At New Relic, we talk a lot about the dynamic cloud. The dynamic cloud is the primary method of implementing a dynamic infrastructure, which allows enterprises to build highly flexible, highly available applications that can meet nearly any scaling need.

Not sure what the dynamic cloud is? Take a look at the video below for some background on static cloud versus dynamic cloud:

But what exactly does it mean to be dynamic in this context?

Trust the process

It turns out that the dynamic cloud is not a thing, but a process. It’s the process of consuming cloud-based resources dependent on the needs of the application at that moment. As the needs of the application change, such as when traffic to the application increases, the resources allocated to the application change to match.

This dynamic allocation can cover almost any resource, but one of the classic—and easiest to use—examples of dynamic cloud infrastructure is the ability of an application to increase or decrease the number of servers allocated to it dynamically based on traffic needs. The easiest way to implement such a dynamic allocation mechanism is to use a capability known as Auto Scaling.

The fundamentals of Auto Scaling

The fundamental principal behind Auto Scaling is that a service monitors a particular characteristic of an application—something like the number of requests an application is handling per second—and uses that information, along with a set of governing rules specific to the application, to determine an optimum number of servers to run the application. The infrastructure of the application then automatically adjusts the number of servers the application is actually running on to match that optimum number. Basically, the application dynamically adds or removes servers from the application infrastructure in order to balance the needs of the application against the costs of running the application.

Amazon Web Services, for example, has an Auto Scaling service that performs this capability. You specify the metrics you want to use to determine the proper size for the application, along with the rules necessary to determine the specific optimal number of servers, and Auto Scaling automatically launches and terminates servers as needed to meet that optimal number. Newly created servers are automatically provisioned and configured to run the application required, and Auto Scaling can also automatically perform standard actions such as adding and removing servers from the application load balancer as needed.

Scaling for your digital moments of truth

Think for a minute about the most important moments for your digital business—your digital moments of truth. Think about the needs of your business and imagine the times when the largest number of your customers need to interact with you the most. Do you have enough servers allocated to satisfy the load requirements for all those customers? With a properly configured Auto Scaling service, you can enable the infrastructure itself to automatically manage itself to meet your needs—even at the most critical moments—and you can rest assured that when your application needs additional resources, those resources will be available.

Auto Scaling is but one example of the dynamic cloud implementing a dynamic infrastructure in order to allow your application to scale to meet your digital moments of truth. There are plenty of other ways as well, including dynamic computing using services such as AWS Lambda, and dynamic allocation of queues, buckets, and other data paths. What do all of these methods have in common? They all require resources that are dynamically created and destroyed automatically by your application infrastructure.

Monitoring and managing the dynamic cloud

How can you make sure all of this is functioning correctly? By using a tool that understands and can monitor your dynamic infrastructure. A tool such as the New Relic Digital Intelligence Platform.

Want to learn more about dynamic infrastructure and the dynamic cloud—and about how New Relic can work with you to keep your dynamic application functioning normally? Take a look at some of the resources below.

Related dynamic cloud resources:

Lee is Senior Director of Strategic Architecture at New Relic, where his job is to understand and drive the industry in the areas of cloud architecture, microservices, scalability, and availability. He is the author of the O’Reilly book Architecting for Scale and author of the blog Lee@Scale. Lee has 28 years of industry experience and over a decade of building high-scale Web applications, having worked for seven years at Amazon and four at New Relic. View posts by .

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