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Data Center vs Cloud: Scalability in Cloud Computing

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Words such as ‘the cloud’ and ‘data center’ continue to float around, and are commonly used in the world of data computing.

Getting them muddled up? Need clarification on what both of them are, or the advantages each offer? All the information you need is right here!

Understanding the Difference between A Data Center and The Cloud

A data center refers to an on-premise hardware system where data is stored, while the cloud has to do with an off-premise computing network.

Depending on your organization’s needs, you might benefit from either a data center, the cloud, or a hybrid system that fuses both.

The data center gives you the benefit of being in control of your computing environs; capacity, performance, and security- without depending on your cloud provider for cybersecurity or reliability. However, one crucial benefit of making use of the cloud is its potential for scalability.

Scalability in Cloud Computing

This is an undeniable benefit of cloud computing. Scalability enables you to readily add or subtract compute or storage resources. This is highly essential because, without the right amount of these resources, your computing framework goes on a downward spiral- from reduced performance to users being locked out of the application, or getting error messages. This would lead to a loss of revenue that would cost a company a lot, and then some!

Also, at certain times, you might need fewer resources. At this time, how do you reduce the number of available resources? The cloud readily comes to your rescue in this regards as well, to an ever-shifting world of demands.

What the cloud does is to readily make these problems simple by offering ways of scaling up/down and scaling in/out as well.

Scaling Strategies in Cloud Computing

In cloud computing, there are two main ways to scale: either horizontally (scaling out or in) or vertically (scaling up or down).

Vertical Scaling in Cloud Computing

This has to do with the addition of more CPU, memory or other resources to a previously existing server or replacing one server with another more powerful server (or less powerful server if you want to scale down). Companies such as Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure are giants at vertical scaling, providing these options by simply changing instance sizes (in a data center, you’d have had to discard an appliance and purchase an entirely new one!). Taking an Amazon cloud course would widen your horizon on vertical scaling.

Horizontal Scaling in Cloud Computing

Horizontal scaling has to do with providing more servers to meet your needs; and eventually shuffling tasks/workloads among servers, so as to restrict the number of requests per any given server. As opposed to vertical scaling where you move to a larger or smaller instance, here, you either add or remove instances i.e. you scale in or out. Horizontal scaling is often preferred to vertical scaling because it takes less time to accomplish. It is also easier to manage automatically, giving everyone more breathing space and the ability to focus on other tasks.

Both scaling strategies can either be achieved manually, in a scheduled format or automatically.

The Cost Implication of Scaling

Everyone who operates on the cloud (or even a data center or online businesses like online class help) knows how important cost management is. For example, right-sizing (i.e. choosing the correct instance sizes based on your needs) helps in reducing or effectively managing cloud costs without having detrimental effects on performance!

However, you must also consider if your cost management strategies have to involve the use of Reserved Instance (RI) purchases, which reduces your flexibility with regards to scaling; as here, you are committed to the use of certain resources for between 1-3 years.

Wrapping Up

Scalability is an important advantage of cloud computing. Knowing when and how to scale is, however, paramount to your success in the use of cloud computing services. One can take up courses from the industry experts from Udemy to become a cloud expert.