Engineering

Why We Love the Cloud (and So Should You)

Posted June 20, 2016
By Nick Hatt

 

In a previous post titled “3 Questions to ask your healthcare API vendor”, I  touched on why we don’t use an off-the-shelf interface engine for Redox. In this post, I want to dig deeper into why I’m so passionate about this.

The True Power of the Cloud

If you’ve never been exposed to Amazon’s AWS whitepapers, it’s a mind-bending experience—you see the most important idea from the last 10 years unfold in front of your eyes. One list in this particular whitepaper caught my eye:

Characteristics of a truly scalable application:

  • Increasing resources results in a proportional increase in performance
  • A scalable service is capable of handling heterogeneity
  • A scalable service is operationally efficient
  • A scalable service is resilient
  • A scalable service should become more cost effective when it grows (cost per unit reduces       as the number of units increases)

This list in an of itself is worthy of a Redox whitepaper, but I want to hammer home some key points.

Increasing Resources Results in a Proportional Increase in Performance

Our biz dev team is super sharp, and people often ask very pointed questions about how our technology works and why it’s different than buying an off-the-shelf integration engine. The most convincing argument I can make is one of performance.

Redox was conceived of and designed as a cloud-first platform. We can scale automatically based on load, and each worker we add results in a proportional performance increase. The guts of Redox works like a conveyor belt, with each message going through several processing steps. Adding more horizontal computer power gives us more parallel conveyor belts to work with.

A traditional Interface engine is not designed this way—it runs on a fixed conveyor belt, and if it gets too crowded, you need to speed up the conveyor belt or build a new factory.

A Scalable Service is Resilient

While we’re working on our version of Netflix’s Chaos Monkey, traditional interface engines are busy updating their “recommended system requirements.” The beauty of the cloud is that computation is a commodity, and it goes down in price when you scale!

This is not to say that the traditional route of a big application can’t be made resilient, it’s just that it’s so much more natural in a smart cloud architecture.

A Scalable Service Should Become More Cost Effective When It Grows

This trait of a scalable system is intuitive when it comes to buying computing power from the cloud, but it has implications for the Redox ecosystem as well.

The real value of Redox is close to being realized: re-using existing connections from a health system for multiple apps. Health systems have instantly taken a new project off their plate, and the second application is up and running in minutes, not weeks.