SDN Journal Authors: Elizabeth White, Yeshim Deniz, Liz McMillan, Pat Romanski, TJ Randall

Related Topics: Open Source Cloud, Microservices Expo, Containers Expo Blog, Agile Computing, @CloudExpo, @DXWorldExpo, 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.

@CloudExpo Stories
22nd International Cloud Expo, taking place June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and co-located with the 1st DXWorld Expo will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud ...
In past @ThingsExpo presentations, Joseph di Paolantonio has explored how various Internet of Things (IoT) and data management and analytics (DMA) solution spaces will come together as sensor analytics ecosystems. This year, in his session at @ThingsExpo, Joseph di Paolantonio from DataArchon, added the numerous Transportation areas, from autonomous vehicles to “Uber for containers.” While IoT data in any one area of Transportation will have a huge impact in that area, combining sensor analytic...
Bill Schmarzo, author of "Big Data: Understanding How Data Powers Big Business" and "Big Data MBA: Driving Business Strategies with Data Science," is responsible for setting the strategy and defining the Big Data service offerings and capabilities for EMC Global Services Big Data Practice. As the CTO for the Big Data Practice, he is responsible for working with organizations to help them identify where and how to start their big data journeys. He's written several white papers, is an avid blogge...
Charles Araujo is an industry analyst, internationally recognized authority on the Digital Enterprise and author of The Quantum Age of IT: Why Everything You Know About IT is About to Change. As Principal Analyst with Intellyx, he writes, speaks and advises organizations on how to navigate through this time of disruption. He is also the founder of The Institute for Digital Transformation and a sought after keynote speaker. He has been a regular contributor to both InformationWeek and CIO Insight...
Michael Maximilien, better known as max or Dr. Max, is a computer scientist with IBM. At IBM Research Triangle Park, he was a principal engineer for the worldwide industry point-of-sale standard: JavaPOS. At IBM Research, some highlights include pioneering research on semantic Web services, mashups, and cloud computing, and platform-as-a-service. He joined the IBM Cloud Labs in 2014 and works closely with Pivotal Inc., to help make the Cloud Found the best PaaS.
It is of utmost importance for the future success of WebRTC to ensure that interoperability is operational between web browsers and any WebRTC-compliant client. To be guaranteed as operational and effective, interoperability must be tested extensively by establishing WebRTC data and media connections between different web browsers running on different devices and operating systems. In his session at WebRTC Summit at @ThingsExpo, Dr. Alex Gouaillard, CEO and Founder of CoSMo Software, presented ...
@DevOpsSummit at Cloud Expo, taking place November 12-13 in New York City, NY, is co-located with 22nd international CloudEXPO | first international DXWorldEXPO and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world.
In a world where the internet rules all, where 94% of business buyers conduct online research, and where e-commerce sales are poised to fall between $427 billion and $443 billion by the end of this year, we think it's safe to say that your website is a vital part of your business strategy. Whether you're a B2B company, a local business, or an e-commerce site, digital presence is key to maintain in your drive towards success. Digital Performance will take priority in 2018 for the following reason...
I think DevOps is now a rambunctious teenager - it's starting to get a mind of its own, wanting to get its own things but it still needs some adult supervision," explained Thomas Hooker, VP of marketing at CollabNet, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at DevOps Summit at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
What's the role of an IT self-service portal when you get to continuous delivery and Infrastructure as Code? This general session showed how to create the continuous delivery culture and eight accelerators for leading the change. Don Demcsak is a DevOps and Cloud Native Modernization Principal for Dell EMC based out of New Jersey. He is a former, long time, Microsoft Most Valuable Professional, specializing in building and architecting Application Delivery Pipelines for hybrid legacy, and cloud ...
In this presentation, you will learn first hand what works and what doesn't while architecting and deploying OpenStack. Some of the topics will include:- best practices for creating repeatable deployments of OpenStack- multi-site considerations- how to customize OpenStack to integrate with your existing systems and security best practices.
The “Digital Era” is forcing us to engage with new methods to build, operate and maintain applications. This transformation also implies an evolution to more and more intelligent applications to better engage with the customers, while creating significant market differentiators. In both cases, the cloud has become a key enabler to embrace this digital revolution. So, moving to the cloud is no longer the question; the new questions are HOW and WHEN. To make this equation even more complex, most ...
CloudEXPO New York 2018, colocated with DXWorldEXPO New York 2018 will be held November 11-13, 2018, in New York City and will bring together Cloud Computing, FinTech and Blockchain, Digital Transformation, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, AI, Machine Learning and WebRTC to one location.
DevOpsSummit New York 2018, colocated with CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO New York 2018 will be held November 11-13, 2018, in New York City. Digital Transformation (DX) is a major focus with the introduction of DXWorldEXPO within the program. Successful transformation requires a laser focus on being data-driven and on using all the tools available that enable transformation if they plan to survive over the long term. A total of 88% of Fortune 500 companies from a generation ago are now out of bus...
"ZeroStack is a startup in Silicon Valley. We're solving a very interesting problem around bringing public cloud convenience with private cloud control for enterprises and mid-size companies," explained Kamesh Pemmaraju, VP of Product Management at ZeroStack, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
DXWorldEXPO | CloudEXPO are the world's most influential, independent events where Cloud Computing was coined and where technology buyers and vendors meet to experience and discuss the big picture of Digital Transformation and all of the strategies, tactics, and tools they need to realize their goals. Sponsors of DXWorldEXPO | CloudEXPO benefit from unmatched branding, profile building and lead generation opportunities.
In his keynote at 19th Cloud Expo, Sheng Liang, co-founder and CEO of Rancher Labs, discussed the technological advances and new business opportunities created by the rapid adoption of containers. With the success of Amazon Web Services (AWS) and various open source technologies used to build private clouds, cloud computing has become an essential component of IT strategy. However, users continue to face challenges in implementing clouds, as older technologies evolve and newer ones like Docker c...
"Evatronix provides design services to companies that need to integrate the IoT technology in their products but they don't necessarily have the expertise, knowledge and design team to do so," explained Adam Morawiec, VP of Business Development at Evatronix, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
"We're developing a software that is based on the cloud environment and we are providing those services to corporations and the general public," explained Seungmin Kim, CEO/CTO of SM Systems Inc., in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Enterprises are moving to the cloud faster than most of us in security expected. CIOs are going from 0 to 100 in cloud adoption and leaving security teams in the dust. Once cloud is part of an enterprise stack, it’s unclear who has responsibility for the protection of applications, services, and data. When cloud breaches occur, whether active compromise or a publicly accessible database, the blame must fall on both service providers and users. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Ben Johnson, C...
"MobiDev is a software development company and we do complex, custom software development for everybody from entrepreneurs to large enterprises," explained Alan Winters, U.S. Head of Business Development at MobiDev, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.