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What Is Cloud Scalability? 4 Benefits For Every Organization

What does cloud scalability mean? Here's everything you need to know about the different types of cloud scalability and their benefits.

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One of the major benefits of choosing the cloud over on-premise architecture is the ability to easily and quickly scale — but what does scalability mean in cloud computing?

If your business is in the process of growing, it’s important to know your technology options so you can make informed decisions on how to scale. In this article, we cover scalability in cloud computing and its benefits.

What Is Cloud Scalability?

One of the main reasons more organizations are choosing cloud computing is due to its ability to scale up or down based on their changing needs. Organizations can increase or decrease IT resources — such as processing power, networking ability, and data storage capacity — without any disruption in operations.

Organizations don’t have to spend weeks or months overhauling their infrastructure as they would with on-premise solutions. Instead, third-party cloud providers (such as AWS) already have the infrastructure in place, and organizations can easily add nodes and servers as needed to achieve their specific goals.

Once the demand for additional requirements is gone, organizations can revert back to their original configuration.

A similar concept to cloud scalability is cloud elasticity, which is the system’s ability to expand and contract based on workload demands. While the two concepts sound like the same thing, the key difference between cloud scalability and cloud elasticity is time.

Cloud elasticity is required for short-term bursts, such as a spike in website traffic as a result of a sales promotion. Cloud scalability, on the other hand, is for long-term growth that is strategically planned.

Types Of Scaling In Cloud Computing

To understand how cloud scalability works, it’s important to understand the three different types of scalable cloud architecture:

  • Vertical scaling - Scaling up or down vertically involves adding more resources such as RAM or processing power to your existing server when you have an increased workload. No code alterations are required for this type of scaling as you are only adding on additional expansion units. Keep in mind that with vertical scaling, your performance may be affected, as the server’s size and capacity limit the total amount of growth.
  • Horizontal scaling - This is what is typically referred to as scaling in or out. When organizations require higher capacity, performance, storage, memory, and capabilities, they can add servers to their original cloud infrastructure to work as a single system. This kind of scaling is more complex than vertically scaling a single server because additional servers are involved. Each server needs to be independent so they can be called separately when scaling out. With horizontal scaling, organizations can grow infinitely, as there are no limitations.
  • Diagonal scaling - As the name hints, diagonal scaling is a combination of vertical and horizontal scaling. Organizations can grow vertically until they hit the server’s limit, and then clone the server to add more resources as needed. This is a good solution for organizations that face unpredictable surges because it allows them to be agile and flexible to scale up or scale back.

When it comes to the different types of scaling, there is no “best” choice — it depends on the current and future needs of the business. But it is important to scale strategically, with future increases and decreases in demand top of mind.

Cloud Scalability Benefits For Your Company

Why choose cloud computing for your business? Organizations of all sizes should consider these benefits of cloud scalability:

  • Ease - Increasing or decreasing capacity typically just requires a few clicks from IT administrators. There is no need to waste time with physical hardware.
  • Speed - Upgrading or downgrading servers does not require weeks of time. With the cloud, organizations can quickly configure the architecture they need based on business demands.
  • Cost effectiveness - Cloud providers only charge for what an organization uses, so there is no need to pay for obsolete or redundant equipment.
  • Reliability - Organizations can rest assured they will see high performance, as scalable architecture can meet sudden increases or decreases in demand.

Regardless of whether your organization is scaling vertically, horizontally, or diagonally, it’s important to be aware of what those changes cost and how they are adding value to your business.

With a cloud cost intelligence platform like CloudZero, you can get context around your cloud computing costs for each business unit as you scale. Want to see how it works? Request a demo today.

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