Welcome!

Websphere Authors: Pat Romanski, Elizabeth White, Trevor Parsons, Carmen Gonzalez, Liz McMillan

Related Topics: Cloud Expo

Cloud Expo: 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
The industrial software market has treated data with the mentality of “collect everything now, worry about how to use it later.” We now find ourselves buried in data, with the pervasive connectivity of the (Industrial) Internet of Things only piling on more numbers. There’s too much data and not enough information. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Bob Gates, Global Marketing Director, GE’s Intelligent Platforms business, to discuss how realizing the power of IoT, software developers are now focused on understanding how industrial data can create intelligence for industrial operations. Imagine ...
Things are being built upon cloud foundations to transform organizations. This CEO Power Panel at 15th Cloud Expo, moderated by Roger Strukhoff, Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo conference chair, addressed the big issues involving these technologies and, more important, the results they will achieve. Rodney Rogers, chairman and CEO of Virtustream; Brendan O'Brien, co-founder of Aria Systems, Bart Copeland, president and CEO of ActiveState Software; Jim Cowie, chief scientist at Dyn; Dave Wagstaff, VP and chief architect at BSQUARE Corporation; Seth Proctor, CTO of NuoDB, Inc.; and Andris Gailitis, C...
Today’s enterprise is being driven by disruptive competitive and human capital requirements to provide enterprise application access through not only desktops, but also mobile devices. To retrofit existing programs across all these devices using traditional programming methods is very costly and time consuming – often prohibitively so. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jesse Shiah, CEO, President, and Co-Founder of AgilePoint Inc., discussed how you can create applications that run on all mobile devices as well as laptops and desktops using a visual drag-and-drop application – and eForms-buildi...
The Internet of Things is tied together with a thin strand that is known as time. Coincidentally, at the core of nearly all data analytics is a timestamp. When working with time series data there are a few core principles that everyone should consider, especially across datasets where time is the common boundary. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Jim Scott, Director of Enterprise Strategy & Architecture at MapR Technologies, discussed single-value, geo-spatial, and log time series data. By focusing on enterprise applications and the data center, he will use OpenTSDB as an example t...
Cultural, regulatory, environmental, political and economic (CREPE) conditions over the past decade are creating cross-industry solution spaces that require processes and technologies from both the Internet of Things (IoT), and Data Management and Analytics (DMA). These solution spaces are evolving into Sensor Analytics Ecosystems (SAE) that represent significant new opportunities for organizations of all types. Public Utilities throughout the world, providing electricity, natural gas and water, are pursuing SmartGrid initiatives that represent one of the more mature examples of SAE. We have s...
The 3rd International Internet of @ThingsExpo, co-located with the 16th International Cloud Expo - to be held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY - announces that its Call for Papers is now open. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the biggest idea since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago.
SYS-CON Media announced that Splunk, a provider of the leading software platform for real-time Operational Intelligence, has launched an ad campaign on Big Data Journal. Splunk software and cloud services enable organizations to search, monitor, analyze and visualize machine-generated big data coming from websites, applications, servers, networks, sensors and mobile devices. The ads focus on delivering ROI - how improved uptime delivered $6M in annual ROI, improving customer operations by mining large volumes of unstructured data, and how data tracking delivers uptime when it matters most.
The true value of the Internet of Things (IoT) lies not just in the data, but through the services that protect the data, perform the analysis and present findings in a usable way. With many IoT elements rooted in traditional IT components, Big Data and IoT isn’t just a play for enterprise. In fact, the IoT presents SMBs with the prospect of launching entirely new activities and exploring innovative areas. CompTIA research identifies several areas where IoT is expected to have the greatest impact.
There is no doubt that Big Data is here and getting bigger every day. Building a Big Data infrastructure today is no easy task. There are an enormous number of choices for database engines and technologies. To make things even more challenging, requirements are getting more sophisticated, and the standard paradigm of supporting historical analytics queries is often just one facet of what is needed. As Big Data growth continues, organizations are demanding real-time access to data, allowing immediate and actionable interpretation of events as they happen. Another aspect concerns how to deliver ...
The Internet of Things will greatly expand the opportunities for data collection and new business models driven off of that data. In her session at @ThingsExpo, Esmeralda Swartz, CMO of MetraTech, discussed how for this to be effective you not only need to have infrastructure and operational models capable of utilizing this new phenomenon, but increasingly service providers will need to convince a skeptical public to participate. Get ready to show them the money!
Code Halos - aka "digital fingerprints" - are the key organizing principle to understand a) how dumb things become smart and b) how to monetize this dynamic. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Robert Brown, AVP, Center for the Future of Work at Cognizant Technology Solutions, outlined research, analysis and recommendations from his recently published book on this phenomena on the way leading edge organizations like GE and Disney are unlocking the Internet of Things opportunity and what steps your organization should be taking to position itself for the next platform of digital competition.
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.
In their session at @ThingsExpo, Shyam Varan Nath, Principal Architect at GE, and Ibrahim Gokcen, who leads GE's advanced IoT analytics, focused on the Internet of Things / Industrial Internet and how to make it operational for business end-users. Learn about the challenges posed by machine and sensor data and how to marry it with enterprise data. They also discussed the tips and tricks to provide the Industrial Internet as an end-user consumable service using Big Data Analytics and Industrial Cloud.
How do APIs and IoT relate? The answer is not as simple as merely adding an API on top of a dumb device, but rather about understanding the architectural patterns for implementing an IoT fabric. There are typically two or three trends: Exposing the device to a management framework Exposing that management framework to a business centric logic Exposing that business layer and data to end users. This last trend is the IoT stack, which involves a new shift in the separation of what stuff happens, where data lives and where the interface lies. For instance, it's a mix of architectural styles ...
IoT is still a vague buzzword for many people. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Mike Kavis, Vice President & Principal Cloud Architect at Cloud Technology Partners, discussed the business value of IoT that goes far beyond the general public's perception that IoT is all about wearables and home consumer services. He also discussed how IoT is perceived by investors and how venture capitalist access this space. Other topics discussed were barriers to success, what is new, what is old, and what the future may hold. Mike Kavis is Vice President & Principal Cloud Architect at Cloud Technology Pa...
Dale Kim is the Director of Industry Solutions at MapR. His background includes a variety of technical and management roles at information technology companies. While his experience includes work with relational databases, much of his career pertains to non-relational data in the areas of search, content management, and NoSQL, and includes senior roles in technical marketing, sales engineering, and support engineering. Dale holds an MBA from Santa Clara University, and a BA in Computer Science from the University of California, Berkeley.
The Internet of Things (IoT) is rapidly in the process of breaking from its heretofore relatively obscure enterprise applications (such as plant floor control and supply chain management) and going mainstream into the consumer space. More and more creative folks are interconnecting everyday products such as household items, mobile devices, appliances and cars, and unleashing new and imaginative scenarios. We are seeing a lot of excitement around applications in home automation, personal fitness, and in-car entertainment and this excitement will bleed into other areas. On the commercial side, m...
Almost everyone sees the potential of Internet of Things but how can businesses truly unlock that potential. The key will be in the ability to discover business insight in the midst of an ocean of Big Data generated from billions of embedded devices via Systems of Discover. Businesses will also need to ensure that they can sustain that insight by leveraging the cloud for global reach, scale and elasticity.
"People are a lot more knowledgeable about APIs now. There are two types of people who work with APIs - IT people who want to use APIs for something internal and the product managers who want to do something outside APIs for people to connect to them," explained Roberto Medrano, Executive Vice President at SOA Software, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at Cloud Expo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Performance is the intersection of power, agility, control, and choice. If you value performance, and more specifically consistent performance, you need to look beyond simple virtualized compute. Many factors need to be considered to create a truly performant environment. In his General Session at 15th Cloud Expo, Harold Hannon, Sr. Software Architect at SoftLayer, discussed how to take advantage of a multitude of compute options and platform features to make cloud the cornerstone of your online presence.