Ensuring Fast Web Apps in the Cloud

While there are many benefits to using cloud services, one drawback may be cloud downtime and/or slower Web application availability. To address this issue, application delivery controllers (ADCs) help balance loads across multiple cloud platforms.

Kosten Metreweli is the Chief Strategy Officer for Zeus Technology, which specializes in application delivery.

Zeus Technology

Cloud computing has very quickly become the hottest topic in the tech world, and companies all around the world are realizing the benefits of the cloud. In fact, 80to 90 percent of all companies will have some aspect of their infrastructure based in the cloud by 2016, according to a recent AFCOM survey. However, only 30 percent of current cloud users feel they are effectively managing the performance of their Web applications in the cloud, as noted in a ScienceLogic study.

This points to a very important concern of many cloud users – while transitioning to the cloud should increase Web application availability and decrease IT costs, many companies encounter downtime, and are thus forced to spend time and resources to re-establish a reliable online presence. Meanwhile, end-users have raised their standards of acceptable Web services performance, so much so that even a one second delay in page load time equates to a 16 percent decrease in customer satisfaction, according to Aberdeen.

Key to Fast Cloud is An Application Delivery Controller
How can organizations ensure fast Web applications in the cloud, keeping their customers happy while also maintaining a strong business hold? The key is to implement an application performance management solution, such as a load balancer or application delivery controller (ADC). These tools can help organizations provision their servers, whether physical, virtual or cloud, and distribute incoming requests across all available resources. This eliminates issues of latency and downtime while ensuring Web applications are consistently available, reliable and, most importantly, fast.

ADCs are able to distribute resources effectively within the cloud as a result of their core load balancing capabilities, which includes cloud balancing. With cloud balancing, organizations can deploy Web applications across multiple clouds or availability zones to ensure any influx of traffic can be supported with available resources. Not only does cloud balancing enhance availability and flexibility of Web services, but it also provides assurance that, should one cloud provider crash, any applications stored within that cloud can simply fail over to an alternative cloud or zone.

Cloud Balancing is Needed
The recent Amazon cloud outage, which hurt a number of prominent websites such as Twitter, Foursquare and Reddit, served as a sobering example of what can happen to organizations that do not cloud balance. Had organizations set up load balancing across multiple cloud platforms, in addition to Amazon’s EC2 cloud, their load balancer would simply have shifted all incoming traffic out of Amazon cloud servers to available resources in other clouds.

Another example of how an ADC solution can help an organization establish a reliable Web presence in the cloud is through cloud bursting. Cloud bursting allows organizations to spin additional servers up or down in the cloud as traffic fluctuates to adequately meet demands. Not only does this ensure there will be sufficient resources at all times to accommodate requests, but it also keeps companies operating in the most cost-effective way by eliminating high over- and under-provisioning costs. By implementing cloud bursting, an organization can decommission physical servers without leaving their Web services at risk of being overloaded since the ADC will balance all incoming requests to ensure fast Web speeds for end-users.

The importance of delivering fast Web applications and services in the cloud is greater than ever. And, when combined with consumers’ increasing demands for faster sites and services, the need for speed is compounded by the large number of companies transitioning into the cloud. But, with the help of a load balancer, managing applications in a cloud environment is easier – and faster – than ever.

Industry Perspectives is a content channel at Data Center Knowledge highlighting thought leadership in the data center arena. See our guidelines and submission process for information on participating. View previously published Industry Perspectives in our Knowledge Library.

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