Exploding The Myths Of “Cloud Bursting”: How To Burst Into The Cloud With Success

By Christoph Dietzel, Global Head of Products & Research, DE-CIX.

  • 5 months ago Posted in

Does your organization need flexible resource scaling for peak loads without exploding its budget? Perhaps your organization already has excellent on-prem infrastructure, so moving everything onto the cloud doesn’t quite make sense. Cloud Bursting may be the solution you and your team have been waiting for. Careful network capacity planning is needed for the dynamic scaling of IT resources from on-prem servers to the public cloud for temporary peaks. Cloud Bursting achieves this, but for more organizations to buy into Cloud Bursting, myths such as high latency, a lack of interoperability, and crippling cloud egress costs need busting.


While operating only in the cloud offers seamless and seemingly infinite scalability, maintaining critical data and workloads on-premises or in a private cloud remains the preferred option for many companies regarding security and compliance. High investment costs and long amortization periods for on-premises hardware and infrastructure have resulted in hybrid set-ups where non-critical data and workloads are farmed off to the cloud to free up internal capacity for critical tasks. However, such piecemeal hybrid scenarios do not offer a solution for when more capacity is suddenly needed on-premises or in the private cloud. A surge in demand on the company website due to a marketing campaign, for example, or doing big data analytics with internally stored data, will either be throttled by a lack of internal capacity, or it will need to burst its banks.


The answer is Cloud Bursting – the dynamic scaling (or “bursting”) of IT resources from on-premises to the cloud for temporary peaks in data traffic or compute needs.


What is Cloud Bursting?

Cloud Bursting differentiates itself from standard hybrid scenarios in several essential ways. First, it will only function effectively with careful planning of network capacities. Second, it entails several challenges that need to be overcome relating to latency, interoperability, and cloud egress costs. These challenges, taken at face value, turn many businesses off the idea of Cloud Bursting. However, the idea that these challenges are insurmountable or somehow outweigh the myriad benefits of Cloud Bursting is mythical.


Properly implemented as an on-demand practice, Cloud Bursting will pay dividends through significant cost reductions because you only need to pay for the additional resources that your organization uses at peak times. Alternative approaches are to invest in on-premises infrastructure dimensioned for the largest peaks a company might experience (a costly undertaking) or have all resources already in the cloud and scale the cloud when necessary, something that not all companies are willing to do.


Cloud Bursting can be set up to take place both manually and automatically, depending on the use case. Take an e-commerce platform or web shop example: the burst could be implemented manually before marketing campaigns are expected to increase network demand. It can also be automated so that as soon as a certain threshold is exceeded, it triggers the bursting application to move the workload into the cloud. As soon as traffic normalizes, the additional resources in the cloud can be decommissioned manually or using automation, and workloads can return to their standard on-premises or private cloud environment. Now, to address some of the myths around Cloud Bursting.


Cloud Bursting Myth No. 1: “You can’t connect to the cloud with low enough latency”

Unfortunately, the question of how companies connect to their chosen clouds is often neglected in formulating a cloud strategy. Still, for Cloud Bursting, it is an essential infrastructure planning and design component.


Because Cloud Bursting demands low latency and high bandwidth connectivity, the path companies tend to take to the cloud – over the public internet – is appallingly insufficient. The best way to ensure low latency connectivity to the cloud is to connect the company infrastructure directly – and with sufficiently dimensioned network capacity – to the clouds in question using the private connectivity solution that each cloud service provider offers. This can be implemented via a connectivity solution provider. Still, if more than one cloud is being used, an interconnection platform or Cloud Exchange will likely be more efficient. The result? Dedicated cloud connectivity with guaranteed capacity, ensuring the security of the data being transferred.


Cloud Bursting Myth No. 2: “Cloud egress fees make cloud bursting costly.”

Migrating data to the cloud is relatively straightforward. However, taking data back out of the cloud when you retrieve the results or decommission the cloud can lead to a painful hike in cloud egress fees. This is also the case for bursting any outbound-heavy applications that send more data to customers than they receive, especially if the data needs to traverse the public Internet.


For such scenarios, the cloud provider’s private connectivity solution again comes into play. This is because the pricing for cloud egress is much lower over the direct connectivity services than the public Internet. So much so that if more than 25Mbit/s of traffic is exchanged, the private connectivity service virtually pays for itself.


Cloud Bursting Myth No. 3: “There’s no interoperability between private and public clouds”

Direct connectivity, while valuable, is only part of the solution to making Cloud Bursting a success. The uncomfortable truth is that clouds were not designed to interact with each other – and regardless of whether we’re talking about a private cloud or other on-premises infrastructure, they cannot easily interoperate with public clouds. Some cloud service providers offer private clouds with built-in interoperability to their public cloud. However, taking this option leaves the company locked in with that provider. Another option is to add a layer of translation between the different infrastructures in the form of a cloud router. This can be a separate device installed at the interface between the company infrastructure and the private connectivity service, or it can be a software-based cloud routing service, as offered by some Cloud Exchanges. This ensures interoperability on a network level, allowing a seamless transition between the on-prem and public cloud infrastructure, a prerequisite for successful Cloud Bursting.


Cloud bursting allows for the dynamic expansion of IT resources from on-site servers to the public cloud during high traffic or computational demands. However, successful implementation requires debunking myths about latency, interoperability, and cloud egress costs. Organizations pay only for extra resources used during peaks, and concerns like high latency can be addressed with private connectivity solutions from cloud providers, which also reduces egress costs. A cloud router ensures seamless integration between private and public clouds and on-premises infrastructure.


Cloud bursting offers flexibility in resource scaling, ensuring cost-effective management of sudden demand surges, software testing, data analysis, and machine learning training, all while maintaining security and compliance standards. In this way, adequately dimensioned solutions for direct and private connectivity are crucial to maximizing the benefits of Cloud Bursting.

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