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With so many different cloud orchestration platforms available, figuring out which is right for you is tough. You know you want to automate and manage tasks across multiple cloud environments but need to figure out which tool is best. I've got you! In this post I'll help make your choice easy, sharing my personal experiences using dozens of different cloud orchestration tools with a variety of teams and projects, with my picks of the best cloud orchestration platforms.

What Are Cloud Orchestration Platforms?

Cloud orchestration platforms are tools for automating and coordinating the management of cloud resources. They simplify the handling of complex cloud environments, integrating multiple services and processes into a unified system. These platforms manage the deployment, operation, and scaling of cloud-based applications and infrastructure.

The benefits of cloud orchestration platforms include enhanced efficiency through automation, reducing manual workload and error. They provide a streamlined approach to resource management, ensuring optimal use of cloud services. These platforms aid in cost-saving, improve security and compliance adherence, and offer scalability to meet varying demands. They are pivotal for organizations looking to maximize the potential of cloud computing.

Overviews Of The 10 Best Cloud Orchestration Platforms

Here’s a brief description of each of the cloud orchestration platforms to showcase each tool’s best use case, some noteworthy features, and screenshots to give a snapshot of the interface.

Best for optimizing cloud-based application performance

  • Free plan available
  • From $49/user/month
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Rating: 4.3/5

New Relic is cloud-based orchestration software that helps you monitor and manage your software's performance.

The platform's real-time analytics give you a live look at how your software is performing so you can spot any issues before they become big problems. It also has a feature called APM (Application Performance Monitoring) that lets you see how each part of your software is doing. This is helpful for pinpointing where any issues might be coming from.

Key features include backend monitoring, Kubernetes monitoring, mobile monitoring, model performance monitoring, infrastructure monitoring, log management, error tracking, network monitoring, vulnerability management, and browser monitoring. 

Integrations include over 500 apps, like AWS, Google Cloud, and Microsoft Azure; CI/CD tools like Jenkins, CircleCI, and Travis CI; communication tools like Slack and PagerDuty; and other monitoring and analytics tools like Grafana, Datadog, and Splunk. It also has an API you can use to build custom integrations.

New Relic costs from $49/user/month and offers a free plan for 1 user and 100 GB/month of data ingest.

Creating powerful integration workflows with minimum effort and low engineering overhead

  • The monthly fees for its Startup and Growth product tiers are $899, and $1,799 respectively
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Rating: 4.8/5

Cyclr is an embedded integration platform. It provides a scalable connection architecture that allows organizations to deliver native integration directly from their apps. This empowers SaaS applications with automation and powerful integration workflows.

Cyclr provides an orchestration layer to create connections with hundreds of third-party integrations. The software comes with a library of connectors that gives you a range of methods, actions, and events to activate when connecting to data sources.

Its low-code toolkit and drag-and-drop interface are suitable for those lacking much technical expertise who nonetheless want to build meaningful integrations and move data between applications with ease.

The monthly fees for its Startup and Growth product tiers are $899, and $1,799 respectively. Its Scale offering is listed as a customizable product, with pricing contingent upon selected features.

Interoperability fostered through a single pane of glass consolidated view of cloud infrastructure

  • 30 Days Free Trial
  • $1,000 / month and $4,750 / month respectively.
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Rating: 4.1/5

Cloudify is an open-source DevOps automation solution that makes it easy to manage all your automation tools in one platform. This central point of management is built on automation portrayed as “Environment as a Service” that comprises built-in integrations and toolchains that allow it to manage heterogeneous environments.

In addition to providing multi-cloud and hybrid support, Cloudify is designed with an open architectural model that’s suitable for pluggability. Cloudify automates DevOp processes, allowing you to manage apps effectively, especially those with a high degree of complexity.

The platform is suited for those who desire to work on hybrid clouds and stacks without having to change their existing codebase, workflow, or processes. Cloudify brings together the best practices of automation and orchestration throughout the process of continuous transformation.

Cloudify’s Terraform Only plan, which targets Terraform teams, is free. Its All Technologies plan is free for 30 days. Its Starter and Pro plans are priced at $1,000 / month and $4,750 / month respectively. Cloudify’s Enterprise plan’s pricing is available upon request.

Enterprise framework for building, deploying, and managing automation at scale

  • Free Trial
  • Pricing is provided upon request

If you need to rapidly scale your enterprise automation activities (whether to create, share, or manage automation workflows), then Red Hat Ansible is your answer. Red Hat Ansible is powered by Red Hat Ansible Engine and Red Hat Ansible Tower. The former is an execution engine that contains hundreds of automation modules while the latter is a management interface for service integration.Red Hat Ansible can be used to automate various IT infrastructure components, like application deployment, security, cloud instances, networks, and configuration management with little or no scripting. It therefore allows users to leverage YAML to create Ansible Playbooks, which provide IT components with a list of user-defined tasks and to-do lists to execute in the particular sequence desired by the individual.Red Hat Ansible provides an automation mesh with enhanced security to create fault-tolerant and resilient architectures with flexible designs.Ansible Automation is simple and easy to use.This is because organizations can use the existing knowledge and expertise on their teams. It doesn’t require installing agents on servers or standard builds, and neither does it require you to change your existing infrastructure.Red Hat Ansible pricing is provided upon request and they offer a free trial.

Creating a seamless experience across multi-cloud environments

  • Free Trial

BMC Multi-cloud management is a portfolio of solutions that offers services like multi-cloud migration and streamlining service delivery to provide a consistent, optimal end-user experience. It’s a multi-cloud service management that strives to provide the highest speed and accuracy to multi-channel environments at the lowest cost. It seeks to continuously optimize both cloud IT costs and capacity based on an organization’s business demands.

The software provides these services under a portfolio of featured solutions like BMC Helix ITSM, which handles service management with intelligent automation. BMC Helix Cloud Security provides enterprises with audit trails for its automated cloud resource configurations. In addition, it aspires to be user-friendly to the less tech-savvy by providing automated remediation without coding or scripting.

BMC provides free trials for its portfolio of products for an unspecified duration. Pricing is provided upon request.

Enhanced data management and governance capabilities

  • Free Trial

IBM Cloud Orchestrator is a user-friendly, highly customizable, and configurable cloud management platform. It provides automation tools to help DevOps to manage and oversee resources along the spectrum of private, public, and hybrid clouds.

The platform offers integrated IT workflow capabilities that include resource management, cost management, process automation, and IT governance.

IBM Cloud Orchestrator is equipped with toolkits that give users the building blocks to create a robust cloud infrastructure. It provides easy deployment, with simplified management and improved service delivery times. IBM presents you with a choice of either IBM Cloud Orchestrator or IBM Cloud Orchestrator Enterprise Edition.

IBM Cloud Orchestrator range of governance automation capabilities streamlines processes to stay in regulatory compliance.

IBM Cloud Orchestrator doesn’t offer any free trials. Pricing is available upon request.

Simplifies cloud operations with transparency that enhances compliance, governance, and financial accountability

  • Free Trial

CloudHealth simplifies cloud operations by providing a single solution to undertake multi-cloud management systems. It is designed to help you manage resources while providing transparency across private and public cloud infrastructure.

CloudHealth’s real-time visibility, combined with its automatic data gathering capabilities, facilitates continuous cloud monitoring and performance analysis. The in-depth insights garnered enables businesses to optimize resources more effectively.

Also, its granular visibility into cloud operations enables businesses to adhere to compliance and governance policies. Moreover, CloudHealth allows you to report expenditure by cost center, which enhances financial accountability.

Due to its operational visibility, CloudHealth is ideal for cost-sensitive customers who need to stay on budget. CloudHealth integrates seamlessly with public cloud platforms and technologies like Ansible, Amazon, Google Cloud Platform, and Jira Cloud, among others.

CloudHealth provides a free trial for an unspecified period. Pricing is provided upon request.

Unifying islands of disparate automation into a straight-forward cloud strategy

  • from $75/user/month (billed annually).

While the cloud provides variety, the proliferation of tools has become a burdensome cognitive overload for IT operators. Cloudbolt seeks to cure this confusing patchwork by providing the means to interconnect it all.

Cloudbolt provides a secure and fast way to centralize IT orchestration for hybrid cloud resources in a cost-effective manner. The platform is designed to bring cohesion to an increasing multi-tool world, with its ability to bridge these tools across the organization to accelerate cloud transformation.

Cloudbolt enables enterprises to support a variety of technologies, including on-premise virtualization. Others range from private clouds to public and hybrid configurations.

Cloudbolt is ideal for enterprises that need the flexibility to optimize resources continuously in multi-cloud, multi-tool environments.

Cloudbolt provides pricing upon request.

Easy setup, deployment, and management of AWS resources in a repeatable manner

  • Free plan available
  • From $0.0009 per handler operation

AWS CloudFormation is an infrastructure automation platform. It is used on the popular Amazon Web Services cloud platform as an infrastructure of code tool.

CloudFormation’s software-defined infrastructure lets organizations to provision, model, and manage both their AWS and third-party resources efficiently and effectively. It offers the choice of either YAML or JSON to automate resource management and even model your entire cloud environment.

Using built-in templates, administrators can provision, scale, manage, and deploy cloud infrastructure in multiple environments. As a managed AWS service, CloudFormation provides immense advantages with its interoperability and integration with other AWS solutions like AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM), and AWS Service Catalog, among others.

The platform is designed for those on AWS who want to reduce errors and inconsistencies of manual configuration.

AWS CloudFormation utilizes usage-based pricing and provides price estimates via its AWS Price Calculator.

De facto standard for enterprise container orchestration

  • Free
  • Free

Kubernetes is a powerful, popular, open-source container orchestration platform built by Google. Kubernetes has a complex infrastructure and huge ecosystem. However, its architecture is intricate in order to allow your applications to operate simply.

Kubernetes provides provisioning, load balancing, and container abstraction in the way of Pods. It also offers cluster management and deployment, logging, security, service discovery, turnkey scalability, and a host of other advanced features. It has APIs that automate provisioning and resource management processes so you don’t have to do it yourself.

However, Kubernetes can be an overkill for environments that don’t require its vast resources. Moreover, it requires a significant learning curve to grasp its complexities. But you reap the reward several times over in terms of productivity, especially with regards to managing containers at scale.

Kubernetes is suited for those who have to manage containerized applications at scale, who need to employ resilient container-based workloads. Kubernetes has proven so popular that all major cloud vendors currently support it for their customers out-of-the-box.

Google Kubernetes Engine (GKE) is open-source but customers are billed for the resources and workloads created and used.

The Best Cloud Orchestration Platforms Summary

Tools Price
New Relic From $49/user/month
Cyclr The monthly fees for its Startup and Growth product tiers are $899, and $1,799 respectively
Cloudify $1,000 / month and $4,750 / month respectively.
Red Hat Ansible Pricing is provided upon request
BMC Multi-Cloud Management No price details
IBM Cloud Orchestrator No price details
CloudHealth No price details
Cloudbolt from $75/user/month (billed annually).
AWS CloudFormation From $0.0009 per handler operation
Kubernetes Free
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Other Options

Here are a few other honorable mentions that didn’t make the top list.

  1. Microsoft Azure Automation

    Cloud process automation and management solution across Azure and non-Azure ecosystems

  2. Puppet Bolt

    Agentless task runner and automation tool that also handles multi-platform server configuration

  3. ActiveBatch

    Provides a layered, architectural approach to workload automation

  4. Chef

    Versatile configuration automation tool for heterogeneous and large-scale infrastructure.

  5. vRealize Suite

    A cloud management solution that integrates VMware vRealize’s cloud management suite of products.

  6. Morpheus

    Self-service automation delivery and cloud orchestration with control over VM and container-based systems.

  7. Terraform

    Allows DevOps to describe their infrastructure as a code, then build, manage, and reuse resources across providers.

  8. Embotics

    A hybrid cloud management platform deep in IT Asset Management expertise.

  9. OpenStack

    One of the most widely adopted cloud platforms built on open standards

Comparison Criteria

Here's the summary of what I look for when evaluating the best cloud orchestration platforms:

  1. User Interface (UI):  A user and web interface that’s easy to understand and navigate. This is vital because cloud orchestration platforms are often multilayered ecosystems.
  2. Usability: Since cloud orchestrators are fairly complex systems, a user experience that enhances effectiveness and efficiency should be a highly sought objective of the platform.
  3. Integrations: The best platforms provide users with flexibility through both in-built and out-of-the-box integrations that supply functionality that isn’t native to the platform.
  4. Value for $: Even the most awesome features in a product need to be balanced against its cost-effectiveness. So, value for money reflects the utility of cost, quality, and ability to meet customer needs that the platform provides. 

Cloud Orchestration Platforms: Key Features

These are some of the key features a cloud orchestration platform needs to be productive, deliver value, and meet customer expectations.

  1. Infrastructure as code: This reflects the ability of the platform to allow provisioning and managing of its underlying infrastructure through machine-readable code rather than manual processes or physical hardware configuration.
  2. Container orchestration: Containerized applications have become the de facto standard for packaging and delivering software efficiently, especially on cloud platforms. As a result, a cloud orchestration platform should have an effective and efficient way of managing and deploying containers. 
  3. Multi-cloud support: Cloud computing is currently all the rage. Hence, a cloud orchestration platform must be adept at load balancing, scaling, and generally managing cloud workloads on the fly. It should be able to support private, public, and hybrid cloud models.
  4. API Automation: By necessity, cloud orchestration platforms need to juggle and coordinate complex, interconnected systems, tasks, and workflows. Hence, the need for well-rounded automation, typically administered through APIs, to configure and control a vast array of resources.

The Importance of Cloud Orchestration Platforms

The cloud optimizes the utilization of resources through on-demand delivery of IT resources. Cloud adoption and the rising complexity of today's IT environments have created the need for cloud orchestration platforms. Since its inception a couple of years ago, cloud adoption is steadily rising across industries. 

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By Eze Onukwube

Eze has a master's degree in communications with over 10 years of experience as a software engineer. His playground is at the intersection of technology, process improvement, and simplifying IT concepts.