No matter what industry you’re in, every website experiences fluctuation in traffic, or “spikes” in website visits, which require computing power to keep the site live. Enterprises are faced with the decision to build out all their computing infrastructure to handle potential demand, with the choice typically between between on-premise deployed solutions and cloud solutions.
Both options have pros and cons that boil down to capacity versus control. If you’re in a cloud environment, there’s a sense that there’s as much computing power as you need, but you lose a degree of control. For example, you may not own the customer relationship with an outsourced ecommerce provider, or you may not be able to build the features you want.
But an enterprise that wants to own its platform and take control of all its moving parts does so at a higher cost. Bringing capacity to meet peak demands in-house means idle servers during normal periods. And if you own the core, you might be ready for a doubling of traffic, but not for a quadrupling.
A third option is a hybrid solution that takes the best of both worlds.Control of the core for your “steady state,” normal traffic, and flexibility for spikes – both predictable (planned releases, promotions, holiday seasons) and unpredictable (serendipitous PR, viral phenomena, etc). Own the core, rent the spikes. This requires a smart infrastructure that knows how to expand itself, like an “elastic environment” that can spill out into the cloud in a controlled way, to ebb and flow as needed. The enterprise pays only for the “spikes” as needed.
A practical example is for game publishers who may be wary to release a highly anticipated title (like Battlefield 3) at once. Pre-orders spaced over a week or two can spread out the load, but in an elastic environment, there’s no worries around launching new products, and customers won’t experience the frustration of site downtime.
Our own Chief Technology Officer, Sal Visca, will be presenting Hybrid Elastic Computing for Digital Commerce at Cloud Expo Silicon Valley.
Session information is available here.