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Databases IT

Scalability In the Cloud Era Isn't What You Think 75

Esther Schindler writes "'Scalability' isn't a checkbox on a vendor's feature chart — though plenty of them speak of it that way. In this IT Expert Voice article, Scott Fulton examines how we define 'scalability,' why it's data that has to scale more than servers, and how old architectural models don't always apply. He writes, 'If you believe that a scalable architecture for an information system, by definition, gives you more output in proportion to the resources you throw at it, then you may be thinking a cloud-based deployment could give your existing system "infinite scalability." Companies that are trying out that theory for the first time are discovering not just that the theory is flawed, but that their systems are flawed and now they're calling out for help.'"
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Scalability In the Cloud Era Isn't What You Think

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  • by c0d3g33k ( 102699 ) on Tuesday May 11, 2010 @03:45PM (#32173576)
    You must be out of good ideas to add to the discussion.
  • by lmckayjo ( 532783 ) on Tuesday May 11, 2010 @04:42PM (#32174508)

    But many types of video processing DO scale very nicely, as racks and racks of SGI machines proved years ago ("rendering farm" is a beautiful name for computers...). The "flow of time" argument against scaling, which is basically an argument against easy parallelization, works for some things but not others.

    Even when the analysis or manipulation of one frame depends heavily on those before it, most video (or audio) work is broken nicely into scenes (or tracks/movements) which can be easily scaled - damn near linearly.

    Financial markets work similarly. Yes, there is a very important interdependence, sequentially significant, but only between certain transactions. There may need to be "traffic cops" that don't scale linearly, but other parts of the transactions will scale nicely.

    In the limit, nothing that we do will scale efficiently forever (to extremely large OR small), but video processing and financial systems are two examples which seem to scale quite well.

  • by anomalous cohort ( 704239 ) on Tuesday May 11, 2010 @06:06PM (#32175678) Homepage Journal

    Infinite scalability isn't the only snake oil in the cloud. Other cloud computing myths [] include "all you need is a credit card" and "cloud is cheaper."

Machines that have broken down will work perfectly when the repairman arrives.