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Amazon AWS Cloud Auto Scaling Service: A Closer Look

Jeff Barr

The scalability of cloud has always been one of its greatest assets. The latest offering from Amazon Web Services looks to take that asset to the next level.

As a project or workload consumes more resources you can scale up to meet those needs and roll it back when they’re no longer necessary. This helps save companies money and resources. Amazon has been offering scalable tools since 2006 when it launched Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2), simultaneously offering Elastic Load Balancing, EC2 Auto Scaling, and Amazon CloudWatch.

Following that, the company launched services like ECS, Spot Fleets, DynamoDB, Aurora, and more, all with Auto Scaling. It also added target tracking and other similar features to help users scale based on various metrics.

But part of the problem was always integrating the various services. Sure, they could all scale, but ensuring that each AWS tool was scaling appropriately took some extra work, setting up alarms and scaling actions for each resource and service. To tackle this problem, Amazon has introduced AWS Auto Scaling – a tool that allows the use of Auto Scaling features of multiple AWS services from a single user interface.

Amazon AWS Auto Scaling: How It Works

In a blog post week, Jeff Barr, chief evangelist for AWS, says the tool “operates on any desired EC2 Auto Scaling groups, EC2 Spot Fleets, ECS tasks, DynamoDB tables, DynamoDB Global Secondary Indexes, and Aurora Replicas that are part of your application, as described by an AWS CloudFormation stack or in AWS Elastic Beanstalk.”

This allows users to set different priorities, Barr asserts. Maybe they want to optimize for availability while keeping resources in reserve in order to meet sudden spikes in demand. Or maybe they’re more interested in optimizing for cost. Or, more likely, they’ll aim for a middle ground with some spare capacity just in case. In any case, AWS Auto Scaling creates scaling policies on the user’s behalf.

The service is available in many regions already, including parts of the United States, Europe, and Asia. The company isn’t charging for the service, with users only paying for the CloudWatch Alarms it creates and any additional AWS resources used.

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