How to Prepare for the Coming Age of Dynamic Infrastructure

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Infrastructure 2.0 Authors: Ravi Rajamiyer, Elizabeth White, Liz McMillan, Pat Romanski, Derek Weeks

Related Topics: Cloud Computing, Virtualization Magazine, VMware Journal, Cloudonomics Journal, Infrastructure 2.0 Journal, Microsoft Developer, CIO/CTO Update

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Scale Up or Scale Out?

Lots of Little Virtual Web Applications Scale Out Better than Scaling Up


When it comes time to scale an application, keep in mind that the decision to scale out or up has a direct impact on your ability to perform capacity planning and on performance. Predictable capacity with predictable performance is optimal as a baseline, and thuswhat’s required is a strategy that employs homogeneous (in terms of capacity) virtual servers as well as load balancing. As if you’re getting a bonus, it’s good to note that for optimizing operational costs associated a scaling out strategy, scaling out based on smaller, focused virtual servers will likely afford you the best return on investment you’ll get.















quotesIT operations has to first trust the ability of cloud computing  models to scale up, on-demand, as per the literature. In order to maximize the benefits of cloud computing IT actually has to provision resources based on the lowest common denominator rather than trying to provision for highest peak demand, which runs contrary to everything IT operations knows as truth about provisioning a data center to ensure availability of applications around the clock.

-- To Take Advantage of Cloud Computing You Must Unlearn, Luke.

Even if you’re using only one physical server, you’ll probably want to employ a smaller, homogeneous virtualized approach to scaling out web applications. Test your application until you find the apex of its performance and capture then the CPU and RAM required at that point. Use these values to standardize your web application virtual machine specifications. Evaluate your current infrastructure, too, and determine if there are performance and efficiency tuning enhancements you can make to configurations, such as simply changing the load balancing algorithm on your Load balancer/application delivery controller.

Virtualization apparently has, in addition to making the life of system administrators a whole lot easier, shall we say some hidden benefits for web applications that make combining a strong application delivery strategy and architecture with virtualization a win-win for users and administrators alike. But just as you’ll need to “unlearn” to really take advantage of cloud computing, you’re probably going to have to “unlearn” to take advantage of virtualization in your own data center, too.

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More Stories By Lori MacVittie

Lori MacVittie is responsible for education and evangelism of application services available across F5’s entire product suite. Her role includes authorship of technical materials and participation in a number of community-based forums and industry standards organizations, among other efforts. MacVittie has extensive programming experience as an application architect, as well as network and systems development and administration expertise. Prior to joining F5, MacVittie was an award-winning Senior Technology Editor at Network Computing Magazine, where she conducted product research and evaluation focused on integration with application and network architectures, and authored articles on a variety of topics aimed at IT professionals. Her most recent area of focus included SOA-related products and architectures. She holds a B.S. in Information and Computing Science from the University of Wisconsin at Green Bay, and an M.S. in Computer Science from Nova Southeastern University.

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