Easy application scaling with the IBM PureApplication System

The IBM PureApplication System is a great platform to rapidly deliver applications to users. Traditional Java web applications can be easily deployed and scaled to match demand.

Applications for open enrollment, employee charitable contribution campaigns and employee surveys, among others, are examples of applications that have defined peak periods of usage and then sit near idle when not in use. Do you design and deploy in preparation for the peak? Or do you deploy to a platform that has elasticity beyond the ability to increase CPU and memory to a single virtual machine? It is important not to confuse platform (virtualization) elasticity with application elasticity.

Let’s consider a simple web application. The screenshot below illustrates how we can build a pattern that leverages an enterprise Active Directory, a DB2 database and a WebSphere Application Server tier, which we can configure to scale automatically based on demand and deprovision resources as the utilization decreases. We can do this with the PureApplication System automatically, with minimal configuration.

easy application scalingThe application topology is simple enough—we have all seen it before. Note the scaling policy icon. We added this to the pattern; it will allow us to apply and configure a scaling policy to the web application.

We can now configure the scaling policy for this application.

scaling policy

For scaling type we selected “Response Time Based”; however there are multiple scaling types. You can select Static, CPU Based, Response Time Based or Web to DB. For response-time-based scaling we can configure the web response time threshold range in milliseconds and the minimum time (in seconds) to trigger add or remove. This specifies the time duration condition to start scaling activity.

Once this pattern is deployed this policy will be enforced to allow scaling in and out dynamically based on response time. No additional configuration is required, and in addition we can monitor the application through the PureApplication System console to understand application performance.

The IBM PureApplication System and the virtual application patterns can simplify application scaling strategies with built-in expertise and minimal configuration. For applications that have high peaks but a short shelf life, it allows you to scale as demand grows without deploying infrastructure for the peak.


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Christopher Ceska

About Christopher Ceska

Christopher Ceska is a Software Architect with IBM Corporation. As an Architect for IBM Chris defines the structures of solutions to address client business problems. Chris works with client’s to assess the needs and business constraints, works in levels of abstraction, applies industry knowledge, and leverages appropriate business elements and information technology to address those needs. Chris has broad experience across many technology sets, and services, and various architectural styles and domains. Prior to IBM, Chris has held leadership positions in numerous start-ups and early stage ventures. He has also worked in tier 1 consulting, as an advisor for Internet services ventures. He started his career in technology at Cleveland based information services provider, which grew into a dial-up Internet provider. Chris is known inside IBM for approaching problems in new ways. Chris has a B.S. and M.S. in Computer Science. Chris lives in Cleveland Heights, Ohio.