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Cloud Elasticity and Rubber Bands

by Neil MacDonald  |  May 12, 2011  |  Comments Off on Cloud Elasticity and Rubber Bands

I was a part of a discussion among Gartner analysts recently debating the implications of a Cloud SaaS provider that had moved their legacy application to the Cloud and was now offering it as a service. Because the application wasn’t “cloud-native” and was designed to be deployed on-premises, the vendor stated that there was a maximum number of users per enterprise that could be supported of 20,000 for the first release. There was a limit to the “elasticity” of the Cloud service.

Elasticity is part of Gartner’s definition of cloud computing:

A style of computing where scalable and elastic IT-enabled capabilities
are delivered as a service to customers using Internet technologies

In a perfect world, the vendor would have rewritten the application from scratch for the cloud to easily scale out to potentially hundreds of thousands of users per organization (scaling to every possible organization on the planet) . However, the vendor also had to consider the very real issue of preserving compatibility with the installed base, providing “hybrid” deployment scenarios (where deployments span on-premises and Cloud) as well as the competitive issue of time to market.  So, the first release is capped at 20K per enterprise, the next version will take this further and the version after that even further. Eventually, they will scale to address the needs of every enterprise

Is this a bad thing?.If your organization has more than 20K users that want to use this service – yes. If your organization has less than 20K users that want to use this service – no.

Think of Cloud service elasticity like a rubber band. A rubber band is elastic. It can scale up and down, Stretch it too far and it breaks. It’s elastic, but within limits. Since nothing is infinitely elastic, the real question when considering a Cloud-based service becomes “is it elastic enough for your present and future needs?”.

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Category: cloud  cloud-security  

Tags: cloud-security  security-summit-na  

Neil MacDonald
VP & Gartner Fellow
15 years at Gartner
25 years IT industry

Neil MacDonald is a vice president, distinguished analyst and Gartner Fellow in Gartner Research. Mr. MacDonald is a member of Gartner's information security and privacy research team, focusing on operating system and application-level security strategies. Specific research areas include Windows security…Read Full Bio

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