Cloud bursts in nature…not so good. As seen in recent news, dangerous flooding can happen when the ground or rivers cannot absorb or contain massive amounts of rainfall over a very short period of time. In computing, cloud bursting is a different matter. “Bursting” an on-premises or private cloud app into a public cloud during peak demand times can be a very good thing. But only as long as your network is prepared for massive bursts in workload and data traffic.
Creating a hybrid cloud infrastructure to harness public cloud compute and storage resources can reduce IT costs by moving them from CAPEX to OPEX. However, unless you resolve traditional centralized IT architecture issues, such as depending on high-latency, long-haul networks to move large amounts of traffic, then the value gained from cloud bursting can be drowned-out by poor performance between clouds.
Is your IT infrastructure built to burst?
Typical cloud bursting scenarios include spikes in seasonal e-commerce traffic, season finales of popular television series that break viewership records, or intense intervals of application development and testing. As user demand increases, private on-premises or cloud infrastructures need to quickly and seamlessly move either full or partial instances of applications and data to a duplicate infrastructure in the public cloud. For cloud bursting to be successful, there are a number of issues to consider, including:
- Replication: The state of applications and data when replicated in a hybrid cloud environment must remain in synch so nothing gets lost during the cloud burst. Seamless orchestration (i.e., containers) and automation between private and public cloud environments is needed to provide a consistent application development environment, app/database synchronization, workload balancing and app failover.
- Network: Legacy networks were not designed with agility in mind let alone cloud bursting, where at a moment’s notice, high-bandwidth, low-latency connectivity is required to meet the volitivity in workload demand.
- Security: Direct access to public cloud infrastructures may not be local to centralized data center applications and data, requiring workloads to transverse over wide area networks (WANs) or the public internet, impeding performance and increasing the risk of outages and cyber-attacks.
For applications to quickly access large volumes of public cloud compute or storage resources, or share data/app access across a hybrid cloud infrastructure, you need direct and secure interconnection that delivers low network latency and high-throughput at the edge, where the most user demand is being generated.
Bursting out at the digital edge
Distributing hybrid cloud infrastructures at the digital edge, closer to users, data, applications and clouds, can give you the application and data access you need to create and manage a high-performance cloud bursting environment. Today, with network virtualization, provisioning direct private-to-public cloud interconnection to create a hybrid cloud infrastructure can be accomplished in minutes. Leveraging the automated provisioning and management of virtualized connections to multiple cloud services and networks will also help you reduce the complexity and latency issues associated with cloud bursting.
By harnessing software defined networking (SDN) and network functions virtualization (NFV) technologies on a global interconnection platform, you can virtually connect your private cloud to one or multiple public cloud platforms within the same data center, or across multiple data centers in different metros. For example, you can host your private cloud in the same data center as a public cloud(s) to create a consistent application and database development environment using low-latency, high-bandwidth connections between cloud-based containers. But if you need to access compute or storage resources from a public cloud in a different metro market to meet increased user demand, then provisioning virtual network connections at the edge will enable you to easily and quickly burst into that cloud without moving your private cloud infrastructure.
Proximity between private and public clouds at the edge also enables the low-latency connectivity needed to speed up application and data duplication and synchronization during cloud bursting. And as you turn up and down compute and storage resources, you can at the same time crank up virtual network bandwidth to support increased workload and data traffic flows between clouds.
How to fire up your cloud bursting
Our customers at Equinix are creating high-performance cloud bursting environments by deploying hybrid cloud infrastructures at the edge using Equinix Cloud Exchange Fabric™ (ECX Fabric™) software-defined interconnection and Network Edge network virtualization services. ECX Fabric and Network Edge enable the software provisioning of hybrid cloud private interconnection in minutes, with no additional hardware requirements. And, with dense ecosystems of more than 2,900 cloud and IT service providers on Platform Equinix®, you can fire up your cloud bursting using a wide choice of clouds in 50+ metros worldwide.
Equinix Professional Services can help you with the design, development and deployment of hybrid clouds. Schedule your own private cloud assessment workshop with our EPS team to learn how to deploy a wide variety of cloud migration use cases (including cloud bursting) and burst away!