What is Cloud Scalability & How to Deal with Failure

Cloud Network Scalability

What is Scalability?

Scalability concerns the ability of a cloud system to scale, and the cost and performance implications of doing so. As any cloud system is made up of a multitude of components, cloud scalability raises two questions:

1. Is there a maximum size of any part of the system?
2. If the size of a system is doubled, for example, does that mean the cost of running it (technical or otherwise) doubles, less than doubles, or more than doubles?

Scalability issues thus result in a maximum size and an optimum size (where the cost of providing service is lowest).
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What is Cloud Scalability & How to Deal with Failure

Cloud Network Scalability

What is Scalability?

Scalability concerns the ability of a cloud system to scale, and the cost and performance implications of doing so. As any cloud system is made up of a multitude of components, cloud scalability raises two questions:

1. Is there a maximum size of any part of the system?
2. If the size of a system is doubled, for example, does that mean the cost of running it (technical or otherwise) doubles, less than doubles, or more than doubles?

Scalability issues thus result in a maximum size and an optimum size (where the cost of providing service is lowest).
Read more

Network Scalability: Layer 2 Issues

Cloud Network Scalability

To overcome cloud networking scalability challenges as outlined in a previous blog post, cloud service providers look to solutions like Layer 2, VLANs and Layer 3. Discussed below are the issues service providers face with Layer 2.

Layer 2 issues

One of the first challenges in scaling the cloud provider’s network comes at layer 2.

To explain this, it is first necessary to recap how a switched Ethernet network works. Each network interface card (physical or virtual) participating in a layer 2 network has a unique MAC address. Each packet contains a header (the MAC header) containing the source and destination MAC address of the sending and receiving network interface. The switches on the layer 2 network learn the source addresses of any packet passing through them. When a switch comes to forward a packet to a given destination, it looks up that destination in the forwarding table that it has learnt, and if an entry is present, the packet is forwarded to that port. If an entry is not present (or if the packet is a broadcast packet), the packet is forwarded to all ports. Such forwarding to all ports is to be avoided as they use bandwidth on each port as well as switch capacity. It is thus vital the forwarding table can contain entries for all source MAC addresses in use.
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New White Paper: A Guide to Cloud Network Scalability

Cloud Network Scalability

Scalability is fundamental to cloud, but unfortunately not all cloud services are created equally. I previously authored a whitepaper “A Guide to Cloud Compute Scalability” to look at compute infrastructure to help service providers understanding issues and limitations regarding hardware, power, density, single vs. multi-tenancy, on-going management. Today, we release the next paper in our scalability series on scaling network resources.
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