Overview of Cloud Elasticity
Simply put, it is the methodology of effortless upgrading and downgrading of computing-resources without rendering any interruption to the performance of involving systems/devices.
It’s an automated process aiming to make deployed cloud-oriented resources relevant to contemporary trends and practices. RAM, storage, CPU, and databases are mostly involved in this concept.
Elastic cloud resources facilitate enterprises to have the aid of just the ideal kind of cloud-specific computing-resources so that they are not underperforming or have non-utilized computing assets adding to their expenses.
Elastic cloud-computing is remarkably known for its speed. It aligns and remains in sync with optimized requirements, scaling promptly. It pivots as organizational workflows and processes are revised. If cloud-specific elasticity and operations are not fully synchronized, we will most likely see performance delays, errors, and over or under-use in context of the resources.
As businesses seek scalability, instantaneous elasticity is a must-have component for those who consider Cloud to back their business’s growth. Prominent cloud computing environment/services like AWS, Azure, and Google understood its value and now offer it with all their leading cloud solutions to make sure that the involved needs of their customers are well addressed.
What Makes it Crucial Today?
This methodology holds great significance for cloud users from multiple aspects.
Effective and relevant usage is the vital most aspect of all. In the absence of adequate cloud elasticity, two resource usage scenarios will arise. The first scenario is lacking enough computing resorts.
As the enterprise grows, the cloud-resource surface will expand automatically. But, if cloud-at-place is not elastic enough, such growth-driven enterprises won’t have enough computing resources to support their evolved workflows. So, operational delays are bound to happen.
Another resource usage issue is having too many unused resources lying idle. Businesses have to invest in the maintenance of those resources even if they are not using them. This way, organizations end up investing thousands of dollars in services that they are not using or availing of.
Resource hoarding is not pocket-heavy but also comes with viable cybersecurity threats. Hackers can use those unmonitored or unused computing-resources to exploit saved data or gain a backdoor entry to other resources. None of this is favorable for business ventures.
Without the elastic cloud, the over or under-provisioned resources are also most likely. Briefly, elasticity’s absence will force businesses to experience unaligned and non-relevant computing resources that will fail to provide adequate operational support.
With this cloud computing choice, it’s simpler for any business to own/lease/rent fully-managed, easily accessible, and timely delivered resources for their requirements.
Components of Cloud Elasticity
Instance refers to a server ecosystem containing CPU, OS, network configuration, RAM, or storage in virtual computing. Instances are used in multiple ways, and each one has distinct necessities.
Users will be awarded additional storage so that rapidly growing requirements are well taken care of. This extra storage is identified as EBS or Elastic Block Storage space that is useful for better performance delivery by keeping latency as low as possible.
To expand the OS, elastic computing provides constant support for all the leading OS such as Linux, Oracle Enterprise, and Windows servers.
Generally, the network needs to perform better in a scenario where elasticity is prioritzed, as compared to other networks and is capable of delivering low latency and network jitters.
Backup files are here to make sure that critical data or driving is stored immediately. The only thing that it demands is a snapshot that features the real-time positioning of a disc. With this snapshot, it’s easy to permit outstanding images. Because of this reason, snapshots are of great help in case of a disaster scenario.
It’s vital to have instance deployments across multiple regions and zones for the related service providers if they wish to provide immediate scalability. Because of more regional availability, the odds of failure are less. In this scenario, zones are discrete areas having multiple pocket-friendly, high-performing, and better network connective regions.
How it Works?
By now, you must have known the basics, i.e. quick expansion/downscaling of computing-resources. It could happen automatically and manually. As a manual path is more time-consuming and lacks dependability, enterprises prefer using automatic cloud elasticity.
The most straightforward example of how elasticity operates is cloud bursting which concerns brusque movement from on-premise IT infrastructure or public cloud so that seasonal demands are well taken care of. It provokes automatically as soon as any change in the workload is observed.
The provision for seamless elasticity boosts the standby Cloud’s computing efficiency, because demanded resources for instant configuration and installation are already in place.
As demand declines or lessens, cloud capacity will shrink instantly so that companies are not spending on resources that are not in use. While resources expand or decrease, there is no influence on workflows and processes. They resume working or delivering as seamlessly as they were earlier.
A real-world example of an elastic cloud is Elastic Beanstalk, which is offered by AWS.
Its users have unpaired cloud elasticity to experience as they develop or maintain enterprise apps on AWS. Regardless of the type, size, and technical specifications of the application, this Cloud can accomplish abundant operations like load-balancing, capacity provisioning, and health tracking/monitoring with the same reassurance and perfection.
Developers don’t have to take any supplementary measures or configuration moves to modify the capabilities of Elastic Beanstalk. It automatically adapts and evolves. Developers have to upload the app. That’s it.
Benefits and Challenges of Cloud Elasticity
Adoption of cloud elasticity are going to bring laudable outcomes for businesses such as:
- Better agility: With cloud elasticity, businesses can gain improved agility as there is no need to invest in configuring, purchasing, and installation of new infrastructure as and when the workload expands. It prepares businesses to deal with an overnight hike in traffic without causing these performance delays and glitches.
- Payment flexibility: Cloud elasticity is a great way to enjoy flexibility as users can pay for consumed resources only. There is no fixed cost to bear even when respective IT resources are not in use. This gives great peace of mind as businesses know that their investment is not wasted. Whichever investments they are making, they are availing the facilities. Payment flexibility is also possible with elastic cloud because most of its providers provide pay-per-use model.
- Smooth Operations: Elasticity encourages hassle-free service delivery for both the customers and cloud service providers. This is because of the fact that computing facilities are offered according to the needs. There are no unused facilities or features expanding the cost and IT infrastructure complexity.
- Support for dynamic growth: As elasticity enables organizations to have need-based computing resources immediately, it's easy to meet the dynamic need. It makes sure that sudden demand hike is not causing system downfall or system glitch.
- Robustness: Elastic Cloud can ensure fault tolerance and high availability with the same ease and perfection. VMs are easy to replicate when they seem in danger. This feature of VMs permits businesses to ensure continual delivery as there won’t be any downtime to deal with.
- High efficiency: Cloud elasticity makes you more efficient as it uses automation in full swing. There are no manual efforts to invest in the provisioning/positioning of the resources. Everything happens automatically.
- Less time-to-market: Unlike traditional procuring processes, cloud elasticity is quick and doesn’t keep you bogged down with formalities that can take weeks or even months to be completed. The service delivery is instant and is perfect for any emergency.
While there are tons of features and facilities to enjoy with elastic cloud storage, it’s never free from flaws. It’s not going to add the same kind of usability and profitability for every user. It does have certain limitations or disadvantages, which you should know before adopting it.
- Some lag time is there, even if it can be ready to help instantly. Cloud VMs are rapidly available, but a certain lag is there. Generally, this lag is negligible. But, it’s observed that certain demand hikes have managed to expand the lag time. For instance, when multiple sign-on is taking place on a single day or a massive sale is going on. During all these events, the lag time is a little longer than expected and causes performance delays.
- It keeps you tied up with one cloud provider. You are bound to use the VMs and servers of your cloud provider only. This vendor lock is not suitable for many.
- Maintenance is not easy, especially because cloud elasticity keeps on adding or deleting computing resources rapidly. They need to adopt a cloud security approach that is as speedy and flexible as the elastic cloud.
Lack of adequate resources is another huge challenge to deal with while you’re using elastic clouds. At times, organizations have to struggle hard to make sure that they have a skilled team of admins, developers, and architects to manage expanded resources.
Cloud Elasticity vs Scalability
The easiest way to explain these two is that cloud scalability involves adding/deleting computing-resources within the existing cloud. So, in this case, the resources scale and cloud ecosystem remain the same. It majorly affects RAM, bandwidth, and storage as the workload changes. And, users are bound to pay for the entire cloud space they have procured even if they are not using it.
Elasticity, on contrary, involves scaling up or downsizing the computing capabilities of a given server so that traffic has enough computing resources to support the operations. Instead of expanding the cloud, which is what the routing scalability takes, elastic cloud focuses on expanding the cloud architecture components like virtual machines and servers.
As these resources are added, the existing cloud space is enough to handle the surged traffic and workload. It permits end-users to have enough resources as per the current traffic or workload so that performance is maintained throughout.
Here is a table to provide you with more clarity on cloud elasticity v/s scalability.
Top 5 Use Cases
Cloud elasticity is capable of empowering wide industries and businesses, provided one knows where to use and how to use it. Those who have this understanding are all set to empower the below-mentioned industries.
#1 - E-commerce
The traffic load for e-commerce sites may spike and slow down instantly. During events like sales/promotions, cloud-computing resources of the industry have to bear a high burden. More customers will be visiting websites, frequent checkout will be there, and immediate inventory updates are needed. When there is a lack of resources to support this sudden surge, the breakdown is certain.
Cloud elasticity is a boon for such a scenario. With this, storeowners can get adequate cloud computing resources instantly and then shrink them when demand or traffic eases down. This is an easy way to enjoy the backing of appropriate resources without experiencing any downfall in performance and spending more revenue.
#2 - Travel, hotel, and other booking websites
These websites also experience sudden traffic hikes, just like an e-commerce website, occasionally. Even if it’s occasional, these websites must have adequate resources during that period. The elastic cloud can fix this issue easily.
#3 - Online streaming sites
Have you experienced a down Netflix when there is a special series launch? Well, this happens with every leading streaming site. These platforms crash during an event launch, series launch, or even during a match with a global audience. When traffic is heavy and more people are streaming, existing infrastructure and computing-resources are not enough.
Cloud computing is of great help here. Netflix has already declared that it’s using an elastic cloud of AWS and is able to keep the downtime as little as possible. This leading streaming platform is capable of dealing with this sudden surge while maintaining the same performance as the elasticity-enabled Cloud.
#4 - Insurance and income tax industry
Both these industries experience a huge spike in traffic and website footfall when income return and insurance renewal season is going on. Millions of people use income tax and insurance websites to complete the mandatory requirements. While traffic is high, these platforms can’t afford to have poor performance, as it will lead to payment errors, submission glitches, and missed delays.
Once that season passes by, these websites or platforms receive less traffic. This is why cloud elasticity is required in these industries, as they don’t have to lease resources and pay for them when they are not in use.
#5 - Data backups
Elasticity in cloud computing is very helpful for businesses as and when they need to take measures to keep critical data secured and protected by providing added storage that they can scale immediately. Data backup with elasticity-enabled Cloud imparts flexibility and supports continual disaster recovery.
Best Cloud Elasticity Practices
As you plan to use cloud elasticity and wish to enjoy the best possible outcomes, it’s important to make sure that only best practices are in place. Have a look at some of the most viable and feasible cloud elasticity practices to adopt.
- Enough attention on security
As mentioned above, cloud elasticity needs extra attention on security fronts as hackers can exploit newly added cloud resources if they are not well protected. It is recommended to have adequate and modern-day access control and login management policies in place to avoid any sort of unauthorized access to the computing resources.
Encrypting all sorts of data is also highly recommended so that no data is under threat. While you’re using encryption, you need to make sure that encryption keys are in rotation to avoid overuse and credential repetition.
We have already made this clear that backup files are a key component of the elastic cloud. As a user of cloud elasticity, you need to ensure that periodic and automatic backup and recovery are active to avoid the loss of any mission-critical information. There is a wide range of recovery and backup solutions offered. Pick whichever you find most suitable.
As you plan to take backup, make sure you’re also taking the backup of EBS. Data replication is also recommended to take the backup of application data, saved in different zones.
We know that elastic-cloud storage has infinite capabilities and lets you accommodate as much as data you want. However, you have to be a little smart and make wise choices. For instance, EBS should be used as operating system storage. It should be your core data storage solution.
When you use instance storage, make sure that only temporary data goes in there. This is not an ideal place to store permanent data because for instance storage keeps on deleting the stored data at regular intervals. So, if some important data is saved in instance storage, you will end up losing it eventually.
- Use as much as automation possible
Cloud APIs are of great help when it comes to automating the deployment. As cloud computing happens at such a large scale, depending upon human efforts fully is not recommended. In fact, it’s not possible. Hence, automation should be introduced wherever it’s feasible. Automation promotes speed and reduces errors.
- Timely management of resources
Even though the cloud provider will look after and maintain everything, users must make efforts to manage the resources well. You have to understand what all special do you need when it comes to their management.
In case of huge unused resources, regular monitoring is the best possible way to avoid threats. Hackers use these unused resources to gain a back door entry to the IT ecosystem of an organization. Hence, it’s strongly recommended that unused components should go through a security check regularly and be monitored for the presence of any risk.
All these tips will help you keep cloud elasticity away from the reach of cyberpunks. However, they might not seem enough and need the backing of advanced tools and technology.
Protecting Cloud Environments With Wallarm
While the elastic cloud is here to support scalability, it’s important to have sound cloud security measures to keep the ever-evolving cloud protected from key and damaging cybersecurity threats. An unprotected cloud is going to create tons of hassles for its users.
One more thing to keep in mind here is that CloudSec should be as flexible as an elastic cloud. Hence, one has to play smart while selecting a cloud-oriented security approach for it. Wallarm, a leading API and CloudSec provider, offers multiple solutions that enterprises can use to protect elastic cloud computing.
For instance, its cloud WAF is the next-gen tool to use for protecting API and cloud-based web applications. As it's compatible with all the leading API types and even handles servers all elastic cloud users can go for it. To utilize its powerful cloud protection, users don’t have to be a tech-whiz as a single DNS change is enough to bring its features into action. It’s a fully compliant tool with the best-possible accuracy rate.
Users can also take advantage of inventive Wallarm API security services that are enough to protect assorted APIs in use The platform offers a wide range of tools to swiftly and accurately spit the hidden yet notorious API threats and prepares you for their early detection and remedial. It can handle all leading API verities with the same ease and perfection. In addition, it’s useful to protect microservices, servers, and web applications as well.
As these API protection policies are viable for all kinds of the cloud ecosystem, you can protect APIs whether you have AWS or Azure.
With all these capabilities in place, Wallarm is enough to keep your elastic cloud protected. Combine Wallarm API security offerings with the laudable cloud elasticity strategies and enjoy the best possible security.