Welcome!

SDN Journal Authors: Yeshim Deniz, Mike Hicks, Liz McMillan, Hovhannes Avoyan, Sharon Barkai

Related Topics: Cloud Expo, SOA & WOA, Web 2.0, Security, Big Data Journal, SDN Journal

Cloud Expo: Article

Basic Cloud Computing Patterns for Application Development

Design patterns help not only in the development process but across the application development life cycle

Over the past few years, the cloud evolution has answered all questions on the cloud being the right strategy. The key challenge that remains now is leveraging cloud capabilities and features in such a way that they can be used to innovate as well as solve business problems. If we relate different cloud migration strategies executed over time, we'll find many similarities. There has been focus on cloud assessment as well as a consideration for application development approaches. Even though business cases are different, we can still link the proposed or implemented cloud-based solutions with a set of design patterns. If we have to define a design pattern, the most common definition states it as, ‘A widely used concept in computer science to describe good solutions to re-occurring problems in an abstract form.' Any abstract solution to recurring problems in the domain of cloud computing can be referred to as a cloud computing pattern that is independent of concrete providers, products and programming languages.

The following are some basic application architecture patterns. Most of these were referred to as cloud best practices in the beginning. As we come across multiple real-time implementations, we shall be able to easily identify a pattern in them.

Composite Application
On a higher level, traditional application architecture has to deal with challenges such as difficulties integrating with other applications and lack of flexibility for supporting changing functionalities in an application lifecycle. Since in a cloud environment applications can be scaled individually, it's always a good option to divide the application functionality into multiple components that can later be integrated to form a unified application.

Composite applications are one of the main elements in service-oriented architecture (SOA) that help in contextual collaboration. This approach makes applications extendable right from the beginning. The integration of other applications is also simplified by using the same integration techniques inside individual applications.

Example of a Composite Application for a Travel Booking Process

The key to a successful implementation of this pattern is achieving the correct balance in the distribution of functionality across multiple components. With too few components, integrating new functionality and changing the application flexibly will need extra time due to likelihood of errors. On the other hand, if the functionality is distributed among too many components, there will be a higher communication overhead for the application to perform. Composite application patterns used along with loose coupling (explained earlier) helps extract the benefits of cloud features like elasticity, payment models and standardized management.

Loose Coupling
In essence, loose coupling isolates the various layers and components of your application so that each component interacts asynchronously with the others and treats them as a "black box." The key principal for this pattern is to reduce the set of assumptions for the information exchange between components, which eventually results in better scalability.

Decoupling your components, building asynchronous systems and scaling horizontally become very important in the context of the cloud. It will not only allow you to scale out by adding more instances of the same component but also allow you to design innovative hybrid models in which a few components continue to run ‘on-premise' while the other components can take advantage of the ‘cloud-scale' and use the cloud for additional compute-power and bandwidth.

The following is a sample illustration of decoupling components using queues and AWS specific tactics:

Ref: Whitepaper on Architecting for the AWS Cloud: Best Practices.

AWS specific techniques for implementing this best practice are as follows:

  1. Use Amazon SQS to isolate components
  2. Use Amazon SQS as a buffer between components
  3. Design every component in a way that it exposes a service interface and is responsible for its own scalability in all appropriate dimensions and interacts with other components asynchronously
  4. Bundle the logical construct of a component into an Amazon Machine Image so that it can be deployed more often
  5. Make your applications as stateless as possible. Store session state outside of component (in Amazon SimpleDB, if appropriate)

Loose coupling normally results in performance reduction because asynchronous communication using messages adds a lot of overhead due to the communication path being longer. Though it needs to be weighed between loose coupling and performance, things can be easily handled by scaling resources out.

Elastic Component
As an application is componentized, components are distributed among multiple compute nodes. The system utilization is tracked by these nodes using parameters like CPU load, memory usage, or network I/O for scaling decisions. As the utilization of compute nodes exceeds a specified threshold, additional hosting components are provisioned that contain the same application component.

In cloud, elasticity can be implemented in three ways:

  1. Proactive Cyclic Scaling: Periodic scaling that occurs at fixed interval
  2. Proactive Event-Based Scaling: Scaling just when you are expecting a big surge of traffic requests due to a scheduled business event
  3. Auto-scaling based on demand

Other Cloud Computing Patterns
The following are some other commonly used cloud computing patterns:

Stateless Component
In regular component-based applications in cloud, the chances of failure increase as components can be distributed across multiple nodes. Components are added/ removed to address scalability needs with changes in demand. ‘Stateless Components' is a pattern in which components do not contain any internal state, rather external persistence storage is used for state management.

Map-Reduce
The Map-Reduce pattern is used to achieve performance requirements for complex queries on large data sets as most of the conventional storage solutions do not support such queries natively. Map-Reduce is often used to query large amounts of weakly structured/unstructured data for analysis purposes. For example, it can be used for the analysis of web service logs to determine user access statistics or the analysis of order information to find popular products.

Design patterns help not only in the development process but across the application development life cycle. In their abstracted form, patterns make themselves applicable to challenges that the developers of cloud application face today that are independent of the actual technologies as well as cloud services that are being used. Applying them to the cloud lets your application extract maximum benefits of cloud platforms.

More Stories By Mahesh Kumar

Mahesh Kumar is currently working as a Senior Tech Lead at Harbinger. He is a member of Technology Forum and Proposal Engineering Group at Harbinger Systems. He is an active contributor in the technology arm of Harbinger’s Marketing division. Mahesh Kumar has over 7 years of experience in design and development of Enterprise Applications in BI, Healthcare and eLearning domain. His core technology expertise is in Java, J2ee, Java Frameworks and libraries, Android, Big Data and Cloud. He is frequently invited as a guest speaker at Management Colleges and Universities.

Mahesh Kumar holds a Bachelors of Engineering in Information Technology from University of Pune, India.

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.


Cloud Expo Latest Stories
In today's application economy, enterprise organizations realize that it's their applications that are the heart and soul of their business. If their application users have a bad experience, their revenue and reputation are at stake. In his session at 15th Cloud Expo, Anand Akela, Senior Director of Product Marketing for Application Performance Management at CA Technologies, will discuss how a user-centric Application Performance Management solution can help inspire your users with every application transaction.
Come learn about what you need to consider when moving your data to the cloud. In her session at 15th Cloud Expo, Skyla Loomis, a Program Director of Cloudant Development at Cloudant, will discuss the security, performance, and operational implications of keeping your data on premise, moving it to the cloud, or taking a hybrid approach. She will use real customer examples to illustrate the tradeoffs, key decision points, and how to be successful with a cloud or hybrid cloud solution.
With the explosion of the cloud, more businesses are transitioning to a recurring revenue model to generate reliable sales, grow profits, and open new markets. This opportunity requires businesses to get to market quickly with the pricing and packaging options customers want. In addition, you will want to take advantage of the ensuing tidal wave of data to more effectively upsell, cross-sell and manage your customers. All of this is possible, but only with the right approach. At 15th Cloud Expo, Brendan O'Brien, Co-founder at Aria Systems and the inventor of cloud billing panelists, will lead a panel discussion on what it takes to launch and manage a successful recurring revenue business. The panelists will offer their insights about what each department will need to consider, from financial management to line of business and IT. The panelists will also offer examples from their success in recurring revenue with companies such as Audi, Constant Contact, Experian, Pitney-Bowes, Teleko...
Planning scalable environments isn't terribly difficult, but it does require a change of perspective. In his session at 15th Cloud Expo, Phil Jackson, Development Community Advocate for SoftLayer, will broaden your views to think on an Internet scale by dissecting a video publishing application built with The SoftLayer Platform, Message Queuing, Object Storage, and Drupal. By examining a scalable modular application build that can handle unpredictable traffic, attendees will able to grow your development arsenal and pick up a few strategies to apply to your own projects.
The cloud provides an easy onramp to building and deploying Big Data solutions. Transitioning from initial deployment to large-scale, highly performant operations may not be as easy. In his session at 15th Cloud Expo, Harold Hannon, Sr. Software Architect at SoftLayer, will discuss the benefits, weaknesses, and performance characteristics of public and bare metal cloud deployments that can help you make the right decisions.
Over the last few years the healthcare ecosystem has revolved around innovations in Electronic Health Record (HER) based systems. This evolution has helped us achieve much desired interoperability. Now the focus is shifting to other equally important aspects – scalability and performance. While applying cloud computing environments to the EHR systems, a special consideration needs to be given to the cloud enablement of Veterans Health Information Systems and Technology Architecture (VistA), i.e., the largest single medical system in the United States.
Cloud and Big Data present unique dilemmas: embracing the benefits of these new technologies while maintaining the security of your organization’s assets. When an outside party owns, controls and manages your infrastructure and computational resources, how can you be assured that sensitive data remains private and secure? How do you best protect data in mixed use cloud and big data infrastructure sets? Can you still satisfy the full range of reporting, compliance and regulatory requirements? In his session at 15th Cloud Expo, Derek Tumulak, Vice President of Product Management at Vormetric, will discuss how to address data security in cloud and Big Data environments so that your organization isn’t next week’s data breach headline.
Scott Jenson leads a project called The Physical Web within the Chrome team at Google. Project members are working to take the scalability and openness of the web and use it to talk to the exponentially exploding range of smart devices. Nearly every company today working on the IoT comes up with the same basic solution: use my server and you'll be fine. But if we really believe there will be trillions of these devices, that just can't scale. We need a system that is open a scalable and by using the URL as a basic building block, we open this up and get the same resilience that the web enjoys.
Is your organization struggling to deal with skyrocketing volumes of digital assets? The amount of data is growing exponentially and organizations are having a hard time managing this growth. In his session at 15th Cloud Expo, Amar Kapadia, Senior Director of Open Cloud Strategy at Seagate, will walk through the essential considerations when developing a cloud storage strategy. In this discussion, you will understand the challenges IT is facing, why companies need to move to cloud, and how the right cloud model can help your business economically overcome the data struggle.
If cloud computing benefits are so clear, why have so few enterprises migrated their mission-critical apps? The answer is often inertia and FUD. No one ever got fired for not moving to the cloud – not yet. In his session at 15th Cloud Expo, Michael Hoch, SVP, Cloud Advisory Service at Virtustream, will discuss the six key steps to justify and execute your MCA cloud migration.
The 16th International Cloud Expo announces that its Call for Papers is now open. 16th International Cloud Expo, to be held June 9–11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City brings together Cloud Computing, APM, APIs, Security, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding business opportunity. Submit your speaking proposal today!
Most of today’s hardware manufacturers are building servers with at least one SATA Port, but not every systems engineer utilizes them. This is considered a loss in the game of maximizing potential storage space in a fixed unit. The SATADOM Series was created by Innodisk as a high-performance, small form factor boot drive with low power consumption to be plugged into the unused SATA port on your server board as an alternative to hard drive or USB boot-up. Built for 1U systems, this powerful device is smaller than a one dollar coin, and frees up otherwise dead space on your motherboard. To meet the requirements of tomorrow’s cloud hardware, Innodisk invested internal R&D resources to develop our SATA III series of products. The SATA III SATADOM boasts 500/180MBs R/W Speeds respectively, or double R/W Speed of SATA II products.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Gridstore™, the leader in software-defined storage (SDS) purpose-built for Windows Servers and Hyper-V, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 15th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Gridstore™ is the leader in software-defined storage purpose built for virtualization that is designed to accelerate applications in virtualized environments. Using its patented Server-Side Virtual Controller™ Technology (SVCT) to eliminate the I/O blender effect and accelerate applications Gridstore delivers vmOptimized™ Storage that self-optimizes to each application or VM across both virtual and physical environments. Leveraging a grid architecture, Gridstore delivers the first end-to-end storage QoS to ensure the most important App or VM performance is never compromised. The storage grid, that uses Gridstore’s performance optimized nodes or capacity optimized nodes, starts with as few a...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Cloudian, Inc., the leading provider of hybrid cloud storage solutions, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 15th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Cloudian is a Foster City, Calif.-based software company specializing in cloud storage. Cloudian HyperStore® is an S3-compatible cloud object storage platform that enables service providers and enterprises to build reliable, affordable and scalable hybrid cloud storage solutions. Cloudian actively partners with leading cloud computing environments including Amazon Web Services, Citrix Cloud Platform, Apache CloudStack, OpenStack and the vast ecosystem of S3 compatible tools and applications. Cloudian's customers include Vodafone, Nextel, NTT, Nifty, and LunaCloud. The company has additional offices in China and Japan.
SYS-CON Events announced today that TechXtend (formerly Programmer’s Paradise), a leading value-added provider of server and storage virtualization, and r-evolution will exhibit at SYS-CON's 15th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. TechXtend (formerly Programmer’s Paradise) is a leading value-added provider of software, systems and solutions for corporations, government organizations, and academic institutions across the United States and Canada. TechXtend is the Exclusive Reseller in the United States for r-evolution