Companies like Microsoft want the world to believe that clouds are completely safe. The very image of a cloud that neatly holds all of your data seems like a foolproof one. Only, that image is full of problems. Real world problems that can turn into disasters quickly. The truth is that clouds fail regularly. When clouds fail, your data (and traffic) goes with that cloud.
A good way to plan for cloud failure is to seek balance. Cloud balancing refers to numerous routing service requests that have been spread across a number of data centres. These requests, in turn, are based on a number of specific criteria.
The concept here is simple: don't put all of your data in one basket (or in one cloud). If you're familiar with financial terms, cloud balancing can be compared to portfolio balancing.
Simply put, it's a good idea to make sure that your data is spread evenly across numerous clouds. The goal of cloud balancing is to maximum performance and high availability. Cloud balancing is also easier to do than most people think.
How to Execute Cloud Balancing
Not considering your current user base is a mistake, but it's a mistake that many companies make. It is possible for a smaller company to have a great deal of traffic.
When considering various clouds, keep in mind the amount of traffic that your company receives in addition to the actual size of your company — two very different things. Cloud balancing knowledge isn't all new, though. Traditional global server balancing parameters apply here too.
Paramaters such as user location; application response time; application availability; time of day; and the capacity of a data environment should all be considered. Routing decisions are made in real-time according to the criteria set.
Effective cloud balancing will ensure uninterrupted data access at all times, and that makes for a happy cloud. NOt sure how to set it all up? Cloud balancing can be executed by a client (you) or through a service provider.
Service Provider Balancing VS. Client Balancing
Service provider balancing is a bit different than client balancing. If you control the exact distribution and criteria, you can route accordingly. If you allow a provider to route for you, you will have to provide that criteria. Service providers will host applications across various locations according to the criteria that you provide.
For the most part, it's best to keep your hands on the routing as much as possible, since this provides you with numerous options. Sometimes, however, allowing a service provider to route for you is an easier solution.
The main difference is that you will remain with one service provider should you go that route (applications will simply be spread out). Setting up cloud balancing yourself means having the option to choose various service providers in addition to spreading applications. The better choice is to spread across providers, if possible.
Is Cloud Balancing Necessary?
Cloud balancing can seem intimidating. Spreading information across providers and spreading out applications is tricky stuff. So, do you really need to balance out your clouds? To answer that question, let's go back in time to the Amazon outage that happened last yet.
For days, Amazon cloud customers were locked out of data. Those who had gone the cloud balancing route were not blacked out completely. Cloud balancing is a type of insurance against outages like the one that Amazon experienced.
While there was nothing that Amazon could do, not having an insurance against this type of outage is bad for business. The short answer here is: yes; balancing is necessary. Do you balance out your clouds?