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Why Morpheus Cloud Orchestration Tools Outshine the Competition

This is a guest post from GTRI partner Morpheus. Whoever said, “It’s the journey, not the destination” never had to manage the complete transformation of a complex information-system infrastructure from physical, on-premises servers to their virtual, cloud-based equivalents. That’s a trek guaranteed to challenge the rosy disposition of even the most optimistic of IT managers. […]

This is a guest post from GTRI partner Morpheus.

Whoever said, “It’s the journey, not the destination” never had to manage the complete transformation of a complex information-system infrastructure from physical, on-premises servers to their virtual, cloud-based equivalents. That’s a trek guaranteed to challenge the rosy disposition of even the most optimistic of IT managers.

“Orchestration” is the perfect word to describe the task presented to system administrators charged with keeping the diverse components of today’s hybrid networks running. The operation needs to go beyond functioning “well enough.” When it comes to keeping your company competitive, “good enough” just won’t cut it.

Like a world-class symphony orchestra, the many “instruments” that comprise modern IT systems need to be fine-tuned so every note rings true. The only way to coordinate the diverse components of the hybrid cloud networks that dominate today’s IT landscape is by using orchestration tools.

As TechTarget’s David Linthicum writes, “trying to use a legacy IT orchestration tool for hybrid cloud — where well-defined APIs are a must — typically won’t work.”

You need orchestration tools that are built specifically for the cloud, but frequently the tools must also work with existing in-house data resources. This often means having to use two distinct orchestration tools, which adds complexity and invites confusion to a process (cloud tool selection) that is already plenty complicated.

Making orchestration simpler, more efficient

In contrast to the convoluted multi-tool approach, orchestrating application deployment is what Morpheus does best. There is no faster way to provision databases, apps, and app stack components than by using Morpheus one-click provisioning. The service lets you keep all your important data in one place, which makes sharing custom reports on app capacity, server capacity, and recent activity quick and seamless.

As DevOpsCube writes, complex application architectures require more efficient resource management than is available from open-source orchestration tools right out of the box. An ecosystem of specialty cloud-management tools has developed around open-source platforms. Attempting to navigate this increasingly crowded field can leave seasoned IT managers scratching their heads. Here’s a quick look at what Morpheus offers that the orchestration alternatives lack.

The shortcomings of the open-source platform mainstays

In the beginning, there were Docker Swarm and Mesosphere, which was created by Twitter and is now used by many other big-name web services. The two open-source orchestration tools are designed to work hand-in-hand. According to Mesosphere’s Matt Trifiro, the premise is that you start your container orchestration with Swarm and then “swap in” Mesosphere when you need to go to production at scale.

Mesosphere Marathon is designed specifically to facilitate the conversion of legacy apps to container workloads. The system works with nearly any existing application, whether JVM-based, a Ruby script, or a simple Bash shell script.

As with all cloud-orchestration tools, the three key characteristics of the Docker Swarm/Mesosphere pairing are high availability, fault tolerance, and self-healing.

The Morpheus Cloud Management Platform integrates seamlessly with Docker.

Kubernetes is an open-source orchestration tool managed by Google that features a first-rate scheduler and resource manager. Kubernetes features are a robust toolset and is noted for being easy to learn. However, it’s also noted for being poorly documented. Still, few orchestration managers can boast the customer base and extensive testing Kubernetes offers.

The Morpheus orchestration difference: Speed, simplicity, completeness

Where the open-source tools come up short is out-of-the-box productivity. The time and effort you would expend to select, integrate, and implement your custom combination of open-source orchestrators is eliminated by Morpheus’ ability to deliver all the orchestration functionality you require in a clear, comprehensive dashboard. The Morpheus cloud application management platform ensures all your most important data is managed from a single location, whether the data is hosted in public, private, or hybrid clouds.

When you need to add nodes to a database, app, or app stack — whether via the web UI, the command line, or an API call — Morpheus automatically configures the database or app cluster. The logs Morpheus collects automatically for all the systems you provision put the information you need for analysis and troubleshooting at your fingertips.

Top orchestration specialty tools

If popularity were all that mattered, the short list of orchestration tools would feature only three products: Chef, Puppet, and Ansible. RightScale’s 2017 State of the Cloud Report places the tools second, third, and fourth – behind only Docker – as the most popular devops tools in use today and tomorrow.

While Docker remains the king of the devops tools, the popularity of competing solutions shows no signs of abating. (Source: InfoWorld)

A diverse collection of orchestration managers are available for hybrid-cloud implementations. Among the most popular are stalwarts such as RightScale, Scalr, VMware, and IBM Cloud Orchestrator. Other contenders include Avni, which offers Layers 4-7 network functionality in addition to cloud management to prevent being locked into any single cloud service for load balancing, caching, or application firewalls; and CloudBolt, which is designed specifically for orchestrating a range of infrastructure components, whether they exist in house, in the cloud, or somewhere in between.

A feature-by-feature comparison of these services highlights the Morpheus orchestration advantage. No cloud-app management approach is more adaptable to your organization’s hybrid-cloud needs that the integrated, automated Morpheus toolset. Morpheus’s one-click provisioning of databases, apps, and app stack components is unmatched in the industry. There is no faster or more-efficient way to keep close tabs on all your systems deployed on public, private, or hybrid clouds.

Roundup of orchestration-tool roundups

The recent flurry of activity in orchestration-tool arena makes keeping up with the field a full-time job. Tony Bishop writes on Data Center Knowledge that in 2017, 85 percent of enterprises will commit to multi-cloud architectures, according to figures from IDC.

As the demand for orchestration tools increases, the options multiply. These resources provide an overview of recent orchestration trends.

  • TechTarget’s Brian Kirsch compares the offerings of 10 orchestration services, including Cisco’s Process Orchestrator and Tidal Enterprise Orchestrator; Microsoft Orchestrator; and Ayehu eyeShare.
  • ProfitBricks’ list of the “48 best orchestration tools for infrastructure automation” is a bit dated, but the products featured demonstrate the incredible range of offerings available in the orchestration field.
  • DevOps Bookmarks breaks down the playing field in directory fashion, covering a range of orchestration products from the well-known (SaltStack and Cloudify) to the little known (jeto, Slaughter, Rex, and Overcast).
  • While Stratoscale’s overview of devops tools for private clouds isn’t limited to orchestration, the category clearly dominates the list, which includes Apache Brooklyn, MCollective, Juju, Cobbler, and Ironic.
  • Although it doesn’t specifically address orchestration tools, Cloud Computing Intelligence’s look at 2017 hybrid-cloud trends features a discussion of the requirements for moving automation above the orchestration layer to automate the entire application deployment process.

After you’ve checked out the rest, take a good look at the seamless, adaptable, efficient approach to hybrid-cloud orchestration that Morpheus offers. You’ll find that Morpheus is your one-stop shop for all your orchestration needs.

Brian Wheeler is the CTO of Morpheus, a cloud application management platform based in San Mateo, CA, where he oversees the technology team. Prior to Morpheus, Brian founded a software development consulting firm which designed and developed solutions for a variety of industries including power grid management, ticketing systems, online trading, social networking and gaming, SOX compliance, and e-commerce. Brian holds a bachelor’s degree in Chemistry from Pomona College.

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