Building scalable cloud applications
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"...resources that are ready to scale up to handle the processing provide a greater level of service to the end-user such that when needed, the resources for the application can be made available instantaneously without interference to the user."
In a production or a local intranet environment, most applications can be deployed directly to a server, virtual machine, or to container management systems like Docker swarm to improve the overall performance of the application. However, each method has its benefits and drawbacks which we will cover below.
The perceived performance can be improved by distributing an application across multiple machines that provides redundancy in the event of failure, or if there is a sudden surge in demand it allows resources to handle the extra “need” placed on the system.
Additionally, resources that are ready to scale up to handle the processing provide a greater level of service to the end-user such that when needed, the resources for the application can be made available instantaneously without interference to the user. This, in turn, creates robust applications that can handle tens of thousands of users without the slightest shrug or increase in load times with increases in demand, as the resources can be provided according to the needs of the system.
Keep in mind: when there are data silos and applications residing on just one physical server, or in one location, it is not just a data bottleneck, it is a recipe for disaster!
Many companies use the cloud to allow connectivity to their internal applications and processes to external users throughout the world. To handle the needs of a diverse demand across geographically disparate areas, a distributed model is the way to go, as perhaps evidence by the use of these technologies by large companies with hundreds of thousands of users.
These are just some basic questions to consider, and more importantly, what is the impact on the customer during each of these steps as the possibility of irrecoverable data may exist:
Containers as a +flex option
Docker Containers or virsh machines
Using Docker containers aids in reducing the undesirable effects of a failure. The same applies to Virtual Machines too. However, the primary difference between a virtual machine and a docker container is that a container uses very little overhead because it is essentially a chroot, whilst a virtual machine running in virsh has far more resources available to it as if it is its own physical machine. Additionally, a container can be managed by a container management system like a docker swarm which enables new containers to be spawned as needed to handle an influx in demand.
Containers help to fill the gap where the eventual need to reproduce the software to another machine with little time and resources in deploying the software and other resources. By planning ahead, building a containerization model helps to build reliability and serviceability into the application especially during peak load, because the containers are able to scale according to the demand required.
Fortunately, Docker containers add an additional layer of abstraction, which aids not only data security but also aids in distributing the underlying resources as needed to scale efficiently.
Scaling and managing resources
With containers, new resources can be added and replaced when needed using Docker Swarm, Kubernetes, or other container management systems without the overhead configuring the corresponding software configurations from scratch like with virtual machines and raw hardware for example. In general, containers are often viewed as a key to reducing costs in due to the way resources can be scaled according to needs, and simplified deployment process.
A properly managed resource pool is critical to the success of any cloud application. Extra consideration needs to be made for data that needs to be accessed faster. This can be for example image or database files, where users almost expect a near-instantaneous loading of historic data points and records.
Ultimately, the availability of the system will rest not only on internal resources like docker containers, but in the entire system. To setup an appointment to discuss your needs please give us a call.
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