Click here to close now.


IoT User Interface Authors: Mehdi Daoudi, Jason Bloomberg, David H Deans, Liz McMillan, Trevor Parsons

Related Topics: @CloudExpo, Microservices Expo, Microsoft Cloud, Containers Expo Blog, IoT User Interface, Apache

@CloudExpo: Blog Feed Post

Load Balancing 101: Scale versus Fail

Elasticity is a design pattern for scalability, not necessarily failability.

One of the phrases you hear associated with cloud computing is "architecting for failure." Rather than build in a lot of hardware-level redundancy – power, disk, network, etc… – the idea is that you expect it to fail and can simply replace the application (which is what you care about anyway, right?) with a clone running on the same cheap hardware somewhere else in the data center.

Awesome idea, right?

But when it comes down to it, cloud computing environments are architected for scale, not fail.



Most enterprise-class data centers have been architected with failure in mind; we call these high-availability (HA) architectures. The goal is to ensure that if any element in the data path fails that another can almost immediately take its place. Within a hardware platform, this implies dual power supplies, a high RAID level, and lights-out management. At the network and higher level, this requires redundant network elements – from load balancers to switches to routers to firewalls to servers, all elements must be duplicated to ensure a (near) immediate failover in the event of a failure. This generally requires configurations and support for floating (shared) IP addresses across redundant elements, allowing for immediate redirection upon detection of a failure upstream.

At the application/server tier, the shared address concept is still applied but it is done so at the load balancing layer, where VIP (virtual IP addresses) act as a virtual instance of the application. A primary node (server) is designated that is active with a secondary being designated as the "backup" instance which remains idle in "standby" mode*.

If the primary instance fails – whether due to hardware or software or network failure – the secondary immediately becomes active, and continuity of service is assured by virtue of the fact that existing sessions are managed by the load balancing service, not the server. In the event a network element fails, continuity (high-availability) is achieved due to the mirroring (replication) of those same sessions between the active (primary) and standby (secondary) elements. inoneminute1

Is it perfect? No, but it does provide sub-second response to failure, which means very high levels of availability (or as I like to call it, failability).

That's architected for "FAIL".

Now, most cloud computing environments are architected not with failure in mind but with scale in mind – that is, they are designed to enable elasticity (scale out, scale in) that is, in part, based on the ability to rapidly provision the resources required.

A load balancing instance is required and it works in much the same way as a high-availability architecture (minus the redundancy). The load balancing service acts as the virtual application, with at least one instance behind it. As demand increases, new instances are provisioned and added to the service to ensure that performance and availability are not adversely impacted. When this process is also capable of scaling back in by automatically eliminating instances when demand contracts it's called "elasticity".

If the only instance available fails, this architecture is not going to provide high availability of the application because it takes time to launch an instance to replace it. Even if there are ten active instances and one fails, performance and/or availability for some clients may be impacted because, as noted already, it takes time to launch an instance to replace it.

Similarly, if an upstream element fails, such as the load balancing service, availability may be adversely impacted – because it takes time to replace it.

But when considering how well the system responds to changes in demand for resources, it works well. That's scalability.

That's architected for "SCALE".


These two are not interchangeable, they cannot be conflated with the expectation that either architecture is able to meet both goals equally well. They are designed to resolve two different problems.

The two can be combined to achieve a scalable, high-availability architecture where redundancy is used to assure availability while elasticity is leveraged to realize scale while reducing the time to provision and investment costs by implementing a virtual, flexible resource model.

It's important to understand the difference in these architectures especially when looking to public cloud as an option because they are primarily designed to enable scalability, not failability. If you absolutely need failability, you'll need to do some legwork of your own (scripts or manual intervention – perhaps both) to ensure a more seamless failover in the event of failure or specifically seek out cloud providers that recognize the inherent differences between the two architectures and support either the one you need, or both.

Relying on an elastic architecture to provide high-availability – or vice-versa – is likely to end poorly.

Downtime cost source: IT Downtime Costs $26.5 Billion In Lost Revenue

Read the original blog entry...

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
The revocation of Safe Harbor has radically affected data sovereignty strategy in the cloud. In his session at 17th Cloud Expo, Jeff Miller, Product Management at Cavirin Systems, discussed how to assess these changes across your own cloud strategy, and how you can mitigate risks previously covered under the agreement.
In his General Session at DevOps Summit, Asaf Yigal, Co-Founder & VP of Product at, explored the value of Kibana 4 for log analysis and provided a hands-on tutorial on how to set up Kibana 4 and get the most out of Apache log files. He examined three use cases: IT operations, business intelligence, and security and compliance. Asaf Yigal is co-founder and VP of Product at log analytics software company In the past, he was co-founder of social-trading platform Currensee, which...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Catchpoint, a global leader in monitoring, and testing the performance of online applications, has been named "Silver Sponsor" of DevOps Summit New York, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016 at the Javits Center in New York City. Catchpoint radically transforms the way businesses manage, monitor, and test the performance of online applications. Truly understand and improve user experience with clear visibility into complex, distributed online systems.Founde...
Today air travel is a minefield of delays, hassles and customer disappointment. Airlines struggle to revitalize the experience. GE and M2Mi will demonstrate practical examples of how IoT solutions are helping airlines bring back personalization, reduce trip time and improve reliability. In their session at @ThingsExpo, Shyam Varan Nath, Principal Architect with GE, and Dr. Sarah Cooper, M2Mi’s VP Business Development and Engineering, explored the IoT cloud-based platform technologies driving t...
"eFolder does a lot of different things but we protect data and we are focused on protecting data no matter where it resides," explained Carlo Tapia, Product Marketing Manager at eFolder, in this interview at Cloud Expo, held November 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
The Internet of Things (IoT) is growing rapidly by extending current technologies, products and networks. By 2020, Cisco estimates there will be 50 billion connected devices. Gartner has forecast revenues of over $300 billion, just to IoT suppliers. Now is the time to figure out how you’ll make money – not just create innovative products. With hundreds of new products and companies jumping into the IoT fray every month, there’s no shortage of innovation. Despite this, McKinsey/VisionMobile data...
Cloud computing is unquestionably one of the driving forces of DevOps, as the automation of operations transforms enterprise software development. DevOps, however, is more than a technology trend, as it represents a move toward silo-busting, self-organizing horizontal teams that drive business velocity. At the same time, enterprise Digital Transformation represents an upheaval across the enterprise, as customer preferences and behavior drive enterprise technology decisions. This transformation ...
Just over a week ago I received a long and loud sustained applause for a presentation I delivered at this year’s Cloud Expo in Santa Clara. I was extremely pleased with the turnout and had some very good conversations with many of the attendees. Over the next few days I had many more meaningful conversations and was not only happy with the results but also learned a few new things. Here is everything I learned in those three days distilled into three short points.
Most of the IoT Gateway scenarios involve collecting data from machines/processing and pushing data upstream to cloud for further analytics. The gateway hardware varies from Raspberry Pi to Industrial PCs. The document states the process of allowing deploying polyglot data pipelining software with the clear notion of supporting immutability. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Shashank Jain, a development architect for SAP Labs, discussed the objective, which is to automate the IoT deployment proces...
DevOps is about increasing efficiency, but nothing is more inefficient than building the same application twice. However, this is a routine occurrence with enterprise applications that need both a rich desktop web interface and strong mobile support. With recent technological advances from Isomorphic Software and others, rich desktop and tuned mobile experiences can now be created with a single codebase – without compromising functionality, performance or usability. In his session at DevOps Su...
In demand-intensive mobile and web applications, an emerging pattern is to host the Systems of Engagement in the cloud (for maximum responsiveness) but keep the Systems of Record with the other important business systems in the company datacenter, often on a tightly secured mainframe. But what about the space in between? In this IBM Redpaper publication, we show that the IBM Bluemix cloud platform offers technologies that make it easy for cloud-based SoEs to securely connect to on-premises IBM...
As organizations realize the scope of the Internet of Things, gaining key insights from Big Data, through the use of advanced analytics, becomes crucial. However, IoT also creates the need for petabyte scale storage of data from millions of devices. A new type of Storage is required which seamlessly integrates robust data analytics with massive scale. These storage systems will act as “smart systems” provide in-place analytics that speed discovery and enable businesses to quickly derive meaningf...
In his keynote at @ThingsExpo, Chris Matthieu, Director of IoT Engineering at Citrix and co-founder and CTO of Octoblu, focused on building an IoT platform and company. He provided a behind-the-scenes look at Octoblu’s platform, business, and pivots along the way (including the Citrix acquisition of Octoblu).
In his General Session at 17th Cloud Expo, Bruce Swann, Senior Product Marketing Manager for Adobe Campaign, explored the key ingredients of cross-channel marketing in a digital world. Learn how the Adobe Marketing Cloud can help marketers embrace opportunities for personalized, relevant and real-time customer engagement across offline (direct mail, point of sale, call center) and digital (email, website, SMS, mobile apps, social networks, connected objects).
The buzz continues for cloud, data analytics and the Internet of Things (IoT) and their collective impact across all industries. But a new conversation is emerging - how do companies use industry disruption and technology enablers to lead in markets undergoing change, uncertainty and ambiguity? Organizations of all sizes need to evolve and transform, often under massive pressure, as industry lines blur and merge and traditional business models are assaulted and turned upside down. In this new da...
With all the incredible momentum behind the Internet of Things (IoT) industry, it is easy to forget that not a single CEO wakes up and wonders if “my IoT is broken.” What they wonder is if they are making the right decisions to do all they can to increase revenue, decrease costs, and improve customer experience – effectively the same challenges they have always had in growing their business. The exciting thing about the IoT industry is now these decisions can be better, faster, and smarter. Now ...
In recent years, at least 40% of companies using cloud applications have experienced data loss. One of the best prevention against cloud data loss is backing up your cloud data. In his General Session at 17th Cloud Expo, Sam McIntyre, Partner Enablement Specialist at eFolder, presented how organizations can use eFolder Cloudfinder to automate backups of cloud application data. He also demonstrated how easy it is to search and restore cloud application data using Cloudfinder.
The Internet of Everything is re-shaping technology trends–moving away from “request/response” architecture to an “always-on” Streaming Web where data is in constant motion and secure, reliable communication is an absolute necessity. As more and more THINGS go online, the challenges that developers will need to address will only increase exponentially. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Todd Greene, Founder & CEO of PubNub, exploreed the current state of IoT connectivity and review key trends and t...
Actifio is powering new application development and testing services from Net3 Technologies (N3T), a managed cloud services provider. N3T's new Symmetry DevOps™ service builds on its existing Palmetto Virtual Data Center (PvDC) Cloud services for data backup and disaster recovery (DR) based on the Actifio Copy Data Virtualization platform. Previously, N3T's data protection and DR services were challenged by overlapping and inefficient legacy hardware and software platforms from multiple vendo...
Countless business models have spawned from the IaaS industry – resell Web hosting, blogs, public cloud, and on and on. With the overwhelming amount of tools available to us, it's sometimes easy to overlook that many of them are just new skins of resources we've had for a long time. In his general session at 17th Cloud Expo, Harold Hannon, Sr. Software Architect at SoftLayer, an IBM Company, broke down what we have to work with, discussed the benefits and pitfalls and how we can best use them ...