Pursuing Scalability in the Cloud

As enterprises gain more familiarity with the cloud and with use-based payment models, they are increasingly looking for ways to meet business goals with cloud technology. One of the important catalysts for investing in cloud solutions is the pursuit of scalability.

While in the past, scalability needs were met by investing more in the data center, the cloud is a more effective, less costly alternative. Rather than purchasing new hardware, obtaining disk arrays, and staffing more people to effectively manage a data center, enterprise IT is moving to the cloud to expand for increased scalability needs.

Traditional data centers come with a variety of problems, such as application lockouts, security breaches, performance issues, and errors. In addition, some enterprises have very different needs from one month to the next, and cloud solutions offer a more agile approach to handle changing requirements.

Businesses often have different needs from one month, or even one week, to the next, and the cloud provides a way to scale up or down to meet those needs. A clear example is holiday seasonality for retail businesses with demand peaking on Black Friday. A retail business may need increased capacity on that day, but would be tied to owning it year-round with a traditional, on-site data center. 

Vertical Versus Horizontal Scalability

Vertical Scalability involves: increasing or decreasing an existing server’s resources, or upgrading to a server that offers more capacity for workloads. This can be considered an upgrade or downgrade to existing resources such as memory, CPU, and storage. Vertical scalability does not add any new code or infrastructure that disrupts how the system is running. You are essentially building on to the existing servers.

Vertical scaling capacity depends on the size of the server. You can only scale up as far as your server has the capacity for your needs. Vertically scaling through the cloud is easy because it simply means increasing the size of instances in an infrastructure that is already in existence. It is more cost-effective and convenient to scale through the cloud than with other methods.

Horizontal Scalability involves changing infrastructure to add or remove capacity from an existing system to create a set of servers that are able to work and communicate together. In horizontal scaling, you are adding new instances or applications in order to add capacity.

Horizontal scaling is sometimes called “scaling out” because you are adding infrastructure, rather than stacking additional resources onto infrastructure that already exists. In simplified terms, this has the effect of adding extra lanes to a highway to relieve congestion.

Scalability via the Cloud

Cloud scalability offers ease and convenience for enterprise IT, who can choose either manual or automated scaling. While manual scaling might work well for smaller businesses who experience seasonality, bigger enterprises may opt for automated scaling, which allows a predefined set of rules to dictate scaling during a surge of activity.

If you’re considering the benefits of cloud scalability, contact us at One Connect. We can guide you through a needs analysis of your business and recommend a strategy for scaling that fits your budget.