The cloud brings with it a plethora of possibilities that are disrupting application architecture. As the disruption grows, application architects are gravitating around the cloud as a dynamic channel for building truly scalable applications.
The Traditional Way
Traditional applications were built on existing requirements with available resources that made architectural and economic sense at the time they were developed. One of them was the projection of the amount of computing resources future applications would use over a period of several years.
If the projection was under-estimated, the infrastructure would not have the elasticity to address expanding datasets, demand for speedier response time, and unpredictable traffic surges. If the volume was over-estimated, the company would waste money on idle resources.
Most traditional applications are constructed on three tiers that each run on a dedicated server. The applications are deployed on static infrastructure in a fixed location. If the infrastructure fails or changes, the sitting applications are not capable of recovering by themselves or adapting to the new infrastructure. Thus, companies make sure that the applications are hosted on very reliable servers that are, necessarily, expensive.
Virtualization couldn’t do much because the database tier posed many limitations to the virtualization-aware load balancer that application architects attempted to deploy.
Here Comes the Cloud
The cloud reinforces some old concepts and introduces new ones that are changing the way applications are architected and deployed.
One of the fundamental capabilities of the cloud that is conducive to scalable application architecture is elasticity, or the ability to scale computing resources up or down easily. This capability has been improved for auto-scaling with minimal resistance.
Traditional applications were built for fixed and pre-provisioned infrastructure. The rapid deployment or reduction of hardware was not feasible because upfront investment was too high and provisioning time was too slow. Software engineers then went on to build applications that could adapt only to the hardware on which they were deployed.
The cloud entirely changed this mindset because everything, including hardware, is automated and virtualized in the cloud. Application architects can now request what they need in minutes by leveraging a vast scale of application architecture resources, an automated procurement process, rapid response time, and the ability to release unneeded resources. Elasticity can now be a systemic component of the architectural design of applications.
Some application developers entertain fears that often prevent them from taking advantage of cloud-ready solutions. One of these fears is that they may not be able to get the exact specification of the resource they need. This could be a specific amount of RAM in a server or input/output per second (IOPS) in a storage area network (SAN).
The cloud offers abstract resources that can compensate for these needs. For example, if the exact amount of RAM is not available, a distributed cache or portioning of data across multiple servers will do the trick. IOPS issues can be remedied by distributing load across a batch of synchronized slaves or using other database clustering solutions.
When developing new applications, application architects should explore the possibilities the cloud has to offer. To learn more about how the cloud can help you attain your business goals, visit us at Coda Global now.