Cloud Infrastructure – Why implement it and what is it?

Cloud infrastructure refers to the components necessary to maintain and support the cloud-computing model that is increasingly being implemented by IT departments across the globe. Cloud computing is a process where storage and networking services are supplied to the user via the public Internet or a private cloud network. This allows users to participate in and employ an IT infrastructure without the costs and other challenges associated with physical Infrastructure. Frequently, it is introduced in the form of on-demand services, which are also known as Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)—a standard method of cloud computing 

Cloud deployment models 

 

Besides the cloud computing services, you also need to determine the cloud deployment model. There are three ways in which you can deploy cloud computing services: private, public, and hybrid cloud. 

 

1. Private cloud  

Private cloud infrastructure is exclusively available to a single organization. This private network is either maintained on-premises in the organization’s datacenter or outsourced to an external provider. In the latter case, providers are contractually bound to provide computing, network, and storage resources for the organization’s use alone. Government agencies, medical offices, and financial institutions prefer a private cloud because it allows them to meet strict regulatory controls.

2. Public cloud  

In a public cloud infrastructure, organizations pay for their share of available computing resources from third-party vendors such as Amazon, Google, and Microsoft. Many tenants, as clients are called, use the public cloud to deploy their online services and applications as it ensures high availability and scalability without requiring any purchase of hardware or software. Many companies also provide development and test servers on the public cloud. 

 3. Hybrid cloud  

A hybrid cloud infrastructure combines the security and control of a private cloud with the reliability of the public cloud. In this type of cloud infrastructure, the private cloud is used when there is a need for security, for example, securing patient data, while the public cloud is used for high-volume tasks that require less strict security. Some organizations use a hybrid cloud because it doesn’t tie them to a private cloud—they can transition into the public cloud and provision more resources when needed. 

Cloud Infrastructure Means More Flexibility 

Cloud InfrastructureThe IaaS model offers one of the easiest, straightforward approaches to implementing cloud infrastructure at the workplace. It allows organizations to build out and manage Internet-accessible IT networks with customizable storage, processing, and networking resources. This generally allows for more plasticity when designing the Infrastructure. With the cloud, it becomes easy to establish, reconfigure, or remove network resources from any location without touching physical server resources. In contrast, physical Infrastructure needs to be set up or changed manually.

Rather than pay upfront capital costs to set up the IT network, cloud infrastructure allows the IT department to implement a pay-per-use model, where costs are more evenly distributed over time. The meteoric rise of cloud computing infrastructure is due in part to the substantial benefits it offers, such as increased scalability, optimized resources, and a flexible, pay-per-use model. 

Types of Cloud Infrastructures

Types of cloud infrastructures:

Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), and Software as a Service (SaaS) are three primary flavors when it comes to cloud computing services.

1. Infrastructure as a Service

With IaaS, the cloud vendor manages the entire IT infrastructure (compute, storage, and networking) for you. Users, in turn, access these services via dashboard or application programming interface (API) over the Internet. The organization, on the other hand, takes care of the operating system, middleware, and applications.

2. Platform as a Service

PaaS is a cloud computing service approach where the cloud vendor delivers a platform—servers, networking, and storage—to users. However, unlike IaaS, users also access middleware, business intelligence (BI) services, development tools, and database management systems (DBMS), among others.

Because of these services, PaaS supports complete application development lifecycle by allowing developers to build, test, deploy, and manage applications without building their own infrastructures. In other words, PaaS keeps away the underlying infrastructure, including its maintenance for app development from developers.

3. Software as a Service

SaaS is a cloud computing service where the cloud vendor hosts applications for customers, who in turn, access them via the Internet. Most cloud vendors usually charge SaaS products using the pay-as-you-go pricing model, with others opting for various parameters such as the number of transactions or number of people using the app.

As is the case with IaaS and PaaS, the cloud vendor manages all the underlying IT infrastructure via an appropriate service level agreement (SLA). As such, the middleware, application, and application data gets hosted in the cloud vendor’s data center. With SaaS, you can get your organization up and running quickly with minimal upfront costs.

Besides the cloud computing services, you also need to determine the cloud deployment model. There are three ways in which you can deploy the cloud computing services: private, public, and hybrid cloud.

1. Private cloud

Private cloud infrastructure is exclusively available to a single organization. This private network is either maintained on-premises in the organization’s own datacenter or outsourced to an external provider. In the latter case, providers are contractually bound to provide computing, network, and storage resources for the organization’s use alone. Government agencies, medical offices, and financial institutions prefer a private cloud because it allows them to meet strict regulatory controls.

2. Public cloud

In a public cloud infrastructure, organizations pay for their share of available computing resources from third-party vendors such as Amazon, Google, and Microsoft. Many tenants, as clients are called, use the public cloud to deploy their own online services and applications as it ensures high availability and scalability without requiring any purchase of hardware or software. Many companies also provision development and test servers on the public cloud.

3. Hybrid cloud

A hybrid cloud infrastructure combines the security and control of a private cloud with the reliability of the public cloud. In this type of cloud infrastructure, the private cloud is used when there is a need for security, for example, securing patient data, while the public cloud is used for high-volume tasks that require less strict security. Some organizations use a hybrid cloud because it doesn’t tie them to a private cloud—they can transition into the public cloud and provision more resources when needed.

Disadvantages of Cloud Infrastructure

Cloud infrastructures have the following disadvantages:

  1. Resource sharing may sometimes lead to spotty service – Since the infrastructure is shared among your service provider’s many clients, there may be instances when it may not meet your requirements, despite your service provider’s constant efforts to ensure that the service is running smoothly.
  2. Lack of internal controls – Since your services are hosted on the cloud, you do not have as much control over them compared to having them on-premises. If security and control is important to you, make sure to share that information with your service provider, especially since they may be able to make adjustments in your case.
  3. Internet dependence – A cloud infrastructure is connected to the Internet at all times. Thus, reliable and fast Internet service is needed to ensure that your organization can access its apps and services anytime. This requirement is true for your vendor as well since any downtime on their part

Advantages of Cloud Infrastructure

Cloud infrastructures offer the following advantages:

  1. Unrivalled flexibility – the infrastructure can be organized to meet your specific requirements and can scale up when needed. Your organization will not be limited to using familiar technologies. If you need some specific tool or service, you can almost always get it from your cloud provider, and they can set it up and have it running at the soonest possible time.
  2. Cost effectiveness – your organization only pays for resources and services on demand, in contrast to traditional architectures that require upfront acquisition of hardware and/or software at significant costs.
  3. Better reliability – Since your service provider is in charge of everything infrastructure-related, you do not need to worry about updates and maintenance. You are also protected against system failure, as most providers maintain a vast number of servers available from anywhere around the globe that can serve as backup servers. You can also boost storage capacity and pay for more computing resources when needed.

Cloud Infrastructure Components:

When combined with a comprehensive virtualization solution, cloud infrastructure includes components such as: 

 

Cloud infrastructure requires a communications channel to transfer data such as logs, visual information, or control signals between two ends of cloud services. This is achieved using a network. A network comprises the combination of electrical components such as wires, routers, and switches, and software components that enable transmission of information between front-end and back-end systems. 

 

A hardware or server is in simple terms a device or computer designed to provide services to users or customers. There are several types of servers, file servers that store volumes of information, web servers that serve HTML or PHP files, or mail servers that send emails over the internet. Depending on the type of cloud computing, servers can be dedicated to one organization or shared across different organizations. 

 

Storage is yet another crucial component of cloud infrastructure. Cloud data centers are responsible for storing data, regularly backing up data, and scaling storage A software-defined architecture abstracts the underlying hardware and uses storage as a cloud service without manual intervention. Cloud storage can be: 

Cloud services require abstraction from underlying hardware resources like storage and computing power.  This is achieved using virtualization which is emulated using a software system thus giving users access to networking, platform, and storage. Generally, cloud service providers manage a cloud service, thus users generally only have to worry about obtaining the services as the virtualization and abstraction part is done by the provider.   

All of these elements combine to create a full IT infrastructure that works just as well as a physical one but boasts such benefits as: 

All of these elements combine to create a full IT infrastructure that works just as well as a physical one but boasts such benefits as: 

Parallels RAS Streamlines Cloud Infrastructure 

Cloud InfrastructureParallels® Remote Application Server (RAS) is a comprehensive virtualization solution designed to provide cloud services for businesses as well as enterprises. With comprehensive virtualization features offered in a single package, Parallels RAS makes it easy to implement and manage cloud infrastructure. Easy to deploy and use, Parallels RAS provides a simple installation wizard that allows IT administrators to quickly move through the setup process without requiring highly specialized technical expertise. In addition, features such as load balancing and printer redirection come auto-configured by default.  

Want to test Parallels RAS on the cloud? Try a free 30-day trial on Microsoft Azure or Amazon Web Services. 


References

Tech Target | https://searchcloudcomputing.techtarget.com/definition/
Tech Target | https://searchcloudcomputing.techtarget.com/definition/Infrastructure-as-a-Service-IaaS
Gartner | https://www.networkworld.com/article/2159885/
Coursera | https://www.coursera.org/learn/gcp-infrastructure-core-services
TechFunnel | https://www.techfunnel.com/information-technology/iaas-benefits/