We blogged recently about Puppet-as-a-Service and what that gives you, in terms of automation on one end of the spectrum and insight/control on the other. In this post I want to drill down into infrastructure orchestration, which is part of what you get with the Bitlancer Strings’ “Puppet-as-a-Service” approach to cloud automation.

Many people view cloud automation as the ability to provision a new virtual server or deploy simple applications in the public cloud in a point-and-click manner. That’s part of it, for sure. (And that’s what Puppet or Chef is for.)

But many teams also want a more flexible, programmatic type approach that lets them build and deploy (and document!) full stack configurations on an as-needed basis. For example, you might want to not only spin up a server, but also install software on it, provision load balancers and a database, and get them all orchestrated for testing or production purposes. That’s infrastructure orchestration.

In many private cloud or “do-it-yourself” cloud automation environments, infrastructure management is not that well orchestrated. Deploying complex configurations has generally involved time-consuming, largely manual efforts that were often undocumented.

Bitlancer Strings makes it very easy to know what was deployed in each configuration. It also makes it easy to tweak configurations. A further advantage (maybe the biggest advantage) of Strings is that we setup your specific environment for you in an “as-a-service” manner to ensure you get started on the right foot and stay in sync thereafter.

With Strings, you get the advantages of reusable, documented, portable configurations with your choice of technologies and cloud providers. Strings also enables you to manage authentication and access permissions for your virtual servers, including the creation of new user accounts, from the same point-and-click interface you use for configuration management.

The point of Bitlancer Strings “Puppet-as-a-Service”-and infrastructure orchestration in general-is to help development and operations teams make a smooth transition to the cloud (or to a new cloud) by making it as easy as possible to automate and document deployment of even complex configurations.

But there’s another critical piece of the cloud automation puzzle, which is managing your virtual infrastructure once you’ve deployed it. Orchestration of infrastructure deployment and management of deployed infrastructure have traditionally been seen as separate. But with Strings, they’re integrated.

With Strings you can launch new servers, for example, and automatically handle device configuration at the same time. Or you can spin up a cluster and then add a node to it. Need to remove or add an SSH key for one of your users? No problem: the change immediately propagates to existing instances as well as new ones.

There are some very powerful tools out there these days to orchestrate the management of cloud infrastructure. But with that power comes significant complexity and a potentially bewildering array of setup options. The benefit of Strings in this context, once again, is simplicity and as-a-service support:

  • Bitlancer manages your blueprints (similar to templates in other tools) for you, as-a-service, so you can have the flexibility you need but don’t have to worry about getting everything right in the process.
  • Working with Strings is point-and-click easy, so you don’t have to hand-write and manually manage templates for your infrastructure.

So if you want to get away from manually managing your cloud infrastructure, but don’t want to do a lot of programming and manual setup, Bitlancer Strings’ “Puppet-as-a-Service” approach to infrastructure orchestration could be right for you. Strings offers a simple, solid foundation and a seamless process for deploying, configuring and managing your cloud infrastructure.

UPDATE: Bitlancer Strings is now open source. For more information, visit Strings Documentation on Github.