5 Operations Every Cloud Architect Should Automate

Automation tools for Cloud Architects

The cloud offers numerous benefits for modern application development, and one of the most significant advantages is automation. Cloud architects excel in their roles by harnessing automation to streamline critical actions that would traditionally require manual steps. If you’re curious about the automation techniques that are central to a cloud architect’s job, keep reading. In this article, we’ll dive into the five essential operations that every cloud architect should strive to automate when designing, building, and deploying cloud-hosted applications.

Automation #1: Scaling

Automated scaling is the cornerstone of cloud computing. Whether it’s auto-scaling server resources or leveraging the elastic scaling capabilities of cloud-native services like Amazon S3 and DynamoDB, scaling is a fundamental aspect of the cloud. Scalable infrastructure is one of the primary reasons organizations embrace the cloud. The ability to quickly and effortlessly launch new server instances is crucial for automated scalability, which brings us to the next automation technique.

Automation #2: Server Provisioning

In the pre-cloud era, provisioning a new server could take days or even weeks. However, cloud automation has revolutionized this process. Cloud architects can now provision fully functional and operational server instances, complete with all the required software and services, in a matter of minutes. Automated server provisioning plays a pivotal role not only in auto-scaling but also in enabling self-healing infrastructures. By terminating failing or compromised server instances and allowing automation to replace them with fresh instances, the cloud transforms problem resolution. This capability significantly improves the mean time to resolution (MTTR) for various classes of issues and errors.

Automated server provisioning works similarly whether launching virtual machine instances in a compute service like Amazon EC2 or container instances in a Kubernetes environment like Google Kubernetes Engine. In both cases, automation enhances speed and reliability when launching, scaling, and repairing server instances, which is fundamental for most cloud-enabled applications. Additionally, automated server provisioning improves availability by easily replacing a smaller number of larger servers with a larger number of smaller servers, thereby reducing the impact of failures.

Automation #3: Infrastructure Creation

Automated server provisioning alone is not sufficient to get a cloud application up and running. Cloud architects must also provision load balancers, firewalls, network segments, databases, and other essential services such as queues and caches. Setting up and configuring all the supporting infrastructure manually can be time-consuming. However, automation techniques like infrastructure as code (IaC) enable the provisioning of application infrastructure using APIs.

IaC allows specifying the desired infrastructure setup in source code, typically a JSON or YAML file, which can be managed using traditional software version control systems like Git. The codified infrastructure configuration is then processed by a tool that automatically provisions, configures, and connects the infrastructure components into a functional network. Tools like HashiCorp’s Terraform and AWS’s CloudFormation excel in cloud infrastructure automation.

Infrastructure as code brings several advantages to the infrastructure provisioning process, including change control and approval, change tracking, and infrastructure code reuse. However, IaC is only feasible in a cloud or cloud-like data center where infrastructure APIs facilitate automated infrastructure creation. Cloud architects should leverage IaC tools to create reliable, secure, and repeatable cloud patterns for infrastructure provisioning.

Automation #4: Code Deployment

Automated code deployment pipelines are not exclusive to the cloud, but they are a natural fit for cloud-enabled applications due to their heavy reliance on other forms of automation. Continuous integration/continuous delivery (CI/CD) pipelines are popular methods for automated code deployment. CI/CD allows for the automatic application of code deployments based on changes made to the code base and checked into a version control system like Git. Companies can schedule automated deployments at regular intervals or trigger them whenever changes are made and available for deployment.

Numerous tools facilitate automated code deployments, including Jenkins, Bamboo, GitLab, CircleCI, and AWS CodeDeploy. Each tool operates differently, and the choice of automation strategy depends on the organization’s development needs. However, sophisticated cloud-architected applications typically adopt some form of automated code deployment, and cloud architects heavily rely on this automation technique.

Automation #5: Native Cloud Services

One often overlooked aspect of automation is the automatic dynamic scaling built into many cloud services. Cloud queuing services like Amazon Simple Queue Service, cloud data storage options such as Amazon S3, and cloud databases like Amazon DynamoDB heavily rely on automation to handle scaling requirements for dynamic applications. Cloud architects often prefer using these services over creating their own data stores on local drives because they offer simplicity, reliability, integration ease, and automatic functionality.

It’s important to acknowledge that automation is one of the defining characteristics of the cloud, setting it apart from traditional data centers. While it’s possible to run applications in the cloud without leveraging automation, doing so means missing out on numerous advantages. Building a truly cloud-enabled application requires a skilled cloud architect who can take full advantage of everything the cloud has to offer, especially automation. A good cloud architect will automate as much as possible, driven by the power of automation available in the cloud and eager to utilize these automation techniques in unique and interesting ways. Automation is the key to achieving greater consistency, reliability, security, scalability, and responsiveness to business needs.

By automating critical operations, cloud architects empower organizations to make the most of cloud computing. Automation saves time, improves efficiency, and increases reliability, making it an essential skill for any cloud architect. So, if you’re planning to pursue a career as a cloud architect, mastering automation techniques should be at the top of your to-do list.

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Q: What are the essential operations that every cloud architect should automate?
A: Cloud architects should strive to automate scaling, server provisioning, infrastructure creation, code deployment, and leverage automation built into native cloud services.

Q: Why is automation important in cloud computing?
A: Automation plays a vital role in achieving greater consistency, reliability, security, scalability, and responsiveness to business needs. It saves time, enhances efficiency, and improves the overall performance of cloud-hosted applications.


Automation is the backbone of cloud computing and a crucial skill for cloud architects. By automating critical operations, cloud architects can maximize the benefits of cloud computing and deliver efficient, reliable, and scalable applications. From scaling and server provisioning to infrastructure creation, code deployment, and leveraging native cloud services, automation is the key to success in the cloud. So, if you’re aspiring to become a cloud architect, make sure to prioritize automation skills in your journey.