Making Cloud Bursting Practical

cloud burstingOne of the best ways to save money on a cloud computing deployment is to use a “cloud bursting” model for your cloud infrastructure. What is cloud bursting? It’s really just another name for a hybrid cloud, explains technology expert Nati Shalom in his blog.

Cloud bursting is an application deployment model in which an application runs on a private cloud or data center and “bursts” to a public cloud when the demand for computing capacity spikes. As Shalom explains, the advantage of using a hybrid deployment model is that you’re only paying for extra compute or storage resources when needed.

According to a recent talk given by Neal Sample, the former CTO of online auction giant, cloud bursting can yield a 40 percent reduction in overall costs. But there are challenges you must address if you’re to make cloud bursting practical. You have to first make sure that you have a strong, reliable network connection that’s always on between your private cloud and your public cloud services provider’s cloud. Both cloud environments must be compatible and have a consistent environment set up, and, of course, there’s the issue of data protection and security.

With the advent of solutions like Rackspace’s new Open Cloud powered by OpenStack, it’s definitely within the realm of possibility to create private and public clouds using the same underlying cloud infrastructure supportive of the same API, addressing the challenge of setting up a consistent environment. This is a great start, but it still leaves two major challenges – network connectivity and data security.

To address the network connectivity issue, Shalom’s blog advocates for the use of one of these two approaches: the first is using a virtual private cloud that creates a VPN tunnel between the public and private network, making the network into a single, large IP network. You can find some good references for this solution here. Or, you could keep the public and private separate and use a global load balancer to route traffic to the public site only when the private site is at capacity; the only connectivity being at the global router.

As cloud bursting moves from the theoretical to the practical, the economic benefits will continue to grow. The availability of OpenStack and other models and standards can simplify the process and make cloud bursting eminently practical.

About the Author: Sharon Florentine is a freelance writer who covers everything from data center technology to holistic veterinary care and occasionally blogs for Rackspace Hosting.

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