Duncan Johnston-Watt (North America) - Overcoming Traditional Roadblocks to Scaling Enterprise Applications in the Cloud

The benefits of cloud computing require application services that maximise efficiency. Duncan Johnston-Watt, Founder and CEO of Cloudsoft Corporation, looks at overcoming traditional roadblocks to scaling enterprise applications in cloud computing.

Duncan Johnston-Watt (North America) - Overcoming Traditional Roadblocks to Scaling Enterprise Applications in the Cloud - Get Smart with Intelligent Application Mobility

To realize the full benefits of cloud computing, application services must be built in a way that gives cloud providers the freedom to deploy them in the most efficient manner, while respecting any business constraints. Any technical restrictions that introduce rigidity into the application are sure to impede the cloud provider's ability.

Transactional applications are a particular case in point - the need for transactional integrity imposes complex constraints that impede effective scalability and distribution in the cloud. Removing these impediments necessitates a new approach that revisits what is fundamentally required. Companies must now look at a new set of requirements, including:

1. Finer-grained scalability and distribution

Decomposing an application into coarse-grained services so that services can be individually distributed across multiple machines is a well-established pattern for scaling a transactional application. Effectively the service is the unit-of-scalability.

The number of services into which an application can be decomposed is limited; therefore the scalability achievable in this way is equally limited. However, within a service are a potentially unlimited number of segments, which can, in turn, distribute across multiple machines.

2. Segment mobility

The potential of finer-grained scalability can only be fully realized if segments are mobile, i.e. can be dynamically migrated across multiple resources. Without mobility, the way you initially deploy the segments is the way that they stay deployed.

The importance of mobility is well established at the level of virtual machines. What's needed now is mobility for very fine-grained segments, allowing dynamic configuration.

3. Mobility must not interrupt or degrade service

Continual resource optimization is only feasible if frequent reconfiguration is possible, which requires the ability to move transactional segments around with zero interruption or degradation to service, which means you have to be able to move segments while they are still running and without pausing them.

4. Near-instantaneous mobility

Moving segments is orders-of-magnitude faster than moving entire virtual machines or LPARS - moving even large numbers of segments typically takes milliseconds. You then have the potential to be near-instantly responsive to changes in workload and to precisely match resource usage to rapidly fluctuating workloads.

5. Full mobility over the wide area network

Segment-level mobility makes it very fast to relocate some or all of your applications across geographies and clouds. Coupled with zero interruption or service degradation, global resource optimization and precise scalability of transactional applications becomes possible.

6. Automatic governance and control

These capabilities create the potential for transactional applications to fully exploit the benefits of cloud computing via highly mobile application segments that can dynamically and continuously reconfigure themselves in response to changing workloads, resource availability, user demand, performance criteria and costs.

With so many factors in play, it is only possible to transform the potential benefits into reality by fully automating capability management.

Using a policy-based framework to automate the dynamic application management is essential to drive down management costs, increase the elasticity benefits of cloud computing and ensure enforcement of good governance. A policy framework that is geo-location aware can ensure compliance with industry-specific regulations even as data and processes dynamically move around a cloud.

The Solution: Intelligent Application Mobility

In order to liberate transactional applications from the constraints of traditional scaling and distribution, a new approach is needed - one that is based on the high-speed mobility of very fine-grained application components, which are automatically managed in real-time by user- defined policies that ensure continual optimisation and compliance. Collectively, these capabilities are referred to as intelligent application mobility.

Intelligent application mobility is essential if we're to make the full elasticity and cost-model benefits of cloud computing available to transactional applications.

By Duncan Johnston-Watt, Founder and CEO, Cloudsoft Corporation, North America, Cloudsoft Corporation