Open Source Cloud Authors: Elizabeth White, Derek Weeks, Stackify Blog, Liz McMillan, Dynatrace Blog

Related Topics: Open Source Cloud, Microservices Expo, Containers Expo Blog, Agile Computing, @CloudExpo, @BigDataExpo, SDN Journal

Open Source Cloud: Article

Achieving Scale and Performance in the Cloud

To achieve the full benefit of cloud computing, all assets need to be fully elastic

New breakthroughs in cloud-based data management empower databases with the necessary elasticity they need to be truly responsive to the ebbs and tides of supply and demand.

Cloud computing allows all capital assets - computing power, memory and storage for example - to be exchanged at the best price, giving everyone the best value for their money. Like any free market, it will only deliver its full benefits to buyers and sellers if the right conditions are available. There can be no barriers to entry, and assets in the cloud must be capable of free movement.

Unfortunately, the unsuitability of traditional relational database management systems (RDBMS) has created such a blockage. Their lack of elasticity or liquidity demobilizes computing resources. However, new developments in cloud database technology (like database bursting and hibernating functions) show how the database component can have the necessary fluidity to bring cloud-computing closer to ‘perfect market' conditions and begin to deliver its full benefits.

Consider the empirical evidence of how the fluidity of assets is changing. The limitations of a traditional relational database (RDB) meant that it ran on its own server. By contrast, in March 2013 HP demonstrated how 72,000 databases were able to share a single HP Moonshot server. Not only could they co-exist, they were able to ramp up and wind down their use of the computing capacity, so that trade-offs of processing power, storage and memory could be made as their own supply and demand changed.

Each database was constructed using a new agile set of processes that were designed to give it the fluency described above. If a database is inactive, it can be effectively switched off, and the capacity it didn't use (such as memory, storage and processing power) could be re-allocated to the rest of the pool. This relatively new concept, known as hibernation, brings a new fluidity to cloud computing. It allows assets to be mobilized between different consumers (namely the servers running those databases).

The active ingredient in the new cloud management operating systems is software that can monitor a server and understand the activity in each database. It can see whether its current workload justifies the amount of resources (such as memory, storage, and processing power) that are currently allocated, and make an intelligent decision on whether to adjust it. In terms of the free market, the management system enjoys perfect information and asset liquidity.

New technology enables server management software to spot when databases are not active and put them in hibernation until they next need to be allocated resources. On the other hand, if a SQL client needs to access the database, it can be restarted instantly.

Another mobility improvement stems from the fact that databases are not geographically restricted anymore. Unlike RDBs, they can spread onto multiple servers across multiple locations. Databases can both burst out and hibernate, expanding and contracting in immediate response to the demands made on them by users. They have complete elasticity in response to the unpredictable demands of their user base.

Traditionally, it didn't matter that a RDB sat on a single server on one site because the market conditions for computing resources were a lot simpler. The volume of demand was literally a microcosm of today's market. When RDBs were conceived, the idea of computing 1,000 transactions per second was thought to be beyond the realms of possibility. These days Facebook can make a million transactions every second across its various data centers at peak time.

Nobody can afford to buy their IT capacity the way they did in the '80s. It is technically impossible and certainly unwise to buy a data processing environment that covers all possibilities, and then leave much of it unused for 90 percent of the time, because the upper limits of demand are so much more extreme. There needs to be a fluid market for computing capacity, which the cloud could provide.

Many of the ideal conditions needed for perfect cloud computing, as defined by analyst firm Gartner, are achievable now. Any cloud computing environment can meet Gartner's stipulation that it be Internet-enabled, service-based, metered and shared fairly easily. But there is one quality that has eluded us: elasticity. Without elasticity, resources cannot be shared, and the exchange of data processing goods and services lacks the fluidity to be able to react quickly to changing market conditions.

The result of this is that the users of cloud computing risk either overprovisioning their computing resources or under-provisioning. However, in a world where markets fluctuate and customers are as mobile and quick to migrate as any other element in the economic equation, underestimating your IT resources is not an option.

That creates a massive challenge for the CIO. When online demand fluctuates as dramatically as it does today, how does one estimate the maximum limits of demand? In peak times, Amazon's trade rises by 500,000 transactions per second above its routine level of activity.

When RDBs were conceived, market conditions were much different. Databases were smaller, transactions didn't involve unstructured data and were much simpler and the peaks and troughs of activity were less extreme. The limitations of RDB (such as the lack of elasticity its intransigence imposed on the computing model) were less telling, because enterprises could afford to overprovision their processing power, storage and memory, even if that meant that 90 percent of the time it was unused.

Today elasticity is an option, if you redesign the way the database works. But massively overprovisioning capacity is not, as the peak of activity is far higher - not just for Amazon but for all online traders.

The cost of these transactions can be managed with the efficiencies of the cloud. According to the independent Yahoo Cloud Serving Benchmark, the most cost-efficient elastic cloud database on the market can generate 4,368,421 transactions per second for every dollar invested in cloud computing.

This astonishingly low cost per transaction is achieved by creating the perfect market for computing assets. Aggregating databases has created huge economies of scale, while taking advantages of the commoditization of hardware. Coupled with a far more efficient model of distribution, the price per transaction has fallen dramatically.

While other aspects of IT (such as the development of CPU, memory and software) have continued to improve exponentially every 18 months for two decades, database technology has remained relatively static. However, new cloud data management systems have released this handbrake and could create a sudden surge in mobility.

More Stories By Wiqar Chaudry

Wiqar Chaudry, Tech Evangelist & Director of Product Marketing, NuoDB, Inc., is an IT professional with over a decade of experience in database systems and web technologies. He has been responsible for designing large scale data warehouses for the Fortune 500 and has played key roles in several data centric start-ups as a solutions architect, sales engineer and product manager. Wiqar holds a BBA in Finance from Temple University and an MS in Computer Information systems from Boston University. In his spare time he writes a blog on collaborative economics. You can follow him on twitter @WiqarC.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.

@ThingsExpo Stories
SYS-CON Events announced today that Cloudistics, an on-premises cloud computing company, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Cloudistics delivers a complete public cloud experience with composable on-premises infrastructures to medium and large enterprises. Its software-defined technology natively converges network, storage, compute, virtualization, and management into a ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that SD Times | BZ Media has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 6–8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. BZ Media LLC is a high-tech media company that produces technical conferences and expositions, and publishes a magazine, newsletters and websites in the software development, SharePoint, mobile development and commercial UAV markets.
"I think that everyone recognizes that for IoT to really realize its full potential and value that it is about creating ecosystems and marketplaces and that no single vendor is able to support what is required," explained Esmeralda Swartz, VP, Marketing Enterprise and Cloud at Ericsson, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
Why do your mobile transformations need to happen today? Mobile is the strategy that enterprise transformation centers on to drive customer engagement. In his general session at @ThingsExpo, Roger Woods, Director, Mobile Product & Strategy – Adobe Marketing Cloud, covered key IoT and mobile trends that are forcing mobile transformation, key components of a solid mobile strategy and explored how brands are effectively driving mobile change throughout the enterprise.
My team embarked on building a data lake for our sales and marketing data to better understand customer journeys. This required building a hybrid data pipeline to connect our cloud CRM with the new Hadoop Data Lake. One challenge is that IT was not in a position to provide support until we proved value and marketing did not have the experience, so we embarked on the journey ourselves within the product marketing team for our line of business within Progress. In his session at @BigDataExpo, Sum...
Keeping pace with advancements in software delivery processes and tooling is taxing even for the most proficient organizations. Point tools, platforms, open source and the increasing adoption of private and public cloud services requires strong engineering rigor - all in the face of developer demands to use the tools of choice. As Agile has settled in as a mainstream practice, now DevOps has emerged as the next wave to improve software delivery speed and output. To make DevOps work, organization...
SYS-CON Events announced today that MobiDev, a client-oriented software development company, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and the 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place October 31-November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. MobiDev is a software company that develops and delivers turn-key mobile apps, websites, web services, and complex softw...
DevOps is often described as a combination of technology and culture. Without both, DevOps isn't complete. However, applying the culture to outdated technology is a recipe for disaster; as response times grow and connections between teams are delayed by technology, the culture will die. A Nutanix Enterprise Cloud has many benefits that provide the needed base for a true DevOps paradigm.
What sort of WebRTC based applications can we expect to see over the next year and beyond? One way to predict development trends is to see what sorts of applications startups are building. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Arin Sime, founder of WebRTC.ventures, will discuss the current and likely future trends in WebRTC application development based on real requests for custom applications from real customers, as well as other public sources of information,
China Unicom exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which took place at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, in November 2016. China United Network Communications Group Co. Ltd ("China Unicom") was officially established in 2009 on the basis of the merger of former China Netcom and former China Unicom. China Unicom mainly operates a full range of telecommunications services including mobile broadband (GSM, WCDMA, LTE FDD, TD-LTE), fixed-line broadband, ICT, data communica...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Ocean9will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Ocean9 provides cloud services for Backup, Disaster Recovery (DRaaS) and instant Innovation, and redefines enterprise infrastructure with its cloud native subscription offerings for mission critical SAP workloads.
Things are changing so quickly in IoT that it would take a wizard to predict which ecosystem will gain the most traction. In order for IoT to reach its potential, smart devices must be able to work together. Today, there are a slew of interoperability standards being promoted by big names to make this happen: HomeKit, Brillo and Alljoyn. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Adam Justice, vice president and general manager of Grid Connect, will review what happens when smart devices don’t work togethe...
SYS-CON Events announced today that SoftLayer, an IBM Company, has been named “Gold Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York, New York. SoftLayer, an IBM Company, provides cloud infrastructure as a service from a growing number of data centers and network points of presence around the world. SoftLayer’s customers range from Web startups to global enterprises.
SYS-CON Events announced today that CA Technologies has been named “Platinum Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and the 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place October 31-November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. CA Technologies helps customers succeed in a future where every business – from apparel to energy – is being rewritten by software. From ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Technologic Systems Inc., an embedded systems solutions company, will exhibit at SYS-CON's @ThingsExpo, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Technologic Systems is an embedded systems company with headquarters in Fountain Hills, Arizona. They have been in business for 32 years, helping more than 8,000 OEM customers and building over a hundred COTS products that have never been discontinued. Technologic Systems’ pr...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Auditwerx will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Auditwerx specializes in SOC 1, SOC 2, and SOC 3 attestation services throughout the U.S. and Canada. As a division of Carr, Riggs & Ingram (CRI), one of the top 20 largest CPA firms nationally, you can expect the resources, skills, and experience of a much larger firm combined with the accessibility and attent...
SYS-CON Events announced today that HTBase will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. HTBase (Gartner 2016 Cool Vendor) delivers a Composable IT infrastructure solution architected for agility and increased efficiency. It turns compute, storage, and fabric into fluid pools of resources that are easily composed and re-composed to meet each application’s needs. With HTBase, companies can quickly prov...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Loom Systems will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Founded in 2015, Loom Systems delivers an advanced AI solution to predict and prevent problems in the digital business. Loom stands alone in the industry as an AI analysis platform requiring no prior math knowledge from operators, leveraging the existing staff to succeed in the digital era. With offices in S...
Buzzword alert: Microservices and IoT at a DevOps conference? What could possibly go wrong? In this Power Panel at DevOps Summit, moderated by Jason Bloomberg, the leading expert on architecting agility for the enterprise and president of Intellyx, panelists peeled away the buzz and discuss the important architectural principles behind implementing IoT solutions for the enterprise. As remote IoT devices and sensors become increasingly intelligent, they become part of our distributed cloud enviro...
SYS-CON Events announced today that T-Mobile will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. As America's Un-carrier, T-Mobile US, Inc., is redefining the way consumers and businesses buy wireless services through leading product and service innovation. The Company's advanced nationwide 4G LTE network delivers outstanding wireless experiences to 67.4 million customers who are unwilling to compromise on ...