Welcome!

Agile Computing Authors: Carmen Gonzalez, ManageEngine IT Matters, Liz McMillan, Craig Lowell, AppDynamics Blog

Related Topics: @CloudExpo, Microservices Expo, Containers Expo Blog

@CloudExpo: Article

Dynamic Scaling in Windows Azure Revisited

Third-party tool support for dynamic scaling in Windows Azure

Auto Scaling Windows Azure
My last article on comparing Dynamic Scaling Features between Windows Azure vs Amazon EC2 mentioned that Both EC2 and Azure provide an auto scaling feature. While EC2 provides a backbone and framework for auto scaling, Azure provides an API that can be extended. We are already seeing several third-party providers delivering tools for Azure auto scaling.

One such third-party auto scaling product company, Paraleap Technologies, has recently released a product called AzureWatch that provides a SaaS-based approach to scale the Windows Azure compute roles. Some of the observations about the product are mentioned below. The company also provides a free 14-day trial of the product whereby some of the facts can be ascertained in a live situation.

The following aspects of the product were observed, based on the technical documentation available with the product vendor.

SaaS-Based Solution
The core of the Azurewatch data collection and aggregation and decision-making process is available as a SaaS-based solution in the form of Azure Watch Service. The AzureWatch Service aggregates and analyzes performance metrics and matches these metrics against user-defined rules on a regular and configurable basis. When a rule produces a "hit," a scaling action occurs.

However, there are some glue or controlling components installed on the ‘On Premise' systems in the form of the AzureWatch Monitor and Control Panel. The Monitor is responsible for sending raw metrics to SaaS-based systems and executing scaling actions. The Control Panel is a simple but powerful configuration and monitoring utility that allows you to configure custom rules and to monitor your instances.

This approach is useful, because much of the overhead of the Data Storage and maintenance of the metrics data is kept away from the enterprises and only a lightweight component in the form of the AzureWatch Monitor and Control Panel needs to be installed ‘On Premise.'

The following diagram, courtesy of vendor, explains the solution.

Rules Engine-Based Interface
As we have seen, Auto Scaling is typically handled by the Pro Active Monitoring, which is done by the AzureWatch Monitor coupled with the analysis and the metrics gathered by the AzureWatch Service. Finally the scaling action is taken based on the rules configured using an easy-to-use GUI tool.

For each of the roles as part of your Azure subscription, Azurewatch provides simple predefined rules that can be tailored further. The two sample rules offered are simple rules that rely upon calculating a 60-minute average CPU usage across all instances within a Role. The Rule Edit screen is simple yet powerful. You can specify what formula needs to be evaluated, what happens when the evaluation returns TRUE, and what time of day should evaluation be restricted to.

Dashboards & Reports
The success of the monitoring tools are measured by the nature of the dashboards and reports, as the metrics data in the raw form is very difficult to understand. Dashboards in AzureWatch provide the following information.

  • Instance Count
  • Instance History
  • Metrics Display based on Windows Counters

Proactive Monitoring
Like traditional data center-based monitoring tools, AzureWatch has built in notification capabilities so that emails are sent based on scaling conditions that happen. AzureWatch can track active/unresponsive/other instance counts for you. You can create rules that either trigger scaling actions or notification emails based upon conditions that rely on instance counts.

Nice to Have
Currently the metrics watch service needs to be carefully watched, and metrics can get stale if the service stopped for some reason. It would be nice to have more ways to avoid the metrics getting stale.

If new packages are installed, they may get missed from monitoring if the instructions are not followed.

If there are options to manually set the Metrics for some special reasons that may provide more control. It's similar to the way in which Oracle and other databases handle Stale statistics.

Summary
Over all AzureWatch and similar third-party tools will make the Cloud Deployments really fruitful because they're meant to improve the core tenant of the Cloud-based deployment, namely the elasticity and dynamic scaling.

More Stories By Srinivasan Sundara Rajan

Highly passionate about utilizing Digital Technologies to enable next generation enterprise. Believes in enterprise transformation through the Natives (Cloud Native & Mobile Native).

@ThingsExpo Stories
Financial Technology has become a topic of intense interest throughout the cloud developer and enterprise IT communities. Accordingly, attendees at the upcoming 20th Cloud Expo at the Javits Center in New York, June 6-8, 2017, will find fresh new content in a new track called FinTech.
You have great SaaS business app ideas. You want to turn your idea quickly into a functional and engaging proof of concept. You need to be able to modify it to meet customers' needs, and you need to deliver a complete and secure SaaS application. How could you achieve all the above and yet avoid unforeseen IT requirements that add unnecessary cost and complexity? You also want your app to be responsive in any device at any time. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Mark Allen, General Manager of...
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 ...
Amazon has gradually rolled out parts of its IoT offerings in the last year, but these are just the tip of the iceberg. In addition to optimizing their back-end AWS offerings, Amazon is laying the ground work to be a major force in IoT – especially in the connected home and office. Amazon is extending its reach by building on its dominant Cloud IoT platform, its Dash Button strategy, recently announced Replenishment Services, the Echo/Alexa voice recognition control platform, the 6-7 strategic...
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...
Unsecured IoT devices were used to launch crippling DDOS attacks in October 2016, targeting services such as Twitter, Spotify, and GitHub. Subsequent testimony to Congress about potential attacks on office buildings, schools, and hospitals raised the possibility for the IoT to harm and even kill people. What should be done? Does the government need to intervene? This panel at @ThingExpo New York brings together leading IoT and security experts to discuss this very serious topic.
More and more brands have jumped on the IoT bandwagon. We have an excess of wearables – activity trackers, smartwatches, smart glasses and sneakers, and more that track seemingly endless datapoints. However, most consumers have no idea what “IoT” means. Creating more wearables that track data shouldn't be the aim of brands; delivering meaningful, tangible relevance to their users should be. We're in a period in which the IoT pendulum is still swinging. Initially, it swung toward "smart for smar...
"Dice has been around for the last 20 years. We have been helping tech professionals find new jobs and career opportunities," explained Manish Dixit, VP of Product and Engineering at Dice, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 19th Cloud Expo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Complete Internet of Things (IoT) embedded device security is not just about the device but involves the entire product’s identity, data and control integrity, and services traversing the cloud. A device can no longer be looked at as an island; it is a part of a system. In fact, given the cross-domain interactions enabled by IoT it could be a part of many systems. Also, depending on where the device is deployed, for example, in the office building versus a factory floor or oil field, security ha...
"ReadyTalk is an audio and web video conferencing provider. We've really come to embrace WebRTC as the platform for our future of technology," explained Dan Cunningham, CTO of ReadyTalk, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at WebRTC Summit at 19th Cloud Expo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
"At ROHA we develop an app called Catcha. It was developed after we spent a year meeting with, talking to, interacting with senior citizens watching them use their smartphones and talking to them about how they use their smartphones so we could get to know their smartphone behavior," explained Dave Woods, Chief Innovation Officer at ROHA, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 19th Cloud Expo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
WebRTC is the future of browser-to-browser communications, and continues to make inroads into the traditional, difficult, plug-in web communications world. The 6th WebRTC Summit continues our tradition of delivering the latest and greatest presentations within the world of WebRTC. Topics include voice calling, video chat, P2P file sharing, and use cases that have already leveraged the power and convenience of WebRTC.
The many IoT deployments around the world are busy integrating smart devices and sensors into their enterprise IT infrastructures. Yet all of this technology – and there are an amazing number of choices – is of no use without the software to gather, communicate, and analyze the new data flows. Without software, there is no IT. In this power panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, Dave McCarthy, Director of Products at Bsquare Corporation; Alan Williamson, Principal...
20th Cloud Expo, taking place June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy.
In his keynote at 18th Cloud Expo, Andrew Keys, Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise, provided an overview of the evolution of the Internet and the Database and the future of their combination – the Blockchain. Andrew Keys is Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise. He comes to ConsenSys Enterprise with capital markets, technology and entrepreneurial experience. Previously, he worked for UBS investment bank in equities analysis. Later, he was responsible for the creation and distribution of life sett...
An IoT product’s log files speak volumes about what’s happening with your products in the field, pinpointing current and potential issues, and enabling you to predict failures and save millions of dollars in inventory. But until recently, no one knew how to listen. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Dan Gettens, Chief Research Officer at OnProcess, discussed recent research by Massachusetts Institute of Technology and OnProcess Technology, where MIT created a new, breakthrough analytics model for ...
Successful digital transformation requires new organizational competencies and capabilities. Research tells us that the biggest impediment to successful transformation is human; consequently, the biggest enabler is a properly skilled and empowered workforce. In the digital age, new individual and collective competencies are required. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Bob Newhouse, CEO and founder of Agilitiv, drew together recent research and lessons learned from emerging and established compa...
20th Cloud Expo, taking place June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy.
Whether your IoT service is connecting cars, homes, appliances, wearable, cameras or other devices, one question hangs in the balance – how do you actually make money from this service? The ability to turn your IoT service into profit requires the ability to create a monetization strategy that is flexible, scalable and working for you in real-time. It must be a transparent, smoothly implemented strategy that all stakeholders – from customers to the board – will be able to understand and comprehe...
DevOps is being widely accepted (if not fully adopted) as essential in enterprise IT. But as Enterprise DevOps gains maturity, expands scope, and increases velocity, the need for data-driven decisions across teams becomes more acute. DevOps teams in any modern business must wrangle the ‘digital exhaust’ from the delivery toolchain, "pervasive" and "cognitive" computing, APIs and services, mobile devices and applications, the Internet of Things, and now even blockchain. In this power panel at @...