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Easily Scale Your Cloud With Rackspace Auto Scale

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The biggest benefit of the cloud is its ability to scale. Today, we make that easier with Unlimited Availability of Rackspace Auto Scale—a new tool that empowers you to grow or shrink your cloud dynamically. The product is offered for free to Rackspace customers, though you will still be charged for the cloud servers you utilize in scaling.

Auto Scale is driven by Schedule-based and Event-based policies, each with its own unique characteristics:

Schedule-based

You should consider Auto Scale when you expect significant additional demand on your application at specific times. For example:

  • A holiday season sales boost on your e-commerce site
  • A major sales promotion on a specific day or for a period of time – ie. from a Super Bowl advertisement
  • During the day when more people are using your app, and during the night when most of your users are asleep

Event-based

You can also use Rackspace Auto Scale when you are monitoring your servers and detect that you need to add or reduce capacity based on the load. For example:

  • Use Rackspace Cloud Monitoring to monitor individual server load and trigger a policy based on a threshold
  • Use third party monitoring systems such as Nagios and trigger a policy based on a threshold
  • Use Rackspace Cloud Monitoring with an available plug-in to monitor queue length and trigger a policy based on threshold

To accomplish Event-based scaling up or down, Rackspace Auto Scale generates a webhook (capability URL) which can be used to invoke a specific scale-up or scale-down policy for a group of servers. By providing webhooks to your monitoring infrastructure, the size of your infrastructure can adapt to customer usage automatically.

Setting up Auto Scale is simple.

  1. Create a Scaling Group — a group of servers that will grow, or shrink, in number according to your rules.
  2. Create Scaling Rules using Monitoring – if you will use events rather than a schedule to trigger scaling — what thresholds or events to watch for (CPU load, queue length, req/sec, etc).
  3. Create a Scaling Policy— this defines how much to grow or shrink capacity.  For schedule-based scaling, you would also define when to do so. Rackspace Auto Scale will take care of the rest.

To learn how simple it is to use Auto Scale in the Control Panel, take a look at the blog Start Using Auto Scale Today.

About the Author

This is a post written and contributed by Sanjay Sohoni.

Sanjay Sohoni is an SFO Racker and Senior Product Manager who works in the Rackspace product organization focusing on cloud platform services. He has always been passionate about building great software services and is learning how to contribute to OpenStack as a Product Manager. Sanjay has worked on enterprise products, developed database products for Enterprise markets, Application Service Provider(ASP) hosted products and recently consumer products in Yahoo! Finance. Sanjay loves connecting the dots – connecting people and products! When not working, Sanjay enjoys investing, traveling and learning about why things do what they do.


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  • makkkkkkkk

    Mr Sohoni, I asked your employees around July if this specific feature was coming and no one had an answer so we moved our operations to amazon aws.

    In general we were happy with rackspace, i wish you guys give your employees information about upcoming features so they can pass it down to us.

    We had 10 8gig server + a physical database server and now they are at amazon… what a shame.

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