Click here to close now.

Welcome!

SDN Journal Authors: Elizabeth White, Yeshim Deniz, Carmen Gonzalez, Liz McMillan, Pat Romanski

Related Topics: Cloud Expo, Java, Linux, Virtualization, Big Data Journal, SDN Journal

Cloud Expo: Blog Feed Post

How Load Balancing Impacts the Cost of Cloud

Scalability requires load balancing, but it doesn't require efficient or cost-effective load balancing

It's not the first time we've heard the statement that cloud can be too expensive and I doubt it will be the last. This latest episode comes from Alexei Rodriguez, Head of Ops at Evernote by way of Structure 2014:

cloud-tweet-costs_thumb[6]

Original Tweet: https://twitter.com/joeweinman/status/479769276027379712

It is important to note that this admission - like those in the past - have come from what we call "web monsters." Web monsters are, as the name implies, web-first (and usually only) organizations who have millions (or billions) of users. Modern web monsters generally have only one application for which they are responsible, a la Evernote, Netflix, Facebook, etc...

It is unlikely that most enterprises will encounter this same conundrum - that of the cloud actually costing more than a DIY approach - for short-lived projects. A marketing campaign, seasonal promotions and offerings, etc... are almost certainly never going to approach the consumption levels of a Facebook or Evernote, and thus their costs will almost certainly be less in the cloud than in house.

That's not to say that enterprises won't run into this problem, or need to carefully evaluate the long-term costs of cloud for an application against their own ability to service it, especially as the Internet of Things begins to arrive and push at oft times already bulging data center seams.

One of the ways in which cloud can end up costing more is based on the load balancing service you choose to use.

The Cost of Inefficient Load Balancing
Load balancing is at the heart of every cloud computing model. Without load balancing of some kind you can't scale, and scalability is one of cloud's biggest benefits, as well as a top driver according to North Bridge Ventures 2014 Future of Cloud.

Load balancing, of course, distributes load across multiple instances of an application to enable scale, improve performance, and maintain availability. In most cloud environments, where provider supplied load balancing services are made available, these services are based on a scale out model, meaning scalability is based purely on the cloning of new application instances when demand reaches a certain (usually customer defined) threshold.

Now, that's all pretty simple stuff. All load balancing services offer scalability this way. What separates enterprise class load balancing from the simplistic offerings from providers is the ability to optimize server-side (virtual or physical) resource utilization in order to eke out the most capacity from each one, without compromising on other service level requirements such as performance.

Enterprise class load balancing services achieve this by using a variety of TCP optimizations designed to offload protocol overhead from the server (instance). TCP multiplexing and response buffering capabilities enable enterprise class load balancing to improve the capacity of servers (instances) by 25% or more, on average.

Obviously if a server (instance) can serve 25% more user requests, you don't scale out as quickly. In other words, you aren't launching more instances as frequently. Which means you aren't paying for more instances as often, either. Interesting, isn't that?

Enterprise load balancing services also offer a variety of load balancing algorithms, each of which has advantages and disadvantages. All load balancing services generally support the most basic of algorithms, round robin, but more sophisticated algorithms are rarely implemented. It is here, along with TCP optimizations, that efficient scalability becomes problematic. Round robin is application and server load agnostic, meaning it doesn't care if the instance selected has 400 connections while a second instance has only 50, it's still going to send that request to the next one in line. While least connections may not be the most efficient algorithm available, it's definitely more application load-aware than round robin.

Most enterprise driven load balancing algorithms take into consideration in some way - whether through weights or connection counts - the load on a given application instance. Rather than just distribute requests, they attempt to efficiently and equally distribute requests in order to maximize resource utilization without impacting performance or availability.

Thus, the use of simple load balancing services with rudimentary algorithmic support and an apathetic view toward server (instance) load serves to distribute load unequally.

These load balancing services do, however, serve to ensure that more instances are launched and more bandwidth is used, which necessarily incurs additional costs.

The load balancing service you choose does ultimately impact the overall cost of cloud. While its not the primary cause behind observations from organizations like Evernote, it's certainly a contributor.

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.

@CloudExpo Stories
There is little doubt that Big Data solutions will have an increasing role in the Enterprise IT mainstream over time. 8th International Big Data Expo, co-located with 17th International Cloud Expo - to be held November 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA - has announced its Call for Papers is open. As advanced data storage, access and analytics technologies aimed at handling high-volume and/or fast moving data all move center stage, aided by the cloud computing bo...
Data-intensive companies that strive to gain insights from data using Big Data analytics tools can gain tremendous competitive advantage by deploying data-centric storage. Organizations generate large volumes of data, the vast majority of which is unstructured. As the volume and velocity of this unstructured data increases, the costs, risks and usability challenges associated with managing the unstructured data (regardless of file type, size or device) increases simultaneously, including end-to-...
The 5th International DevOps Summit, co-located with 17th International Cloud Expo – being held November 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA – announces that its Call for Papers is open. Born out of proven success in agile development, cloud computing, and process automation, DevOps is a macro trend you cannot afford to miss. From showcase success stories from early adopters and web-scale businesses, DevOps is expanding to organizations of all sizes, including the...
Cloud services are the newest tool in the arsenal of IT products in the market today. These cloud services integrate process and tools. In order to use these products effectively, organizations must have a good understanding of themselves and their business requirements. In his session at 15th Cloud Expo, Brian Lewis, Principal Architect at Verizon Cloud, outlined key areas of organizational focus, and how to formalize an actionable plan when migrating applications and internal services to the ...
The 17th International Cloud Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. 17th International Cloud Expo, to be held November 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, brings together Cloud Computing, APM, APIs, Microservices, 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 bu...
Most companies hope for rapid growth so it's important to invest in scalable core technologies that won't demand a complete overhaul when a business goes through a growth spurt. Cloud technology enables previously difficult-to-scale solutions like phone, network infrastructure or billing systems to automatically scale based on demand. For example, with a virtual PBX service, a single-user cloud phone service can easily transition into an advanced VoIP system that supports hundreds of phones and ...
The recent trends like cloud computing, social, mobile and Internet of Things are forcing enterprises to modernize in order to compete in the competitive globalized markets. However, enterprises are approaching newer technologies with a more silo-ed way, gaining only sub optimal benefits. The Modern Enterprise model is presented as a newer way to think of enterprise IT, which takes a more holistic approach to embracing modern technologies.
DevOps Summit, taking place Nov 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 17th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The widespread success of cloud computing is driving the DevOps revolution in enterprise IT. Now as never before, development teams must communicate and collaborate in a dynamic, 24/7/365 environment. There is no time to wait for long developmen...
Security can create serious friction for DevOps processes. We've come up with an approach to alleviate the friction and provide security value to DevOps teams. In her session at DevOps Summit, Shannon Lietz, Senior Manager of DevSecOps at Intuit, will discuss how DevSecOps got started and how it has evolved. Shannon Lietz has over two decades of experience pursuing next generation security solutions. She is currently the DevSecOps Leader for Intuit where she is responsible for setting and driv...
Since 2008 and for the first time in history, more than half of humans live in urban areas, urging cities to become “smart.” Today, cities can leverage the wide availability of smartphones combined with new technologies such as Beacons or NFC to connect their urban furniture and environment to create citizen-first services that improve transportation, way-finding and information delivery. In her session at @ThingsExpo, Laetitia Gazel-Anthoine, CEO of Connecthings, will focus on successful use c...
Software-driven innovation is becoming a primary approach to how businesses create and deliver new value to customers. A survey of 400 business and IT executives by the IBM Institute for Business Value showed businesses that are more effective at software delivery are also more profitable than their peers nearly 70 percent of the time (1). DevOps provides a way for businesses to remain competitive, applying lean and agile principles to software development to speed the delivery of software that ...
“Oh, dev is dev and ops is ops, and never the twain shall meet.” With apoloies to Rudyard Kipling and all of his fans, this describes the early state of the two sides of DevOps. Yet the DevOps approach is demanded by cloud computing, as the speed, flexibility, and scalability in today's so-called “Third Platform” must not be hindered by the traditional limitations of software development and deployment. A recent report by Gartner, for example, says that 25% of Global 2000 companies will b...
Big Data is amazing, it's life changing and yes it is changing how we see our world. Big Data, however, can sometimes be too big. Organizations that are not amassing massive amounts of information and feeding into their decision buckets, smaller data that feeds in from customer buying patterns, buying decisions and buying influences can be more useful when used in the right way. In their session at Big Data Expo, Ermanno Bonifazi, CEO & Founder of Solgenia, and Ian Khan, Global Strategic Positi...
JFrog on Thursday announced that it has added Docker support to Bintray, its distribution-as-a-service (DaaS) platform. When combined with JFrog’s Artifactory binary repository management system, organizations can now manage Docker images with an end-to-end solution that supports all technologies. The new version of Bintray allows organizations to create an unlimited number of private Docker repositories, and through the use of fast Akamai content delivery networks (CDNs), it decreases the dow...
More organizations are embracing DevOps to realize compelling business benefits such as more frequent feature releases, increased application stability, and more productive resource utilization. However, security and compliance monitoring tools have not kept up and often represent the single largest remaining hurdle to continuous delivery. In their session at DevOps Summit, Justin Criswell, Senior Sales Engineer at Alert Logic, Ricardo Lupo, a Solution Architect with Chef, will discuss how to ...
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....
17th Cloud Expo, taking place Nov 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, 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 strategy. Meanwhile, 94% of enterprises a...
Thanks to Docker, it becomes very easy to leverage containers to build, ship, and run any Linux application on any kind of infrastructure. Docker is particularly helpful for microservice architectures because their successful implementation relies on a fast, efficient deployment mechanism – which is precisely one of the features of Docker. Microservice architectures are therefore becoming more popular, and are increasingly seen as an interesting option even for smaller projects, instead of bein...
The truth is, today’s databases are anything but agile – they are effectively static repositories that are cumbersome to work with, difficult to change, and cannot keep pace with application demands. Performance suffers as a result, and it takes far longer than it should to deliver new features and capabilities needed to make your organization competitive. As your application and business needs change, data repositories and structures get outmoded rapidly, resulting in increased work for applica...
The Workspace-as-a-Service (WaaS) market will grow to $6.4B by 2018. In his session at 16th Cloud Expo, Seth Bostock, CEO of IndependenceIT, will begin by walking the audience through the evolution of Workspace as-a-Service, where it is now vs. where it going. To look beyond the desktop we must understand exactly what WaaS is, who the users are, and where it is going in the future. IT departments, ISVs and service providers must look to workflow and automation capabilities to adapt to growing ...