Solving the Elasticity-in-the-Cloud Equation

Michael Vizard
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Six Tips for Compliant Cloud Computing

It's complicated, but these tips will help you get your arms around the issues.

One of the lesser appreciated attributes of cloud computing is the need for elasticity. As defined by the National Institute of Standards and Technologies (NIST), applications running on a cloud should be able to scale up and down automatically.

Of course, that's one of those IT things that is a lot easier said than actually done. Cloud computing service providers can afford to make excess compute capacity available on demand, but if you're building a private cloud, that's a little more complicated endeavor.

Against that backdrop, it was interesting to see Hewlett-Packard recently roll out what the company describes as a "dual-bursting"capability for the cloud. Like a lot of cloud service providers, HP will allow an IT organization to contract for excess capacity on demand using a service provided by HP. But the company is trying to go one better by making available a "capacity-on-demand" option that would be deployed on the customer's premise as an extension to a private cloud.

According to Steve Dietch, HP vice president of marketing for cloud solutions, the idea is that the customer would only pay for the capacity-on-demand capability when those systems are actually used. This approach, says Dietch, gives customers a private and public option to creating an elastic cloud computing model.

As IT organizations get more adept at building private clouds, they will continue to discover that there is more than one way to go about it. Each option will need to be explored in the context of application performance requirements, cost and compliance issues. But when all is said and done about cloud computing, the most appreciated aspect of this computing model is going to be the flexibility it provides, which can't really be attained without first solving the elasticity equation.

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