When Moonpig wanted to accelerate the development and launch of its online greeting cards, it became cloud automation.
Typically, a new feature such as “group cards” (which allows up to 20 people to sign a card for, say, for a partner’s wedding or retirement) would take a few months to develop. But by automating the creation and modification of cloud processes, Moonpig reduced it to a few weeks.
Currently, the London-based online gift and card retailer launches more than 340 new features and updates each month using cloud automation, compared to just 10 a month on its previous system.
“The increase in speed provided by cloud automation means we are releasing [updates] many times a day, ”says Peter Donlon, head of technology at Moonpig.
This faster version of incremental changes “means we’ve significantly reduced the chance of negative versions occurring, denying the need to do things like recoveries, increasing the productivity of our engineers,” he says.
This “contrasts with the old way of making launches once every fortnight or so and presented a greater degree of risk.”
Originally, IT professionals relied on manual processes to supply, configure, and manage their cloud computing infrastructure.
But these tasks can now be performed automatically using cloud automation tools and software, allowing companies to reduce costs, free up staff for more productive work, reduce errors, and improve security.
“Many companies have already begun moving parts of their business to the cloud,” says Richard Smith, senior vice president of technology in Europe, the Middle East and Africa at Oracle, an American cloud computing group. “By automating much of this, they will accelerate their digital transformation. It increases efficiency and allows better management of business operations. Historically, a new database could take weeks to operate, while an automated one can be generated in a matter of seconds, without the need for a highly technical expert. “
Cloud automation can also help back up, manage queries, and interact with customers, Smith says. “While it allows companies to grow their business, it helps them get the most out of data, including an in-depth view of customers.”
He also points out that tools can prevent delays in upgrading technology systems, which can improve security. “We know that the most important cause of security breaches comes from systems [that are] not updated. Automatic cloud technology ensures that the latest fixes are installed and problems are marked as they arise. ”
Pip White, UK and UK CEO of Google Cloud, says automation tools can be used in areas ranging from product development to financial deployment cloud management. “Automation eliminates much of the workforce associated with processes like billing management or creating cloud delivery pipelines,” he says.
However, not everyone sees cloud automation as a problem.
Emma Roscow, head of cloud smart infrastructure at consulting firm Accenture UK, offers a precaution. She says that while automation has its advantages, there are also important challenges.
“Just because a process is automated doesn’t mean it can be left completely out of control,” Roscow points out. “While automation reduces the possibility of human error, if there is a misconfiguration in the initial configuration or a vulnerability is included in the system, it could become a security issue.” This means that cloud automation needs periodic reviews, he adds.
This view is endorsed by Ajay Sabhlok, chief information officer of Rubrik, an American cloud data management company. “While they are efficient in the long run, cloud automation tools require a lot of budget upfront,” he says. “These costs typically range from 5-10% of total cloud infrastructure spending.”
Sabhlok says security should be paramount when writing automation scripts, as “human errors have been introduced. . . it could make them vulnerable to external threats where a hacker accesses and performs a ransomware attack, steals sensitive data or corrupts it.
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Some believe the next step in the technology will be “self-healing automation,” whereby artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms are applied to test procedures.
“Self-healing automation is a game-changing concept,” says Mark Turner, business director at Claranet Cloud, a London-based IT service provider. It predicts that IT services can “detect problems and adapt, move, repair, replicate and correct”.
But even if the best cloud automation tools continue to eradicate manual computing, they will still need human intervention, argues Alessandro Perilli, general manager of management strategy at Red Hat, a specialist in open source software. American.
“When automation adoption projects fail, this usually happens because companies set unrealistic expectations,” he says. “Automation serves better to multiply the operational capabilities of a company, helping to stick different parts of a business process, instead of replacing them 100%. Automation is still a long way from replacing human labor. ”