What Makes a Cloud Elastic?

Posted on: February 2nd, 2016 by Max Valerio No Comments


Two servers in the clouds

The cloud continues to transform communication and collaboration and in 2016 this will only accelerate. 
Google is investing in data centers and related infrastructure at a rapid pace; those investments will surpass $3 billion this year.  NEC is elongating its reach into the cloud with its UNIVERGE BLUE Business Cloud Services enabling enterprise-class availability for cloud business services like voice, messaging, web conferencing and contact centers.  ShoreTel has introduced ShoreTel Connect, an innovative IP telephony and UC platform that enables users to design their communications system in the cloud, as an onsite hardware system, or as a hybrid deployment where some applications are located in the cloud and others are managed onsite.  Certainly the cloud expands flexibility and options.

While creating a kind of simplicity as software becomes a service, the cloud also has created entire new vocabularies in technology.  What is an “elastic cloud”? What is a “bare metal cloud”?    Sounds fairly esoteric…  Or like a new kind of wrestling!  Are there also rubber band clouds, heavy metal clouds, black metal clouds, slingshot clouds?  The possibilities sound quite intriguing…  However, there actually are logical definitions that make the cloud world comprehensible, even to those of us who are mere bloggers and not engineers.

Elasticity is the ability of a cloud to scale dynamically and transparently, changing in response to runtime conditions.  This ability to allocate resources as required enables clouds to be more cost effective and to anticipate conditions and react appropriately. For example a website might normally need only one machine (often a virtual machine) to serve all users but say one day – someone posts a particularly intriguing or controversial comment and suddenly — the site goes viral lighting up the web and overloading that single machine.  In that nanosecond, the cloud’s elastic properties are ignited and ten machines are allocated to take up the load.  Once the flash crowd subsides, the lone machine is again all that is needed and the others are dispersed.

Bare metal clouds are single, dedicated servers that are actual hardware, real machines and not virtual.  Many businesses have combinations of virtual machines and bare metal. Often the virtual machines reside inside the bare metal machines; since virtual machines are actually virtualization software that emulate physical servers (bare metal machines).  Virtual machines are dynamic and more than one can reside on a bare metal machine if necessary.

There’s a lot to this cloud business and thankfully there are also many resources online to help inform us. I found this one very informative and well-organized:

Cloud Computing Patterns

We are also here to help your company find its way through and into the cloud. We can help your business tap the elasticity, convenience, and possible cost savings of the cloud; do contact us to find out more.

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