Is Cloud Bursting Right for Your Company?

    June 20, 2017

    By Scott Adams

    What is “cloud bursting”? And is it a smart move for your business?
    Infrastructure-as-a-Services (IaaS) is on the rise. In fact, Gartner reports that its market grew 40 percent annually from 2011 to 2016. And it looks like IaaS will keep growing by at least 25 percent every year through 2019.

    By then, a majority of virtual machines (VMs) will be created by IaaS providers. This means more hybrid and multi-cloud configurations.

    Many companies are drawn to use “cloud bursting” to construct a hybrid cloud. Cloud bursting is simply moving an application from a private cloud (or on-premises data center) to a public cloud after demand spikes.

    Cloud bursting works better for some organizations than for others. But it can trigger significant performance issues throughout an IT infrastructure.

    When to Use Cloud Bursting

    If you’re willing and able to pay for it, public cloud services from Amazon, Google, and Microsoft offer essentially unlimited processing, memory, and storage capabilities. If your servers are often overloaded, these public cloud services are a smart way to go.

    It’s much cheaper to buy public cloud resources before you need them than it is to buy them on-demand. A perk to private-to-public cloud bursting is that you only have to pay for the resources you use—without forecasting or commitment.

    Apps that are good for cloud bursting usually include high-performance, non-critical, and non-sensitive apps.

    When Not to Use Cloud Bursting

    But here’s the ugly truth about cloud bursting. It’s only worth it when you’re running a particular type of application. You can certainly change elements in your cloud infrastructure to support cloud bursting. But in the end, it’s the apps that will determine the success of cloud bursting.

    And, unfortunately, most apps are not designed to run across multiple computing instances. So when an app bursts from a private cloud to a public cloud, there are problems with the data.

    One common practice is to maintain a single database. This is usually hosted on an on-premise server or a private cloud. You can use that database for all applications, regardless of whether they are running on a private or public VM.

    This makes the app more consistent. But such configurations are typically strewn across a wide area network (WAN).This causes latency by forcing the publically-hosted VMs to repeatedly request information from a private database.

    Another option (to avoid latency) is to create multiple copies of the data underlying an app. You can then (pre-)storing a distinct copy in every cloud the app may run from. This guarantees that any instance of an app will have necessary data available. But it implies paying for extra public storage. And there are challenges for syncing the data.

    Cloud bursting isn’t a good fit for apps that are complex or integrated with other apps, components, or systems.

    How to Be Efficient with Cloud Bursting

    The best way to approach cloud bursting is to plan in advance. Spontaneous bursts leave your company with no choice but to purchase on-demand public cloud instances. These will always be the most expensive resources a vendor sells.

    If you can predict general trends in its traffic spikes, you should be able to get the public cloud resources you need.

    Sometimes planning requires capabilities beyond those of the average IT operation. Performance monitoring software can give your IT operation an edge here. Use business and reporting metrics to get the full picture of your hybrid cloud infrastructure.

    Get help determining the resources you’ll need for cloud bursting.

    Learn more

    Category: cloud