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Automation has been the dream of workers since the dawn of the industrial revolution. As technology became more complex, thinking about automation became the province of science fiction writers, futurists, and other tech visionaries. However, the emergence of autoscaling in cloud-native applications is very real, and very helpful when it comes to building the next generation of software. Autoscaling helps lower costs and increases availability without increasing workloads for humans. It’s today’s solution to very modern problems of managing resources and ensuring that your customers can always access your app. Let’s dig into how this works by first taking a quick look at something called containerization.
Better Living Through Containerization
Containerization is an improvement over the prior industry standard, virtual machines (VMs): you had a physical server with a VM deployed on it, running a guest OS, and that in turn, ran your app. The big problem with VMs was the large amount of overhead and time involved in spinning up each environment. That means, every time a VM went down (or you wanted to create a new environment), someone from your team needed to handle it. Any time your system goes down or not performant, your customers suffer through an inferior experience. Not a great system.
Enter, containerization or containerized apps:
Containerized applications are built as lightweight, self-contained environments designed to go anywhere and run reliably, no matter where you put them. Gone is the overhead required to spin up the OS (from VMs) for each — it’s all baked in. This is helpful for “self-healing,” restarting containers when they crash or scaling, duplicating containers when user load is high. This functionality is key to making autoscaling a reality. We’ll dig into that now and look at how autoscaling lowers costs and improves uptime.
Autoscaling: the key to cloud-native success
The promise of cloud computing was that it would lower costs by only charging companies for the computing power and storage that they needed, when they needed it. It used to be that if you needed servers for your business, you had to buy a machine, pay someone to set it up and maintain it, and hope it didn’t go down ever. (Which it inevitably would.) You also needed to buy more server machines when your business grew, and worry about moving data around across your physical machines. The cloud changed all that. Startups being born today will never see a physical server. Their entire product (code, data storage, etc.) may exist entirely on the cloud, able to effortlessly scale and be relocated anytime.
Autoscaling saves companies money by only allocating resources when needed. Instead of paying for the maximum amount of resources that your program could need, all the time, you only pay for what you’re using, when you use it. Cloud-native systems use autoscaling to detect changes in usage and adapt accordingly, which also improves user experience, since the customer never has to deal with lag in performance or loss of service. It also improves life for you and your team, since autoscaling takes care of all of this without you needing to lift a finger.
Downtime is the bane of every system admin and tech CEO alike (as well as for countless workers in between). Just like how autoscaling keeps you from paying for services you’re not using and can adjust resources without human input, it also keeps your app running smoothly, no matter what happens to the constituent parts. This is thanks to the containerization: if any part of the program crashes, the orchestrator spins it right back up again without you even noticing. Additionally, because modern cloud solutions have large collections of machines with redundant data storage, you never have to worry about losing your one machine and with it all your data. Should failure occur, the system automatically switches to a working machine. Your customers never know, and no one’s cutting emergency trouble tickets in the middle of the night.
Cloud-native systems, analytics, and you
We live in a cloud world. A cloud-native analytics and BI platform will help you lay the foundation for the next iteration of your business where you can build and scale analytic apps that will differentiate your product, increase stickiness with users, and bring in additional revenue. Every company is becoming a data company, and more and more data is moving to the cloud now. Whatever you’re building, wherever your data is (cloud, on-prem, wherever), Sisense can handle it. Whatever you’re building, you can build it with Sisense.
Former Sisenser Shruthi Panicker holds a BS in Computer Science as well as an MBA and has over a decade of experience in the technology world.