|By Jason Bloomberg||
|September 30, 2012 09:00 AM EDT||
You're the widget product manager for Widgetco, who sells about 500 widgets per day on your Web site, some days a dozen more, some days a dozen less. Everything is fine until you pick up a copy of USA Today. Right there on the front page, in brilliant color-on-newsprint, is Justin Bieber. And what is the Biebster holding in his hand? One of your widgets.
Dream scenario? No, you think, more like nightmare scenario. Widgetco hosts its Web site in its own data center, as it has done since 1997. It can take maybe, say, a thousand or two transactions per day at most. But sure enough, Bieber Fever crashes your site, on the one day you could make your entire quarterly sales quota, if only you could fulfill the demand.
You should have listened to your CIO, who recommended Cloudbursting as a way of dealing with unexpected spikes in demand. Cloudbursting is being able to maintain on-premise or Private Cloud capacity for normal capacity requirements, while a Public Cloud automatically handles excess demand. Cloudbursting is supposed to be an economical way of leveraging the Public Cloud, because you only pay the Cloud provider when you require excess capacity. On normal days, however, your existing, already-paid-for infrastructure handles the load quite well.
A straightforward value proposition, right? Any on-premise or Private Cloud-based app that is subject to spikes in demand that existing infrastructure can't handle should be able to benefit, so the argument goes. Unfortunately, however, Cloudbursting has a number of problems, making it challenging for even the most suitable scenarios-and furthermore, such scenarios are rarer than you think. Bottom line: Cloudbursting is mostly marketing vaporware, and even as the Cloud marketplace matures, may only be of limited applicability.
A Closer Look at Cloudbursting
Cloudbursting depends upon workload migration: when your on-premise system bogs down, you must move your entire application to the Cloud-data, business logic, and user interface. Over an Internet connection to the Cloud. Even the most basic workloads might take hours to migrate, and in the meantime, your customers are left out in the cold.
The obvious way to mitigate the workload migration problem is to set up a copy of your application environment in the Cloud ahead of time. That way when the Bieber effect kicks in, all you need to do is fire up the Cloud copy and reconfigure your DNS to direct traffic to it, right?
Not so fast. First you'll need to synchronize your data. There are tools for that, true, but it still takes time, and you now have the challenge of maintaining the true version of the data. For example, let's say you have 5,000 widgets in inventory (as reported by your ERP application) when your site goes down. You can't migrate the whole ERP to the Cloud, so you copy over your master inventory table. Now you're fulfilling orders in the Cloud as well as on-premise, since your on-premise site has recovered now that you've lightened its load. The result? Each site sells 3,000 widgets before the next data synchronization cycle, and once again you're in trouble.
OK, so that won't work either. Instead, you integrate the Cloud app with your ERP system, so that you can handle orders in real time, instead of waiting to synchronize your data. In other words, you set up a Hybrid Cloud. Yes, you can do that-after all, many organizations are moving to Hybrid Cloud models-but then you ask yourself: does it really make sense to put in all the time and effort to set up a Hybrid Cloud solely for handling Cloudbursting? If you're going to all that trouble, why not keep the Cloud-based app live all the time?
There's the rub with Cloudbursting: you might think you're saving money by only using a Public Cloud for handling peak demand, but in reality, you get better Total Cost of Ownership by using the Cloud all the time, either via a Hybrid model, or by migrating your entire app to the Cloud. The Hybrid model provides additional benefits as well, namely a measure of failover, increasing your overall availability. It's always better to have two (or more) geographically distributed instances of an app serving your customers, in case something happens to one of them. And if you want to offer seamless availability, you should have all the instances running at once, with a load balancer distributing the traffic. Chances are, you can get load balancing from the Cloud provider as well.
So you've convinced your CIO that Cloudbursting might not be the best alternative. Instead, you're discussing moving your entire site to the Cloud when your CEO walks into the room. Her concern is for compliance and security. You're taking customer credit card numbers, so you must be PCI compliant. And everybody knows Public Clouds are less secure than Private ones, right?
The problem here is that if these concerns are valid then they rule out Cloudbursting as well. Being PCI compliant except during peak demand is just another way of saying you're not PCI compliant. On the other hand, if your Public Cloud provider offers PCI compliance, then it would apply equally well to Cloudbursting as to a Hybrid approach or migrating to the Public Cloud. The same argument applies to security concerns.
There are a few more pitfalls to Cloudbursting worth mentioning. If you're thinking of putting your app in a Private Cloud and using a Public Cloud for Cloudbursting, then what you're really saying is that you didn't plan your Private Cloud properly in the first place. After all, what's the point in setting up a Private Cloud unless it can provide sufficient elasticity to meet your needs? You might as well just stick to a traditional on-premise hosted environment.
You also need to work through the details of the Cloudbursting event itself. Does your on-premise app need to fail for Cloudbursting to take place, or do you have a way of bursting as your existing app nears a critical threshold, but before it actually goes down? The latter requires careful management, and even with all the appropriate management tools in place, you may still have a failure-based scenario. The question then is whether the on-premise failure will impede your ability to successfully Cloudburst. For example, if the Bieber effect causes your database server to crash requiring a reboot, you may not be able to synchronize your data in order to begin the Cloudbursting. In other words, you've designed your Cloudbursting to fail just when you need it.
The ZapThink Take
Let's say you've made it to this point in this ZapFlash and you're still not convinced. You remain confident that Cloudbursting is practical in your situation. OK, then, what kind of situations might be appropriate for Cloudbursting?
Our Widgetco example required some legacy integration, which obviously complicates Cloudbursting enormously. Cloudbursting would clearly be more suitable for standalone applications that didn't require such integration. But on the other hand, you would only need Cloudbursting if you have an app that is susceptible to spikes in demand-and virtually all such apps have public-facing Web interfaces. And thirdly, Cloudbursting would clearly not be appropriate for any app that should obviously be entirely Cloud-based from the get go, namely a SaaS or PaaS app.
We've essentially crossed off every kind of application from the list. Any sort of app that processes customer transactions is out of consideration, because they either require legacy integration or should run as SaaS apps in order to process transactions in the Cloud. All that remain are free, public-facing Web applications that have unpredictable traffic patterns and yet have an on-premise component that you don't want to move to the Cloud. You have one minute to think of one. Ready? Go!
Image credit: oskaree
SYS-CON Events announced today that Catchpoint Systems, Inc., a provider of innovative web and infrastructure monitoring solutions, has been named “Silver Sponsor” of SYS-CON's DevOps Summit at 18th Cloud Expo New York, which will take place June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Catchpoint is a leading Digital Performance Analytics company that provides unparalleled insight into customer-critical services to help consistently deliver an amazing customer experience. Designed ...
Feb. 27, 2017 01:15 PM EST Reads: 408
@DevOpsSummit at Cloud taking place June 6-8, 2017, at Javits Center, New York City, is co-located with the 20th International Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The widespread success of cloud computing is driving the DevOps revolution in enterprise IT. Now as never before, development teams must communicate and collaborate in a dynamic, 24/7/365 environment. There is no time to wait for long developm...
Feb. 27, 2017 12:45 PM EST Reads: 2,092
SYS-CON Events announced today that Outlyer, a monitoring service for DevOps and operations teams, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Outlyer is a monitoring service for DevOps and Operations teams running Cloud, SaaS, Microservices and IoT deployments. Designed for today's dynamic environments that need beyond cloud-scale monitoring, we make monitoring effortless so you...
Feb. 27, 2017 11:45 AM EST Reads: 2,519
Cloud Expo, Inc. has announced today that Andi Mann and Aruna Ravichandran have been named Co-Chairs of @DevOpsSummit at Cloud Expo 2017. The @DevOpsSummit at Cloud Expo New York will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, New York, and @DevOpsSummit at Cloud Expo Silicon Valley will take place Oct. 31-Nov. 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Feb. 27, 2017 11:30 AM EST Reads: 2,532
As Enterprise business moves from Monoliths to Microservices, adoption and successful implementations of Microservices become more evident. The goal of Microservices is to improve software delivery speed and increase system safety as scale increases. Documenting hurdles and problems for the use of Microservices will help consultants, architects and specialists to avoid repeating the same mistakes and learn how and when to use (or not use) Microservices at the enterprise level. The circumstance w...
Feb. 27, 2017 11:15 AM EST Reads: 1,910
SYS-CON Events announced today that CA Technologies has been named “Platinum Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and the 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place October 31-November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. CA Technologies helps customers succeed in a future where every business – from apparel to energy – is being rewritten by software. From ...
Feb. 27, 2017 11:15 AM EST Reads: 2,833
DevOps and microservices are permeating software engineering teams broadly, whether these teams are in pure software shops but happen to run a business, such Uber and Airbnb, or in companies that rely heavily on software to run more traditional business, such as financial firms or high-end manufacturers. Microservices and DevOps have created software development and therefore business speed and agility benefits, but they have also created problems; specifically, they have created software securi...
Feb. 27, 2017 11:00 AM EST Reads: 4,254
The emerging Internet of Everything creates tremendous new opportunities for customer engagement and business model innovation. However, enterprises must overcome a number of critical challenges to bring these new solutions to market. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Michael Martin, CTO/CIO at nfrastructure, outlined these key challenges and recommended approaches for overcoming them to achieve speed and agility in the design, development and implementation of Internet of Everything solutions with...
Feb. 27, 2017 10:00 AM EST Reads: 8,013
DevOps is often described as a combination of technology and culture. Without both, DevOps isn't complete. However, applying the culture to outdated technology is a recipe for disaster; as response times grow and connections between teams are delayed by technology, the culture will die. A Nutanix Enterprise Cloud has many benefits that provide the needed base for a true DevOps paradigm. In his general session at 20th Cloud Expo, Chris Brown, a Solutions Marketing Manager at Nutanix, will explore...
Feb. 27, 2017 09:45 AM EST Reads: 1,881
This week's news brings us further reminders that if you're betting on cloud, you're headed in the right direction. The cloud is growing seven times faster than the rest of IT, according to IDC, with a 25% spending increase just from 2016 to 2017. SaaS still leads the pack, with an estimated two-thirds of public cloud spending going that way. Large enterprises, with more than 1,000 employees, are predicted to account for more than half of cloud spending and have the fastest annual growth rate.
Feb. 27, 2017 09:30 AM EST Reads: 1,239
All clouds are not equal. To succeed in a DevOps context, organizations should plan to develop/deploy apps across a choice of on-premise and public clouds simultaneously depending on the business needs. This is where the concept of the Lean Cloud comes in - resting on the idea that you often need to relocate your app modules over their life cycles for both innovation and operational efficiency in the cloud. In his session at @DevOpsSummit at19th Cloud Expo, Valentin (Val) Bercovici, CTO of Soli...
Feb. 27, 2017 09:15 AM EST Reads: 1,515
Microservices are a very exciting architectural approach that many organizations are looking to as a way to accelerate innovation. Microservices promise to allow teams to move away from monolithic "ball of mud" systems, but the reality is that, in the vast majority of organizations, different projects and technologies will continue to be developed at different speeds. How to handle the dependencies between these disparate systems with different iteration cycles? Consider the "canoncial problem" ...
Feb. 27, 2017 06:00 AM EST Reads: 6,191
After more than five years of DevOps, definitions are evolving, boundaries are expanding, ‘unicorns’ are no longer rare, enterprises are on board, and pundits are moving on. Can we now look at an evolution of DevOps? Should we? Is the foundation of DevOps ‘done’, or is there still too much left to do? What is mature, and what is still missing? What does the next 5 years of DevOps look like? In this Power Panel at DevOps Summit, moderated by DevOps Summit Conference Chair Andi Mann, panelists l...
Feb. 27, 2017 05:00 AM EST Reads: 7,447
When building DevOps or continuous delivery practices you can learn a great deal from others. What choices did they make, what practices did they put in place, and how did they connect the dots? At Sonatype, we pulled together a set of 21 reference architectures for folks building continuous delivery and DevOps practices using Docker. Why? After 3,000 DevOps professionals attended our webinar on "Continuous Integration using Docker" discussing just one reference architecture example, we recogn...
Feb. 27, 2017 04:00 AM EST Reads: 2,833
Hardware virtualization and cloud computing allowed us to increase resource utilization and increase our flexibility to respond to business demand. Docker Containers are the next quantum leap - Are they?! Databases always represented an additional set of challenges unique to running workloads requiring a maximum of I/O, network, CPU resources combined with data locality.
Feb. 27, 2017 03:00 AM EST Reads: 2,379
Thanks to Docker and the DevOps revolution, microservices have emerged as the new way to build and deploy applications — and there are plenty of great reasons to embrace the microservices trend. If you are going to adopt microservices, you also have to understand that microservice architectures have many moving parts. When it comes to incident management, this presents an important difference between microservices and monolithic architectures. More moving parts mean more complexity to monitor an...
Feb. 27, 2017 02:00 AM EST Reads: 1,886
In recent years, containers have taken the world by storm. Companies of all sizes and industries have realized the massive benefits of containers, such as unprecedented mobility, higher hardware utilization, and increased flexibility and agility; however, many containers today are non-persistent. Containers without persistence miss out on many benefits, and in many cases simply pass the responsibility of persistence onto other infrastructure, adding additional complexity.
Feb. 27, 2017 01:15 AM EST Reads: 1,751
Docker containers have brought great opportunities to shorten the deployment process through continuous integration and the delivery of applications and microservices. This applies equally to enterprise data centers as well as the cloud. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Jari Kolehmainen, founder and CTO of Kontena, will discuss solutions and benefits of a deeply integrated deployment pipeline using technologies such as container management platforms, Docker containers, and the drone.io Cl tool...
Feb. 26, 2017 10:45 PM EST Reads: 2,465
The rise of containers and microservices has skyrocketed the rate at which new applications are moved into production environments today. While developers have been deploying containers to speed up the development processes for some time, there still remain challenges with running microservices efficiently. Most existing IT monitoring tools don’t actually maintain visibility into the containers that make up microservices. As those container applications move into production, some IT operations t...
Feb. 26, 2017 10:15 PM EST Reads: 1,532
In 2014, Amazon announced a new form of compute called Lambda. We didn't know it at the time, but this represented a fundamental shift in what we expect from cloud computing. Now, all of the major cloud computing vendors want to take part in this disruptive technology. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, John Jelinek IV, a web developer at Linux Academy, will discuss why major players like AWS, Microsoft Azure, IBM Bluemix, and Google Cloud Platform are all trying to sidestep VMs and containers...
Feb. 26, 2017 05:30 PM EST Reads: 2,374