Automation is the process an organization uses to reduce the manual efforts associated with provisioning and managing cloud computing workloads, and can be applied in private, public, and hybrid cloud environments.
At CloudHealth Technologies, we talk about automation via pre-built best practices or by creating rules with the CloudHealth policy engine. The output of these policies, referred to as actions, can be automated, examples include providing an email notification, creating JIRA workflow, or managing the lifecycle (start, stop, restart, resize) of Microsoft Azure virtual machines. Here are a few use-cases for automation:
Stopping underutilized virtual machines
Virtual machines that are severely underutilized (CPU, memory and disk < 10% utilization) are ideal candidates to be stopped. These VMs could be machines that were used at one point, but were never turned down after the task was completed. Stopping these virtual machines helps reduce zombie assets and hence keep cloud spend down.
Rightsizing virtual machines
Instead of stopping underutilized virtual machines, organizations can “rightsize” the virtual machine to a recommended size based on CPU, memory, disk, and network metrics collected over a period of time. Rightsizing virtual machines provides cost savings and makes sure the machine is sized correctly for the load that machine needs.
Stopping untagged virtual machines
Untagged assets can lead to unnecessary cloud sprawl if not kept in check. Making sure users spinning up virtual machines add company required tags will ensure they can be categorized appropriately when needed. For example, without the “owner” tag, it would be impossible for the IT organization to have a conversation with the owner if that virtual machine needs to be stopped.
CloudHealth now has automation capabilities for Azure which includes actions such as start, restart, stop and deallocate, and resize virtual machines. These actions are available in the Virtual Machine Asset Report, the Virtual Machine Rightsizing Report, and in the policy engine.