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How to restore cloud bandwidth within shared resources

We are a small company interested in AWS, but have heard we could encounter noisy neighbor issues. Are there ways to mitigate cloud bandwidth troubles?

The noisy neighbor problem occurs on shared resources when one or more VMs on a physical server consume a disproportionate...

amount of resources. In general, noisy neighbor is a potential issue with any public cloud service provider, so customers of all sizes need to understand their options for detecting and mitigating problems with cloud bandwidth.

Unfortunately, AWS does not provide detailed information about Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) instances running on servers. End users request dedicated instances so that only EC2 instances launched from the same account will run on the same physical server. This is often used as a security practice to avoid sharing physical devices with other users. Dedicated instances won't give you more information about the number of processes running on a server. AWS charges additional fees for dedicated servers.

Pinpoint cloud bandwidth trouble spots

An alternative is to implement monitoring procedures that can identify poorly performing instances impacting cloud bandwidth. For example, an enterprise might have a load-balanced cluster running six to 10 servers with Auto Scaling configured to adjust the number of servers according to load. The company would have to run this cluster for some time and have baseline data on what to expect in terms of performance, especially with regards to disk I/O.

If a CloudWatch metric falls below a specified threshold, you could automatically shut down the poorly performing server. The load balancer and Auto Scaling will adapt and route traffic to the remaining servers and add a new instance, if needed. This method helps to mitigate the noisy neighbor problem and fixes cloud bandwidth issues by replacing underperforming instances with new ones.

But many small organizations often lack the resources and skills needed to design, configure and maintain a self-adjusting infrastructure that can mitigate cloud bandwidth troubles. Third-party services offer this type of monitoring and server management, but small companies still need to design their architectures appropriately. They also need to automate deployments using configuration management tools.

Next Steps

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This was last published in November 2015

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