Cloud Bursting

What is cloud bursting in cloud computing?

  • Adam Wealand
  • May 17, 2020

Companies across all industries are running more analytics and data workloads than ever before. These analytic workloads are created to figure out everything – ranging from improving the customer experience and building more resilient applications – to what products to develop next and which financial decisions are best for the business.

Yet as more and more mission-critical applications and workloads make their way into the business landscape, the risk of downtime is becoming increasingly dangerous — and incredibly expensive. In fact, the average cost of high-priority application downtime is now almost $68,000 per hour, which is beyond the reach of what most small to medium-sized businesses can afford to pay. 

One of the top causes of downtime is overload, which occurs when computing resources (e.g., CPUs, memory, or storage) exceed system capacity. When this happens, applications will crash, and workloads will freeze, leading to downtime. 

Many companies are now leveraging a cloud bursting strategy to prevent workload overload, enabling them to offload on-prem and private cloud traffic into the public cloud to meet peak demand.

What is cloud bursting?

Cloud bursting is a hybrid cloud configuration that involves supporting resource-intensive private cloud and on-premises workloads with public cloud-based instances. 

In a cloud bursting model, IT administrators establish predefined capacity thresholds for private cloud or on-prem applications. When workload capacity nears its threshold across the network, excess demand automatically switches over — or bursts — into the public cloud (e.g., AWS, Azure, and Google Cloud). 

Spillover traffic will continue to be routed through the public cloud until the system decides they are no longer needed. Then the resources burst back to the on-premises infrastructure, and the public cloud capacity switches back to an inactive state. 

It’s worth noting that cloud bursting is completely customizable; IT administrators can set usage thresholds that make sense for their unique situations, thereby triggering bursts according to different needs. 

Besides, a resource replication system is usually deployed to maintain consistency between the public and private cloud systems. 

What are the benefits of cloud bursting?

There’s a reason more, and more organizations are implementing cloud bursting strategies into their operations: It delivers some incredible benefits, which we’ll briefly explore next.

1. Business continuity 

One of the most important benefits of using cloud bursting is preventing important applications from going down and bringing operations to a complete standstill. Cloud bursting occurs in the background, meaning end-users will usually never know that it’s taking place, assuming minimal latency (more on that below). 

2. Lower operating costs

Cloud bursting can lead to significant cost savings, as companies only have to pay for extra cloud resources when they are needed. This approach can be much more economical than buying extra capacity for on-premises resources.

3. Flexible scaling

Cloud bursting enables rapid and convenient scaling, making it ideal for businesses with fluctuating customer bases and startups that need to scale at a moment’s notice.

Part of the added convenience cloud bursting delivers is that companies don’t have to predict demand usage manually. Simultaneously, cloud bursting can free local cloud resources so they can be used for other purposes. 

4. Cost-effective data processing 

This strategy can also be used to streamline data processing. For this reason, it’s becoming increasingly popular for research teams and developers that need to process and test large volumes of data rapidly. 

For example, NASA needed to process petabytes of data from the Orbiting Carbon Observatory 2 (OCO-2). NASA used AWS to process the data, processing the entire batch in just seven days for roughly $7,000. The alternative option was to purchase and install new data center hardware, a process that would have taken 100 days and cost about $200,000. 

Key considerations when using cloud bursting

As the above examples show, cloud bursting can offer many advantages. However, there are some important considerations to keep in mind before implementing it. 

1. Data transfer charges 

First, it’s important to be aware of any potential data transfer charges between public and private clouds. Cloud providers are known to charge hefty fees for transferring data — which can drive up the cost of a cloud bursting project to the point where it’s cheaper to buy private computing resources instead.

Datameer Spotlight enables Analysts and Data Scientists to search easily, find, and access any data asset no matter where it resides. On-prem or in the cloud without copying or moving it. Analysts can reuse assets or create new assets by combining data from different platforms without transferring them. Using Datameer Spotlight avoids those hefty fees that cloud providers charge while actually speeding up analytics projects.

2. High latency 

Cloud bursting can also create latency — especially when using cloud storage systems located far away from the data center. 

Bursting certain resources to the public cloud can cause applications to suffer from performance issues. One way to reduce issues is to use edge resources that are located close to users.

This can also be accomplished in a more scalable way with Datameer X and Datameer Spectrum – two feature-rich enterprise data curation platforms. After data is landed, Datameer X makes the data accessible from any location. With Datameer X, you minimize on-prem system peak capacity investments by leveraging the ability to burst into scalable cloud environments on-demand.

3. Potential security issues

Generally speaking, businesses should be cautious about bursting sensitive data to the cloud as it requires running data across multiple locations. Businesses are strongly encouraged to back up data when bursting into the cloud to avoid any potential mishaps. 

It’s also important to extend authentication tools to the public cloud to ensure that applications remain protected.

Is cloud bursting right for your business? 

If your business has mission-critical applications that live on-premises or in the private cloud, it may make sense to look into whether cloud bursting makes sense for your organization.

You know the needs of your company better than anyone else. Do your due diligence and research your options, and you’ll make the right decisions.

No matter what you choose, Datameer has the experience to help you on your journey further into the cloud. Datameer’s industry-leading hybrid-cloud data fabric seamlessly bridges your on-premises and cloud worlds — with the governance and security requirements today’s leading enterprises depend upon.

Contact us today to enjoy the benefits of bursting workloads across your enterprise.

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