Managing Scale in the Hybrid Cloud

When does Private Cloud make the best economic sense for your business?

We sometimes assume that the public cloud is the best place for a resource-hungry application that is expected to scale rapidly. However, in some cases, a different approach may be best suited depending on your application's needs, and how you want to manage scale across your environment.

Today we’re looking at why private cloud can sometimes be the best option for managing scalability within your hybrid cloud estate. (For more info, see our whitepaper on Hybrid Cloud: Choosing the right cloud for your workload).

A common misconception when building your cloud strategy is that only legacy applications should be left in the private cloud, when in fact there are a number of scenarios where an application that requires managed scaling might perform best in a private cloud environment.

For many business applications, it's possible for scaling requirements to be planned in advance. If you have a specific workload that grows at a regular rate, and you can reasonably predict expected growth over the next two years, then a private cloud solution where you can control the scale and how your environment grows could be a more cost-effective option. It might also be more economical to choose a private cloud environment if your application is particularly resource hungry, as while start-up costs can be low for the public cloud, an app that is hungry for constant resources can result in higher bills as your application scales.


If you are moving applications to the cloud, do you have a way to effectively model and estimate your future costs of hosting your applications as resources scale? We often hear of scenarios where customers have moved all applications to the public cloud only to be shocked at the resource usage, and subsequent costs, of particular applications. In many cases, these customers have performed future cost modelling exercises before moving to the cloud, however, they don't always factor in the uplift in charges once applications - across compute, storage, backup and network usage and monitoring - really start to scale.

We can work with you to help you more accurately estimate your costs, looking at which applications will be more cost-effective in the public cloud, and which will be more economical to scale in the private cloud for a balanced hybrid model.

Around the clock

Will your application be running around the clock? The flexibility of public cloud in giving customers the ability to scale up and down resources in a matter of minutes means that it often works best for applications that are likely to need limitless scale at speed; i.e. flexing up to meet your website's demands during an online sale and flexing back down when the number of web visitors returns to a normal amount.

If your application is required to run 24/7 then housing it in a private cloud where your costs are more constant and predictable might be a more economical approach compared to the public cloud where you may be charged on a per minute or per hour basis.

Research suggests that public cloud often works best for tactical projects, where resources need to be quickly spun up and retired regularly, or changed on the fly and moved around. Private cloud often can't accommodate this level of flexibility if you need limitless capacity at a moment's notice, but this flexibility also comes with a cost. Public cloud can often suit workloads with more unpredictable demands where resource needs cannot be accurately predicted in advance and applications require the ability to scale to meet whatever resources are required in the future at a moment's notice.


If you can't yet predict the level of resources your application needs, then the public cloud can help with providing on-demand capacity and performance when your application needs it. However, if you have an application that needs high levels of performance at all times, then a private cloud option could be more suitable.

Depending on how your application is delivered in the public cloud, you could be housed next to other cloud customers’ performance-hungry applications which could impact on your own application’s performance capabilities when their apps experience peaks in demand.

To avoid the issue of 'noisy neighbours' impacting on your own application's performance, you may end up having to pay extra charges to achieve guaranteed performance to suit your needs. This is a scenario where it's useful to do detailed cost modelling about the equivalent price in a private cloud environment - where you can have more control over the resources aligned to your applications.

It's also critical to consider how your public cloud provider would manage potential DDOS attacks - i.e. if one of your public cloud server's neighbours experiences a DDOS attack, then could this impact on your own application's performance? It's important to question your cloud provider about what could happen to your app and server performance in a range of scenarios to ensure you are best prepared for all situations and know what to expect.


Managing applications in a private cloud environment gives you more control and choice over how you manage scale. If you need to dedicate faster storage to your environment, then you can do this - or perhaps you want to increase network speed - again, this is in your control. In the public cloud, you can also make many of these choices, but the ongoing cost may be prohibitive as you will be paying per minute or hour on an ongoing basis.

However, it all depends on your application and what your business needs. Do you require limitless capacity or steadily managed growth? It's important to look at the needs of each application in turn to find the right cloud to fit each workload.


Find out more about CenturyLink Private Cloud on VMware Cloud Foundation with HPE here.


About HPE and CenturyLink 

CenturyLink is a global communications and IT services company focused on connecting its customers to the power of the digital world. CenturyLink offers network and data systems management, big data analytics, managed security services, hosting, cloud, and IT consulting services. CenturyLink is an HPE Gold Partner Service Provider.

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