We all are aware of the concept of ‘rentals’. Renting a house means having a contract to stay in a property for a defined time interval and paying only for the facilities provided by the landlord. Similar is the concept of cloud infrastructure. There is a cloud service provider (landlord) who has a house (cloud infrastructure) with a set of services to serve the IT world. Businesses (the tenants) avail these services provided by the cloud provider and pay only for what they use. Here, the services may range anywhere from hardware, storage, network, and software.
Cloud infrastructure is the term used to describe the delivery of computing services, including servers, storage, databases, software, networking, analytics, and intelligence, usually delivered over the internet. The benefits of a cloud infrastructure include a reduced CapEx and OpEx cost, resource availability in different geographic areas, no upfront capacity planning, pay-as-you-go models, etc. Since the cloud resources are available with a 99.9% uptime guarantee, they are best suited for business continuity, high availability & disaster recovery as well.
A cloud infrastructure differentiates from traditional, on-premise data centres in terms of system architecture and service delivery models. Cloud infrastructure is available off-premise and the resources are virtually accessed through the internet. These resources are provisioned to the end-users, located at varied geographical locations.
In the latter segment of this article, we will be discussing various components of a cloud infrastructure in detail, covering their characteristics, along with service & deployment models. So, let’s get started.
Prime Components of a Cloud Infrastructure
There are for major components that make up a cloud infrastructure:
Consider the network as a communication channel, which is responsible for transmitting information between the client’s front-end devices and the cloud backend system. The network resources include firewalls, virtual routers, bandwidth, network management software, and various other tools that are available, as required.
These cloud networking resources minimize the investment required for setting up the network management devices. The cloud service providers manage, secures, and maintains the network while the businesses that access these services can customize and scale the network resources, on-demand.
While the cloud infrastructure exists virtually, it is powered by server hardware. The cloud network is made up of a variety of physical hardware components that are located at multiple geographical locations.
Allocation of these hardware resources is done through virtualization, which is the technology responsible for connecting the servers together, dividing and abstracting the resources. The hardware components are built with redundancy and flexibility so that any security, availability, or performance issues with the cloud infrastructure do not hamper the end-user experience.
Another critical component of cloud infrastructure is the storage system. At the cloud data centers, a variety of data is saved in different storage devices, with the facility to maintain backups, and scale the storage allocation, as the demand strikes. Primarily, there are three types of storage formats:
Block Storage: In this approach, the data is split into blocks and is stored across different storage systems with a unique address. These multiple instances of data are known as blocks. This type of storage system is most suitable for static data assets.
Object Storage: In this case, each piece of data is designated as an object and is kept in separate storehouses. The data is stored with metadata and a unique identifier. This storage format is suitable for dynamic data assets.
File Storage: This is a hierarchical storage format wherein the data is stored as a piece of information in a folder.
Virtualization is the technology that separates the IT services and functions from the hardware. Using the hypervisor software, the virtual machines are separated from the OS and the hardware resources are allocated to the virtual machines. These virtual resources are assigned to centralized pools called clouds and these clouds give the benefit of self-service access, dynamic resource pools, and automated infra scaling.
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These components of cloud infrastructure can be accessed through different cloud service models, named Platform as a Service (PaaS), Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), and Software as a Service (SaaS). A detailed overview and comparison of these models can be checked in one of our previous articles here.
Types of Cloud Infrastructure:
There are three types of cloud infrastructure: Public, Private, and Hybrid. No matter which cloud infrastructure your business selects, the components will remain the same.
A private cloud is the cloud environment that is dedicated to a single end-user or a group. Any cloud becomes a private cloud if the underlying IT infrastructure is used by a single customer. On the contrary, in a public cloud, the IT infrastructure is shared by multiple users. Here, the infrastructure is partitioned and distributed amongst different users. Some of the common examples of public cloud include Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, IBM Cloud, Alibaba Cloud, etc. In a hybrid cloud environment, there is at least one private and 1 public cloud. A hybrid cloud is basically a single entity that combines both public and private clouds.
Planning to Move your Infrastructure to Cloud?
Cloud infrastructure certainly has numerous benefits and that is why businesses are moving their IT infrastructure to the cloud. However, to make cloud services profitable, it is important to choose the right services and cloud model, according to the business requirements.
If you’re planning to migrate to the cloud, then set-up a free consultation session with our cloud experts who would guide your way and help you in the selection of the right cloud model, resources, and infrastructure. Along with this, our experienced team can aid you in the migration of data and application in the least downtime possible.