Welcome!

AJAX & REA Authors: Rajesh Lain, Sebastian Kruk, RealWire News Distribution, Harald Zeitlhofer

Related Topics: Cloud Expo, SOA & WOA, .NET, Virtualization, AJAX & REA, Apache

Cloud Expo: 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.

lb-scale-vs-fail

SCALE versus 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".

SCALE and FAIL are NOT INTERCHANGEABLE

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.

Cloud Expo Latest Stories
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.
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.
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.
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.
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