Fit to burst

Cloud bursting will be a hot topic in the region and could hold the answer for enterprises that need extra computing capabilities at certain times of the year.

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Fit to burst
By  Piers Ford Published  June 18, 2013

Cloud bursting will be a hot topic in the region and could hold the answer for enterprises that need extra computing capabilities at certain times of the year.

If you still are not sure what cloud computing actually means, the arrival of cloud bursting as the latest industry buzz phrase has probably already pushed you to new levels of exasperation. But keep calm. It turns out to be a relatively simple concept, which in the long run could hold the answer for organisations that only need to boost their storage and application capacity intermittently.

If you are running the network for an educational institution, for example, activity probably peaks at registration time. A retailer, on the other hand, might need to boost their capacity for a few weeks over the holiday seasons, before demand returns to normal levels. If you were already running a private cloud, leasing extra space from a public cloud provider to give users access to high-performance, non-business critical applications during these periods could be an ideal solution.

“Cloud computing has been an industry buzzword for a long time,” agrees Rajesh Abraham, director of product development at regional service provider eHosting Datafort (eHDF). “However, a comprehensive understanding of what ‘the cloud’ is remains a grey area – partly because there is no clear definition.

“Cloud bursting is a hybrid cloud deployment model in which an application runs on a private cloud or data centre, and bursts to a public cloud when demand for computing capacity spikes. It requires sophisticated middleware to manage demand for computing resources to monitor the availability of private cloud capacity.”

The region

Abraham says cloud computing is still a relatively new phenomenon in the Middle East.

“However, moving into 2013, and with the increasing adoption of public and private cloud computing services, it’s predicted that cloud bursting will be at the top of executive and CIO minds with respect to the direction of cloud computing.
“In the case of eHDF, some of our hosted private cloud customers have additional virtual private servers in their various application tiers [web, middle tier etc] configured and ready to be started any time they have a business spike. Most of the time these additional servers are not in use. They incur only minimal charges, and this arrangement allows the organisation to address regular load and peak load in a cost effective manner.”

At data storage vendor EMC, Gulf systems engineer manager Ahmad Muammar says hybrid cloud has proved the best option among early adopters of the cloud computing model in the Middle East – a mix of private and public services.

“We have witnessed fast adoption for virtualisation as a critical step in the journey to private cloud,” he states. “At the same time, several cloud service providers have started to move from merely co-location into managed services and eventually a good amount of cloud offerings. The last phase has not finished yet in the Middle East, but we are seeing serious steps from both enterprise and cloud service providers in fully embracing the cloud concept.”


Muammar defines cloud bursting as a special case of the hybrid cloud, where a particular application can ‘burst’ its workload to the cloud.

“We see some enterprises moving some of their applications, such as emails, web apps and backups, to cloud providers while keeping the rest on-site,” says Muammar.

“However, the concept of bursting a portion of certain applications to the cloud has not matured yet.”

And before this aspect of the cloud market approaches anything like maturity, organisations that are considering it will need to balance the potential benefits of cloud bursting with some logistical challenges.

“Ideally, cloud bursting provides the best of both worlds,” explains Hatem Bamatraf, executive vice president, enterprise, at regional telecoms firm du. “It allows the enterprise to maintain ownership and control over its application on-premises while having a fail-safe off-premises solution when needed. But there’s a trade-off. This flexibility comes with a more complex computing environment to manage.”

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