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The Art of Capacity Planning by John Allspaw

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Cloud Computing

The concept of packaging up computing resources (computation, storage) into rentable units, like power and telephone utilities, isn't a new one. Virtualization technologies have spawned an entire industry of computing "utility" providers, who leverage the efficiencies inherent in virtualization to build what are known as clouds. Cloud service providers then make those resources available on a cost-per-usage basis via an API, or other means. Since cloud computing and storage essentially takes some of the infrastructure deployment and management out of the hands of the developer, using cloud infrastructure can be an attractive alternative to running your own servers. But as with virtualization, you lose some of the ability to monitor and precisely measure your usage.

Computing Resource Evolutions

No matter how you look at it, your website needs computing and storage resources. Somewhere—whether in your direct and total control or not—a server will need to respond to client requests for data, and those requests may need some amount of computation and data retrieval.

Virtualization has been around almost as long as computing. At one time, computers were seen as equipment only managed by large financial, educational, or research institutions. Since computers were extremely expensive, IBM and other manufacturers built large-scale minicomputers and mainframes to handle processing for multiple users at once, utilizing many of the virtualization concepts still in use today. ...

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