Welcome!

Agile Computing Authors: Stackify Blog, Carmen Gonzalez, Chris Colosimo, Elizabeth White, Yeshim Deniz

Related Topics: Agile Computing, @CloudExpo

Agile Computing: Blog Feed Post

Vertical Scalability Cloud Computing Style

RightScale tells me that there is now another way to vertically scale in a cloud computing environment.

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:

blockquote In earlier days the predominant method of scaling was by launching more servers, but we are now seeing a lot more scaling by replacing smaller servers by larger ones.

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?

blockquote 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.

ebay greed 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 contextto 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.

Follow me on Twitter View Lori's profile on SlideShare friendfeed icon_facebook

AddThis Feed Button Bookmark and Share

Related blogs & articles:

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Lori MacVittie

Lori MacVittie is responsible for education and evangelism of application services available across F5’s entire product suite. Her role includes authorship of technical materials and participation in a number of community-based forums and industry standards organizations, among other efforts. MacVittie has extensive programming experience as an application architect, as well as network and systems development and administration expertise. Prior to joining F5, MacVittie was an award-winning Senior Technology Editor at Network Computing Magazine, where she conducted product research and evaluation focused on integration with application and network architectures, and authored articles on a variety of topics aimed at IT professionals. Her most recent area of focus included SOA-related products and architectures. She holds a B.S. in Information and Computing Science from the University of Wisconsin at Green Bay, and an M.S. in Computer Science from Nova Southeastern University.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@ThingsExpo Stories
SYS-CON Events announced today that Hitachi, the leading provider the Internet of Things and Digital Transformation, 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. Hitachi Data Systems, a wholly owned subsidiary of Hitachi, Ltd., offers an integrated portfolio of services and solutions that enable digital transformation through enhanced data management, governance, mobility and analytics. We help globa...
@GonzalezCarmen has been ranked the Number One Influencer and @ThingsExpo has been named the Number One Brand in the “M2M 2016: Top 100 Influencers and Brands” by Analytic. Onalytica analyzed tweets over the last 6 months mentioning the keywords M2M OR “Machine to Machine.” They then identified the top 100 most influential brands and individuals leading the discussion on Twitter.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Hitachi, the leading provider the Internet of Things and Digital Transformation, 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. Hitachi Data Systems, a wholly owned subsidiary of Hitachi, Ltd., offers an integrated portfolio of services and solutions that enable digital transformation through enhanced data management, governance, mobility and analytics. We help globa...
Most technology leaders, contemporary and from the hardware era, are reshaping their businesses to do software in the hope of capturing value in IoT. Although IoT is relatively new in the market, it has already gone through many promotional terms such as IoE, IoX, SDX, Edge/Fog, Mist Compute, etc. Ultimately, irrespective of the name, it is about deriving value from independent software assets participating in an ecosystem as one comprehensive solution.
The explosion of new web/cloud/IoT-based applications and the data they generate are transforming our world right before our eyes. In this rush to adopt these new technologies, organizations are often ignoring fundamental questions concerning who owns the data and failing to ask for permission to conduct invasive surveillance of their customers. Organizations that are not transparent about how their systems gather data telemetry without offering shared data ownership risk product rejection, regu...
NHK, Japan Broadcasting, will feature the upcoming @ThingsExpo Silicon Valley in a special 'Internet of Things' and smart technology documentary that will be filmed on the expo floor between November 3 to 5, 2015, in Santa Clara. NHK is the sole public TV network in Japan equivalent to the BBC in the UK and the largest in Asia with many award-winning science and technology programs. Japanese TV is producing a documentary about IoT and Smart technology and will be covering @ThingsExpo Silicon Val...
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.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Juniper Networks (NYSE: JNPR), an industry leader in automated, scalable and secure networks, 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. Juniper Networks challenges the status quo with products, solutions and services that transform the economics of networking. The company co-innovates with customers and partners to deliver automated, scalable and secure network...
Five years ago development was seen as a dead-end career, now it’s anything but – with an explosion in mobile and IoT initiatives increasing the demand for skilled engineers. But apart from having a ready supply of great coders, what constitutes true ‘DevOps Royalty’? It’ll be the ability to craft resilient architectures, supportability, security everywhere across the software lifecycle. In his keynote at @DevOpsSummit at 20th Cloud Expo, Jeffrey Scheaffer, GM and SVP, Continuous Delivery Busine...
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 ...
Bert Loomis was a visionary. This general session will highlight how Bert Loomis and people like him inspire us to build great things with small inventions. In their general session at 19th Cloud Expo, Harold Hannon, Architect at IBM Bluemix, and Michael O'Neill, Strategic Business Development at Nvidia, discussed the accelerating pace of AI development and how IBM Cloud and NVIDIA are partnering to bring AI capabilities to "every day," on-demand. They also reviewed two "free infrastructure" pr...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Super Micro Computer, Inc., a global leader in compute, storage and networking technologies, 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. Supermicro (NASDAQ: SMCI), the leading innovator in high-performance, high-efficiency server technology, is a premier provider of advanced server Building Block Solutions® for Data Center, Cloud Computing, Enterprise IT, Hadoop/...
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing IoT strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @ThingsExpo 2016 in New York. Learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is as "IoT-Ready" as it can be! Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, New York, is co-located with 20th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry p...
Judith Hurwitz is president and CEO of Hurwitz & Associates, a Needham, Mass., research and consulting firm focused on emerging technology, including big data, cognitive computing and governance. She is co-author of the book Cognitive Computing and Big Data Analytics, published in 2015. Her Cloud Expo session, "What Is the Business Imperative for Cognitive Computing?" is scheduled for Wednesday, June 8, at 8:40 a.m. In it, she puts cognitive computing into perspective with its value to the busin...
NHK, Japan Broadcasting, will feature the upcoming @ThingsExpo Silicon Valley in a special 'Internet of Things' and smart technology documentary that will be filmed on the expo floor between November 3 to 5, 2015, in Santa Clara. NHK is the sole public TV network in Japan equivalent to the BBC in the UK and the largest in Asia with many award-winning science and technology programs. Japanese TV is producing a documentary about IoT and Smart technology and will be covering @ThingsExpo Silicon Val...
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...
The 20th International Cloud Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. Cloud Expo, to be held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, brings together Cloud Computing, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, Containers, Microservices and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding business opportunity. Submit your speaking proposal ...
The age of Digital Disruption is evolving into the next era – Digital Cohesion, an age in which applications securely self-assemble and deliver predictive services that continuously adapt to user behavior. Information from devices, sensors and applications around us will drive services seamlessly across mobile and fixed devices/infrastructure. This evolution is happening now in software defined services and secure networking. Four key drivers – Performance, Economics, Interoperability and Trust ...
With billions of sensors deployed worldwide, the amount of machine-generated data will soon exceed what our networks can handle. But consumers and businesses will expect seamless experiences and real-time responsiveness. What does this mean for IoT devices and the infrastructure that supports them? More of the data will need to be handled at - or closer to - the devices themselves.
Grape Up is a software company, specialized in cloud native application development and professional services related to Cloud Foundry PaaS. With five expert teams that operate in various sectors of the market across the USA and Europe, we work with a variety of customers from emerging startups to Fortune 1000 companies.