In the context of the cloud, scalability directs to the ability to scale up or down IT resources in response to changing demand. Scalability is one of the cloud’s defining characteristics and a primary reason for the cloud’s meteoric rise in popularity among businesses.
Scalability of data storage, processing power, and networking can all be accomplished using existing cloud computing infrastructure. Even better, scaling can be performed quickly and easily, with little to no downtime or disruption. Third-party cloud providers already have all of the infrastructures in place; scaling with the on-premises physical infrastructure used to take weeks or months and was extremely expensive.
Why is cloud scalable?
Virtualization enables a scalable cloud architecture. Unlike physical machines, which have relatively fixed resources and performance, virtual machines (VMs) are highly elastic and can be easily mounted up or down. They can be moved to another server or hosted on multiple servers simultaneously; workloads and applications can be migrated to larger virtual machines.
Additionally, third-party cloud providers have all the massive hardware and software resources to enable rapid scaling that an individual business could not afford on its own.
Cloud elasticity versus cloud scalability
Cloud services can be elastic and scalable. Cloud scalability and elasticity are not synonymous.
Flexibility refers to a system’s ability to adapt to changing workload demands, such as a sudden spike in web traffic. A flexible system adjusts in real-time to match resources to demand. A company with fluctuating workloads may seek a flexible solution in the public cloud.
As stated previously, scalability refers to a system’s ability to handle more work with less hardware. A scalable solution allows for planned long-term growth, while a flexible solution addresses more immediate, variable demand. Elasticity and scalability in cloud computing depend on whether your business has predictable or highly variable workloads.
Benefits of cloud scalability
Significant cloud scalability benefits are propelling cloud adoption for both large and small businesses:
With only a few clicks, IT administrators can easily add additional VMs immediately available—and customized to an organization’s specific needs. This saves IT staff valuable time. Rather than spending hours and days configuring physical hardware, teams can devote their time to other tasks.
Flexibility and speed:
As business requirements evolve and change — including unexpected spikes in demand — cloud scalability enables IT to respond quickly. Even small businesses now have access to high-powered resources that were previously prohibitively expensive. Companies are no longer constrained by obsolete equipment; they can easily update systems and increase power and storage.
Due to cloud scalability, businesses can bypass the upfront costs of purchasing expensive equipment that will become obsolete in a few years. They pay for only what they utilize and eliminate waste by using cloud providers.
Scalable cloud computing enables you to significantly reduce disaster recovery costs by obviating the need for secondary data centers.
How do you determine the optimal scalability of your cloud?
Business requirements or demand changes frequently necessitate scalable cloud changes. But how considerably storage, memory, and processing power do you require? Scale up or down?
Ongoing performance testing is required to determine solution sizing. IT managers must constantly monitor response time, request volume, CPU load, and memory usage. This test also checks how well a program can scale up or down based on user demand.
Automation can improve cloud scalability. You can set usage thresholds that automatically scale to maintain performance. Consider using a third-party configuration management service or tool to manage your scaling requirements.
CEO and Founder of Mabotse Makofane (Pty) Ltd. Jacob is an avid reader of both business and historical political books. In his spare time he enjoy plays golf and going the picnic with his family for a relaxing afternoon of fresh air and braai meat.