Posts Tagged ‘GoGrid’

 

What is Auto-Scaling, How Does it Work, & Why Should I Use it?

Monday, March 11th, 2013 by

When I think about the phrase “auto-scaling,” for some reason it conjures up the word “Transformers.” For those not familiar with the Transformers genre of cartoons, toys, games, and movies, it is essentially about cars that turn into robots or vise versa, depending on how you look at it. When they need to fight or confront a challenge, Transformers will scale up from a vehicle (a car, truck, airplane, etc.) into a much larger robot. Then, when the challenge subsides, they scale back down to a vehicle.

Transformers 4 Movie

Image source: teaser.trailer.com

Scaling Explained

Scaling – in terms of infrastructure – is a similar concept, but applied to the horizontal or vertical scaling of servers. Horizontal scaling means adding (or removing) servers within an infrastructure environment. Vertical scaling involves adding resources to an existing server (like RAM).

Let’s look at an example. An author of a content creation website may write an article that attracts the attention of the social media community. What starts as a few views of the article per minute, once shared by many in social media, may result in hundreds or thousands of requests for this article per minute. When this spike in demand occurs, the load to the server or servers handling the website’s content may experience extreme load, affecting its ability to respond in a timely manner. The results can vary from long page loads to the server actually crashing under the additional peak load. In the past, this scenario used to be known as the “Digg effect” or “Slashdot effect.”

Although this type of success is great publicity for the author, it’s bad for the brand hosting the content. And, if users encounter slow or inaccessible websites, they’re less likely to return for other content at a later point, which can eventually result in a loss of revenue.

(more…) «What is Auto-Scaling, How Does it Work, & Why Should I Use it?»

How To Create a Distributed, Reliable, & Fault-Tolerant GoGrid Dynamic Load Balancer

Tuesday, February 26th, 2013 by

As Rupert Tagnipes outlined in his article “High Availability with Dynamic Load Balancers,” crafting a fault-tolerant, reliable website is critical to a company’s online success. There’s nothing worse than going to a website to do a transaction only to have it either be slow to respond or have an interaction time out. By setting up a load balancer in front of transactional web or application servers, companies can ensure their web presence is resilient, responsive, and gets information to their customers reliably.

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GoGrid launched with a free load-balancing service in 2008. This year, we introduced our next-generation cloud load-balancing service on GoGrid. Embracing the software-defined networking (SDN) mantra, we created our load-balancing service to embrace the key characteristics of cloud computing: on-demand, usage-based, and distributed. I encourage you to read more about our Dynamic Load-Balancing service in Rupert’s article.

Although understanding why load balancing is critical to success is important, knowing how to create a new GoGrid Dynamic Load Balancer is equally important. This How-To article will guide you quickly and easily down that path.

Dynamic-load-Balancer

As always, I like to boil the process down to 3 easy steps. In the case of the Dynamic Load Balancer creation process, these steps are:

(more…) «How To Create a Distributed, Reliable, & Fault-Tolerant GoGrid Dynamic Load Balancer»

How To Scale Your GoGrid Infrastructure

Wednesday, February 13th, 2013 by

Scalability is one of the biggest benefits of cloud computing. Compared to traditional physical servers, cloud servers offer dynamic elasticity that allows businesses to scale “up” or “out” based on load or demand. Scaling “out” means adding more servers to your infrastructure and scaling “up” means adding resources (like RAM) to an existing cloud server.

Adding more cloud servers to your GoGrid infrastructure is easy, as is creating a GoGrid Server Image (GSI). Just a quick refresher: you would use a GSI to deploy copies of a particular server configuration or setup—this is horizontal scalability: create a GoGrid cloud server, save an image of it, and deploy copies of that server.

GoGrid-server-scale

But let’s say that you want a particular server to have a little more power. One of the best “upgrades” you can make to any computer or server is to add more RAM. Running applications consumes RAM (as does the underlying operating system). Giving that server more RAM will make it run even more efficiently.

So, how do you add more RAM to an existing GoGrid Cloud Server? Just like the 3-step processes before (Create a GoGrid Cloud Server – Select. Configure. Deploy. & Create a GoGrid Server Image – Select. Save. Share.), this process is equally easy:

1. Select
2. Configure
3. Scale

Before we walk through this process, it’s important to remember that RAM scaling only works on “hourly” GoGrid Cloud Servers. If your server is on a monthly, semi-annual, or annual plan, you won’t be able to scale your server. In that case, you’ll want to create a GSI of an existing server and then deploy a new hourly server based on that GSI. If you do have an hourly cloud server, the process is easy. (more…) «How To Scale Your GoGrid Infrastructure»

How Artizone.com Carved a Path to eCommerce Success

Thursday, February 7th, 2013 by

We recently talked with one of our newest customers, Artizone.com, about how it’s whetting the public’s appetite for local handmade eats with the help of GoGrid’s cloud infrastructure. Artizone.com is a personable online grocery site that combines two of the things people want most: delicious, healthy food and an easy way to get it. Not that the search and discovery process isn’t part of the whole gourmet experience. I’m from New York and I remember spending hours looking for the best deli and the best bakery and the best butcher. The hunt was a lot of fun, and the result was always amazing. But the time I spent getting to three different stores by bus or subway took a huge chunk out of my day and didn’t leave a lot of time to actually enjoy my “finds.”

Of course once online shopping became more than just a novelty, companies began to offer everything from sneakers to snicker doodles via the web—and eCommerce was born. Artizone has taken the “recipe” a step further by crafting a site that focuses on locally grown, organic, and hand-made foods. You can shop “by aisle” just like in a regular supermarket and choose from fresh produce, meats, and seafood. Or you can shop by “artisan” and learn about the folks who actually make the chocolates, breads, and salsas-to-die-for that Artizone carries. There are also pictures of the artisans, which makes you feel just as close to the source of the food as you would at a local Farmer’s Market. Big Al of Big Al’s Texas Rubs looks pretty much like you’d expect, and seeing his picture somehow makes you trust your decision to buy his rub.

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Artizone offers delivery-based service direct to your doorstep in Chicago and Dallas, depending on your locale selection, and ships nonperishable items throughout the US. And with food makers like Black Dog Gelato in Chicago and TJ’s Seafood Market in Dallas, you’re sure to find something new to try. Of course, the key to a great eCommerce website is the actual experience you have on the site. We all know what a good experience feels like: It’s easy to find what you’re looking for, you can get help right away if you need it via chat or phone, and buying is fast and straightforward (a piece of cake, in Artizone’s case). A great experience goes further by offering you things you didn’t know you wanted but suddenly realize you need, like delicious recipes that use the food you purchase on Artizone.com.

If a site’s disorganized or confusing, most of us will drop our cart like a hot potato (!) before we complete our purchase. And eCommerce companies just hate when we do that. They want to grab our attention, entertain and/or inform us, and then close the sale. That’s why creating a site that takes the “eek” out of eCommerce by hiding the behind-the-scenes mechanics is so important. Artizone’s VP of Research and Development, Sagi Briteman, agrees. “It’s liberating to be able to focus on our online store and user experience—and let GoGrid take care of the infrastructure,” he says. When you visit an eCommerce site like Artizone.com, the last thing you want to worry about is the technology that powers it—you should be focused on when you’ll get all the yummy treats you just ordered.

Naturally, eCommerce websites can’t stay the same week after week or we wouldn’t come back again—and again. If the company isn’t adding or refreshing the content, it might be expanding its services or trying to reach a new audience. Each time it expands to a new metropolitan area, for example, Artizone sees a huge jump in the number of food makers and customers it serves. And to make sure it could grow without worrying about how to meet that demand, the company took its time identifying a cloud infrastructure partner that really understood eCommerce.

(more…) «How Artizone.com Carved a Path to eCommerce Success»

High Availability with Dynamic Load Balancers

Monday, February 4th, 2013 by

Building out a highly available website means that it is fault-tolerant and reliable. A best practice is to put your web servers behind a load balancer not only to distribute load, but also to mitigate the risk of an end user accessing a failing web server. However, traditional load balancing funnels traffic into a single-tenant environment—a single point of failure. A better practice is to have a distributed load balancer that takes advantage of the features of the cloud and increases the fault-tolerance abilities on the load balancer. GoGrid’s Dynamic Load Balancer service is designed around a software-defined networking (SDN) architecture that turns the data center into one big load balancer.

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GoGrid’s Dynamic Load Balancer offers many features, but one of its core features is high availability (HA). It is HA in two ways.

First, on the real server side, deploying multiple clones of your real servers is a standard load-balancing practice. That way, if one of your servers goes down, the load balancer will use the remaining servers in the pool to continue to serve up content. In addition, each GoGrid cloud server that you deploy as a web server (in the real server pool) is most likely on a different physical node. This setup provides additional protection in the case of hardware failure.

Second, on the Dynamic Load Balancer side, the load balancers are designed to be self-healing. In case of a hardware failure, Dynamic Load Balancing is designed to immediately recover to a functioning node. The Virtual IP address of the Dynamic Load Balancer (the VIP) is maintained as well as all the configurations, with all the changes happening on the back end. This approach ensures the Dynamic Load Balancer will continue to function with minimal interruption, preventing the Dynamic Load Balancer from being a single point of failure. Because the load balancer is the public-facing side of a web server, whenever it goes down the website goes down. Having a self-healing load balancer therefore makes the web application more resilient.

Users with websites or applications that need to always be available would benefit from including GoGrid’s Dynamic Load Balancing in their infrastructure. The load balancer is important for ensuring the public side of a service is always available; however, including easily scalable cloud servers, the ability to store images of those servers in persistent storage, and the option to replicate infrastructure between data centers with CloudLink are all important elements of a successful HA setup.

(more…) «High Availability with Dynamic Load Balancers»