Cloud bursting is defined as a configuration that is set up between the public cloud and the private cloud to deal with the peaks in IT demands with an advantage of economic saving (i.e., a user needs to pay for the resource if and only if there is demand for those resources) and if any organization uses a private cloud consumes 100 percent of the available resource then the overflow traffic is directed to the public cloud to avoid any interruption of the service.

What is Cloud Bursting?

Cloud bursting is a hybrid cloud deployment technique where an application on a private cloud is configured to redirect overflow traffic into a public cloud. This redirection happens in response to a demand for computing resources that exceeds the private cloud’s capacity, enabling an app or network to handle sporadic workloads that would typically overwhelm the company’s privately-owned servers.

You can provide extra computing resources in the public cloud the same way you might provide a metered utility. By purchasing time and capacity, you pay only for what you use in the public cloud. When demand drops below maximum capacity, the application or data moves back to your private cloud.

The approach and handoff are smooth across this threshold. As the demand for computing resources approaches what your system can handle, the application automatically switches to the public cloud without interrupting the app’s services and user experience.

You can use this technique to manage critical and non-sensitive applications, freeing resources on the private cloud for critical and sensitive applications.

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How does it work?

The first step to implementing cloud bursting begins with measurements of the existing infrastructure to even know when hitting capacity is close. This can be done through DevOps Monitoring tools and techniques that specify the capacity thresholds of their infrastructure. Then, for the private cloud to access the additional computing resources, it needs to be triggered to burst into the public cloud, which can happen in different ways. It can be done manually, which isn’t the most efficient technique and is typically only used for testing purposes. It can also be automated, eliminating the need for manual intervention and deploying when needed, then resetting when the spike of service is over. The most popular approach though is distributed load balancing where storage, compute instances, and monitoring all work together to deploy data center workloads to the pre-provisioned cloud.

Why is Cloud Bursting important?

Traditionally, organizations purchased and maintained their computing infrastructure, such as servers, storage devices, and network hardware, in a private data center or colocation facility. However, with the advent of third-party cloud providers like Amazon Web Services, organizations can now use publicly available computing infrastructure that is secure, can easily scale up or down to meet workload demands, and is available in many regions around the world. It became more convenient to use infrastructure that was fully managed by others. The term public cloud emerged to differentiate between the internal infrastructure and the external third-party cloud resources.

Many organizations want to continue using their existing on-premises computing infrastructure and also get the benefits of the public cloud. They can deploy a cloud-bursting hybrid cloud architecture to access public cloud resources when they have no more on-premises compute capacity. By implementing cloud-bursting techniques, cloud consumers can do the following:

  • Use local resources efficiently
  • Reduce further investment in on-premises infrastructure costs
  • Enjoy the scale and flexibility that public clouds bring
  • Avoid service interruption to business-critical applications due to sudden workload spikes

When is Cloud Bursting needed?

Cloud bursting is a great configuration for businesses that need it, but who can reap the benefits of it? When considering cloud bursting, an organization must first look into their regulatory compliance requirements and make sure that it is even compatible with their infrastructure and apps. Another factor to be considered is the sensitivity of the business’s data. Cloud bursting may not always be recommended for organizations that have sensitive information, as bursting it into the public cloud might put that data at more risk. Cloud bursting is mostly recommended for businesses that experience frequent jumps in volume traffic on their private cloud servers where they would benefit from the extra space of a public cloud. Some examples of this would be food delivery services that have certain peak hours every day, or retail stores during a seasonal sale like Black Friday.

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Benefits of Cloud Bursting

The benefits of cloud bursting are as follows:

  • Cost: Organizations only pay for the extra resources when there is a spike in demand. No need to expand the capacity of the private cloud. Although the public cloud is cheaper than the private cloud.
  • Flexibility: Cloud burst can adjust the cloud capacity quickly as per the needs. Cloud burst also frees up private cloud resources.
  • Business continuity: The application can be deployed to the public cloud if the peak occurs in resources. Therefore, users do not face any interruptions in that application.
  • Peaks in traffic: During holidays or seasons organization is always expecting a sudden increase in traffic. Hence cloud bursting is ready for such a situation to handle the expected and unexpected spikes in resources.

Challenges of Cloud Bursting

  • Security: Public cloud is less secure than the private cloud. Therefore, when someone attacks the public cloud the organization’s data can be at risk.
  • Data protection: If the sensitive data is on the public cloud, it is difficult to keep backups consistent when there are multiple sources. Not all applications can be moved to the public cloud due to the high sensitivity of the information.
  • Networking: Private cloud has high bandwidth whereas the public cloud has low bandwidth so maintaining connectivity is difficult between the public and private cloud. Some applications can also face latency issues.
  • Performance: Performance is high in a private cloud as compared to the public cloud so when the application moves from a private cloud to a public cloud it may affect the performance of the application.

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Today, the cloud bursting platform is adopted mostly in applications that are less sensitive and have lower concerns on security/latency aspects. With hybrid cloud adaptability increasing among the users and security/latency issues in the public cloud environments are addressed, the usage of cloud burst platforms is bound to improve in the future across all applications.