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Three Tips for Automating Workflows with CloudBolt

Making the Most of CloudBolt Workflow Automation Capabilities

Why CloudBolt is a Great Tool for Automating Workflows

If you’re in the market for a tool that’s great for automating workflows, and you’re not familiar with CloudBolt, take a seat—it’s an excellent option. CloudBolt’s hybrid cloud management platform enables enterprise IT departments to build, deploy, and manage private and public clouds quickly and efficiently. The user-friendly portal hides the complexities of hybrid cloud, giving end-users the ability to manage and provision resources on demand, while administrators set provisioning conditions for governance. With CloudBolt, IT leverages its investment and controls costs while providing self-service IT, and increasing flexibility and agility.

Now, let’s talk about why it works so well for automating workflows.

  • Ease of use and a delightful end user experience

It’s perfectly fine for any IT shop to automate workflows with scripts and configuration management tools. However, what makes CloudBolt different is the self-service user experience. Automated workflows can be triggered with just the touch of a button by an end user, and all of the complexity of connecting to and orchestrating back end configuration is eliminated by CloudBolt. This is significantly easier and more pleasant than having to use an obscure console or manually configured mechanism.

  • Standardized view

CloudBolt also provides a standardized way of connecting to disparate resources. CloudBolt can connect to anything within the automation chain workflow with an extensible architecture, which means that all of the back end configuration is hidden. As a result, not only does the end user have a pleasant experience, but a standardized experience of whatever it is they need to do, regardless of what’s configured on the back end.

Also, there’s the idea of a standardized framework to connect to configuration management tools and IP address management tools, such as Infoblox and SolarWinds. CloudBolt does full lifecycle management of infrastructure resources to deal with creation, configuration, scheduling, and retiring outdated resources, all of which ultimately supports automation efforts.

Plus, CloudBolt is agentless, which makes configuration easy.

Tips for Setting Up Groups, Environments, and Access with CloudBolt

Here are a few pro tips that include best practices for setting up groups, environments, and access to those environments which will ultimately improve your workflow automation efforts.

1. Do some upfront planning to come up with a framework for functional regions.

In terms of configuring automation, the more planning you do upfront to use a naming convention for your groups and environments, the easier it will be to manage in the long run. Come up with a framework for functional region or technology regions—choose a logical cloud environment based on function, role, or geography.

If you’ve provisioned hundreds of servers, and you’ve named them with a certain convention that tells you if it’s a Windows server built by a certain department, but you leave out the region or function of the servers, it could be harder to troubleshoot on a downstream workflow. Specify that it’s a web, app, or database server and it’ll makes troubleshooting a lot easier later on when someone needs to quickly pinpoint or distinguish a specific element. Apply the same practice to groups or environments. Managing hundreds of environments is significantly easier if you create logical names that are easy to decipher.

2. Take advantage of lifecycle features.

Schedule when certain resources are on or off. Now, this could be complex, for example, because you can stipulate for some users that it’s mandatory that they pick a power schedule for when their resources are on or off, and also when they expire.

You have the ability to manage how much of that you want to expose to your ultimate end users, or configure yourself. So, you could have a default expiration date, such as, all servers expire after two weeks, or you can leave that up to the individual group that’s more self-disciplined.

Regardless, take advantage of lifecycle settings instead of just accepting the defaults. Come up with a strategy for power scheduling and expiration dates for resources. Sometimes, just exposing the ability to schedule or expire your resources actually encourages end users to be more self-governing, which cuts costs.

You can also develop policies certain groups are required to inherit. Set quotas for compute power that you allow each group to provision and enforce them liberally or conservatively, which gives you the option to alert users when they’re approaching their quota.

3. Know your environment so that you can take full advantage of the CloudBolt platform as your own developer’s platform.

It’s worth noting, CloudBolt does have an extensible framework to connect to any environment and notify anyone with this plug-in architecture. Go in and study that environment so that you can take full advantage of the platform as your own developer’s platform. You don’t have to make any customizations that make it hard to reproduce, but it’s worth making the effort to take full advantage of the plug-in architecture and open APIs.

You can also customize the user experience with UI extensions. Leverage all of the added value that comes with the software! There’s certainly nothing wrong with using it out of the box, but if you invest in some of the configuration power, you might be able to solve even further. There could very well be some manual tasks yet to be automated or configured at the touch of the button on the interface.

Are you new to CloudBolt? Want to know how to make the most out of the software? We’re here for you. Get in touch with an August Schell engineer, or call us to speak to someone today at (301)-838-9470.

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