When you go to a doctor’s office or hospital, one of the first things they check for is your heart rate, blood pressure, and temperature.
When you go to a car repair shop, one of the first things they check for is your vehicle’s oil levels, tire pressure, and lights.
These are just a few of the many markers that indicate the overall health and performance of your body and your vehicle. So too, when it comes to cloud computing, specific markers show how well your cloud computing infrastructure is functioning.
Before the advent of the public cloud and other cloud computing services, most computing was done through local servers. These servers are machines installed on-site (on-premises) that allow computers to be accessed through a closed network. Local servers quickly outgrew their usefulness with the dawn of the:
- Internet of Things (IoT)
- Massive amounts of data generated daily
- Various formats of available data
Cloud computing promises to simplify access to multiple levels of data in all formats. With cloud computing, your data is within easy reach through the internet. In this way, cloud computing enables companies to focus on capitalizing the valuable insights to be gained from their data instead of spending time managing vast amounts of data.
However, the transition from computing with on-premises servers to cloud computing has been hampered by issues with cloud computing performance.
What are the main issues of cloud computing?
For data-intensive and mission-critical workloads, the level of response from the cloud should mirror on-premises servers. Whenever you perform a transaction using your application or database, the wait time shouldn’t be excessive. The level of responsiveness of cloud computing is a feature known as latency.
When you load and operate your application, you need confidence that it will work just as efficiently as if it were on a local server. You need low latency. However, cloud computing users can experience high latency — translating to delays that their organization cannot tolerate and can seriously affect the business and ultimately, the bottom line.
We live in a interconnected world that never sleeps. This is especially true for organizations and companies with a 24/7 operations model, such as a hospital or large manufacturing facility. For these organizations, the ability to access the cloud computing service at any time is essential.
Optimal access to the cloud is defined as high availability. Poor access is defined as low availability. For many mission-critical operations, high availability is non-negotiable and, again, can cause serious harm to the business and the bottom line. You need access now and consistently.
Cloud infrastructure capacity limitations
You need copies of your data. Whether for Dev/Test purposes, reporting, or even Disaster Recovery (DR), duplicating data is critical.
However, creating replicas of data comes with a significant footprint. Each time that you create a copy of data, the amount of cloud resources you leverage increases.
This is because each copy of your data needs to exist within its own virtual machine(s), separate from the original virtual machine(s) that you first acquired from the cloud. Tacking on additional virtual machines every time you create a copy of data can become expensive rapidly and drain your cloud budget.
The capacity of the cloud is its ability to support a certain number of workloads. Most cloud computing services are a shared environment which allows the cloud providers to give access to the cloud to a certain number of its customers.
However, that means that the number of resources each customer has access to is regulated. This process is known as throttling, and it can put a chokehold on how much performance each customer is able to achieve for their workloads. Due to the shared environment of the cloud computing environment, cloud service providers regulate access to the cloud via a process known as throttling. In order to overcome the throttle, cloud customers need to pay for more cloud resources – often resources that they don’t even need to use – in order to get the level of performance that their workloads require.
Outages happen. But for mission-critical workloads – especially for mission-critical workloads in vital industries like healthcare and finance – an outage can spell literal disaster. As a preventative measure, organizations often implement Disaster Recovery (DR) measures that revert (or failover) to a backup to keep operations running. To make sure that the DR process is successful should failover be required, copies of the data and sent to the DR site often. This raises the same issue as earlier around infrastructure capacity limitations. However, on top of the concern of blowing through your cloud budget, the team must also ensure that the cloud is able to pivot quickly enough so that the workloads in the DR site can quickly and effortlessly failover to production with no lag.
The number of users ebbs and flows on a given cloud-based application at any given moment. Think about how the number of shoppers on a retail site can differ between a regular Monday in January versus Cyber Monday. The load of users trying to access a site can cause fluctuations in performance.
However, the cloud was designed for the average – not the peak. This makes it less than ideal to handle a surge of users trying to access the website. In order to successfully manage performance during peak activity times, it is essential that cloud users maintain a flexible cloud environment that allows them to scale up and down as needed.
Most legacy applications were designed, built, and optimized for on-premises servers. This makes it difficult to migrate these applications to the cloud. In order to successfully do so, users might first go through a refactoring process to completely rearchitect the application to be cloud native. This process can be time-consuming, difficult, costly, and there is a huge risk that it will fail. Alternatively, the workloads can be lifted and shifted into the cloud or moved via containers. But these other options also present their own risks. Lift and shift, for example, could still result in failure due to incompatibility. While containers only allow you to access specific parts of the application that have been containerized.
The shared nature of cloud computing can raise concerns from users about security. On-premises servers are controlled entities that you need authorization to gain access to. You, the user, have total control over security and can ensure that you are using the most stringent measures possible. Handing security over to the cloud provider is like losing a bit of control over the situation. You can’t be sure exactly how vulnerable your workloads are.
However, the more sophisticated the cloud has become has made security measures in the cloud more sophisticated as well. The major cloud providers – Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services, and Google Cloud Platform – all have major security teams that are responsible for protecting clients’ data against threats. Today, the cloud is often considered safer than your average in-house IT team.
Improving performance metrics in cloud computing
There are many different ways to improve cloud computing performance. The first step is to develop performance metrics for your cloud-based application and cloud database. Before you can improve your cloud computing performance, you need to understand where it stands today. With clearly defined metrics, you can then develop a better picture of which features to improve that are most important to you.
For some users, that may mean taking a closer look at the application itself. An in-depth review of the underlying application source code will quickly identify any bugs or other performance issues within the application itself. Alternatively, looking at the overall database may also provide some insight. A few parameters that can be re-configured to improve performance including cache size, bucket size and I/O (input/output) optimization.
However, it is important to note that there is only so much that you can do natively to improve cloud performance. As mentioned previously, the cloud providers implement throttles that cap how much performance each customer can achieve. Going over that limit comes at a steep cost.
How does Silk improve cloud performance?
With Silk, you’re able to overcome many of the challenges and limitations associated with cloud computing. The Silk Cloud Platform is a virtualization layer that lives between your workloads and the underlying cloud infrastructure. From here, it works to supercharge the performance of your workloads to give you up to 10x faster performance compared to native cloud alone. All without the need to refactor. You can simply lift and shift workloads into the cloud. Or, if your ultimately goal is to refactor, you can lift and shift today to start taking advantage of all the cloud has to offer while working to refactor for tomorrow. This makes it ideal for large, complex, and mission-critical workloads such as Oracle or Microsoft SQL Server.
The Silk Cloud Platform includes a suite of enterprise data services – such as zero-footprint snapshots, deduplication, and thin provisioning – that help keep the amount of cloud resources being used to a minimum. In turn, this helps to minimize customers’ cloud bill since they don’t need to worry about too many snapshots ballooning through their allocated resources. And since Silk makes it so easy to replicate date, it’s ideal for a Disaster Recovery use case where updated clones of data need to be created often and easily failover from DR to production if needed.
Silk is always-on and available so you never need to worry about not having access to your data in the cloud.
With cloud computing, you can access your ever growing data easily over the internet. There is virtually unlimited potential for growth and scale with cloud computing. However, cloud computing has its challenges. With Silk, you can overcome these challenges for an optimized cloud computing experience, saving you significantly on costs.
We invite you to discover the full benefits of the Silk Cloud Platform. Download our e-book today on How to Accelerate Cloud Performance and learn first hand how Silk supercharges your cloud database.