Today, more and more companies opt for clouds because of ample possibilities in software development, workflow optimization and dynamic infrastructure scaling. To align with changing business demands, a cloud infrastructure should be scalable, resilient and flexible. Building such systems requires considering specific needs of workloads, users and operating costs when designing cloud architecture.
Speaking about cloud architecture we mean some kind of a plan that describes the design of system components and their connection to each other. Or, in other words, how individual technologies are integrated together to form a cloud.
Whereas cloud infrastructure is a physical representation of this plan. It is about actual set of components – hardware, operational systems and virtual resources that deliver the services for computing, storage, network and middleware. Public clouds abstract those physical resources and deliver them as services that can be easily scaled according to customers’ workloads.
Cloud infrastructure components
Cloud environments have two sides: the front end and the back end. The front end or UI is the visible part that customers use to interact with the cloud. The back end is the driving force behind the cloud. It is made up of physical hardware – data center equipment, virtualization, and networking devices – that runs the cloud. The front end relies on middleware to communicate with the back end. Whether on-premises or through a cloud provider, your back-end cloud infrastructure includes the following components:
Hardware forms the basis of any cloud. Cloud network is made up of physical hardware that can be located in different geographic zones. The hardware includes network equipment, such as switches, routers, firewalls and load balancers, storages, backup devices, and servers. Virtualization connects the servers while abstracting the resources to make them available for customers.
This is probably the key aspect of cloud infrastructure. The software called hypervisor resides on top of hardware and abstracts away the server’s resources such as memory, computing capacity and storage. The resources are further on consolidated intro centralized pools, or clouds, and allocated between customers by means of automation and management tools.
Cloud storage services allow companies store and manage data using off-site file servers instead of building their own physical datacenters. Storage space is abstracted from actual hardware by means of virtualization and can be accessed via internet or queried by other applications deployed in the cloud.
As cloud resources are delivered to users via internet, cloud vendors create and maintain virtual networks that make it possible. Cloud networks are built on top of physical equipment, such as wires, switches, load balancers and routers that makes for high availability of cloud infrastructure whenever customers need it.
Principles of effective cloud architecture
The basic rule when deciding on a cloud architecture type is to proceed from your unique workload needs and business goals. Whatever type of cloud architecture you might choose, it should provide you with reliable performance.
Start with assessing your existing environments and business needs. Exploring the questions below will help your team make an effective strategy.
- Gather information on your existing workloads. Where do your applications currently run, and who uses them? Are there any bottlenecks in compute performance, memory or networking?
- Assess your overall cloud usage. Are your existing cloud resources enough to meet your operating needs? Is your cloud infrastructure underused because it was designed with peak workloads in mind? Or, on the contrary, do you have to scale up to accommodate new workloads?
- Consider resiliency and the ways to implement it. Do you need to use multiple cloud vendors?
Understanding how your cloud performs and how your business needs evolve over time will help you make better decision on where to reside your applications. You can also determine the necessity of modernizing your local infrastructure to support a desirable cloud design.
Why building with SHALB
Choosing the right type of cloud architecture is a key part of the effective cloud strategy. At SHALB, we build effective cloud architectures by following best practices in the cloud, including infrastructure automation, modeling and design for performance and scaling, load balancing, redundancy of key components, and security by design. All this helps our customers unlock the full potential of hybrid and multi-cloud computing.