|By Lori MacVittie||
|October 27, 2009 08:15 AM EDT||
Vertical scalability used to require optimizations inside the application, at the code level. Cloud computing changes the nature of vertical scalability and, one hopes, will lead to a new model of scalability based on the capabilities of Infrastructure 2.0 and increasingly granular resource management capabilities.
RightScale recently offered up its own analysis of Amazon Usage Estimates and while the details they provide on Amazon usage from their vantage point is very interesting I found one of their related observations even more fascinating:
The reason I find this fascinating has to do with not so much where cloud computing is today, but where (we hope at least) it is going.
Most people are aware of the difference between vertical and horizontal scalability. Remember “Cloud Computing: Vertical Scalability is Still Your Problem” where we talked about the differences?
Horizontal scalability is the ability of an application to be scaled up to meet demand through replication and the distribution of requests across a pool or farm of servers. It's the traditional load balanced model, and it's an integral component of cloud computing environments. Vertical scalability is the ability of an application to scale under load; to maintain performance levels as the number of concurrent requests increases. While load balancing solutions can certainly assist in optimizing the environment in which an application needs to scale by reducing overhead that can negatively impact performance (such as TCP session management, SSL operations, and compression/caching functionality) it can't solve core problems that prevent vertical scalability.
While this is still correct the observation by RightScale tells me that there is now another way to vertically scale in a cloud computing environment. It’s a hack, in the traditional workaround geek-cool sense, but an ingenious one nonetheless.
WHAT’S THAT GONNA COST YA?
When an application hits the top boundaries of CPU and memory on any machine – whether virtual or physical – the traditional response to ensure scalability is to use load balancing solutions to horizontally scale the application, thus increasing concurrent user and TCP connection limits while hopefully addressing the degrading performance problems associated with high utilization.
But what appears to be happening, at least in some cases,is that rather than horizontally scale by adding new instances is that people are simply “upgrading” the virtual machine and thus increasing the limitation on CPU and memory. It’s like buying bigger hardware, only it’s a lot easier and faster and doesn’t require nearly as much preparation before deployment. In essence people have found a way to vertically scale their application by simply provisioning more CPU and memory. Sort of.
This does not address the inherent performance degradation that occurs as higher utilization rates occur, and if you check Amazon’s pricing you’ll find that it’s quite a jump from a “small” to a “large” instance, regardless of operating system or whether it’s “standard” or “high-CPU” usage. In fact in both cases it’s 4x the cost to go from small to large/medium to extra-large, which makes sense given you 4x the EC2 compute units with each “upgrade”.
It seems, at least on the surface, that even with the costs of load balancing services from Amazon ($0.025/hour per Elastic Load balancer + $0.008/GB of data transferred through an Elastic Load Balancer) that it would be financially advantageous to simply launch a second instance and take advantage of load balancing, while also benefiting from the performance improvements typically associated with load balancing.
Now granted, the small servers are, by enterprise standards, pretty small and most organizations would never deploy an application into production running on a server with 1.7GB RAM and “the equivalent CPU capacity of a 1.0-1.2 GHz 2007 Opteron or 2007 Xeon processor.” I’m fairly certain my digital camera has more processing power than that, so what RightScale is seeing actually makes a great deal of sense to me. It might cost a bit more but it seems more apposite to provision higher performing instances despite the possibility of overprovisioning.
But I digress (yet again) and so now let’s get back to the point of this post which is not actually a comparison of vertical and horizontal scaling technology (although that’s interesting, too) but what this unique vertical scaling solution says about where the future of cloud computing (hopefully) lies.
WHERE COMPUTE RESOURCES, NOT VIRTUAL MACHINES, ARE PROVISIONED ON-DEMAND
Really, that’s it. That’s where cloud computing should be going and that’s where cloud computing hopefully is going. Someday you won’t need to launch a bigger instance because the environment will automatically, based on specified thresholds and business needs, allocate more CPU and/or memory on-demand to your “application”. How that happens isn’t important at the moment, but that it will happen and that it will take a combination of data derived from across the infrastructure is what is important and exciting. Because what RightScale is seeing is the first step toward someone deciding you shouldn’t have to launch a separate VM, you should just be able to grow the one you have until it can’t hold any more. Until you really are paying per clock-tick, per instructions executed and bytes in memory used instead of in chunks that may or may not be enough, or may be too much. Overpaying is not what cloud computing is supposed to be about either, but right now that very well may be the case.
But not in the future. No, in the future the infrastructure sees the requests, the users, the traffic patterns, and the performance of the application; it will process the needs of the application based on the context and capabilities of the infrastructure and the business needs and then determine when an application needs more compute resources. It will further be able to signal management systems or invoke the proper methods itself that will provision the resources needed to ensure the application scales. That same infrastructure should - and hopefully will - be able to determine at what point vertical scalability is no longer ensuring application performance meets business criteria (or has met some compute ceiling) and can then decide to provision resources using horizontal scaling techniques instead.
The intelligence to interpret the technical context and measure it against business needs. The ability to connect and integrate to gather and share that technical context. The flexibility to automatically determine whether horizontal or vertical scaling is necessary to meet those business criteria. That’s a dynamic infrastructure, that’s what we’re trying to enable via Infrastructure 2.0.
That’s the future of cloud computing. That’s where we’re going. And that’s why it’s so exciting to see the beginnings of it happening with virtual images; because it is just the beginning and people are starting to really flex the boundaries of cloud computing which will lead to even more innovation and change and shift into a higher gear so we can get where it is I hope we’re going a little bit faster.
Related blogs & articles:
- Cloud Computing: Vertical Scalability is Still Your Problem
- Incomplete Thought – Cloudanatomy: Infrastructure, Metastructure & Infostructure
- The Cloud Is Not A Synonym For Cloud Computing
- Amazon Elastic Load Balancing Only Simple On the Outside
- Infrastructure 2.0 Is the Beginning of the Story, Not the End
- Infrastructure Integration: Metadata versus API
- The Infrastructure 2.0 Trifecta
- Infrastructure 2.0: As a matter of fact that isn't what it means
- Infrastructure 2.0: Flexibility is Key to Dynamic Infrastructure
- Does a Dynamic Infrastructure Need ARP for Applications?
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 ...
Mar. 23, 2017 04:15 AM EDT Reads: 876
Web Real-Time Communication APIs have quickly revolutionized what browsers are capable of. In addition to video and audio streams, we can now bi-directionally send arbitrary data over WebRTC's PeerConnection Data Channels. With the advent of Progressive Web Apps and new hardware APIs such as WebBluetooh and WebUSB, we can finally enable users to stitch together the Internet of Things directly from their browsers while communicating privately and securely in a decentralized way.
Mar. 23, 2017 03:00 AM EDT Reads: 5,312
SYS-CON Events announced today that HTBase will exhibit at 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. HTBase (Gartner 2016 Cool Vendor) delivers a Composable IT infrastructure solution architected for agility and increased efficiency. It turns compute, storage, and fabric into fluid pools of resources that are easily composed and re-composed to meet each application’s needs. With HTBase, companies can quickly prov...
Mar. 23, 2017 02:15 AM EDT Reads: 2,254
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 ...
Mar. 23, 2017 02:00 AM EDT Reads: 3,645
SYS-CON Events announced today that MobiDev, a client-oriented software development company, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place 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. MobiDev is a software company that develops and delivers turn-key mobile apps, websites, web services, and complex softw...
Mar. 23, 2017 01:15 AM EDT Reads: 3,287
In his General Session at 17th Cloud Expo, Bruce Swann, Senior Product Marketing Manager for Adobe Campaign, explored the key ingredients of cross-channel marketing in a digital world. Learn how the Adobe Marketing Cloud can help marketers embrace opportunities for personalized, relevant and real-time customer engagement across offline (direct mail, point of sale, call center) and digital (email, website, SMS, mobile apps, social networks, connected objects).
Mar. 22, 2017 11:00 PM EDT Reads: 2,937
With the introduction of IoT and Smart Living in every aspect of our lives, one question has become relevant: What are the security implications? To answer this, first we have to look and explore the security models of the technologies that IoT is founded upon. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Nevi Kaja, a Research Engineer at Ford Motor Company, will discuss some of the security challenges of the IoT infrastructure and relate how these aspects impact Smart Living. The material will be delivered i...
Mar. 22, 2017 10:15 PM EDT Reads: 1,705
SYS-CON Events announced today that Hitrons Solutions will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Hitrons Solutions Inc. is distributor in the North American market for unique products and services of small and medium-size businesses, including cloud services and solutions, SEO marketing platforms, and mobile applications.
Mar. 22, 2017 10:15 PM EDT Reads: 3,245
Your homes and cars can be automated and self-serviced. Why can't your storage? From simply asking questions to analyze and troubleshoot your infrastructure, to provisioning storage with snapshots, recovery and replication, your wildest sci-fi dream has come true. In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 20th Cloud Expo, Dan Florea, Director of Product Management at Tintri, will provide a ChatOps demo where you can talk to your storage and manage it from anywhere, through Slack and similar services ...
Mar. 22, 2017 06:15 PM EDT Reads: 3,936
SYS-CON Events announced today that Cloudistics, an on-premises cloud computing company, 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. Cloudistics delivers a complete public cloud experience with composable on-premises infrastructures to medium and large enterprises. Its software-defined technology natively converges network, storage, compute, virtualization, and management into a ...
Mar. 22, 2017 03:45 PM EDT Reads: 1,178
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...
Mar. 22, 2017 03:30 PM EDT Reads: 820
My team embarked on building a data lake for our sales and marketing data to better understand customer journeys. This required building a hybrid data pipeline to connect our cloud CRM with the new Hadoop Data Lake. One challenge is that IT was not in a position to provide support until we proved value and marketing did not have the experience, so we embarked on the journey ourselves within the product marketing team for our line of business within Progress. In his session at @BigDataExpo, Sum...
Mar. 22, 2017 02:45 PM EDT Reads: 2,228
SYS-CON Events announced today that Ocean9will exhibit at 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. Ocean9 provides cloud services for Backup, Disaster Recovery (DRaaS) and instant Innovation, and redefines enterprise infrastructure with its cloud native subscription offerings for mission critical SAP workloads.
Mar. 22, 2017 02:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,379
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.
Mar. 22, 2017 02:00 PM EDT Reads: 928
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing Cloud strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @CloudExpo | @ThingsExpo, June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY and October 31 - November 2, 2017, Santa Clara Convention Center, CA. Learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is on the right path to Digital Transformation.
Mar. 22, 2017 01:30 PM EDT Reads: 8,137
SYS-CON Events announced today that T-Mobile will exhibit at 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. As America's Un-carrier, T-Mobile US, Inc., is redefining the way consumers and businesses buy wireless services through leading product and service innovation. The Company's advanced nationwide 4G LTE network delivers outstanding wireless experiences to 67.4 million customers who are unwilling to compromise on ...
Mar. 22, 2017 12:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,415
SYS-CON Events announced today that SoftLayer, an IBM Company, has been named “Gold Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York, New York. SoftLayer, an IBM Company, provides cloud infrastructure as a service from a growing number of data centers and network points of presence around the world. SoftLayer’s customers range from Web startups to global enterprises.
Mar. 22, 2017 11:45 AM EDT Reads: 654
SYS-CON Events announced today that CrowdReviews.com has been named “Media 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. CrowdReviews.com is a transparent online platform for determining which products and services are the best based on the opinion of the crowd. The crowd consists of Internet users that have experienced products and services first-hand and have an interest in letting other potential buyers...
Mar. 22, 2017 11:00 AM EDT Reads: 3,277
The taxi industry never saw Uber coming. Startups are a threat to incumbents like never before, and a major enabler for startups is that they are instantly “cloud ready.” If innovation moves at the pace of IT, then your company is in trouble. Why? Because your data center will not keep up with frenetic pace AWS, Microsoft and Google are rolling out new capabilities In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Don Browning, VP of Cloud Architecture at Turner, will posit that disruption is inevitable for c...
Mar. 22, 2017 10:30 AM EDT Reads: 1,590
SYS-CON Events announced today that Infranics will exhibit at 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. Since 2000, Infranics has developed SysMaster Suite, which is required for the stable and efficient management of ICT infrastructure. The ICT management solution developed and provided by Infranics continues to add intelligence to the ICT infrastructure through the IMC (Infra Management Cycle) based on mathemat...
Mar. 22, 2017 09:15 AM EDT Reads: 2,325