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What is Cloud Computing Architecture?

April 5, 2018 No Comments

Featured article by Catherine Hernandez, Independent Technology Author

hands on 300x199 What is Cloud Computing Architecture?

Cloud computing is transforming the way we think about computation. It’s already big business: Microsoft and Amazon together have more than 4 million servers in their cloud computing networks.

Cloud computing is getting so much buzz because it provides distinct advantages over more traditional computing models. And understanding how this technology works is essential if you want to keep up.

This article will tell you what cloud computing is, and more importantly, what cloud computing architecture is. Because without cloud computing architecture, the cloud is nothing more than an abstract concept.

So read on to learn the basics of cloud computing and cloud computing architecture.

What is Cloud Computing?

Cloud computing is a fairly abstract concept. So, rather than worrying about the technical details of cloud computing, it’s easier to focus on understanding it’s key characteristics.

The National Institute of Standards and Technologies defines cloud computing as any computing system with these five characteristics:

- on-demand self-service
- broad network access
- resource pooling
- rapid elasticity or expansion
- measured service

On-Demand Self-Service

The cloud service is always available; a client can login at any time.

Broad Network Access

Clients can access the cloud service from anywhere in the world as long as they have an internet connection.

Resource Pooling

This is one of the things that makes cloud computing so powerful. Clients share a single resource pool, meaning resources are distributed quickly and efficiently based on need.

Rapid Elasticity

Resources can be scaled very quickly, so the system can efficiently deal with increasing or decreasing demand.

Measured Service

The entire cloud system is monitored and overseen by a single cloud service provider.

These characteristics make cloud computing a great solution for carrying out complex calculations. Basically, the client uses the cloud to perform his or her desired operation, and the cloud provides resources accordingly.

If a client needs a lot of resources for a particularly difficult calculation, the cloud can provide those resources. And when that client isn’t using the cloud, those resources can be reallocated to a different client’s calculation.

Cloud computing is all about sharing and efficiency.

Cloud Computing Services

There are many different ways one might use cloud computing, but the three most popular are Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS), Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS), and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS).

An IaaS cloud computing company provides their cloud to clients so they can use it to carry out their own calculations.

A PaaS cloud computing company provides their cloud to clients with an attached runtime environment. The client will usually have access to a suite of tools on the cloud and the cloud will usually be optimized for specific applications.

A SaaS cloud computing company allows access to both their cloud and a specific software application to be run on the cloud. The client connects to the cloud, runs the software on the cloud, and downloads the results.

The advantages of cloud computing are clear. But how is a cloud computing service actually implemented? And how does a client actually access the cloud?

This is where cloud computing architecture comes in. Cloud computing architecture is how you transform your physical cloud into something that will actually provide value to your customers.

What is Cloud Computing Architecture?

Cloud computing architecture is the collection of components that are required for cloud computing. It’s the physical infrastructure that makes cloud computing a reality.

Cloud computing architecture can be divided into two parts: front end and back end.

The front end is what the client uses to access the cloud, and the back end is the cloud itself.

Front End

There are many different ways a client might access your cloud. The most common and simple way is through a web browser. But they might use a mobile app, or even what’s called a thin client.

A thin client is a bare-bones computer whose sole purpose is to access a cloud and use the cloud’s resources. Think of a Google Chromebook.

The front end doesn’t need to have a lot of processing power because the cloud takes care of all calculations.

The mediator between the front end and the back end is usually the internet. A client uses the internet (and any required security information) to connect their front-end device to the back end.

Back End

The back-end is where the magic happens. It is often made up of hundreds, thousands, or even millions of servers meshed together to provide both processing power and storage space. The back-end is also responsible for providing security to the system.

A central server monitors the entire system: receiving clients, directing traffic, and managing resources. This server runs on a type of software known as “middleware,” and its proper functioning is essential for the health of the cloud.

In many cases, servers on the back end will be partitioned using a technique called server virtualization. This process greatly increases the number of available units and allows the central server to more easily allocate resources.

Another important feature of the back end is that all data is duplicated. Servers sometimes fail, and when they do, you don’t want your data to disappear. This easy data duplication is another big advantage of cloud computing.

Cloud Computing Models

You might be wondering where all these servers are and who they belong to. Is the cloud computing company actually providing thousands or millions of servers to their clients? Well, sometimes, but not always.

There are four basic cloud computing models: private cloud, community cloud, public cloud, and hybrid cloud. In a private cloud, the company is, in fact, the private owner of all the servers, but in a public cloud, the servers are available to the general public.

To understand how these different models work, read more here.

The Power of Cloud Computing Architecture

Understanding and using cloud computing architecture is key to developing a robust cloud computing model. By decoupling the front end and the back end, you can expand and develop your back end as the needs of your clients and your company evolve.

Cloud computing is an extremely reliable and flexible way to serve clients. Understanding how it works is key, and leveraging cloud computing architecture will take your understanding to the next level.

Don’t stop there. Check out all the other great articles we have to offer about cloud computing and take your understanding to the next level.

About the Author

Catherine Hernandez is a freelance set decorator, shopper, stylist, and vintage seller. She loves to thrift shop, and hunt for vintage items and other treasures. Currently she lives in Los Angeles with her fiancé.



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