You’ve likely heard about the latest trend in cloud computing commonly referred to as multi-cloud, and it is taking the world by storm. Hybrid and traditional cloud based systems are reaching their limits; pushing organizations towards multi-vendor architectures.
Ok, but why should you care? Managing multiple cloud services or systems can be expensive. Not to mention the cost of performance monitoring and a way to manage how traffic is balanced across systems.
These concerns have kept multi and hybrid cloud strategies reserved for only enterprises for years. Until now. Enter automated load balancing (we’ll talk more about that in a minute) that has made multi and hybrid cloud a viable solution for even start ups.
Now that both of these strategies are back on the table, which one is best for your organization? And how do you go about implementation?
Hybrid systems let you enjoy the security and control of on-premises systems, with the scalability of cloud services. Cloud systems can be used to rapidly scale at significantly less cost and take just a few minutes to set up.
This strategy is most commonly used to increase capacity during peak traffic periods. For example, during the holiday season ecommerce businesses can use cloud resources to reduce traffic loads on their existing infrastructure and maintain performance standards.
In light of recent crippling outages among a variety of service providers, it has become increasingly important to have redundant systems and services in the event of an outage. Hybrid cloud configurations can be used to add redundant cloud based systems that take over traffic loads during periods of service degradation.
Multi cloud offers you the flexibility to choose more than one vendor for a service. This is most commonly used with CDN (Content Delivery Network) services. Vendors have unique strengths and weaknesses, and oftentimes businesses need the strengths of multiple vendors to achieve a desired result.
One of the more common use cases for multi-cloud is diversification of vendors. Let’s say you are expanding into the Asia-Pacific region, but your current vendor doesn’t have a strong presence there. You could add a second vendor that is strong in that region and create a rule that routes Asia-Pac traffic to your new vendor.
You can also use this strategy for service discovery. Slowly increase the amount of traffic being sent to a provider you are testing. If you don’t like the new service, just rollback your changes.
But what decides how traffic is routed to the different systems? The most common solution is called DNS (Domain Name System) load balancing which operates outside of your infrastructure and requires no additional lookup time to operate.
Round Robin, the most basic kind of load balancing, delivers equal amounts of traffic to your systems. However, this technique doesn’t offer any customization and is not often used in hybrid of multi-cloud configurations.
Weight Round Robin let’s you set uneven weights for your endpoints, allowing you to favor one or more over others. It’s most commonly used during roll outs or migrations from one system to another.
Very recently, providers have begun to offer load balancing that uses integrated monitoring data to prefer better performing systems. Oh and the best part? It’s automated! This technology has single-handedly made multi-cloud implementations a reality for even startups.
Performance-based load balancing can also be configured on a regional basis, so if you have systems unique to a locality, the fastest one is more often served to users for the fastest load times.
Now that you have a basic understanding of the different kinds of hybrid and multi-cloud strategies, you can begin to audit your own organization’s needs and determine which solution is best for you. When you are evaluating strategies, also consider the kind(s) of load balancing you may need. Take the time to do your due diligence and research different vendors.
By Steven Job