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Business Transformation in Action

Joe McKendrick

Will 'Elastic' Applications Finally Help IT Managers Sleep at Night?

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For decades, companies and vendors alike have struggled with scalability issues, recognizing that software code often has to be sent back to the drawing board to be able to support a new realm of users and demands, or that hardware needs to be upgraded, with as many of the latest multi-core processors, SMP servers, and node clusters that can be afforded.

Ask any vendor what the ceiling for their applications or systems is, and they will tell you that it's unlimited, and no simulation has yet to crack the upper reaches of performance. But we all know machines and software eventually are brought to their knees in real-life situations, either by error or  a thousand users hitting at once. In surveys I have conducted among EAP sites, there is always downtime.

In the age of Internet and cloud, companies need to worry about things such as thousands of unexpected users suddenly hitting their systems.

Forrester's John Rymer sees hope on the horizon, however. Cloud computing is pushing the limits, but it is also paving the way to "elastic application platforms" that will automate much of the provisioning, service levels and workload monitoring that data center managers lose sleep over.  EAPs represent the convergence of cloud-aware solutions and tools, with very smart oversight algorithms.

Rymer says the rise of EAPs will help address the following:

  • Extend web architectures with elastic caching
  • Add NoSQL for "big data" applications
  • Adopt EAP distributed computing layers to virtualize applications.
  • Adopt PaaS products that provide EAP concepts
Rymer also observes that at the current time, only a handful of vendors offer comprehensive EAPs -- such as Microsoft's Azure, Salesforce.com's Force.com and GigaSpaces' XAP. But this is the direction many vendors are going. 

In this blog (formerly known as "SOA in Action"), Joe McKendrick examines how BPM and related business and IT approaches can promote business transformation.

Joe McKendrick

Joe McKendrick is an author and independent analyst who tracks the impact of information technology on management and markets. View more


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