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Turbonomic Blog

On The Subject Of Cloud

Posted by Sage Nye on Apr 26, 2021 2:00:00 PM

Businesses buy IT resources because they need them for their applications to perform. When applications are not performing, businesses are not running. However, when deciding how many resources to buy, IT professionals face a challenge. What type of resources do I buy, and how much? The often-unpredictable nature of application demand makes it impossible to understand exactly how many resources are needed at any given second, so businesses allocate more resources than they think will be necessary, hoping they will have so much supply that there will not be any points of congestion or resource shortages.

The Way of the Past

When running applications in an on-premises estate, businesses cannot set up new servers, storage, and networking to scale resources instantaneously, and provisioning requires ordering, shipping, and setting up servers with human labor and often running into delays. So, they habitually buy more than they need and allocate these resources to their applications. Without the ability to understand resourcing decisions from an application perspective, overprovisioning as a safety net has been ingrained as a standard IT operating model for decades, resulting in data centers that often run at low utilization rates.

A Modern Challenge

Today’s applications are evolving and becoming increasingly distributed. Demand is more dynamic and unpredictable than ever, making the allocation of the correct resources to the application an impossible guessing game, leading application owners to request more resources than they believe they will need, and leading IT operations teams to further pad those requests since increasing the number of resources is slow and manual work, especially in an on-premises estate.

In the traditional system of allocation prevalent today, the plan is not to constantly consume all of the resources you allocate, but to constantly have available all of the resources that you may potentially consume. Unfortunately, even in an over-allocated environment, individual application demand can still overwhelm infrastructure supply, resulting in times when an application is down or not performing. In these cases, the time lag between the performance degradation, root cause analysis of the performance issue, and the provisioning of additional resources to remedy the situation can result in substantial loss of revenue, customers, and brand image.

Cloud Offers a Different Path

The Cloud reimagined the world of resourcing applications. With the Cloud, businesses no longer need to plan for and procure servers and other IT infrastructure weeks or months in advance. Instead, they can rapidly spin up hundreds of resources in minutes and deliver results faster. The model of the Cloud was built on consumption instead of allocation, through a platform where resources are readily available all the time but would be paid for only for the duration of time that they are utilized. However, there was still one critical missing piece—who decides how much is consumed?

In many cases, the added layer of the cloud means that understanding of the relationship between the applications and the resources they run on is elusive. Consequently, instead of an opportunity for increasing efficiency, business’ cloud environments introduce more over- allocation and expense.

A New Approach is Required

Using the same manual, monitoring tools that require human intervention and overprovisioning prevents enterprises from taking advantage of the elasticity of the cloud. Manual overprovisioning and manual intervention cannot scale to the degree required to keep up with the dynamic demand of applications and the growing complexity of public cloud. By continuing to use the same tools and systems that were leveraged on-premises, businesses are trying to fit the square peg of resource allocation into the round hole of a consumption platform.

The cloud was not designed to be an allocated, static environment, it was designed to be dynamic to match the dynamic nature of demand. Many businesses find themselves using up their multi-year cloud budgets in months and complaining that they have cloud bills full of waste due to over-allocation and an inability to choose the most appropriate resources from the millions of constantly evolving cloud permutations from which one can instantiate a workload.

Moving from Allocation to Consumption

The key to taking full advantage of a consumption-based platform lies in resourcing applications in the same manner—through consumption. The most important requirement in resourcing an application is understanding the dynamic demands of the application. The second most important requirement is to follow all compliance and business policies. If you understand the application’s demand, and can build in the compliance policies, then you can let the application consume exactly what it needs instead of throwing resources at it and hoping it uses them. Only when resources are purchased through the application consumption perspective is it possible to run a maximally efficient environment with the lowest possible cost in the cloud. Start by understanding application performance in the context of full stack dependencies and relationships, then realize the positive impacts that assuring performance has on lowering your cloud bill. The key is consumption down, not allocation up. The human method of resource allocation has been proven to result in significant cloud waste while also not being capable of assuring application performance.

Application Resource Management Is the Answer

A software driven, AIOps approach can operate far beyond human scale. Turbonomic Application Resource Management (ARM) starts at the application layer and uses a top-down approach to understand the consumption demands at every layer of the application stack. By understanding the resourcing demands, ARM is the translator for the environment through the actions that the software generates. When the application needs a resource, ARM will generate actions to voice the application’s need for more resources to the business, and when the application does not need them, ARM will generate actions to reduce resources. Actions can be taken manually, scheduled during change windows, or fully automated. By taking the ARM actions, businesses leverage the power of the cloud based on consumption, not allocation. ARM is the voice of the application, translating the application’s demand into actions that Application, IT Operations and Cloud Operations teams can understand, trust, and directly correlate to application response time and other key performance indicators. Then, by automating the actions, businesses’ environments can scale in real time to satisfy the demand of every application, without any human caused delay so that applications are always performant and compliant with policies at the lowest possible cost. Only ARM allows the applications themselves to decide how many resources they consume so that customers can assure application performance, eliminate waste and free up their best resources to drive business innovation and better serve their end users and customers.

Learn more about Application Resource Management here.

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