what is auto scaling or cloud bursting, anyways?
In your IT position, you have been asked to replace an aging, but critical, application that is no longer able to meet the needs of the business. You have spent months working through the requirements for the new application, including application functionality, security and compliance, resiliency, and scalability. You have already chosen an application provider that has demonstrated that they can meet all of the application requirements. Your next step is to determine where to host the new application.What is Auto-Scaling? Auto-scaling is a means for dynamically allocating resources to your application in order to meet current demand or to ensure your application infrastructure remains healthy.It is important to know that there are a number of different ways to scale your application in the cloud so that you can decide which one will meet your needs. The three most common approaches are horizontal scaling, vertical scaling, and cloud bursting.
Methods for achieving auto-scaling There are two main methods for implementing an auto-scaling solution. The option you choose will depend on a number of factors, including the tools available to you as well as your development teams’ ability to effectively use those tools. The first method is called bootstrapping. With this method, the server instance is dynamically configured as it is booting up. For example, if your application needs another web server, the server would download the necessary software, install, and configure itself as a web server during the boot process. This method could create quite a bit of complexity, as it requires a set of third-party tools to provide the automation functions.
Beware of vendor lock-in Many cloud providers have developed their own capabilities for auto-scaling or cloud bursting on their cloud platform.This can include the use of custom APIs that are relevant only to that cloud provider. If you spend all of your time developing a scaling solution that works only against a specific cloud provider’s APIs, it makes it very difficult to migrate your application to another cloud.
Cost benefit analysis Finally, before you make auto-scaling a requirement for your application, it is important that you compare the cost of implementing such a solution against the savings you expect to gain. Some costs to consider when implementing an auto-scaling solution include the development labor, software licenses, and software maintenance, as well as the ongoing maintenance of the solution to stay current with changes in the application.
Rising to the challenge You face many challenges when selecting the best application to meet your current and future business needs. Couple that decision with having to select the best cloud IaaS provider to host your application and the decision becomes daunting. Understanding the benefits of auto-scaling, its key considerations, and how to perform a cost/benefit analysis will prepare you to select the best IaaS provider to meet your needs.
Which systems and processes would most benefit your business with a move to the cloud, and/or which could most easily be virtualized? Knowing your business goals and identifying which apps could be moved to the cloud to best support those objectives is the place to start. For example, applications with low utilization that could share CPUs in the cloud are good candidates if your firm is looking to reduce on-site hardware. Apps with specific regulatory-driven security
What are the right resource pools? Your cloud architecture approach should be driven in part by the amount of space you’ll need in the cloud. Resource pooling (grouping together data and applications that can share space in the cloud) can help optimize your cloud purchase by ensuring that you pay for just the amount of space you need – and that you use all of the space you pay for.
Do you have the right staff expertise to operate in the new paradigm?
Moving workloads to the cloud or adopting a hybrid approach can create a skill gap for engineering and operations teams to address. Any cloud adoption analysis should include the assessment of critical staff skills for managing the new environment, which can include a transition from a self-maintained technical focus to a vendor management perspective of technical operation (or a combination of both). The amount of training required and the specific roles and responsibilities for your own staff versus those of your cloud partners should be thoroughly reviewed while considering your cloud options.
Why the cloud is a safe deposit box for your data?
How to have a productive conversation with cloud computing providers?
Similarly, you’ll need to provide more information to cloud computing providers in order to get what you need. You can’t just wade in with, “I want to move my applications to the cloud!” (as many people do). What many people don’t realize is that clouds can be as different as a VW bug vs. a minivan. If you don’t specify what you need, you’re likely to get a “set of wheels” that is either much more or much less than what you really need.
“What do you want to do with the cloud?”
There are a lot of ways a cloud provider might phrase this question, such as “What’s your use case?” “What’s your goal?” and “What are your business objectives for the cloud?” But the bottom line is, “Why do you want to move to the cloud?”
The answer has to be more than “Save money.” Sure, the cloud may save you money by shifting you from a capital expense (capex) model to an operating expense (opex) model. But, candidly, it may not save you money. Like anything else in life, the more complex and custom your requirements, the more it will cost. There’s no magic in the cloud that gives you something for nothing.
To get a solid quote on an appropriate cloud solution, discuss in detail what you want to do with the cloud. For example, do you want to:
• Develop custom applications
• Use off-the-shelf applications
• Service internal employees such as HR or Finance
• Interact with the consumer in the marketplace
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