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What is auto-scaling?
Auto-scaling is a way to automatically scale up or down the number of cloud resources that are being allocated to your application based on its needs at any given time.
Before cloud computing, it was very difficult to scale a website, let alone figure out a way to automatically scale (autoscale) a server setup. In a traditional, dedicated hosting environment, you are limited by your hardware resources. Once those server resources are maxed out, your site will inevitably suffer from a performance perspective and possibly crash, thereby causing you to lose data and/or potential business. Auto Scale allows you to set up and configure the necessary trigger points, called alerts and alert escalations, so that you can create an automated setup that will automatically react to various monitored conditions when thresholds are exceeded.
If your application needs more computing power, you now have the ability to launch additional compute resources on-demand and use them for as long as you want, and then terminate them when they are no longer needed.
Why do I need autoscaling?
Autoscaling is useful whenever your site/application needs additional server resources to satisfy the number of page requests or processing jobs. Many people think about autoscaling in terms of handling sudden bursts or traffic spikes, but autoscaling is equally beneficial over the lifetime of your setup whether it’s one year or ten years. The key point is that you can now design a scalable architecture that will automatically scale-up or scale-down to meet your needs over the lifetime of your setup regardless of how fast/slow or big/small your site grows over that time.