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HCL Unica Interact, a powerful customer interaction management platform, offers a unique autoscaling feature to ensure optimal performance and resource management with Cloud Native Deployments. We leverage autoscaling capabilities that ensure the maintenance of a seamless customer experience, adapting dynamically to varying workloads and resource demands.

Autoscaling refers to the automated process of dynamically adjusting the computing resources allocated to an application or infrastructure based on real-time demand. It is commonly used in cloud computing and container orchestration platforms to manage the scalability of applications, ensuring they can efficiently handle varying workloads.

Understanding HCL Unica Interact Custom Autoscaling (v1)

By gaining a deeper understanding of HCL Unica Interact Autoscaling, businesses can ensure seamless operations of their customer interaction management system, even in the face of fluctuating workloads, ultimately enhancing customer engagement and satisfaction.

1. Unica Interact QoS Centric Autoscaling
Ensuring a high-quality customer experience is paramount. Unica Interact takes Quality of Service (QoS) seriously when it comes to autoscaling. If API calls experience response times exceeding predefined thresholds, autoscaling will not be initiated. This proactive approach preserves quality of service even during peak workloads. Thresholds can be configured in the Unica helm chart.

2. Fine-Tuned Autoscaling: Empowering Control
Unica Interact Helm chart configurations enable fine control over the autoscaling process to meet specific needs. It is possible to define scaling thresholds directly in the helm charts. Additionally, this solution offers granular control, enabling us to disable individual Unica autoscaler modules (scheduling, QoS, etc.).

3. Unica Interact Session-Driven Autoscaling
One of the key features of Unica Interacts autoscaling is its ability to intelligently scale down pods considering active sessions. By continuously monitoring active sessions on each application pod, Unica Interact guarantees a safe and controlled autoscaling process.

4. Time-Aware Autoscaling
Autoscaling operations can be intelligently scheduled to run at specific times of the day. By doing so, autoscaling can be configured to activate during non-peak workload hours and, conversely, remain dormant during periods of high demand. This scheduling capability can be easily configured using a properties file, allowing for efficient resource management.

Configuring Autoscaling for Unica Interact on OpenShift

  1. Complete the pre-requisites below:
    • OpenShift Cluster
    • Unica Deployed on OpenShift
    • Unica Interact and Interact Manager v 12.1.7 Docker Images
    • Unica Interact Helm Charts & Chart configurations.
    • Persistent Volume mount - NFS
    • OpenShift Routes
    • Metrics Server
  2. Request (via support ticket) updated Unica Helm charts with Interact Manager for Autoscaling
  3. Configure hcl-unica-interact-manager-env configMap variables to set thresholds for AutoScaling.
  4. Run helm upgrade command: helm upgrade unica hcl-unica -n project

Unica Interact Custom Autoscaling

Unica Interact Custom Autoscaling process is completely configuration driven and is based on essential criteria and thresholds configured in the helm charts.

Unica Interact pods gracefully scale down when specific criteria are met. For instance, in a scenario with three replicas of Interact, if the average CPU utilization falls below the configured threshold as defined in the configMap, Unica performs additional verification, including checking the number of active sessions and Quality of Service (QoS) before initiating the scale-down process. Prior to scaling down, the affected pod is marked for deletion, and subsequently, the deployment is scaled down in a controlled and organized manner.

Furthermore, pod scale-down operations can be scheduled on a DAILY, WEEKLY, or WEEKEND basis at specified times using the configuration variables within the configMap. This scheduling capability serves to prevent the scaling down of applications during peak load periods, effectively reducing operational risks.

Likewise, the Interact auto-scale-up process is equally seamless. The allocation of additional resources is determined by factors such as Memory/CPU utilization and adherence to Quality of Service standards.

Unica Interact Helm chart configurations enable fine control over the autoscaling process to meet specific requirements. This solution offers granular control, enabling us to disable individual Unica autoscaler modules.

The image inline showcases Unica Interact deployment with Multiple Interact Server Groups on OpenShift using Unica Helm Charts. Each server group is equipped with its own distinct configurations, efficiently managed through individual configMaps for each group.

Unica Interact Pod Metrics on OpenShift: Image depicts a graphical view of Pod Memory and CPU usage for each Interact Pod on Openshift. These real-time metrics are collected by the Interact Manager Pod and deployments are scaled if the criteria are met.

After a pod scales up, the auto-registration process for Interact pods becomes fully automated. With each scale-up, pods are automatically registered within the Unica configuration. Similarly, during scale-down operations, pod deregistration is also automated. This streamlined process guarantees the seamless scaling of Interact pods, optimizing the platform's adaptability to varying workloads.

Key Benefits:

  1. Efficient Resource Utilization: Autoscaling optimizes resource allocation by adding or removing pods as needed, reducing infrastructure costs during periods of low demand.
  2. Improved Application Performance: By automatically scaling resources in response to increased traffic, your application remains responsive and highly available, delivering a seamless user experience.
  3. Cost Savings: Autoscaling helps control cloud resource costs by shutting down underutilized resources when they're not needed.
  4. Enhanced Reliability: With autoscaling, your application is less vulnerable to resource exhaustion, ensuring consistent performance and reliability.
  5. Simplified Operations: Manual scaling can be error-prone and time-consuming. Autoscaling automates this process, freeing up your team to focus on more strategic tasks.

Challenges and Considerations:

While autoscaling offers numerous benefits, it's important to consider potential challenges:

  1. Resource constraints: Autoscaling may require additional resources in your cluster to accommodate new pods, so be sure to monitor your cluster's capacity.
  2. Latency: Rapid scaling can lead to increased pod initialization times, affecting application response times.
  3. Cost management: Although autoscaling can save costs by reducing idle resources, it can also lead to increased costs during traffic spikes if not configured correctly.

Security and Compliance Considerations

Unica docker images are built upon RHEL UBI images. HCL Unica is diligent about incorporating the latest RHEL UBI updates, ensuring that the deployment is fortified against known CVE (Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures).

The process of fixing CVE vulnerabilities is part of Unica's commitment to security. By keeping your Unica docker images current, you benefit from the latest security patches and safeguards against potential threats.

In summary, with regular updates, CVE mitigation, and adherence to industry standards, Unica applications are secured.

Closing Thoughts

Autoscaling Interact deployments on OpenShift/Kubernetes allows your infrastructure to adapt to changing workloads seamlessly, ensuring optimal resource utilization, performance, and cost-efficiency. While implementing autoscaling may require careful planning and monitoring, the benefits far outweigh the challenges, making Unica Interact Auto-scaler essential for efficient scaling in a dynamic environment.

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Marketing & Commerce | December 20, 2023
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