When you buy a new pair of jeans, you typically don’t buy a size or two bigger, just to plan for those extra ten pounds you’ll probably put on over the holidays. Instead, you probably buy the ones that fit you for the other eleven months, when you’re watching your diet and exercising regularly. If it wasn’t such a fashion faux pas, it would be great to buy a pair of jeans with an elastic waistband for those times when you need the expanded capacity. Infrastructure expert Chuck Hobart explains how the cloud is like an elastic waist band for your IT.
Cloudbursting is the ability for a cloud environment to expand and contract based entirely on the business need. This gives you the flexibility for rightsizing your technology at any given moment, with just-in-time computing bandwidth and storage to meet your needs, both in higher capacity and lower capacity scenarios.
A good example of a company that can benefit from cloudbursting is an online florist. For 95% of the year, they require a relatively low IT requirement. A small data center with a few servers can normally handle their website, ecommerce activities and other applications, easily. However, once you hit Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day, their data center requirements change drastically. For a timeframe between two weeks before the day and the day after, a florist’s business takes a 3,000% to 4,000% increase. Without the added flexibility of cloudbursting to increase the capacity of the small data center, customers would likely receive a denial of service, not being able to access the website, find information about flowers and gifts for sale, or order online. Without the ability to expand capacity for those peak times, the online florist would likely lose far more business than they would get!
The other option is to build a big enough data center to handle the peak capacity. If you build your data center to handle that high-point in business, your data center will be too large and will be expensive to run. That extra equipment is using power, even if it’s not being used, and is costing more money. At that point, you aren’t getting any value out of the large data center since the extra servers to cover that small period of time aren’t being used at all.
Cloudbursting eliminates that inefficiency. It engages as the processor capacity hits a threshold (for example, 65%) on the servers, and can continue to expand to virtually unlimited capacity to meet the needs of incoming service requests. Each additional server accesses the required software to process the overflow requests, creating a virtual network that is added to the server base. Once peak time is over and requests drop below the trigger thresholds, the virtual servers are disengaged, and those servers can be used for other clients. In the cloud you only pay for what you’re using, so you’d only have the increased server cost during your peak.
With the holidays quickly approaching, an elastic waistband is actually a pretty good idea. How can your organization benefit from cloudbursting?