What is Orchestration?

Orchestration refers to the automation configuration and management of systems, applications, or services. The goal is to assist IT teams to better manage complicated tasks by combining multiple automated workflows across systems with many moving parts.

There are different types of orchestration in IT, including:

  • Container orchestration
  • Service orchestration 
  • Release (DevOps) orchestration 
  • Cloud orchestration
  • Workflow orchestration
  • Network orchestration  

Container Orchestration

This relates to how applications are packaged, transported, and accessed. Containers provide a self-contained application environment that can be deployed quickly across multiple areas of a business. IT teams can easily control and automate numerous tasks in an extensive complex application, network, or environment. 

Container Orchestration Benefits

  • Effortlessly scales applications and infrastructure
  • Improves governance and security controls
  • Balances the loads of multiple containers  
  • Optimizes resource allocation

Service Orchestration

Service orchestration enhances end-to-end service delivery. It provides a way to combine all application tasks and workflows such as design, development, delivery, and maintenance. Service orchestration enables IT teams to centralize the management and monitoring of processes and resources. 

Service Orchestration Benefits

  • Reduces or removes IT service delays and failures
  • It makes it easier to identify usage patterns
  • Optimizes the utilization of resources
  • It simplifies service level agreements (SLAs)
  • Increases efficiency
  • Reduces costs

Release Orchestration

Release orchestration conducts the end-to-end release pipeline of applications in development operations (DevOps). It manages each of the tasks and the status of the software release pipeline.

Release Orchestration Benefits 

  • Rapidly automates tasks accurately and efficiently
  • It helps to improve communication across functions and departments
  • Reduces time-to-market
  • Reduces costs to deliver applications

Cloud Orchestration

Cloud orchestration uses programming technology to manage the interactions and connection points between workloads that exist in cloud infrastructure. Automated tasks are connected to create close-knit workflows. This type of orchestration is used in: 

  • Provisioning, deployment activities
  • Storage capacity assignments
  • Networking
  • Security and compliance

Cloud Orchestration Benefits

  • Simplifies optimization
  • Offers effective visibility and control
  • Reduces errors
  • Saves on physical infrastructure costs

Workflow Orchestration

Workflow orchestration automates a series of steps in tasks or processes between the steps. It determines the logical end-to-end to achieve a specific goal. The primary objectives are to simplify, automate, and execute a single complex process or workflow. By automating manual, labor-intensive tasks, it boosts employee productivity

Workflow Orchestration Benefits

  • Improves efficiency on a daily basis across an entire organization
  • Frees up time for more innovative work
  • Can help to maximize productivity
  • Reduces errors

Network Orchestration

Network orchestration is the process of automatically programming how a network performs. This is done to ensure the network tasks work in cohesion with the hardware and software elements to effectively support all applications and services. 

Network Orchestration Benefits

  • Automates network routing  
  • Enables security domains 
  • Provisions network services

An Example of Orchestration

An example of workflow orchestration is automating many tasks or an entire process in virtually any business area. DevOps groups, for instance, might use orchestration when developing software to improve: 

  • Productivity across teams
  • Innovative thinking by freeing up valuable time 
  • Process inefficiencies
  • Application development times

Orchestration vs Automation

Automation focuses on taking a manual task that is usually completed by a person and automates it using technologies like artificial intelligence (AI) to improve efficiency. One example might be an action bot that understands what users want to do and automates tasks for them. 

Orchestration automates a series of tasks within an entire application or workflow so that it can easily be deployed in a more scalable way. 

Payment Orchestration Platforms

Payment orchestration platforms integrate and handle various payments to individuals, businesses, and banks, all on one unified software layer. Here are a few recognized payment orchestration platforms that automate, validate, and route payments:

  • Payoneer
  • PayPal
  • Rebilly
  • Spreedly

Customer Data Orchestration Platforms

This type of platform consolidates and integrates customer data into one database to give teams like customer service or marketing the information they need to support customers or create and run marketing campaigns. Information is gathered from all sources to provide complete customer visibility. 

This can help businesses determine the best direction to retain specific customers or gain new ones. Some more commonly known customer data orchestration platforms include:

  • Segment
  • Bloomreach
  • Insider
  • Emarsys
  • Totango
  • Optimove
  • Blueshift

The Future of Orchestration

A recent report by Forrester shows that value orchestration holds the key to the future. This means accelerating transformation whereby companies will need, “a new kind of service provider that brings assets, architectures, and alignment.”

It will become increasingly crucial for businesses to:

  1. Invest in technologies and partnerships that accelerate the time-to-business value.
  2. Orchestrate the value that exists within a client’s internal and external ecosystems.
  3. Emphasize trust, transparency, and value alignment.
  4. Share the risks and rewards.

Orchestration will become a new service paradigm, requiring a pivot to a co-innovation partnership between businesses and service providers.

Updated: March 02, 2022

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