All about cloudbursting

We have to consider how servers will cope with the inevitable increase in traffic when infrastructure is pushed to its limits.

Tags: Cloud computingF5 Networks
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All about cloudbursting Nathan Pearce, cloud and SDN marketing manager, architecture group, F5 Networks.
By  Nathan Pearce Published  May 15, 2014

Research from the Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index shows that online retail sales are set to rise by 17% this year, breaking through the £100bn barrier. Although this is great news for business, we have to consider how servers will cope with the inevitable increase in traffic when infrastructure is pushed to its limits.

It’s the stuff of nightmares: After months of hard work and preparation, the launch day arrives for your much anticipated new web store, product or service, the “Go” button is pressed and your creation is released for everyone to see. However, the excitement wears off shortly after when your website starts failing; too many people are trying to log on and the site can’t cope with the traffic, meaning that they are presented with error messages rather than tempting shopping deals. The knock-on effect is a loss of revenue and consumer trust.

Whether it’s a consumer electronics company announcing its latest smartphone or tablet, a band streaming its new album or an online retailer announcing a sale, spikes in traffic can cause problems.

When infrastructure is pushed over its capacity it can be frustrating for all involved, but the simple answer of buying more or better infrastructure isn’t always suitable. Traffic spikes are usually rare and don’t justify the cost of additional hardware that would not be used after the traffic spike recedes, particularly as tightening budgets and increased competition are forcing many businesses to sweat the assets and get more from their existing infrastructure.

This is where cloudbursting comes in. During peak periods, an application that is running in a corporate data centre or in a private cloud can “burst” into a public cloud, providing the extra capacity needed to keep services running smoothly. It also means the company will only pay for extra capacity when it is used, keeping costs down. By being prepared with a cloudbursting strategy, there won’t be any risk when there is a spike in demand: business can carry on as normal.

Cloudbursting works by abstracting the application delivery requirements from the underlying infrastructure, enabling the applications to span physical and virtual infrastructure in the data centre and the cloud, as demand dictates. Increasing an application’s available resources by dynamically redirecting workloads as needed results in a more stable and reliable service for end users.

Good cloud bursting technology can also eliminate network bottlenecks, by using metrics of real-time service behaviour to deliver demand-based workflow routing. Doing this over public and private data centres eliminates the restrictions of physical device, connectivity and capacity experienced within data centre silos. Cloud bursting solutions also ensure that all relevant security policies are enforced.

Businesses must stay on top of their online and network traffic in order to maintain customers and cloud bursting is an easy and affordable way to do that.

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