Elasticity is a relatively new term, introduced with cloud computing, that expands on traditional notions of scalability. Where scalability focuses on expansion or growth of a resource, elasticity also implies the reverse: the ability to contract available resources. Elasticity is considered superior to traditional scalability because it attempts to exactly match resources to demand. Doing so eliminates costly over-provisioning methods used in the past, which ensured the capacity to meet sudden spikes in demand, and improves utilization for a better return on investment.
While elasticity as an operating and business model initially focused on applications, it has become evident that infrastructure services like load balancing and identity and access management must also be elastic. Applications are not islands and cannot properly adapt to demand if the services upon which they are dependent do not also expand and contract to meet demand. As more business environments share critical core services such as identity and access management, a failure to properly scale in the face of overwhelming demand by a single application can have a domino effect across the data center, impacting tens or hundreds of other applications.
A multi-tenant architecture is a requirement for scaling all aspects of business operations. The desire to share infrastructure is noble, but compliance and security concerns may require the same level of isolation on a per-application or businessunit basis as is present in public cloud provider environments. Traditional network infrastructure simply does not support such isolation, and thus presents a challenge for the efficiency and cost-minded organization.
F5® ScaleN™ technology breaks away from the traditional infrastructure scalability model and introduces a more efficient, elastic, and multi-tenant solution that meets the challenges and demands of modern data center architectures. It further expands the ways in which elasticity can be achieved, offering multiple scalability models to better meet the specific needs of organizations across a wide spectrum of industries.