Cloud automation and cloud orchestration are used significantly in modern IT industries. There are some specific fundamental differences between the two, which are explained briefly below.

Points of Difference Cloud Automation Cloud Orchestration
Concept Cloud automation refers to tasks or functions which are accomplished without any human intervention in a cloud environment. Cloud orchestration relates to the arranging and coordination of tasks that are automated. The main aim is to create a consolidated workflow or process.
Nature of Tools Cloud automation tools and activities related to it occur in a particular order using certain groups or tools. They are also required to be granted permissions and given roles. Cloud orchestration tools can enumerate the various resources, IAM roles, instance types, etc., configure them and ensure that there is a degree of interoperability between those resources. This is true regardless of the tools native to the LaaS platform or belongs to a third party.
Role of Personnel Engineers are required to complete a myriad of manual tasks to deliver a new environment. It requires less intervention from personnel.
Policy decisions Cloud automation does not typically implement any policy decisions which fall outside of OS-level ACLs. Cloud orchestration handles all permissions and security of automation tasks.
Resources Used It uses minimal resources outside of the assigned specific task. Ensures that cloud resources are efficiently utilized.
Monitoring and Alerting Cloud automation can send data to third party reporting services. Cloud orchestration only involves monitoring and alerting for its workflows.

Benefits of Orchestration and Automation

Many organizations have shifted towards cloud orchestration tools to simplify the process of deployment and management. The benefits provided by cloud orchestration are many, with the major ones outlined below.

Simplified optimization

Under cloud orchestration, individual tasks are bundled together into a larger, more optimized workflow. This process is different than standard cloud automation, which handles these individual tasks one at a time. For instance, an application that utilizes cloud orchestration includes the automated provisioning of multiple storages, servers, databases, and networking.

Automation is unified

Cloud administrators usually have a portion of their processes automated. It is different from a fully unified automation platform that cloud orchestration provides. Cloud orchestration centralizes the entire automation process under one roof. This, in turn, makes the whole process cost-effective, faster, and easier to change and expand the automated services if required later.

Forces best practices

Cloud orchestration processes cannot be fully implemented without cleaning up any existing processes that do not adhere to best practices. As automation is easier to achieve with properly organized cloud resources, any existing cloud procedures need to be evaluated and cleaned up if necessary. There are several good practices associated with cloud orchestration that are adapted by organizations. These include pre-built templates for deployment, structured IP addressing, and baked-in security.

Self-service portal

Cloud orchestration provides self-service portals that are favored by infrastructure administrators and developers alike. It gives developers the freedom to select the cloud services they desire via an easy to use web portal. This setup eliminates the need for infrastructure admins in the entire deployment process.

Visibility and control are improved

VM sprawl, which refers to a point where the system administrator can no longer effectively manage a high number of virtual machines, is a common occurrence for many organizations. If left unattended, it can cause unnecessary wastage of financial resources and can complicate the management of a particular cloud platform. Cloud orchestration tools can be used to automatically monitor any VM instances that may occur, which reduces the number of staff hours required for managing the cloud.

Long term cost savings

By properly implementing cloud orchestration, an organization can reduce and improve its cloud service footprint, reducing the need for infrastructure staffing significantly.

Automated chargeback calculation

For companies that offer self-service portals for their different departments, cloud orchestration tools such as metering, and chargeback tools could keep close track of the number of cloud resources employed.

Helps facilitate business agility

The shift into a purely digital environment is happening at a much faster pace, and businesses are keen on hopping onboard. IT shops are thus required to design and manage their computer resources, which would allow them to pivot towards any new or emerging opportunity in short notice. This rapid flexibility is facilitated by implementing a robust cloud orchestration system.

diagram of workflows

A Collaborative Cloud Solution

Both automation and orchestration can take place on an individual level as well as on a companywide level. Employees can take advantage of automation suites that support apps such as emails, Microsoft products, Google products, etc. as they do not need any prior or advanced knowledge about coding. It’s recommended to choose projects which can create significant and measurable business value and not use orchestration for merely speeding up the entire process.

It’s not a debate of orchestration vs automation, but instead, a matter of collaboration and implementing them in the right degree and combination. Doing so allows any company to reduce IT costs, increase productivity, and reduce staffing needs. As more organizations start relying on cloud automation, the role of orchestration technology will only increase. The complexity of automation management cannot be performed with only manual intervention, and so, cloud orchestration is considered to be the key to growth, long-term stability, and prosperity.

By streamlining routines automation and its orchestration, free up resources that can be reinvested into further improvement and innovation. Cloud automation and orchestration support more cost-effective business and DevOps/CloudOps pipelines. Whether it’s offsite cloud services, onsite, or a hybrid model, better use of system resources produces better results and can give an organization major advantages over their competition.

Now that you’ve understood the basic differences between orchestration and automation, you can start looking into the variety of orchestration tools available. IT orchestration tools vary in degree, from basic script-based app deployment tools to specialized tools such as Kubernetes’ container orchestration solution.

Are you interested in cloud solutions and using the infrastructure-as-code paradigm? Then speak to a professional today, and find out which tool is the right one for your environment.