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If you’re doing cloud operations right, your cloud needs are going to change over time. Cloud scaling can help you add cloud resources when you need them and retire or recycle them when you don’t. Cloud scaling is great for meeting traffic demands, accommodating demanding workloads, and controlling the chaos of cloud ops.
But for all the flexibility that cloud scaling offers, it can also introduce liabilities in your cloud infrastructure. Read on to learn more about the benefits of cloud scaling, a few tools to handle different aspects of scaling cloud infrastructure, and the Achilles’ heel of ‘scalable’ cloud infrastructure.
In cloud computing, cloud scaling is the act of increasing or decreasing IT resources like virtual machines, servers, and storage as needed. Cloud scaling is achieved by utilizing various tools and is an essential facet of efficient cloud operations.
In cloud computing, vertical cloud scaling or “scaling up” increases the capacity of resources within existing servers, like CPU, RAM, and storage. In contrast, horizontal scaling or “scaling out” is the act of adding more servers and VMs to distribute cloud workloads across more machines.
Cloud ops teams usually scale up to meet increasing app resource requirements. Scaling out helps them handle growing workloads and ensure redundancy (availability and resiliency of cloud resources).
Cloud scalability is focused on expanding capacity to meet long-term goals, while elasticity automatically responds to changing capacity needs in real time.
Yes, there’s a difference between cloud scalability and cloud elasticity! To go a little deeper on the differences and why you’d do one or the other…
Scalability is great for planning around and measuring strategic, long-term goals. If you want to grow your IT estate over a period of years, you should invest in tools and techniques that support cloud scalability.
Elasticity helps IT and infrastructure teams support unpredictable workloads. If you need to control resource usage now or if you don’t have long-term IT goals, you might want to invest in tools for an elastic cloud.
Don't just wait for things to get better. Take steps to get more from your hybrid infrastructure.
Scaling cloud infrastructure helps cloud ops teams control cloud costs and optimize performance by provisioning and recycling resources according to current demand. Scaling ensures resources are available when needed and deactivates or recycles them when they’re not needed.
In the early years of the COVID-19 pandemic, businesses flocked to the cloud en masse. Now that many organizations have at least some of their IT hosted in the cloud, controlling cloud costs has become an industry unto itself. Cloud scaling is one method of doing that. By ensuring that no resources are left unused, and utilizing resources more effectively, organizations can minimize their wasted cloud spend and improve performance.
Cloud waste and out-of-control costs have also led to a phenomenon where organizations move some or all of their cloud resources back to private clouds – or even back to the data center. Learn more about cloud repatriation >>
While not an exhaustive list, this table of common cloud scaling tools should give you an idea of the playing field.
Automatically adjusting resources in response to changes in demand (based on predefined policies)
AWS Auto Scaling, Azure Autoscale, Google Cloud Autoscaler
Distributing traffic across instances to optimize resource utilization
AWS ELB, Azure Load Balancer, F5, HAProxy, NGINX
Infrastructure as Code Tools
Defining and managing IT configurations as code to ensure consistency as resources scale
Puppet, Ansible, Terraform, Chef
Container Orchestration Tools
Automating deployment and scaling of containerized applications in the cloud
Scaling cloud resources can lead to inconsistent configurations in cloud infrastructure. Configuration drift can introduce security risks, missed dependencies, and performance issues across hybrid cloud resources.
Cloud scaling is a great way to appropriately size your cloud and conserve resources you don’t use. But it can also introduce liabilities that can actually decrease performance and open up security vulnerabilities across the resources you’re scaling.
Without strong configuration enforcement, cloud scaling can lead to problems like:
Infrastructure as code (IaC) supports cloud scalability by providing a standardized, automated approach to managing infrastructure. Configurations are written as code, so they can be defined clearly, edited when needed, and repeated over and over to enforce a desired state across any kind of infrastructure.
IaC is great for cloud scaling because:
Puppet infrastructure as code, written in the Ruby-based Puppet DSL, even works across multiple clouds and across hybrid cloud infrastructure. In short, using Puppet for hybrid cloud IaC makes it easier and safer to scale your cloud with confidence.
“[With Puppet,] we’re able to manage more servers with the same number of people (and even fewer). We can deliver servers with the same level of security every time with minimal effort.”DevOps Engineer, Federal Government, 2023 TechValidate Survey
“[With Puppet,] we’re able to manage more servers with the same number of people (and even fewer). We can deliver servers with the same level of security every time with minimal effort.”
DevOps Engineer, Federal Government, 2023 TechValidate Survey
For tips and insight on improving efficiency and scalability in your cloud infrastructure, download our free Guide to Unlocking Cloud Scalability and Efficiency – or if you’re ready to see how Puppet can enhance your cloud ops, request a demo at the link below.
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