Scaling your cloud systems: enhance performance and manage excess workload

Over-trafficked servers and networks will lock consumers out, and this bad user-experience is a lost lead or potential sale, says Gerhard Conradie, Managing Director of Evolv Networks.

Cloud computing offers numerous benefits. From lower costs, quality control, improved security and ease of access, but one of the biggest features is the ability to scale, says Gerhard Conradie, Managing Director of Evolv Networks.

In essence, the concept of cloud scalability is the process whereby a cloud system dynamically increases and decreases resources to systems based on the load generated by visitors/consumers/staff to an online resource.

Nothing frustrates consumers more than being unable to access information and often the reason is purely the lack of system scalability. Over-trafficked servers and networks will lock consumers out, and this bad user-experience is a lost lead or potential sale.

Why is it then that many executives only investigate the scalability of the cloud once there is an issue? As company needs, technology and markets change, your business should surely adapt?

You need to scale for impact

Growth is inextricably linked to scalability – as a business grows, its main objective is to continue to meet market demands. More customers, data and resources necessitate scalability to fulfil the needs and wants of customers.

Vertical scaling is the simplest and most cost-effective form of scaling

Any system has a certain capacity to deliver on the requests sent to the system. As long as the system does not reach its capacity, everything works smoothly. If more space is needed, temporary resources are added by the cloud provider to increase the capacity within the limits of the size of the said server and its computing power.

Horizontal scaling

As companies scale in size or their online presence, so the needs of systems climb, due to both internal and external traffic to the cloud. For those with large traffic volumes, horizontal scaling becomes the means to success.

Horizontal scalability gives the permanent addition of many servers, all interconnected and functioning as parts of a single system. This is more expensive than vertical scaling but offers more benefits and fail-safes that bigger corporations or governments need.

The Hybrid Model

A third form of scalability is a hybrid model, individually tailored to the needs of a business. Hybrid cloud solutions give businesses unlimited resources on-demand, while maximising their existing infrastructure investments. Data moves between an external cloud solution and an internal, private infrastructure while keeping sensitive data separate and secure.

For instance, a client that has variable needs with spikes on the network due to video engagements with consumers will have a huge increase in demand for the few hours that the business is streaming content.

A hybrid system would be notified (or detect) that the client needs more capacity and adjust to meet the demand.

If a network is often expected to manage irregular and large spikes of traffic, a hybrid model is the best solution, scaling resources based on demand. It also allows for lower operating costs since the capacity of the network only increases when the demand spikes occur.

Measuring Cloud Performance

Highly scalable cloud systems require extremely intelligent performance and end-user experience monitoring solutions which provide the first line of defence when applications go down or performance begins to deteriorate.

Network monitoring systems track bandwidth usage, uptime, availability and response times of networked devices and provide detailed reports and analytics that can assist network managers to identify the weak links in the chain and fix it.

When considering a network monitoring tool, examine how easy the product is to use, how it is licensed, how many devices it can monitor, if it will work with your existing products and whether it can be integrated into the current business infrastructure.

AppNeta, a SAAS-based network and end-user experience performance monitoring system, detects an issue and automatically starts gathering more data. When your team sees the alert, AppNeta has already gathered additional context to quickly get to the root cause.

Evolv Networks partners with Appneta to take the headache out of monitoring and ensure complete visibility from the end-user through the network to the web application code.

The added advantage is the remote packet capture feature, where you can remotely troubleshoot the hairiest of IT issues without having to hop on a plane. You’ll be able to understand, measure and monitor end-user experience across your entire organisation from anywhere.

Be prepared – scale and monitor your network and stay competitive and efficient as you protect your reputation with always-on quality service.