Ankur Mandal

A Guide To Cloud Workload Automation


Ankur Mandal

5 min read

In the age of cloud computing, where agility, scalability, and efficiency are paramount, workload automation is a vital tool for organizations seeking to optimize their operations. Workload automation systematically coordinates tasks and processes within an IT environment, seamlessly connecting various systems, applications, and resources to streamline workflows and boost productivity. 

Resources are virtualized and provisioned dynamically in a cloud environment, which makes workload automation crucial for enabling businesses to leverage their cloud infrastructure fully. 

By automating routine tasks, managing complex workflows, and maximizing resource utilization, workload automation accelerates time-to-market, cuts operational costs, reduces errors, and empowers organizations to thrive in today's fast-paced digital landscape. In this blog, we discuss workload automation in detail.

Workload automation, or WLA, is a significant development in coordinating business processes and transactions using software-based scheduling and management. It involves efficiently distributing and executing computing tasks across systems with minimal human intervention. In today's digital world, where operational efficiency and quick response times are crucial, WLA is an essential solution.

WLA enables organizations to efficiently manage large processing loads by scheduling tasks in advance instead of depending solely on real-time execution. Transactions requiring precise timing or event-based triggers are well-suited for WLA. In contrast to traditional job scheduling methods, WLA provides a comprehensive automation solution that can seamlessly handle various IT environments and different job schedulers. This represents a significant advancement towards greater efficiency, reliability, and scalability in contemporary computing environments.

Cloud Workload Automation (CWA) leads the way in modernizing business operations in cloud environments, including public, private, or multi-cloud setups. Designed for cloud infrastructures, CWA efficiently automates tasks across multiple cloud platforms.

CWA stands out due to its built-in ability to adjust to the ever-changing landscape of cloud resources, easily expanding or contracting based on shifting needs. This flexibility makes it a valuable tool for businesses deeply entrenched in the cloud or amid migration efforts. Essentially, CWA handles the vital task of efficiently managing operations and performing data analysis within the cloud environment, fostering productivity, adaptability, and creativity in contemporary enterprises.

How Does Workload Automation Work?

Following are the seven steps involved in workload automation. Let us take a look at them.

Job Definition: A job's core is precisely defined within the automation tool in workload automation. This definition includes crucial elements such as the job's objective, resource requirements, scheduling specifics, and activation criteria. Every automated task is rooted in this exhaustive definition, whether it pertains to running a database query, managing a file transfer, or carrying out an ETL (Extract, Transform, Load) process.

Job Scheduling Process: After completing the detailed definition process, the job is smoothly integrated into the scheduling system. This scheduling can be aligned with a specific time or triggered by an event. Event triggers are crucial in creating complex job chains, where completing one task seamlessly initiates the subsequent task. This methodology is highly beneficial for managing tasks that require a specific sequential order, guaranteeing a seamless workflow orchestration within the automation environment.

Resource Allocation: Careful resource allocation is crucial for ensuring smooth job execution. The workload automation software efficiently allocates the required resources for each job's completion. This comprehensive allocation covers various aspects, including memory, processing power, network bandwidth, and any other resources necessary for the job to operate seamlessly.

Job Execution: When the scheduled time approaches or triggering events occur, the workload automation software kicks off the job execution process. It meticulously guides the job from start to finish, carefully navigating through each stage and efficiently handling any errors or obstacles that may arise. The software guarantees optimal performance and reliability within the workload automation system by ensuring a seamless job progression from beginning to end.

Monitoring and Alerting: Throughout the job execution, the workload automation software maintains a vigilant watch, continuously monitoring the job's progress and flagging any encountered issues. In the event of anomalies or failures, the software promptly notifies IT personnel, initiating swift remediation actions or autonomously resolving the problem when feasible.

Logging and Reporting: The workload automation software logs the outcome and pertinent details upon job completion. This comprehensive logging is a valuable repository for auditing, troubleshooting, and performance optimization endeavors, offering insights into system behavior and facilitating informed decision-making.

Enhancing Job Performance and Efficiency: Workload automation tools empower users with valuable insights and streamline processes through robust reporting and analytics capabilities. Organizations can fine-tune their processes by thoroughly reviewing job performance, identifying bottlenecks, exploring optimization opportunities, and driving continual improvement within their workload automation ecosystem.

Benefits Of Workload Automation

Workload automation is instrumental in digital landscape transformation because it offers the following benefits.

Centralized Workflow

Utilizing advanced workload automation tools allows IT personnel to achieve centralized control over diverse workflows and coordinate seamless processes throughout the business landscape. This centralized approach offers various benefits:

  • Streamlined Coordination: Operations can be synchronized effortlessly across different business servers and operating systems, promoting collaboration and synergy among various departments and functions.
  • Efficient Data Utilization: With centralized control, organizations can allocate and utilize data resources, maximizing insights and facilitating informed decision-making at all levels.
  • Error Reduction: By implementing comprehensive oversight and streamlined workflow management, the likelihood of system errors and operational bottlenecks can be minimized, ultimately enhancing reliability and performance across the organization.

Minimize Automation Costs

Traditionally, organizations have relied on many automation tools customized for specific departments, resulting in fragmented systems and increased expenses. Adopting workload automation software transforms this approach by centralizing operations, ultimately reducing costs across the organization.

  •  Unified Licensing: Wave goodbye to the complexities and high expenses of managing multiple licenses for various automation and scheduling tools. With workload automation software, you can consolidate all your requirements into a comprehensive solution, streamlining licensing costs.
  •  Simplified Implementation: Organizations can significantly reduce the resources and time needed to implement and maintain multiple systems by eliminating disparate automation tools. This simplified approach leads to noticeable savings in both time and money.
  •  Consolidated Data Warehouses: Say farewell to the costly maintenance of numerous data warehouses by leveraging workload automation software. This solution offers a streamlined approach to managing data, ensuring efficiency and cost-effectiveness.

Optimized Resource Allocation Through Predictive Workload Analysis

Harnessing the power of workload automation technology empowers users to generate advanced predictive reports, spotlighting precisely scheduled tasks within designated timeframes. Anticipating workload dynamics facilitates streamlined resource management, ensuring optimal utilization.

Expanded Automation Reach Facilitated By Low-Code/No-Code Capabilities

Most workload automation solutions adopt a low-code or no-code methodology, incorporating pre-configured connectors, integrations, and APIs alongside intuitive drag-and-drop functionalities. This effectively reduces reliance on manual scripting and coding within the IT domain.

Data Management

With workflows managed through a unified application, organizations can efficiently handle underlying data across different departments, leading to:

  • Streamlined compliance efforts
  • Enhanced visibility and transparency
  • Mitigated security risks
  • Optimized data storage
  • Dependence on a singular source of truth

Workload Automation Use Cases

Workload automation in the cloud can be used in the following cases:

Monitoring And Remediation

Utilizing Infrastructure as Code (IaC) allows organizations to uphold a version-controlled "desired state" of their infrastructure. The system can promptly correct any departures from this preset state, ensuring adherence to the planned configuration. This approach streamlines the administration of standardized environments and minimizes the possibility of configuration discrepancies, ultimately enhancing the dependability and robustness of cloud-based systems.

Automated monitoring systems act as diligent guardians, providing real-time insight into system operations and quickly identifying any irregularities as they occur. These systems promptly inform the appropriate teams by generating alerts in response to pre-defined conditions, allowing for swift action to address any emerging issues.

Cloud automation tools play a critical role in the remediation process by carrying out pre-defined actions based on specific circumstances. For example, if a server experiences a failure, these tools can seamlessly deploy a replacement server to maintain uninterrupted service. This proactive approach helps to minimize the impact of issues and ensures that services remain accessible to users without any disruptions.

One such cloud aspect that can use cloud cost automation is the storage resources.

Are you wondering why we are focusing on storage resources?

This is because:

  • While numerous tools and solutions have been developed for automating different aspects of computing resources, you will seldom encounter anyone for storage automation.
  • Storage is one of the prominent contributors to the overall cloud cost.

A recent study conducted by Virtana titled "State of Hybrid Cloud Storage in January 2023" has uncovered storage's pivotal role in increasing cloud costs. 

The study found that 94% of participants experienced a notable rise in their cloud storage expenses, with 54% indicating that their storage-related costs escalated faster than their overall cloud expenditure.

To investigate the correlation between storage and cloud expenditures more thoroughly, we conducted an independent analysis involving over 100 enterprises utilizing cloud services from renowned providers such as AWS, Azure, and GCP. 

  • Our investigation revealed that, on average, approximately 40% of cloud costs can be attributed to storage-related expenses.
  • Specifically, block storage services like AWS EBS, Azure Managed Disk, and GCP Persistent Disks emerged as critical factors driving up cloud expenses. 
  • Interestingly, the utilization of block storage disks was found to be significantly low across root volumes, application disks, and self-hosted databases.

Upon further investigation, it has been determined that to enhance buffer capabilities and ensure optimal system performance during periods of high demand, the following steps must be taken:

  • The DevOps team should implement three manual touchpoints (monitoring, development, and alerting) using separate tools to manage block storage. Please note that this manual process requires a significant amount of time.
  • Some cloud providers require a minimum downtime of 4 hours to shrink 1 TB of disk space and 3 hours for disk upgrades.
  • A waiting period of at least 6 hours is necessary before the following scaling process can occur.

Organizations often prioritize overprovisioning storage resources over optimizing them due to challenges imposed by Cloud Service Providers (CSPs). This decision is considered a necessary compromise because

  •  CSP restrictions often require the development of a specialized tool. This task can be complex and time-consuming, demanding significant DevOps efforts.
  • Relying solely on CSP tools can lead to inefficient and resource-intensive processes, ultimately impeding the effectiveness of ongoing storage optimization in daily operations.
  • Some cloud service providers, like AWS, Azure, and GCP, do not have a built-in live shrinkage process. While manual shrinkage is feasible, it is a complex process susceptible to errors and misconfigurations. Additionally, this manual method involves stopping the instance, creating snapshots, and attaching new volumes, which may result in downtime.
  • Deploying a tool across a large cloud infrastructure with over 1000 instances can lead to substantial costs. As a result, organizations often opt to restrict tool deployment to the production environment, reducing visibility in the process.

Lucidity offers cloud cost automation solutions to address the challenge of overprovisioning and reduce hidden cloud costs. The tool. Lucidity Storage Audit helps organizations identify idle/unused and overprovisioned resources and avoid paying for unused storage capacity. 

Why use Lucidity when there are monitoring tools or when you can manually discover them?

This is because monitoring and manual discovery tools may be restricted by the complex nature of the DevOps process and the high costs associated with implementation. Managing these tools in a continuously changing storage environment can become complicated. 

Moreover, deploying a new monitoring tool across the entire cloud infrastructure would involve a substantial financial investment. These tools, which depend on agents, necessitate time-consuming installation, heightened complexity, and more significant resource requirements. This can strain an existing system and make monitoring a burdensome task.

This is where Lucidity Storage Audit comes into the picture.

Lucidity Storage Audit offers a seamless solution with its free and agentless approach. Utilizing automation, this tool simplifies the optimization process and is easily accessible to users. 

Operating without agents eliminates the need for additional software installation to identify idle or overprovisioned resources during an audit. This tool enhances the comprehension of disk health and usage, enabling more effective resource allocation and reducing the risk of downtime.

 By leveraging Lucidity Storage Audit, users gain access to the following insights:

  • Comprehensive disk expenditure optimization: Understand current disk usage expenses and explore strategies to decrease costs by up to 70%.
  • Disk utilization analysis: Identify areas of resource wastage, such as overprovisioned and idle storage volumes, and receive recommendations on improving resource utilization efficiency.
  • Reducing Disk Downtime Risks: Recognize possible downtime risks to decrease financial and reputational repercussions.

The Lucidity Storage Audit brings a range of advantages:

  • Streamlined Process: Automating identification streamlines the storage discovery process, eliminating manual tasks and complex monitoring tools.
  • Comprehensive Information: Gain in-depth insights into EBS health and usage to optimize expenses and reduce downtime. Clear visibility into your storage environment is granted.
  • Enhanced Utilization: Analyze storage usage percentages and disk sizes with the Lucidity Storage Audit to make informed decisions. This can improve resource allocation and efficiency.

Automate Manual Tasks

Manual tasks come with the inherent risk of human error, which can result in significant business losses. Fortunately, cloud automation presents itself as a robust solution enabling organizations to automate manual tasks in cloud environments. By leveraging tools such as Hybrid Workload Automation (HWA) and Cloud Workload Automation (CWA), businesses can encode their workflows onto the cloud, enabling smooth replication and execution in the future.

Cloud automation offers a robust solution for mitigating errors, speeding up workload processes, and guaranteeing precision and dependability. Following pre-defined rules and standards, cloud automation tools can quickly pinpoint boundaries and notify users of deviations. 

By automating cloud workloads, organizations can efficiently and securely manage their workflows, leading to increased efficiency and enhanced operational resilience in today's constantly changing digital environment.

One of the most significant aspects of cloud automation for effective cloud cost optimization is auto-scaling storage resources.  

Why do you need to auto-scale storage resources?

This is because manually provisioning storage resources can lead to over- or underprovisioning. This is where Lucidity, with its Block Storage Auto-Scaler, comes to the rescue.

The Lucidity Block Storage Auto-Scaler is a pioneering solution that transforms storage orchestration by streamlining the scaling of storage resources through automation. This cutting-edge tool effortlessly adjusts block storage capacity in response to changing requirements, effectively managing overprovisioned and underutilized storage resources.

 Key features of the Lucidity Block Storage Auto-Scaler include:

  • Easy deployment: Integrate the Lucidity Block Storage Auto-Scaler with three simple clicks to streamline your storage management process.
  • Storage optimization: Seamlessly expand and shrink your EBS to maintain 75-80% disk utilization without any downtime.
  • Rapid responsiveness: Quickly adapt to fluctuations in traffic or workload by expanding or shrinking storage capacity within short span, ensuring seamless operations during demand spikes.

The benefits of Lucidity's Block Storage Auto-Scaler include:

benfits of Lucidity
  • Efficient Automated Disk Scaling: The Lucidity Auto-Scaler is meticulously designed to adjust disk scaling with exceptional efficiency, completing the process within 90 seconds for seamless coordination of large datasets.
  • Strategic Buffer Mechanism: Including a strategic buffer mechanism in the Lucidity Auto-Scaler showcases its thoughtful design, allowing for adept management of unexpected data spikes. This forward-thinking approach ensures the block storage throughput limit is maintained, enhancing the scalability and reliability of your storage infrastructure.
  • Achieve substantial cost savings in storage: With Lucidity Block Storage Auto-Scaler, you can cut your storage expenses by 70% through automated adjustments in resource size. By shrinking and expanding storage capacities as needed, users can optimize costs efficiently and eliminate unnecessary expenditures.
  • Seamless scaling with no interruptions: Our Auto-Scaler ensures uninterrupted operations by automatically adjusting storage resources in real-time, unlike manual provisioning processes that can lead to downtime and performance issues. By responding to demand fluctuations within minutes, it guarantees smooth and efficient performance without any disruptions.

For personalized cost estimates, use our ROI Calculator. Select Azure or AWS as your cloud provider and input your monthly or annual expenses, disk usage, and growth rate. This tool will help you determine potential cost savings and make informed decisions.

Lucidity ROI Calculator for cloud storage
  • Tailored Policy for managing organization compliance: Lucidity offers a "Customize Policy" functionality, enabling users to establish parameters such as buffer size and maximum disk usage. This customization feature enhances uptime reliability by automatizing the scaling process based on individual requirements.
Lucidity custom policy feature for buffer

If you want to know more about how Lucidity helps with comprehensive cloud cost optimization, head to our blog here.

Application Deployment

Cloud automation increases operational efficiency by significantly reducing deployment times and freeing development teams from repetitive tasks. By automating deployment processes, developers can dedicate their efforts to innovation, creating new functionalities, and improving applications to meet changing user demands. This change in mindset encourages a culture of creativity and ongoing enhancement, helping businesses stay competitive and successful in the rapidly advancing digital environment.

Scheduling And Resource Management

Cloud workload automation ensures tasks are executed optimally and aligned with pre-defined criteria. For example, consider a situation where a company handles significant data processing overnight; workload automation or job scheduling software can be strategically scheduled during non-peak hours to reduce expenses. This strategy reflects the careful planning observed in manufacturing processes, where tasks are arranged based on their dependencies to enhance throughput and minimize downtime. 

Utilizing cloud workload automation allows businesses to streamline operations and achieve cost efficiencies, aligning with the efficiency-focused principles of contemporary manufacturing methodologies.

We trust this blog has equipped you with a thorough grasp of workload automation, empowering you to streamline and manage various business processes confidently.

Contact Lucidity for a demo if you are struggling to control storage wastage and associated costs. By implementing automation, we will help you create a cost-efficient cloud infrastructure that does not compromise security or performance. 

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