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Attaining True Elasticity in the Cloud

One of the greatest strengths of cloud computing is that many of its benefits are easy to conceptualize and articulate.

That's certainly true for the benefit of cloud elasticity and agility. Your cloud-based application suddenly needs more or less computing power or storage?

Simply tap some additional cloud resources – or release unneeded capacity – and problem solved! At a fundamental level, every cloud customer gains improved IT elasticity and agility.

But fully exploiting the potential of these cloud characteristics requires automating the scale-up/scale-down process, rather than manually purchasing or cutting cloud instances on demand as your application needs fluctuate. As you might guess, implementing auto scaling requires a fair amount of planning and analysis.

One obvious requirement for those seeking to implement auto scaling is the need to place upper and lower limits on how many resources – and how much expense – the cloud system can add or drop on its own. If a company sets the minimum too high, for example, they may cause instances to continue running – and costs to keep rising – even when they're not needed.

Other aspects of auto scaling can be even trickier to navigate.

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