If you’ve worked with on-prem or cloud infrastructure before, you are probably aware of the idea of overprovisioning. Overprovisioning resources is often required to make sure you have enough resources to support peak demands. It’s not very efficient on platforms where capacity and compute cannot be scaled independently. However, a quick Google search on overprovisioning shows that many organizations consider it to be beneficial. In this post, we’ll look at how overprovisioning is both costly and unnecessary and discuss how there is a better way to get the results you want while only paying for the resources that you actually use.
The “Benefits” of Overprovisioning
Typically, SSDs see a decline in performance when they are only at 50% capacity. To give their resources an extra boost, the infrastructure provider will limit the amount of capacity available to their customer and set aside the extra, unusable capacity as protection against performance loss. So even if it appears that the infrastructure resource is full, there is actually capacity still available.
To add insult to injury, the customer ends up paying for the capacity that their provider set aside. As capacity needs continue to grow, the customer needs to purchase more capacity, rather than take advantage of the capacity that they have already purchased. This dependent relationship between capacity and performance results in unnecessary costs for customers.
Break It Up: Decoupling Performance and Capacity
There is a more cost-efficient way to get a high-level of performance while only paying for the capacity that you need. By choosing a platform that decouples performance from capacity, you can independently scale one without the need to scale the other – eliminating the need to overprovision. In this scenario, you only need to buy – and pay for – the capacity that you use, while still getting the high performance that you need.
Having the flexibility to scale up, down, in, and out to meet changing business needs ensures that you are never overpaying on your infrastructure. If you’re a retail company heading into the holiday season, you can expand capacity to meet the needs of the busiest time of the year before scaling back in January. Or using a timelier example: If you’re a web conferencing software company, you would have had the flexibility to scale performance at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic when more workers were staying home and telecommuting.
How TPG Software Achieved High Performance Without Overprovisioning
TPG Software, which creates investment accounting software solutions, was trying to move from its legacy business model to a SaaS delivery model. SaaS would allow TPG to deliver a high-quality and consistent application experience to customers, simplify support operations, and speed up the development and QA processes… but it also presented its own challenges.
TPG’s customers generate hundreds of reports with peak activity at the middle and end of each month. TPG’s cloud-based infrastructure would need to have the flexibility to add more resources to accommodate these peak workloads… and then scale back down for the rest of the month.
Silk’s Cloud Data Platform allowed TPG the agility to run at full efficiency while minimizing the costs of managing its infrastructure. Ultimately, by leveraging Silk, TPG saw 30x cost savings with a Silk-enabled SaaS solution as well as 20x faster reporting for its customers.