One of the top reasons why most organizations are embracing the cloud in 2022 is due to its unlimited scalability. Because cloud resources are easy to configure and deploy, organizations find it extremely beneficial to spin up additional instances (or cut them down) to meet the fluctuating needs of their business. The end result? Optimized availability and performance of workloads (and the business as a whole) as well as optimized costs because they only have to pay for what they use.
Although almost every organization today has some kind of cloud presence, not all are able to maximize the vast scalability opportunities that cloud offers. The pressure to accelerate enterprise-wide cloud adoption or risk falling behind competition makes it difficult for organizations to take the time to embrace best practices for scalability.
Read further to uncover top ways to scale infrastructure in the cloud.
Why scaling infrastructure in the cloud is important
The business landscape today has become so volatile and unpredictable that the only way organizations can thrive is by constantly tweaking their strategies, revamping their processes, and readjusting their resources. While sales peaks and troughs have been a common phenomenon during the holiday and lean seasons, it’s not just Black Fridays and Cyber Mondays that organizations have to worry about.
Circumstances like the COVID-19 pandemic and constantly fluctuating economic disruptions play an even bigger role in the basic functioning and profitability of any business. Unless organizations are able to scale up or down their cloud infrastructure as the need arises, there is no way they can drive agility or be resilient to ambient conditions.
In these uncertain times, scalability is also essential to ensure business operations are stable, employee experience is not disrupted, and the enterprise continues to serve customers in ways that lead to high levels of satisfaction.
Best practices to follow
Scalability, although one of the biggest drivers for cloud adoption, isn’t without challenges. Application architectures that do not support cloud scaling, low-bandwidth networks, low-capacity servers, etc. all tend to impact the efficiency with which businesses can scale in the cloud.
If you want to prepare your IT infrastructure for fluctuating requirements while overcoming these challenges, here are 5 best practices you can employ:
- Proactively monitor your infrastructure: Constantly and proactively monitoring your IT infrastructure can help you in unearthing your current IT requirement while also understanding how it is expected to grow in the near future. Such monitoring and collection of metrics can also help in detecting roadblocks and challenges that you’ve faced earlier in scaling your infrastructure, so you can plan for the most viable solutions to overcome them. At the same time, monitoring can help you keep an eye on the performance of all your critical assets during high traffic periods and plan for scaling resources in a quick and efficient manner.
- Consider horizontal scaling for user-facing apps: Cloud scaling doesn’t always have to be in a vertical fashion. You can also scale resources horizontally by adding new computing nodes. Since user-facing apps, websites, and other Internet platforms witness wide fluctuations in network traffic, adding new servers to your existing data center can allow them to share processing power and load balancing, so you can seamlessly handle the increased workload. Because you can easily adapt to fluctuations in demand, horizontal scaling is a great way to prevent downtime and ensure high-quality service delivery – regardless of your load or traffic.
- Invest in tools that enable flexible load balancing: Distributing incoming application traffic across multiple virtual instances in one or more availability zones is another great way to improve infrastructure scalability. By using tools that enable flexible load balancing, you can scale and modernize your applications to meet demand, while also leveraging capabilities to reroute traffic from unhealthy instances to healthy ones. It can help you achieve greater levels of fault tolerance as well as seamless scalability. Since these tools aid in automatically scaling as the load increases, you won’t have to worry about the performance or availability of your applications as traffic grows.
- Go serverless: Serverless computing offers a number of benefits to organizations, allowing them to take scalability to the next level. For event-driven workloads especially, inherently scalable serverless architectures and microservices not only reduce complexity; they also improve the reliability and scalability of cloud applications. Since teams can make immediate changes to code, they can quickly respond to changes in demand and keep up with business requirements while sustaining customer experience and satisfaction. By offering greater scalability, flexibility, and quicker time to release, all at a reduced cost, serverless computing eliminates concerns around purchasing, provisioning, and managing backend servers while allowing teams to only pay for the server space they use.
- Right-size and optimize: Although cloud makes it extremely easy for teams or even individual users to spin up new instances to meet scaling demand, it also leads to high costs. To control costs and avoid unmanageable cloud bills, it is important to find ways to optimize cloud usage. Invest in tools that allow for autoscaling. Delete instances that are underutilized, right-size those that do not need high computing capacity. Evaluate the option of using reserved instances. Move infrequently accessed workloads to lower tiers and use tools that provide alerts when pre-determined thresholds are crossed.
Embarking on the cloud journey as part of your digital transformation project, although vital, is not without challenges. Deploying the right cloud infrastructure is just one part of the game. Ensuring this infrastructure scales seamlessly as your needs grow is a far more complex endeavor and requires you to embrace key best practices to disrupt your business models and revolutionize the customer experience. Follow these tips as you migrate to the cloud, to make the most of its inherent scalability feature and ensure your IT infrastructure is closely aligned with your business needs.