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Orchestration & Scheduling Tools

Orchestration & Scheduling Tools

Orchestration and scheduling tools strive to eliminate silos, streamline processes and automate repetitive tasks so that IT departments can move quickly and efficiently. While similar to automation, orchestration goes beyond the scope of automation by focusing on workflows or processes rather than simple tasks. For example, orchestrating an application means not just deploying the app, but also connecting it to the network. 

In the past few years, containers have dramatically changed the way software organizations build, ship, and maintain applications. Container orchestration tools are concerned with managing the life cycles of those containers, and aim to automate the deployment, management, scaling, networking, and availability of container-based applications.

What are Orchestration and Scheduling Tools?

Orchestration and scheduling tools are a broad category that span everything from simple script-based application deployment tools to specialized container orchestration solutions like Kubernetes. Most orchestration products are quite complex and have to interact with many different systems, which can make integrating everything a chore. In addition, they tend to have convoluted price models that start with a cheap base, but become pricey quickly due to plug-ins and add-ons that must be included to get all the functionality. 

Aside from price, you should consider the following factors carefully before choosing an orchestration tool:

1. Your organization and IT deployment size: This is especially important when taking into consideration licensing levels.

2. Your operating system: Windows-based products work best with Windows operating systems. It might make sense to choose a tool that is inherently compatible with your organization.

3. Open source vs. commercial: Support is usually a key differentiator here. Open source products often rely on community support, while commercial products have assigned experts that are nice to have for critical business systems. 

Benefits of Orchestration and Scheduling Tools:

Orchestration and scheduling tools streamline and simplify interconnected workloads, repeatable processes, and operations between complex distributed systems. They help to deliver highly available, dynamically scaling, and high-performance applications. 

By allowing users to create and execute predictable, repeatable, automated processes, orchestration tools confer benefits like: 

1. Reduced IT costs
Reduced errors
3. Increased productivity
4. Saved developer time
5. Faster operations
6. Minimized system outages
7. Limited downtime

Best Orchestration & Scheduling Tools

  • Google Kubernetes Engine

    Google Kubernetes Engine (GKE)

    GKE can deploy, manage, and scale containerized applications that are powered by Kubernetes. It can also integrate seamlessly with the build process from application to Docker to registry to Kubernetes. The ability to build and attach multiple node pools to clusters is a useful feature that makes GKE stand out from other managed Kubernetes service providers.

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    Portainer is a centralized service delivery platform for containerized apps. It allows users  to reconfigure the running service on the fly by changing environment variables, mount points, and constraints directly from the Web. This platform offers simplified solutions for easy container management and can quickly generate various reports.

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    Mirantis Kubernetes Engine

    Mirantis provides quick and easy installation and configuration, as well as great flexibility for managing the cluster. It also facilitates application deployment, updates, and management and has very handy features, such as operating multi-tenant environments and separating cluster resources. It has excellent node configuration and autoscaling options, plus worker nodes that can run on operating systems such as Linux or Windows Server.

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  • Nomad


    HashiCorp Nomad is an open source clustered scheduling engine that can run a diverse workload of micro-service, batch, containerized and non-containerized applications. It enables organizations to automate the deployment of any application on any infrastructure at any scale.

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  • Rancher


    Rancher is an open source deployment tool for Kubernetes. It enables developers to launch cloud Kubernetes services from Google, Amazon or Microsoft. Its features include unified cluster management, application workload management, and centralized policy management.

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  • Kubernetes


    Kubernetes is an open-source platform that automates deployment, scaling, and management of containerized applications. It clusters groups of hosts running Linux containers in logical units for easy management and discovery. These clusters can span hosts across public, private, or hybrid clouds. This makes Kubernetes particularly well suited for hosting cloud-native applications that require rapid scaling.

    With Kubernetes, you can orchestrate containers across multiple hosts, mount and add storage to stateful applications, scale containerized applications on the fly, and control and automate deployments and updates. Features include container grouping using Pods, self-healing, load balancing, DNS management, rollback, and resource monitoring and logging. However, Kubernetes is not a complete solution and is meant to be used with plugins.

    Kubernetes was originally designed by Google, and is maintained by the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF). The seven spokes in the Kubernetes logo are a reference to the project’s original name, “Project Seven of Nine.”

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  • Marathon


    Marathon is a production-grade container orchestration platform for Mesosphere’s Datacenter Operating System (DC/OS) and Apache Mesos. It is designed to launch long-running applications, and, in Mesosphere, serves as a replacement for a traditional init system.

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  • Mesosphere


    Mesosphere develops software for data centers based on Apache Mesos. It expands on the cluster management capabilities of Apache Mesos, combining it with other components to enable an easy way to scale applications. Its primary product is the Datacenter Operating System (DC/OS).

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