One of the biggest hurdles to widespread cloud computing adoption remains a lack of understanding of the technology. As people become more familiar with the concepts underlying cloud computing, trust in cloud technology will naturally rise.
A frequent cause of confusion in regards to cloud computing is the infrastructure. Individuals do not understand how they interact with the cloud since it is not a physical resource. The answer is through cloud infrastructure, which itself is typically rendered as a service.
Cloud computing involves the delivery of computing services like storage or software over the internet using virtual resources. The infrastructure for a particular system is the platform through which everything gets delivered.
The Relationship between Cloud Infrastructure and Computing
The term “cloud infrastructure” actually refers to a collection of resources used to build cloud-based applications. These resources include application software, networking equipment, storage, and server hardware. All hardware and software components need to be integrated for the seamless implementation of a cloud computing model.
When all the infrastructure is in place, organizations have on-demand access to computing resources. Providing this infrastructure as a service involves the dissociation of resources from physical hardware through a process known as virtualization.
This process makes it possible to create several virtual environments from one single physical system. Thus, resources can get pulled to simulate virtual machines or environments organizations then use as needed.
Cloud infrastructure becomes the building blocks for a cloud computing model. The essential components include hardware, storage, and virtualization.
Hardware components like firewalls, routers, networking equipment, and backup devices are placed strategically to keep the model working seamlessly by maintaining the connection between servers and virtualized resources. Storage allows for an organization’s data to be accessed anywhere at any point.
Virtualization helps abstract computing resources from physical infrastructure and pool them virtually. Through virtualization, cloud computing becomes scalable because it is always possible to change resource allocation. In other words, if more storage is suddenly needed for a cloud application, it is possible to virtualize or allocate more data storage in seconds.
The Different Types and Models of Cloud Infrastructure Available
There are various types of cloud infrastructures and it is important to understand the differences when creating a new cloud system. A basic division is between private and public cloud infrastructure.
Private clouds are used and managed by one organization and it gets managed by an in-house IT team. This architectural model is more secure and provides additional control and flexibility, but it also more expensive.
Public cloud infrastructure uses third-party resources to lower costs. Several organizations will use a single cloud platform, which introduces some security risks. Hybrid solutions are also available, but they require extensive planning and additional maintenance overhead.
Various models for delivering cloud infrastructure also exist. Infrastructure-as-a-service has become a key model. This model involves third-party hosted hardware provided for users in a virtualized environment to create an on-demand resource allocation system. Users pay only for the resources they use.
Organizations can also opt for the platform-as-a-service model, which delivers complete cloud infrastructure along with software resources like testing platforms and operating systems. With this solution, users can build and deploy their own cloud applications.
Finally, there is the software-as-a-service model that involves cloud infrastructure provided through a web application, which removes the need for in-house maintenance. The service provider takes care of the application.
The Pros and Cons of Utilizing Cloud Infrastructure
Using cloud infrastructure comes with a number of benefits. The key benefit is the cost. With cloud infrastructure, it is not necessary to build and manage physical data centers or servers, which is a massive investment. Virtualized resources help cut down on operational costs.
Vendors who provide cloud infrastructure take security very seriously and offer up-to-date protection for data, as well as services like disaster recovery and backups. Furthermore, cloud infrastructure is very scalable and agile.
Since resources in this infrastructure can be accessed and used on demand, organizations can use as much or as little as necessary. Thus, sudden spikes in application access will not prove a problem, which ultimately drives reliability.
Along with these benefits, there are some challenges in using a cloud infrastructure that organizations should recognize. Often, organizations using cloud infrastructure create multiple cloud environments. However, managing multiple cloud environments can become quite complex, especially if organizations work across geographies and use very tools and processes at different times.
Another challenge that can come up is internet availability. Cloud infrastructure provides a great deal of flexibility, but it also requires a stable internet connection and glitches can cause applications to fail. In addition, connectivity problems can affect access to critical data.
The other drawback to be aware of has to do with vendors. The vendor chosen for cloud infrastructure may be the best option at point A but not down the line at point B. Migrating between providers can involve a significant expense and cause business downtime.