Maintaining System Visibility in a Cloudburst

For those readers attracted to the title of this post in the hopes of finding a new way to cope with your vehicle’s windshield wipers in a heavy downpour, please accept my apologies. We are not talking about that kind of cloudburst. We are going to focus on the practice known as cloud bursting and how it affects a computing environment. If you are having issues with seeing through the rain, best practices suggest slowing down a bit.

In the world of cloud computing, cloud bursting refers to a configuration that uses a combination of a private and public cloud to handle peaks in demand for IT services. When the private cloud resources reach their capacity, overflow traffic is sent to the public cloud to ensure that services are not interrupted. From an end-user perspective, there should be no indication that cloud bursting has occurred. Applications continue to operate as expected by using the additional resources made available by the public cloud provider.

Cloud bursting is essentially another term for a hybrid cloud environment with one important difference. In a more standard hybrid model, public cloud resources are contracted for and allocated based on estimates of usage patterns. Organizations can end up paying for resources that they do not need or use very sparingly. The cloud bursting model only allocates and charges for the public cloud services when they are needed. It’s like a hybrid cloud on-demand that provides flexibility while helping to keep costs under control.

Benefits and Disadvantages of Cloud Bursting

A cloud bursting implementation may not be appropriate for all organizations. Multiple factors need to be considered before embarking on a hybrid approach that employs cloud bursting. A great deal of planning is required to make it work successfully. An enterprise can enjoy significant benefits if it understands the challenges of putting a cloud bursting environment in place.

Here are two benefits of using a hybrid cloud environment with cloud bursting.

  • The ability to place workloads in the location that best suits the specific requirements of an application or system. For instance, when development efforts need to ramp up before upgrading your production systems, test and dev instances can make use of temporarily allocated cloud resources. This eliminates any possible negative impact on the private cloud resources necessary to maintain mission-critical systems.

  • Adding capacity only when it is needed allows businesses to address seasonal spikes as well as handle unexpected events which result in increased demand on their systems. This can be an important factor for enterprises with customer-facing eCommerce sites, where the right publicity can lead to a sharp intensification of attention and traffic. The flexibility to use cloud bursting enables a company to take advantage of sudden market shifts and the opportunities they present.

There are some challenges to the cloud bursting paradigm that may make some organizations reluctant to adopt it. Surmounting these difficulties is where planning and the right tools demonstrate their importance and will enable the benefits of this hybrid approach to be attained.

  • While the cost of using public cloud resources should be lower when using the cloud bursting model, this may not always be the case. While one of the strengths of cloud bursting is to address unpredictable capacity spikes, this fact makes it impossible to accurately estimate costs when constructing the annual budget. Some companies may find this unacceptable and go with an option with more fixed costs.

  • Configuring networks and applications to take advantage of cloud bursting can pose technical challenges for the IT team. This can be a time-consuming and expensive proposition that needs to be weighed against the benefits of using cloud capacity on demand. 

Cloud bursting is not right for all organizations, but where it is applicable it can result in cost savings and increased flexibility. It’s certainly worth investigating if your business has fluctuating computing demands.

Monitoring SQL Servers When Cloud Bursting

IDERA’s SQL Diagnostic Manager for SQL Server enables you to keep tabs on your entire SQL Server environment no matter where the instances are located. The application keeps you informed about the performance and availability of your SQL Servers in your on-premises data center or the cloud. You can view the complete SQL Server environment from a customizable dashboard and access the tool from mobile phones or tablets.

SQL Diagnostic Manager continuously monitors and analyzes your SQL Servers and enables alerts to be customized and delivered to different audiences. Use maintenance mode to disable monitoring during scheduled outages to avoid false alerts and teams can automate alert response actions. It is a comprehensive monitoring solution for SQL Servers whether they live down the hall, in the cloud, or move back and forth between two residences according to circumstances.

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