For one Melbourne IT client with 50 employees, a single server could’ve handled its Web traffic for 90 per cent of the year. But spikes in business meant it was forced to boost capacity, greatly reducing the return on investment. The most cost-effective answer to the problem meant looking to the cloud.
While its website was at the core of its business, the client company was finding server loads largely unpredictable, Melbourne IT chief technology officer, Glenn Gore, said.
“If a customer varies only by 10 per cent between their peak and average, that’s really easy to solve. When you start having customers where their peak could be an order of magnitude greater, that’s where challenges start coming in,” he said.
“The client wanted a website that its customers could use to find out about their company and demo some of their services. They wanted to do that in a capacity on-demand fashion where resources can grow and shrink depending on the cycle of their business.
“Those odd times come along when they need to double or even triple the amount of capacity they require to handle peak loads. That effectively means they need to have another two to three servers sitting there idle 90 per cent of the time.”
Gore said the client’s physical servers encompassed 16 CPUs and 64GB plus of memory, and were quite expensive to have lying around.
“The biggest problem, is how you actually architect a Web platform that can scale both horizontally, so you can add more Web servers to the mix, as well as growing vertically, which is where you introduce more CPU and more memory,” he said. “You need to be able to grow in both directions to meet those types of customers.”
Gore claimed this particular client was very tech-savvy when it came to cloud services, but many other companies were not so aware. The biggest barrier for cloud was people wanting to have the scalability, but not wanting to let go of the infrastructure.
“The challenge there is getting them to realise that to get real capacity on-demand you’ve got to let go of that infrastructure and step towards virtualised cloud infrastructure,” he said.