Scalability in Cloud Computing
The web hosting industry has gone through many changes and along the way encountered a number of innovations that have caused considerable disruption. None of these have caused as much disruption as the ‘cloud’ and its ‘scalable’ approach to costs.
The background to Scalability in Cloud Computing?
The concept of web hosting used to be fairly straightforward – if you needed a website hosting, you rented part of a server (Shared Hosting) and hosted your site. If your site became popular and received more traffic, you transitioned from a shared solution to something like a Virtual Private Server (VPS) which offered more resources, or you went the full nine yards and rented a server that was dedicated to your needs and was yours to use in its entirety (Dedicated Server hosting). Few went as far as buying their own machine and renting space in a data centre (colocation), but that was always on an option.
As the internet became increasingly popular though, businesses in particular became more dependent on their websites as a marketing tool. The question then became a matter of resources. If a website suddenly received a spike in traffic and enough resources (RAM, data transfer, disk space, etc.) were not available, the website would crash and visitors had no access to its content. To overcome this issue, companies would invest in more resources. They would upgrade hosting accounts and spend money to ensure that their website was online 24/7. So, while a site might for the bulk of the time only require shared hosting, a company would purchase VPS just in case. Likewise, if companies needed only VPS hosting, they would upgrade to a Dedicated Server account, just to ensure that if a spike in traffic occurred, their hosting would have the power to deal with it.
Paying for what you DON’T need
So, essentially, businesses used to pay for resources they didn’t need to keep them in reserve for the odd occasions that they did. With the need for increased resources came other costs – having staff onboard to maintain a service, possibly even maintaining a full IT department. And as servers became used for more than just hosting websites, costs spiralled.
Then came the cloud - a paradigm shift
The cloud offered a promise of addressing the excessive cost of IT. It was determined that companies maintained a lot of server resources that they didn't always need. By selling these unused resources for other businesses to use, it would allow for better utilisation and cost savings. Instead of businesses renting individual machines, servers were joined together in a network forming the cloud. With all server resources available to all customers at all times, then came what has been one of the chief drivers and selling points of the cloud: Scalability.
Paying for what you need and use – and nothing more!
The business model had shifted from purchasing server resources you didn’t really need just in case there was an odd occasion you would need them, to only using the resources required and only when you required them. Scalability includes the ability to increase workload size within existing infrastructure (hardware, software, etc.) without impacting performance. These resources required to support this are usually pre-planned capacity with a certain amount of headroom built in to handle peak demand. Scalability also encompasses the ability to expand with additional infrastructure resources, in some cases without a hard limit. Scalability can either be vertical (scale-up with in a system) or horizontal (scale-out multiple systems in most cases but not always linearly). Therefore, applications have the room to scale up or scale out to prevent a lack of resources from hindering performance. There are cases where the IT manager knows he/she will no longer need resources and will scale down the infrastructure statically to support a new smaller environment. Either increasing or decreasing services and resources this is a planned event and static for the worse case workload scenario.
Traditionally, growing a business comes at a cost. For example, the pre-existing IT systems might need to be totally overhauled. Software upgrades can cost businesses hundreds of thousands of pounds. However, with a scalable system in place, you can say goodbye to expensive upgrades. The beauty of scalable cloud computing is that the capacity to grow and expand is already in place. You won’t have to overhaul your IT systems time and time again.
Never pay for capacity you don’t need. Scalable cloud computing systems adapt to suit your exact requirements, so you don’t have to worry about paying over the odds for additional capacity that is simply going to waste.
The ability to scale resources is obviously helpful, especially when it comes to the financial implications. Both big and small businesses can save money by sharing a pool of resourcing, reducing infrastructure costs and economies in scale.
In business, it pays to be agile. Scalable cloud computing is by its very nature flexible and elastic. It can adapt to suit your needs perfectly. And while it can adjust to a rescaled situation, it should also be able to fully take advantage of it. For example, moving to a larger operating system can improve user response time. This is why most systems scale upwards better – moving to a smaller environment might reduce the overall performance.
Many cloud computing systems supply an on-demand self-service, so you can make changes as and when they are needed.
With many cloud computing solutions, you know exactly what you’re getting for your money. It’s easy to monitor provisions of services, helping you predict costs and resource requirements.
The cloud is now dominant. Like the industry, the cloud has come a long way and with the benefits of scalability, massive cloud adoption has been experienced. Right now, entire data centres are offered to companies that once would have had to purchase and manage physical servers, and all enjoy the benefits of paying only for resources used.
VpsCity Cloud Services
VpsCity offers an extensive variety of cloud based offerings covering all aspects of infrastructure, applications, communications and complementary on-boarding administrations all of which are secured by our ISO principles.
VpsCity has created a set of infrastructure offerings that we operate and manage on behalf of our clients; by packaging these services with focused managed services we are able to deliver a full IT service for each customer which is tailored to their requirements.
Our portfolio of web based applications are designed to compliment your organisation's infrastructure requirements with a level of flexibility and device freedom you are unlikely to achieve internally.
For organisations of all sizes, our Managed Services offers the most cost effective approach to delivering and maintaining your technology and security needs. All aspects of your business operations are built into the service offering to deliver an all encompassing solution. A full Managed Services offering allows your business to focus on its core services rather than running, protecting and maintaining your IT systems.
Using Migration Services proprietary analysis and planning tools our expert consultants assess your current IT assets and provide a clear picture of workloads, consumption and performance. The result is a transparent, data-driven, CFO-friendly proposal for migrating mission-critical IT to the VpsCity enterprise-class cloud platform. Our cloud services help optimise your operation and allow you to concentrate on growing your business. We deliver independent and strategic roadmaps customised to each organisation’s requirements.
Despite the issues, the attraction of scalability means that the cloud will continually be enhanced with a view to making cost saving through scalability more apparent. There are now countless solutions that enable IT teams to control and monitor cloud costs.
Plan for scale now!
If your business hasn’t formulated a scaling strategy, what are you waiting for? Wait too long, and you might find your business comes unstuck in the future. Act today, and you can take advantages of the many benefits we’ve already discussed, such as increased flexibility, boosted performance, and lower costs.
While scalability might seem more important for large growing corporations, small businesses mustn’t be overlooked too. If your small business is launching a new product soon, can you meet spikes in demand? And if your business is tied to a season model, can it expand and contract to match the ebb and flow?
Failure to respond quickly can result in loss of earnings and – even worse – a complete stop while upgrades are underway. Fully utilising cloud computing’s ability to scale accordingly – or at least being ready to do so when the time comes – is more than just a nice bonus. It’s fundamental if you want to grow your business, whilst keeping infrastructure and management costs to a minimum.
What are the benefits of scalability in cloud computing?
Utilising the ability to scale cloud computing systems is a no brainer, and this is why:
The most important reason why any business should invest in scalable cloud computing is due to the flexibility. Companies can react faster to changing needs, ensuring they are operating to the levels needed to fully take advantage of any situation.
This rapid level of elasticity works both ways too, so they can quickly snap back to their original sizes if the necessity for growth has reversed.