The scope of computing has changed substantially in the past 20 years. This is a result of the introduction of cloud infrastructure has enabled organisations to manage their digital technology and resources. At the same time as reducing up-front costs, gaining flexibility, reliability and security.
Cloud infrastructure and cloud computing have both seen adoption rates increase. According to a recent O’Reilly survey, 90% of organisations are using cloud computing. This is a slight increase in comparison to the same survey in the previous year (88%). With almost half planning to migrate 50% or more of their applications to the cloud in the coming year.
What is Cloud Infrastructure?
Cloud infrastructure is the on-demand availability of computer systems. As well as cloud resources such as data storage, servers, networking, visualisation software and management tools. It consists of hardware and software that support the delivery of a cloud computing model and services to customers.
These customers are renting the cloud infrastructure from third-party providers, such as Amazon Web Services AWS, and Microsoft Azure. This is rather than setting up their own on-site IT infrastructure.
Cloud infrastructure also has an abstraction layer. This layer, according to TechTarget, virtualises and logically presents resources and services to users through APIs and graphical interfaces.
What are the elements of cloud infrastructure?
Cloud infrastructure is made up of several back-end technology elements. These include servers, storage and networking equipment. Often, larger organisations form partnerships with cloud infrastructure providers to build and design custom infrastructure components to suit their specific needs. This could be big data or artificial intelligence features.
Servers are programmed devices providing services to customers. For instance, web servers provide HTML files using the HTTP protocol. Servers can be used differently with cloud deployment models. Within a managed Private Cloud users may choose to store data on a dedicated server. While public cloud users may use a multi-tenant model where the same server is used for multiple customers.
Third-party providers need to build and maintain the infrastructure due to cloud computing being delivered over the internet. It requires a high bandwidth so continued maintenance is essential for uninterrupted connection for their customers.
Rather than building on-site data centres cloud storage enables customers to store and manage their data within off-site servers. They can then access the stored data via the internet, and integrate the data sources with other applications that are deployed within the same cloud.
The role of Cloud Infrastructure in Cloud Computing
Cloud infrastructure is the foundation of cloud computing. The cloud infrastructure provides the components, such as networks, data, servers, and virtualisation. A cloud service provider hosts those resources and delivers them to customers via the internet. Fulfilling customers’ needs via on-demand access.
Cloud Deployment Models
Cloud architect models are the ways in which cloud infrastructure services are delivered to customers. They all share similarities and components.
A Public Cloud is mutually shared amongst different organisations via a multi-tenant environment. Customers pay for services and capabilities based on the infrastructure’s resources on a recurring basis. Somewhat like a monthly subscription. The organisations do not own or manage the public cloud; a third-party provider does so.
On the other hand, a Private Cloud is for a lone organisation that has private access. These tend to be larger organisations such as an Enterprise. They tend to have higher transaction volumes and will benefit from dedicated private cloud deployment. Then they can specify the nature of the hosting to meet their specific user requirements. This could be, data volume, transaction frequency or latency.
A Hybrid Cloud is a mix of both Private and Public Cloud deployment models. An organisation can run specific sensitive workloads or applications in a Private cloud. At the same time also runs systems and data in a Public cloud environment.
What are the different types of cloud service delivery models?
Cloud services are delivered under three main models, SaaS, IaaS and PaaS. These each reflects the different needs and services customers would want.
SaaS (Software as a Service)
A SaaS is defined as a cloud-based subscription service, which makes software easily accessible over the internet. An ‘on-demand’ service that removes the need to download software onto your computer. It is able to provide regular updates and support.
A SaaS does not directly involve customers using cloud infrastructure, the provider instead hosts and manages an application. For example, Salesforce is a popular CRM SaaS application where users can log in to use the service. The data within the application can then be stored locally, in the cloud or in both.
IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service)
An IaaS is a cloud infrastructure model that delivers networks, servers, data and virtualisation. Users of an IaaS typically rent the cloud infrastructure, and on top of the standard cloud infrastructure features, providers might offer more niche services. These could be serverless functions or managed network services. Users are also required to develop their own software platform to run on it.
Amazon Web Services AWS for example is one of the most popular IaaS cloud providers. It allows users to purchase resources on-demand and as needed. This allows users to build applications with increased flexibility, scalability and reliability.
PaaS (Platform as a Service)
A PaaS is referred to as a cloud service provider that supplies a full cloud infrastructure. This includes the networks, servers, data and virtualisation. As well as providing a software platform with operating systems, middleware and runtime.
A PaaS allows customers to develop, test and deploy applications in the cloud without building on-site infrastructure. For example, Microsoft Azure, is a popular PaaS cloud provider. It is a deployment and development environment and is capable of supporting users and the entire web development life cycle.
Where does an iPaaS (Integration Platform as a Service) sit?
An iPaaS or integration platform as a service is defined by Gartner as “a suite of cloud services enabling development, execution and governance of integration flows connecting any combination of on-premises and cloud-based processes, services, applications and data within individual or across multiple organisations.”
iPaaS has provided integrated solutions that connect websites, interfaces, applications and data sources. They allow applications that sit within the cloud or on-site to integrate and allow data to flow freely between them.
Cyclr is an embedded iPaaS provider enabling integrations across SaaS applications. It is a complex platform that bridges the gap between technical and non-technical users. Either through Cyclr’s proxy API or low code tools, teams can collaborate and build integration solutions for their SaaS ecosystem.