Welcome!

SDN Journal Authors: Greg Schulz, Liz McMillan, Brian Lavallée, Hovhannes Avoyan, Peter Silva

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
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!
14th International Cloud Expo, held on June 10–12, 2014 at the Javits Center in New York City, featured three content-packed days with a rich array of sessions about the business and technical value of cloud computing, Internet of Things, Big Data, and DevOps led by exceptional speakers from every sector of the IT ecosystem. The Cloud Expo series is the fastest-growing Enterprise IT event in the past 10 years, devoted to every aspect of delivering massively scalable enterprise IT as a service.
Hardware will never be more valuable than on the day it hits your loading dock. Each day new servers are not deployed to production the business is losing money. While Moore’s Law is typically cited to explain the exponential density growth of chips, a critical consequence of this is rapid depreciation of servers. The hardware for clustered systems (e.g., Hadoop, OpenStack) tends to be significant capital expenses. In his session at 15th Cloud Expo, Mason Katz, CTO and co-founder of StackIQ, to discuss how infrastructure teams should be aware of the capitalization and depreciation model of these expenses to fully understand when and where automation is critical.
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.
In his session at 15th Cloud Expo, Mark Hinkle, Senior Director, Open Source Solutions at Citrix Systems Inc., will provide overview of the open source software that can be used to deploy and manage a cloud computing environment. He will include information on storage, networking(e.g., OpenDaylight) and compute virtualization (Xen, KVM, LXC) and the orchestration(Apache CloudStack, OpenStack) of the three to build their own cloud services. Speaker Bio: Mark Hinkle is the Senior Director, Open Source Solutions, at Citrix Systems Inc. He joined Citrix as a result of their July 2011 acquisition of Cloud.com where he was their Vice President of Community. He is currently responsible for Citrix open source efforts around the open source cloud computing platform, Apache CloudStack and the Xen Hypervisor. Previously he was the VP of Community at Zenoss Inc., a producer of the open source application, server, and network management software, where he grew the Zenoss Core project to over 10...
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.
As more applications and services move "to the cloud" (public or on-premise) cloud environments are increasingly adopting and building out traditional enterprise features. This in turn is enabling and encouraging cloud adoption from enterprise users. In many ways the definition is blurring as features like continuous operation, geo-distribution or on-demand capacity become the norm. NuoDB is involved in both building enterprise software and using enterprise cloud capabilities. In his session at 15th Cloud Expo, Seth Proctor, CTO at NuoDB, Inc., will discuss the experiences from building, deploying and using enterprise services and suggest some ways to approach moving enterprise applications into a cloud model.
Until recently, many organizations required specialized departments to perform mapping and geospatial analysis, and they used Esri on-premise solutions for that work. In his session at 15th Cloud Expo, Dave Peters, author of the Esri Press book Building a GIS, System Architecture Design Strategies for Managers, will discuss how Esri has successfully included the cloud as a fully integrated SaaS expansion of the ArcGIS mapping platform. Organizations that have incorporated Esri cloud-based applications and content within their business models are reaping huge benefits by directly leveraging cloud-based mapping and analysis capabilities within their existing enterprise investments. The ArcGIS mapping platform includes cloud-based content management and information resources to more widely, efficiently, and affordably deliver real-time actionable information and analysis capabilities to your organization.
Almost everyone sees the potential of Internet of Things but how can businesses truly unlock that potential. The key will be in the ability to discover business insight in the midst of an ocean of Big Data generated from billions of embedded devices via Systems of Discover. Businesses will also need to ensure that they can sustain that insight by leveraging the cloud for global reach, scale and elasticity. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Mac Devine, Distinguished Engineer at IBM, will discuss bringing these three elements together via Systems of Discover.
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.
The cloud is everywhere and growing, and with it SaaS has become an accepted means for software delivery. SaaS is more than just a technology, it is a thriving business model estimated to be worth around $53 billion dollars by 2015, according to IDC. The question is – how do you build and scale a profitable SaaS business model? In his session at 15th Cloud Expo, Jason Cumberland, Vice President, SaaS Solutions at Dimension Data, will give the audience an understanding of common mistakes businesses make when transitioning to SaaS; how to avoid them; and how to build a profitable and scalable SaaS business.
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 Solgenia, the global market leader in Cloud Collaboration and Cloud Infrastructure software solutions, 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. Solgenia is the global market leader in Cloud Collaboration and Cloud Infrastructure software solutions. Designed to “Bridge the Gap” between personal and professional social, mobile and cloud user experiences, our solutions help large and medium-sized organizations dramatically improve productivity, reduce collaboration costs, and increase the overall enterprise value by bringing collaboration and infrastructure solutions to the cloud.
Cloud computing started a technology revolution; now DevOps is driving that revolution forward. By enabling new approaches to service delivery, cloud and DevOps together are delivering even greater speed, agility, and efficiency. No wonder leading innovators are adopting DevOps and cloud together! In his session at DevOps Summit, Andi Mann, Vice President of Strategic Solutions at CA Technologies, will explore the synergies in these two approaches, with practical tips, techniques, research data, war stories, case studies, and recommendations.
Enterprises require the performance, agility and on-demand access of the public cloud, and the management, security and compatibility of the private cloud. The solution? In his session at 15th Cloud Expo, Simone Brunozzi, VP and Chief Technologist(global role) for VMware, will explore how to unlock the power of the hybrid cloud and the steps to get there. He'll discuss the challenges that conventional approaches to both public and private cloud computing, and outline the tough decisions that must be made to accelerate the journey to the hybrid cloud. As part of the transition, an Infrastructure-as-a-Service model will enable enterprise IT to build services beyond their data center while owning what gets moved, when to move it, and for how long. IT can then move forward on what matters most to the organization that it supports – availability, agility and efficiency.