Invisible Infostructure #5 – Orchestrate for Simple
Cloud is really here to simplify business life, not complicate it. However, many organizations see the obvious benefits of the cloud, but still get stuck in managing the complexity that potentially comes with it. Having to deal with issues around integration, security, identity, multiple vendors, deployment models, incompatible standards and differing service levels can absorb so much time that the benefits seem far away. It requires an ‘orchestrated approach’ to the cloud, ensuring that cloud complexity is effectively dealt with and that cloud services are provided as easy-to-consume services. This provides organizations with a path towards leveraging the cloud that they can follow on their own terms. And it frees up their management agendas, so they can fully focus on creating new value with the cloud. It’s as simple as that.

So what is orchestration anyway?

The term orchestration is already abused, overused and misconstrued; in other words, it has achieved the status of industry buzzword. Personally, I prefer to use Business Services Orchestration, in order to bring a broader context to a term typically used for infrastructure automation, intelligent auto-provisioning or even freedom of dynamic workload deployment across hybrid/public cloud infrastructures and legacy estates.
In this context, orchestration can (in technical terms) be defined as: ‘an advanced automation proposition to dynamically organize, provision and integrate a set of IT-based services and solutions in a hybrid environment under policy control to provide coherent, consumable services to enterprise users.’
Therefore Business Services Orchestration should consist of:
– Service Orchestration Platform – The service orchestration functionality is implemented as a platform that is persistent and distinct from, and technically independent of the Orchestrated services.

– Consumable Enterprise Services – The key output of the service orchestration process is the delivery of easy-to-access-and-use services to enterprise users.

– Hybrid Environment – Service orchestration will be able to operate across multiple cloud models (including ‘brokered’ services) in a hybrid environment, with workloads being moved where and when appropriate.

– Intelligent Policy Control – All the key processes and operations within the orchestration platform will be governed within a platform-based framework of central and client-specific policies.

– Orchestrated Services – Services and solutions managed by service orchestration include cloud capacity services (IaaS and PaaS) and cloud functional services (SaaS), and are integrated with the legacy IT environment of client organizations where appropriate. These services may be provided by multiple providers, internal or external.
 Sounds complicated, so why should we orchestrate?
Simply because orchestration enables us to put the business first.

By enabling orchestration we manage the IT service complexity centrally and simplify the control, delivery and consumption of enterprise services.
We also need to orchestrate because maintaining agility and flexibility is harder than ever in a global business world that demands the elasticity to adapt to evolving market requirements. Technologies are changing fast. Customers expect to be able to interact with companies, and organizations with their suppliers, around the clock, from anywhere. They want choice and flexible consumption models. Employees want to access work data, delivered via an online ‘services marketplace’ assured by enterprise-grade capabilities and support. They wish to do this while communicating across their globally connected workforce, collaborating in real time with teams using their preferred new Android/iOS and Windows-based smart devices.
The prize for winning in the new market will go to the businesses that can roll out innovative products and services quicker than the competition. All these demands are putting unprecedented pressures on the IT department – who must also ensure the services they deliver remain robust, secure and compliant.
With enough time, people and investment, your company could, in theory, create its own orchestrated service from the ground up. But there’s no reason to reinvent the wheel when such a robust and tested system already exists.
If you have until now avoided taking the leap into the cloud, you’ll find that an orchestrated platform can also help make the transition painless, seamless and as gradual as desired. If your business is already in the cloud, you’ll finally discover the full benefits by moving to a purpose-built, rigorously tested and fully integrated, orchestrated solution – a solution that works just as well with public, private or hybrid platforms.
An orchestrated world will simplify the path from legacy to the cloud… for enterprises today and well into tomorrow.

This contribution by Adam Lewis  

Part of Capgemini’s TechnoVision 2014 update series. See the overview here.