What is Cloud Bursting?

    Is Cloud Bursting Right for Your Company?

    And What Exactly Is Cloud Bursting, Anyway?

    June 20, 2017

    By Scott Adams

    What is Cloud Bursting?

    Cloud bursting is simply moving an application from a private cloud (or on-premises data center) to a public cloud after demand spikes.

    Many companies use cloud bursting to construct a hybrid cloud.

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

    Why is Cloud Bursting a Thing?

    Infrastructure-as-a-Services (IaaS) is on the rise. In fact, Gartner reports that IaaS 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. And that calls for cloud bursting.

    When to Use Cloud Bursting

    Cloud bursting is a smart choice for applications that are:

    • High performance
    • Non-critical
    • Non-sensitive

    One way to do cloud bursting is by maintaining 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 publicly-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

    If you use private-to-public cloud bursting, you’ll only have to pay for the resources you use—without forecasting or commitment.

    The public cloud—like Amazon, Google, and Microsoft—typically offers unlimited processing, memory, and storage. If your servers are often overloaded, investing in the public cloud makes sense. After all it’s much cheaper to buy public cloud resources before you need them than it is to buy them on-demand.

    When Not to Use Cloud Bursting

    Here’s the ugly truth about cloud bursting. It’s only worth it when you’re running a particular type of application.

    Cloud bursting doesn’t make sense for:

    • Applications that are complex (or integrated with others)
    • Components
    • Systems

    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 can be problems with the data. Or data can be hard to sync. You might even have to pay for extra public storage.

    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.

    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.

    Watch our recent webinar, How to Do Capacity Management in the Cloud, to learn more. 

    Watch the webinar

    Category: cloud