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When talking about things like "building your systems/applications around the cloud" or "using cloud technology for scalability", is "cloud-scaling" (from a provider eg. Amazon) this:

  1. When placing your (eg.) web application into an AWS data-centre located within your office-region, the folks working at AWS have some type of monitoring technology that monitors resource-usage of your application and automatically scales up (or down) the resources when they reach a bottleneck (for example, RAM is hitting 92%, so their monitoring tech automatically provisions an extra 2GB and dynamically adds it to your current instance to prevent application-failure)

  2. Using the example above, but this time, "cloud-scaling" is referring to the ability of your own (or some sys-admin provider) to manually (and much more easily) scale up/down your resources as needed (without any auto-adjusting monitoring technology doing that job)

Which one of the 2 options is it?

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Neither.

As long as your system runs on a single machine, you're not doing cloud scaling. In the context of cloud computing, scalability means horizontal scaling.

Thus, "cloud scalability" means that you can add more machines to your system to increase its capacity, and doing this should be relatively easy. Ideally, it would even happen automatically, but personally I wouldn't say that's strictly necessary.

  • @raptortech97: that AWS can do it doesn't necessarily mean your application can do it. – Michael Borgwardt Oct 13 '14 at 14:23
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    Yeah, I agree with Michael. When apps are constructed, they're built on certain assumptions. If one of those assumptions isn't "This app needs to be easily deployed to multiple servers, and still function coherently", then your app isn't "cloud-scalable". For example, let's say your app looks at a file in some \usr\ folder for start-up settings, and those settings have to be globally unique for the app to work. This app isn't particularly cloud-scalable, because now someone has to manually build this file and make sure its values are unique when it gets deployed to server #2 of the cloud. – Calphool Oct 13 '14 at 19:20

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