|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
Is your application too difficult to manage? Do changes take dozens of developers hundreds of hours to execute, and frequently result in downtime across all your site’s functions? It sounds like you have a monolith! A monolith is one of the three main software architectures that define most applications. Whether you’ve intentionally set out to create a monolith or not, it’s worth at least weighing the pros and cons of the different architectural approaches and deciding which one makes the most s...
Apr. 22, 2017 09:30 PM EDT Reads: 2,365
This recent research on cloud computing from the Register delves a little deeper than many of the "We're all adopting cloud!" surveys we've seen. They found that meaningful cloud adoption and the idea of the cloud-first enterprise are still not reality for many businesses. The Register's stats also show a more gradual cloud deployment trend over the past five years, not any sort of explosion. One important takeaway is that coherence across internal and external clouds is essential for IT right n...
Apr. 22, 2017 07:30 PM EDT Reads: 1,166
Software as a service (SaaS), one of the earliest and most successful cloud services, has reached mainstream status. According to Cisco, by 2019 more than four-fifths (83 percent) of all data center traffic will be based in the cloud, up from 65 percent today. The majority of this traffic will be applications. Businesses of all sizes are adopting a variety of SaaS-based services – everything from collaboration tools to mission-critical commerce-oriented applications. The rise in SaaS usage has m...
Apr. 22, 2017 06:15 PM EDT Reads: 4,526
Cloud Expo, Inc. has announced today that Aruna Ravichandran, vice president of DevOps Product and Solutions Marketing at CA Technologies, has been named co-conference chair of DevOps 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.
Apr. 22, 2017 05:30 PM EDT Reads: 2,132
To more closely examine the variety of ways in which IT departments around the world are integrating cloud services, and the effect hybrid IT has had on their organizations and IT job roles, SolarWinds recently released the SolarWinds IT Trends Report 2017: Portrait of a Hybrid Organization. This annual study consists of survey-based research that explores significant trends, developments, and movements related to and directly affecting IT and IT professionals.
Apr. 22, 2017 02:45 PM EDT Reads: 931
Developers want to create better apps faster. Static clouds are giving way to scalable systems, with dynamic resource allocation and application monitoring. You won't hear that chant from users on any picket line, but helping developers to create better apps faster is the mission of Lee Atchison, principal cloud architect and advocate at New Relic Inc., based in San Francisco. His singular job is to understand and drive the industry in the areas of cloud architecture, microservices, scalability ...
Apr. 22, 2017 12:45 PM EDT Reads: 3,098
Back in February of 2017, Andrew Clay Schafer of Pivotal tweeted the following: “seriously tho, the whole software industry is stuck on deployment when we desperately need architecture and telemetry.” Intrigue in a 140 characters. For me, I hear Andrew saying, “we’re jumping to step 5 before we’ve successfully completed steps 1-4.”
Apr. 22, 2017 09:15 AM EDT Reads: 1,151
The proper isolation of resources is essential for multi-tenant environments. The traditional approach to isolate resources is, however, rather heavyweight. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Igor Drobiazko, co-founder of elastic.io, drew upon his own experience with operating a Docker container-based infrastructure on a large scale and present a lightweight solution for resource isolation using microservices. He also discussed the implementation of microservices in data and application integrat...
Apr. 22, 2017 05:45 AM EDT Reads: 5,815
We'd all like to fulfill that "find a job you love and you'll never work a day in your life" cliché. But in reality, every job (even if it's our dream job) comes with its downsides. For you, the constant fight against shadow IT might get on your last nerves. For your developer coworkers, infrastructure management is the roadblock that stands in the way of focusing on coding. As you watch more and more applications and processes move to the cloud, technology is coming to developers' rescue-most r...
Apr. 22, 2017 04:00 AM EDT Reads: 3,884
2016 has been an amazing year for Docker and the container industry. We had 3 major releases of Docker engine this year , and tremendous increase in usage. The community has been following along and contributing amazing Docker resources to help you learn and get hands-on experience. Here’s some of the top read and viewed content for the year. Of course releases are always really popular, particularly when they fit requests we had from the community.
Apr. 22, 2017 03:45 AM EDT Reads: 3,364
Enterprise architects are increasingly adopting multi-cloud strategies as they seek to utilize existing data center assets, leverage the advantages of cloud computing and avoid cloud vendor lock-in. This requires a globally aware traffic management strategy that can monitor infrastructure health across data centers and end-user experience globally, while responding to control changes and system specification at the speed of today’s DevOps teams. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Josh Gray, Chie...
Apr. 22, 2017 03:30 AM EDT Reads: 2,896
Keeping pace with advancements in software delivery processes and tooling is taxing even for the most proficient organizations. Point tools, platforms, open source and the increasing adoption of private and public cloud services requires strong engineering rigor – all in the face of developer demands to use the tools of choice. As Agile has settled in as a mainstream practice, now DevOps has emerged as the next wave to improve software delivery speed and output. To make DevOps work, organization...
Apr. 22, 2017 12:00 AM EDT Reads: 8,532
Today we can collect lots and lots of performance data. We build beautiful dashboards and even have fancy query languages to access and transform the data. Still performance data is a secret language only a couple of people understand. The more business becomes digital the more stakeholders are interested in this data including how it relates to business. Some of these people have never used a monitoring tool before. They have a question on their mind like “How is my application doing” but no id...
Apr. 21, 2017 11:45 PM EDT Reads: 6,620
In large enterprises, environment provisioning and server provisioning account for a significant portion of the operations team's time. This often leaves users frustrated while they wait for these services. For instance, server provisioning can take several days and sometimes even weeks. At the same time, digital transformation means the need for server and environment provisioning is constantly growing. Organizations are adopting agile methodologies and software teams are increasing the speed ...
Apr. 21, 2017 07:45 PM EDT Reads: 3,062
Even for the most seasoned IT pros, the cloud is complicated. It can be difficult just to wrap your head around the many terms and acronyms that make up the cloud dictionary-not to mention actually mastering the technology. Unfortunately, complicated cloud terms are often combined to the point that their meanings are lost in a sea of conflicting opinions. Two terms that are used interchangeably (but shouldn't be) are hybrid cloud and multicloud. If you want to be the cloud expert your company ne...
Apr. 21, 2017 04:15 PM EDT Reads: 2,136
In his general session at 19th Cloud Expo, Manish Dixit, VP of Product and Engineering at Dice, discussed how Dice leverages data insights and tools to help both tech professionals and recruiters better understand how skills relate to each other and which skills are in high demand using interactive visualizations and salary indicator tools to maximize earning potential. Manish Dixit is VP of Product and Engineering at Dice. As the leader of the Product, Engineering and Data Sciences team at D...
Apr. 21, 2017 02:45 AM EDT Reads: 5,569
In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Scott Davis, CTO of Embotics, will discuss how automation can provide the dynamic management required to cost-effectively deliver microservices and container solutions at scale. He will discuss how flexible automation is the key to effectively bridging and seamlessly coordinating both IT and developer needs for component orchestration across disparate clouds – an increasingly important requirement at today’s multi-cloud enterprise.
Apr. 19, 2017 06:00 AM EDT Reads: 4,211
SYS-CON Events announced today that CollabNet, a global leader in enterprise software development, release automation and DevOps solutions, will be a Bronze Sponsor of SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, taking place from June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. CollabNet offers a broad range of solutions with the mission of helping modern organizations deliver quality software at speed. The company’s latest innovation, the DevOps Lifecycle Manager (DLM), supports Value S...
Apr. 18, 2017 03:30 PM EDT Reads: 4,226
The human body is the most complex machine ever created! With a complex network of interconnected organs, millions of cells and the most advanced processor, human body is the most automated system in this planet. In this article, we will draw comparisons between working of a human body to that of a datacenter. We will learn how self-defense and self-healing capabilities of our human body is similar to firewalls and intelligent monitoring capabilities in our datacenters. We will draw parallels b...
Apr. 16, 2017 01:00 PM EDT Reads: 2,668
Cloud adoption is often driven by a desire to increase efficiency, boost agility and save money. All too often, however, the reality involves unpredictable cost spikes and lack of oversight due to resource limitations. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Joe Kinsella, CTO and Founder of CloudHealth Technologies, will tackle the question: “How do you build a fully optimized cloud?” He will examine: Why TCO is critical to achieving cloud success – and why attendees should be thinking holisticall...
Apr. 16, 2017 10:00 AM EDT Reads: 2,753