Before we can properly define autoscaling (auto-scaling), we must first explain the different types of scaling since autoscaling only applies to a specific type of scaling in the cloud. Remember, "scaling" refers to the ability to grow or shrink an object or set of objects. Scaling provides a means of changing the server sizes or quantity of servers to meet your application's demands. The ability to efficiently scale up or down is one of the key benefits of the cloud. And when combined with the monitoring and alert tools of the RightScale platform, you can truly harness the power of the cloud by dynamically scaling, automatically, based on predefined alert conditions (autoscaling).
Scaling is the ability to increase/decrease compute capacity either by launching additional servers or changing server sizes.
Below is a summary of the two types of scaling:
The ability to autoscale only applies to horizontal scaling. In the RightScale platform, autoscaling is achieved by setting up scalable server arrays, as well as defining the alert conditions under which additional servers will be launched or terminated. You can set up two different types of server arrays for autoscaling purposes:
Although autoscaling might seem like the preferred method for scaling in the cloud, manual scaling is definitely a preferred method for certain use cases. For example, vertical scaling typically involves making significant changes to a server's core configuration. Therefore, it's better to perform such changes manually. Remember, when you set up scalable server arrays for (horizontal) autoscaling purposes, you're not changing an existing server's configuration. Rather, you are simply adding or subtracting compute resources based on changing demand metrics.
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