Explain "elastic scalable computing"

Being in the traditional world of virtualization I don't catch most of the modern buzzwords... Lately I've been confused by developers saying things like just fire up another instance of it and it will scale. AWS seems to be a vm with java inside performing some sort of magic enabling this scaling to happen.... Who here can connect the dots for me?
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Gerwin Jansen, EE MVEConnect With a Mentor Topic Advisor Commented:
Elastic is used by the Amazon cloud, see here for details: http://aws.amazon.com/ec2/
This could be if the app recognizes (is configured to find) (maybe via a network broadcast), a "master", or a partner, or is configured to be found. (master or peers do broadcasts)

term definition:  instance= copy of application ie. websphere, apache, etc etc
    Or possibly java app within WAS.

AWS (assuming this is Amazon Web Service), while I know nothing about it, could easily do this.. (instance being additional process  on a new physical machine, VM/lpar, or even additional processes within the same VM/lpar).

if the load balancer on the front end, can dynamically adjust it's distribution to include this new "instance", then you have now just scaled horizontally

But, the app has to be written for it.

It could be that it's not quite that "automagic", and you have to start a new instance, followed by some configuration work on the load-balancer/peers

but, what's being implied is, that workload can be spread across multiple copies of the program running potentially on different hosts with no particular limit, thus, just adding more will add capacity to the app.

did that help?
ThaidogAuthor Commented:
Well I get that much... it's the "elastic" part I'm grasping at... how is the instance "just fired up"? And I guess scaled back when the demand dies... but it how? It has been implied to me that this is automated somehow - but I don't know how. I'm trying to figure out what magic AWS uses to accomplish that specifically.
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