I was just reading an article on what not to virtualize in your data center. I’m going to extend this question to IaaS cloud computing and show why this is the wrong idea.
Cloud computing as a whole and IaaS (infrastructure as a service) gain their efficiency by improving the percentage of utilization on the physical machines running the cloud. What was once a sea of terribly under utilized machines at 5% or less has now become a lean, mean, pack of highly efficient servers at 70%-90% utilization.
Unfortunately, some workloads have also pursued high efficiency (conventional) server configurations. This leads to a condition where the current standalone server isn’t a good candidate (in it’s current configuration) to place in a cloud environment, due to the fact that it may exceed the resources provided by the cloud virtual machine. So, does this mean we can’t cloud these workloads? Not at all.
Doing this means that we have to take a bit of a step backward. Instead of the entire workload crammed into one machine, which was the most efficient way to use a standalone server, clouding this workload means splitting it up.
The example given in the article is a high load web server that sucks up a standalone physical server’s entire I/O capacity. Instead of trying to cloud a clone of that, simply cloud a bunch of clones and load balance them.
Spreading out the work this way allows the cloud to efficiently spread the work out on it’s physical machines. This also gains you the easy ability to adjust for changes in demand. Now, instead of trying to cram more resources in a single (virtual) machine, simply create another clone and add it to the load balancer when you need more capacity and delete a clone when you need less. Also, you gain the big advantages of fault tolerance of the cloud, as well as the easy ability to run clones of the web server on clouds in different data centers. Now you have a level of fault tolerance and disaster recovery that your old standalone server could never match.
The end result here is that there is almost nothing that can’t fit in the cloud if you can break yourself from the current common wisdom that condensing things is best. Spread out, diffuse, and stop shoehorning things into tight packages.
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