Welcome!

IBM Cloud Authors: Reinhard Brandstädter, Liz McMillan, Elizabeth White, Yeshim Deniz, Dana Gardner

Related Topics: @CloudExpo

@CloudExpo: Blog Feed Post

A Formula for Just in Time Provisioning in the Cloud

Traditional Architectures and Deployment Models is Superior to Cloud Computing in Provisioning

imageOne of the ways in which traditional architectures and deployment models is actually superior (yes, I said superior) to cloud computing is in provisioning.  Before you label me a cloud heretic, let me explain. In traditional deployment models capacity is generally allocated based on anticipated peaks in demand. Because the time to acquire, deploy, and integrate hardware into the network and application infrastructure this process is planned for and well-understood, and the resources required are in place before they are needed. In cloud computing, the benefit is that the time required to acquire those resources is contracted to virtually nothing, making capacity planning much more difficult. The goal is just-in-time provisioning – resources are not provisioned until you are sure you’re going to need them because part of the value proposition of cloud and highly virtualized infrastructure is that you don’t pay for resources until you need them. But it’s very hard to provision just-in-time and sometimes the result will end up being almost-but-not-quite-in-time. Here’s a cute [whale | squirrel | furry animal] to look at until service is restored.

While fans of Twitter’s fail whale are loyal and everyone will likely agree its inception and subsequent use bought Twitter more than a bit of patience with its often times unreliable service, not everyone will be as lucky or have customers as understanding as Twitter. We’d all really rather prefer not to see the Fail Whale, regardless of how endearing he (she? it?) might be.

But we also don’t want to overprovision and potentially end up spending more money than we need to. So how can these two needs be balanced?


THE VARIABLES

The first thing we need to do is know, in a given cloud, how long it will take to provision capacity and put it into the rotation. It would be nice if cloud providers offered a service devops could query to get the “current wait time” (a la customer service queues) but until then this timing will certainly need to be obtained by simply keeping track yourself.

The other “constant” (if there is such a thing in a elastic environment) is the capacity of the instances you are using. We’ll consider this a constant at this point because honestly, we’re not ready to move to the higher levels of enlightenment (and programmability) required to dynamically determine this value – though that will most certainly be the subject of a future, future post. Capacity needs to be in units measurable by the solution aggregating requests (a strategic point of control). This is almost certainly a Load balancer or application delivery controller of some kind, as these components are what enable elastic scalability and basically make cloud work. Typical units might be RPS (requests per second) but because of differences in the way different types of requests consume resources it may be easier and more consistent across applications to use connections, as in “concurrent open connections” as it is one of the limiting factors on capacity of application services.

The other two variables we need are only available at run-time, dynamically. You need to know the existing load – in the same units as capacity – and the current resource consumption rate. The resource consumption rate should be in the same units as capacity and in the same time unit as time to provision. If that’s minutes, use minutes. If that’s seconds, use seconds, and so on. It should be noted that the resource consumption rate is the harder of the two to obtain, requiring access to the historical performance statistics of the aggregating component (the load balancer).

But let’s assume you can and do have all these variables. How is that useful?


THE FORMULA

image

The formula is actually a fairly simple one once you’ve got the variables. You’re trying to figure out how much time you have before capacity is depleted (and hoping that the answer is smaller than the time to provision). Just-in-time provisioning, as the term implies, is an attempt to formulaically determine when to start the provisioning process such that capacity always meets demand without over-provisioning. Now, you’re always hedging your bets that a high resource consumption rate will continue in the next “time to provision”. It may be the case that the “spike” is over before the new instance is provisioned, but in this case you’re better safe than sorry, right? Unless your customers like seeing a [whale | squirrel | furry animal] and don’t mind the wait.

Consider the following example:

Total capacity right now is 1000 connections. The existing load is 800 connections. Connections are currently being consumed at a rate of 200 per minute. Provisioning more capacity takes 5 minutes. 1000image – 800 = 200 / 200 per minute = 1 minute of capacity left.

Provisioning should have begun at least 4 minutes ago, and optimally 9 minutes ago (too many years developing software for me – fudge factor included) to ensure capacity was available. In this situation, someone is getting a picture of a [whale | squirrel | furry animal].

The trick for devops is to tune the threshold at which the provisioning process begins. Too soon and you might be wasting resources (and money), too late and you end up with timeouts and angry users. Devops needs a way to programmatically evaluate the results and decide, based on the application (it may be more sensitive to failure than others) and the business significance of the transaction (purchase processes may need more warning than search or general browsing), when it is appropriate to start provisioning in such a way as to ensure availability without incurring a lot of cost overhead.


DYNAMIC INFRASTRUCTURE can ENABLE THIS TODAY

Now I’m sure this sounds like something out of science fiction, but it’s not. The variables can be obtained, if not easily, and the formula can easily be codified into scripts or management applications that enable this entire process to be automated. At a minimum, it should be possible for any skilled devop (developer or operations focused) to create a script/application/widget/gadget that gathers the data required and displays an alert when it’s time to provision – I suggest a nice HTML interface that encloses the entire page in BLINK tags, because nothing says FIX THIS NOW than BLINKING TEXT, right?

Regardless of how it’s actually to put to use, just-in-time provisioning is the goal of agile operations. How that happens is by leveraging cloud computing and highly virtualized data centers and combining that flexibility with the agility of a dynamic infrastructure. Remember, Infrastructure 2.0 isn’t just about configuration through automation. That’s nice, but it’s not the whole enchilada. It’s also about dynamism and flexibility at run-time, in providing actionable data and capabilities that allow elastic scalability to be truly elastic.

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.

@ThingsExpo Stories
SYS-CON Events announced today that EastBanc Technologies will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. EastBanc Technologies has been working at the frontier of technology since 1999. Today, the firm provides full-lifecycle software development delivering flexible technology solutions that seamlessly integrate with existing systems – whether on premise or cloud. EastBanc Technologies partners with p...
SYS-CON Events announced today that BMC Software has been named "Siver Sponsor" of SYS-CON's 18th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7-9, 2015 at the Javits Center in New York, New York. BMC is a global leader in innovative software solutions that help businesses transform into digital enterprises for the ultimate competitive advantage. BMC Digital Enterprise Management is a set of innovative IT solutions designed to make digital business fast, seamless, and optimized from mainframe to mo...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Tintri Inc., a leading producer of VM-aware storage (VAS) for virtualization and cloud environments, will exhibit at the 18th International CloudExpo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, New York, and the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
SYS-CON Events announced today that MangoApps will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. MangoApps provides modern company intranets and team collaboration software, allowing workers to stay connected and productive from anywhere in the world and from any device. For more information, please visit https://www.mangoapps.com/.
The IoTs will challenge the status quo of how IT and development organizations operate. Or will it? Certainly the fog layer of IoT requires special insights about data ontology, security and transactional integrity. But the developmental challenges are the same: People, Process and Platform. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Craig Sproule, CEO of Metavine, will demonstrate how to move beyond today's coding paradigm and share the must-have mindsets for removing complexity from the development proc...
The IoT is changing the way enterprises conduct business. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Eric Hoffman, Vice President at EastBanc Technologies, discuss how businesses can gain an edge over competitors by empowering consumers to take control through IoT. We'll cite examples such as a Washington, D.C.-based sports club that leveraged IoT and the cloud to develop a comprehensive booking system. He'll also highlight how IoT can revitalize and restore outdated business models, making them profitable...
In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Bruce Swann, Senior Product Marketing Manager at Adobe, will discuss 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). Bruce Swann has more than 15 years of experience working with digital marketing disciplines like web analytics, social med...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Commvault, a global leader in enterprise data protection and information management, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7–9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Commvault is a leading provider of data protection and information management...
Companies can harness IoT and predictive analytics to sustain business continuity; predict and manage site performance during emergencies; minimize expensive reactive maintenance; and forecast equipment and maintenance budgets and expenditures. Providing cost-effective, uninterrupted service is challenging, particularly for organizations with geographically dispersed operations.
Customer experience has become a competitive differentiator for companies, and it’s imperative that brands seamlessly connect the customer journey across all platforms. With the continued explosion of IoT, join us for a look at how to build a winning digital foundation in the connected era – today and in the future. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Chris Nguyen, Group Product Marketing Manager at Adobe, will discuss how to successfully leverage mobile, rapidly deploy content, capture real-time d...
SYS-CON Events announced today that ContentMX, the marketing technology and services company with a singular mission to increase engagement and drive more conversations for enterprise, channel and SMB technology marketers, has been named “Sponsor & Exhibitor Lounge Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, New York. “CloudExpo is a great opportunity to start a conversation with new prospects, but what happens after the...
SoftLayer operates a global cloud infrastructure platform built for Internet scale. With a global footprint of data centers and network points of presence, SoftLayer provides infrastructure as a service to leading-edge customers ranging from Web startups to global enterprises. SoftLayer's modular architecture, full-featured API, and sophisticated automation provide unparalleled performance and control. Its flexible unified platform seamlessly spans physical and virtual devices linked via a world...
IoT generates lots of temporal data. But how do you unlock its value? How do you coordinate the diverse moving parts that must come together when developing your IoT product? What are the key challenges addressed by Data as a Service? How does cloud computing underlie and connect the notions of Digital and DevOps What is the impact of the API economy? What is the business imperative for Cognitive Computing? Get all these questions and hundreds more like them answered at the 18th Cloud Expo...
SYS-CON Events announced today Object Management Group® has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7–9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
What a difference a year makes. Organizations aren’t just talking about IoT possibilities, it is now baked into their core business strategy. With IoT, billions of devices generating data from different companies on different networks around the globe need to interact. From efficiency to better customer insights to completely new business models, IoT will turn traditional business models upside down. In the new customer-centric age, the key to success is delivering critical services and apps wit...
Join us at Cloud Expo | @ThingsExpo 2016 – June 7-9 at the Javits Center in New York City and November 1-3 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA – and deliver your unique message in a way that is striking and unforgettable by taking advantage of SYS-CON's unmatched high-impact, result-driven event / media packages.
In his keynote at 18th Cloud Expo, Andrew Keys, Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise, will provide an overview of the evolution of the Internet and the Database and the future of their combination – the Blockchain. Andrew Keys is Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise. He comes to ConsenSys Enterprise with capital markets, technology and entrepreneurial experience. Previously, he worked for UBS investment bank in equities analysis. Later, he was responsible for the creation and distribution of life ...
As cloud and storage projections continue to rise, the number of organizations moving to the cloud is escalating and it is clear cloud storage is here to stay. However, is it secure? Data is the lifeblood for government entities, countries, cloud service providers and enterprises alike and losing or exposing that data can have disastrous results. There are new concepts for data storage on the horizon that will deliver secure solutions for storing and moving sensitive data around the world. ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that MobiDev will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. MobiDev is a software company that develops and delivers turn-key mobile apps, websites, web services, and complex software systems for startups and enterprises. Since 2009 it has grown from a small group of passionate engineers and business managers to a full-scale mobile software company with over 200 develope...
WebRTC is bringing significant change to the communications landscape that will bridge the worlds of web and telephony, making the Internet the new standard for communications. Cloud9 took the road less traveled and used WebRTC to create a downloadable enterprise-grade communications platform that is changing the communication dynamic in the financial sector. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Leo Papadopoulos, CTO of Cloud9, will discuss the importance of WebRTC and how it enables companies to fo...