A Comprehensive Guide to the Cloud Computing Architecture

There’s no question that cloud computing is here to stay. It touches every part of our lives today, offering many advantages in terms of flexibility, storage, sharing, maintenance, and much more. A standard internet connection or a virtual network provides us access to cloud-based applications and services like Google Docs, Skype, and Netflix. Most companies are shifting their businesses into the cloud as they require significant storage, which cloud platforms provide. But how exactly does cloud computing work? In our guide, we explain everything there is to know about cloud computing architecture. 

In this article, we’ll discuss:

  • What is cloud computing? 
  • Cloud computing features
  • Cloud computing architecture
  • Components of cloud computing architecture
  • Popular cloud computing service providers

What Is Cloud Computing?

Let’s consider the following example: Nina wants to start a business that hosts websites, so she asks Rob what resources she would need for her company. Rob tells her that she may require many resources, like servers, databases, and software. Furthermore, she would require a technical team to handle and monitor the websites. Because the process appears to be a bit complex, Nina asks Rob if there is an easy way to set up the websites. Rob suggests that she leverages cloud computing. 

Let’s dive deeper into what cloud computing entails.

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Cloud computing refers to services like storage, databases, software, analytics, and other platforms that are accessible via the internet. It is any service that can be delivered without being physically close to the hardware. For example, Netflix uses cloud computing for its video streaming services. Another example is G Suite, which runs entirely on the cloud.

Going further, let us see why cloud computing stands out.

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Cloud Computing Features

  • Maintenance  - The servers are easy to maintain, and there is little to no downtime. Additionally, the updates are automatic.

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  • Accessibility - The user can access the data from anywhere with a client device or robust internet connectivity.

accessability

  • Availability - You can modify cloud environments and configurations as required, and easily scale storage up or down based on demand.

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  • Economical - By migrating to the cloud, you eliminate capital expenditure of on-premises infrastructure, and reduce the IT workload through cloud automation.

economical

  • Security - The cloud is highly secure, and with strong passwords and other security measures in place, users are a lot less likely to have their accounts hacked or compromised. 

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  • Cost - It follows a pay-as-you-go pricing model, meaning you only pay for the services or the space you use.

cost

Cloud Computing Architecture

Cloud computing architecture has several components that are loosely connected. It refers to various components and subcomponents that make up the architecture's structure. It is divided into two parts:

  • The front end 
  • The back end 

These two parts are connected via a virtual network or the internet. 

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Cloud Computing Infrastructure - Simplilearn

The Front End 

The front end is the user-facing part of the architecture. 

  • It is the side that is visible to the client, customer, or user
  • It consists of the client-side interfaces and applications that are used to access the various cloud computing platforms
  • It is an integral part of how the user interacts with the cloud infrastructure
  • It includes web servers (including Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, etc.), thin and fat clients, tablets, and mobile devices.

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Front End  - Cloud Computing Infrastructure - Simplilearn

Many IT professionals interact with the front end portion cloud computing software. For example, Gmail is a top-rated service that millions of people use worldwide. Gmail has a web application as front end architecture, and the interface enables users to have access to the services that Gmail offers as a whole. 

The Back End 

  • The back end is the portion of the cloud computing architecture that supports the front end architecture
  • The back end is the cloud section of the system
  • It manages all the services and has extensive data storage capacity, virtual networks, security systems, and more
  • It is also responsible for providing security mechanisms, traffic control, and protocols that connect networked computers for communication
  • The server uses specific protocols—known as middleware—which help connect devices to communicate with each other

/internet.

Back End - Cloud Computing Infrastructure - Simplilearn

The cloud services provider maintains the back end architecture. For example, AWS generally has a robust back end architecture to ensure continuous uptime with low latency. In addition to this, robust front end cloud architecture plays a role in creating a dependable and easy-to-use product.

To briefly summarize:

  • The front end is the area of cloud computing that the user accesses 
  • The back end includes what happens behind the scenes, and this is the area that the host manages 
  • Both the front end and back end are connected through a virtual network or the internet

Cloud Computing Architecture Components

Cloud architecture is divided into various components and subcomponents that make up the entire system. Let us look into each of the components briefly:

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Architecture Components  - Cloud Computing Infrastructure - Simplilearn

1. Client Infrastructure

This is the front end component of the cloud computing architecture.

  • It mainly provides the Graphical User Interface (GUI) that helps users interact with the cloud
  • The interface interacts directly with the end-user to perform tasks on the cloud
  • The tasks can include a text editor in services like Google Docs, or an interface to send or receive emails through Gmail.

2. Internet

The internet is the medium in which the front end and back end can communicate and interact efficiently.

  • It is an essential part of cloud computing architecture, as this is where the entire cloud is connected
  • Many servers are present that help to connect the virtual route
  • It provides a facility to the user, which enables route and protocol customization 

3. Application

This is a back end component of the cloud computing architecture, which can be a platform or software that a client wants to access. This layer coordinates the consumer’s requirements with resources in the back end.

4. Service

The service is where all operations take place, and is responsible for providing the utility in the architecture. The service takes care of any task that runs on the cloud. Services provide a variety of other tasks and functions, such as storage, application development environments, and web services. 

Cloud computing provides three types of services:

  • Software as a Service (SaaS) 

The SaaS provider manages everything from hardware installation to app functionality. End users are not responsible for anything in this model; they only use programs to complete their tasks. 

For example: Google Apps, Salesforce, Dropbox, Slack, Hubspot, Cisco WebEx

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  • Platform as a Service (PaaS)

Platform as a Service, or PaaS, is a cloud base where the development, testing, and organizing of different applications occur. Implementing PaaS simplifies the process of software development. 

For example: Windows Azure, Force.com, Magento Commerce Cloud, OpenShift

paas

  • Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)

An IaaS cloud provider offers a complete set of IT infrastructure, such as storage, servers, and networking hardware. The IaaS provider also maintains and supports that infrastructure. 

For example: Amazon Web Services (AWS) EC2, Google Compute Engine (GCE), Cisco Metapod.  

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5. Runtime Cloud

Runtime Cloud is where the service runs. It provides the execution and runtime environment for virtual machines.

  • Multiple runtimes can exist on the same server
  • Hypervisors are where virtual machines run on
  • Some common examples of hypervisors are VMWare Fusion, Oracle Virtual Box, and Oracle VM

6. Storage

Storage is one of the most critical components of back end architecture. In order to store and manage data, cloud computing provides vast and scalable storage capacity.

  • Storage is where all the data that is required to operate on the cloud resides
  • Hard drives, solid-state drives, and Intel Optane DC Persistent storage are a few types of the services offered
  • Cloud storage takes the form of multiple hard drives in server bays. The management software then handles it. It partitions the drives according to which operating system is required to run various services. 

7. Infrastructure

It provides services on three different levels: the host level, application level, and network level. It includes all the hardware and software components that are needed to support the cloud computing model. 

  • The various hardware and software components are servers, storage, network devices, virtualization software, and other storage resources 
  • It also includes components like CPUs, GPUs, motherboards, and more 
  • Depending on the workload, the required infrastructure is automatically provisioned according to how the IT administrator configures it

8. Management

Management handles several components in the back end and establishes coordination between these components. The various components include application, service, runtime cloud, storage, infrastructure, and other security issues.

  • It allocates the right resources for specific tasks
  • Management takes the form of “middleware” as it interfaces between the back end to the front end. Middleware partitions the system resources and infrastructure in a very dynamic and seamless manner

9. Security

Cloud security is a built-in back end component and one of the most critical parts of cloud computing architecture.

  • It is built for easier debugging in case any issues occur issue in the system
  • One fundamental feature is securing the server with virtual firewalls—preventing data loss and redundancy. This can help the system function efficiently, even when it is under potential attack or experiencing system failure due to malfunctioning hardware
  • Security is an important feature to keep the data contained in a system that is safe from attackers

Popular Cloud Computing Service Providers

A few of the most popular cloud computing service providers include:

  • Microsoft Azure
  • Amazon Web Services (AWS)
  • Google Cloud
  • Alibaba Cloud
  • IBM Cloud
  • Oracle
  • Salesforce
  • SAP
  • Rackspace Cloud
  • VMWare

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Conclusion

We hope that this blog was informative and helpful in explaining cloud computing architecture. We discussed an array of topics, including what cloud computing is, cloud computing features, and we explored cloud computing architecture and its components. We also briefly reviewed some of the most popular cloud computing service providers.

For more information, please watch this video lesson.

If you have any questions for us, please drop a comment below! We will have our experts answer them for you shortly.

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About the Author

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Simplilearn is one of the world’s leading providers of online training for Digital Marketing, Cloud Computing, Project Management, Data Science, IT, Software Development, and many other emerging technologies.

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