Why Hybrid Cloud is the Answer to Dynamic Scaling Demands of Modern Apps

By Colby Dyess | March 06, 2014

The use cases for cloud infrastructure are broad and suitable for organizations that require scalable infrastructure to support e-commerce, dynamic applications and rapid development/testing cycles. As more and more companies become experts with managing their AWS cloud resources, the need to add greater flexibility and control is driving AWS hybrid cloud setups with on-premises resources. New hybrid cloud deployment models are leading to new application development strategies, with programmers focusing on how to best address unpredictable workloads.

Public Cloud has Enabled the App Economy

With the rise of engineering teams embracing DevOps, organizations are leveraging automation and cloud infrastructure to achieve success. This explains the skyrocketing success of AWS as public cloud infrastructure-as-a-service and the growth of the app economy. However, the elasticity of cloud-hosted applications can be a double-edged sword as the benefits of near-infinite scalability always comes with a price tag. Now, forward-thinking businesses are realizing that an AWS hybrid cloud can provide a consistent environment for streamlining and accelerating software development and testing cycles.

Hybrid Cloud is Changing How Applications are Developed and Managed

The hybrid cloud is reshaping application development by opening up new possibilities of scale, elasticity and control. Writing for CIO, Bernard Golden explained that the applications of today are often larger than their predecessors and require elastic infrastructure. The hybrid cloud steps to the plate by enabling a flexible approach to infrastructure that provides the scalability of the cloud while allowing for more choices of cloud resources and configuration as well as better control of costs.

"Today's applications are completely different [than legacy ones]," explained Golden. "It's impossible to predict load; the very makeup of the user population is unknown, since it includes not only employees (traditionally the only significant user population) but also an unknown number of customers, partners and interested parties."

More specifically, the proliferation of software such as social media, Web apps, streaming video, e-commerce and free-to-play and massively multiplayer online games have made it difficult to take the pulse of user demand. A single application can turn into an overnight sensation that adds considerable variability and volume to workloads, in turn straining IT infrastructure that was designed for a more static era. As Golden noted, traditional setups are difficult to modify on the fly, yet modern applications with built-in network effects require more dynamic processes.

"[W]e're seeing unpredictable demand bearing down on applications that weren't designed to handle the volume and variability of the load," stated a recent Eucalyptus white paper. "This drives us to make one of two bad choices: We over-provision to meet a hypothetical high-water mark that may or may not materialize or we under-provision and face the consequences of run-time performance and availability issues."

Cloud may be the obvious answer to the dynamic scaling problem, but not all clouds are created equal. Sticking with just private cloud infrastructure can leave organizations short-handed when demands really ramps, while going the purely public route means that there could be hefty bills down the road.

Instead, the ideal is a hybrid cloud that leverages the best-in-class scalability of public cloud leader AWS yet retains the control, predictability and fixed pricing of on-premises setups. Organizations can leverage the same AWS APIs as well as automation tools that make it simpler to provision and configure resources. At the same time, automation ensures that governance policies are applied consistently across environments so that the company remains compliant.

The end result is IT infrastructure that is optimized for a new generation of applications. Resources are more readily available for development and testing, and teams can utilize a combination of public and private cloud infrastructure to seamlessly move workloads between environments for optimal performance, security and reliability.

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