The Elastic Cloud

January 18, 2010

This is the first in a series of articles on building elastic cloud applications.

This might be the year where enterprises finally adopt cloud computing. Despite all the hype about software as a service (SaaS), few resources focus on how infrastructure as a service (IaaS) helps Lean Startups avoid significant investments.

While IaaS saves monetary investments in hardware and long-term hosting contracts, it also frees up valuable human resources used to set up and manage data center infrastructure. And when your user base finally grows, the elastic cloud absorbs the extra load without creating sleepless nights and requiring urgent visits to the data center.

Design First, Less Worries Later

One important aspect to a successful application deployment is to pick proper IaaS services. With a diverse set of offerings, it’s easy to get lost in the cloud. Investing time upfront to properly design the application saves money but also prevents growth problems later. While enabling you to cope with rapidly rising demand, a well designed application keeps your most precious assets – your time – focused on adding value instead of dealing with infrastructure services.

To help guide the design of applications, we divide IaaS offerings into four categories: elastic front-end, batch processing, relational storage and data storage. The Cloud Architecture Overview illustration shows several example services for each of them.

Cloud Architecture Overview

Lessons Learned

  • IaaS saves the most important resource – your time
  • plan first, worry less later

The next article adapts the Lean Startup principles to application architecture.

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