In defining the cloud, instead of describing its complex working mechanisms, we often opt to highlight the services and benefits it can provide. That’s all well and good, but it doesn’t actually explain how everything works. There are many components operating behind the scenes to make up a cloud platform, all working interdependently to create an accessible network. So, let’s break it all down.
Firstly, it’s important to understand that a complete cloud setup requires components at the user’s end as well as the provider’s. Front end components are those used by the user. These can vary according to the user’s requirements but generally they are made up of applications and operating systems allowing them to access their cloud services. Back end components are those managed by the cloud provider, typically located at data centre facilities. This can include servers, storage systems and virtual resources.
The key component in the cloud’s architecture that connects all of the components is an internet connection. Without a network, virtualisation is not possible, and therefore neither is connectivity between the host and the clients. Routes of connectivity can be customised to suit the requirements of the end user – not all connections need to go through the public internet – which can improve speeds and reliability.
A hypervisor is a Virtual Machine Monitor (VMM). Essentially, a hypervisor allows a single physical machine to share its resources and host multiple virtual machines. Its job is to ensure all the virtual machines’ operating systems supported by the host are running simultaneously yet independently from one another; if one crashes, the others do not. Hypervisors or VMMs ensure the guest virtual machines’ operating systems are running efficiently and as the name suggests, monitors them.
An Application Programming Interface (API) is a set of functions or tools that allow services, products and applications to communicate and integrate with each other without needing to know how they’re implemented. This allows new technologies to be implemented with current infrastructure rapidly and simply. Cloud API’s relate to those within cloud platform development. One of the key characteristics of the cloud’s architecture is that it extends physical resources into virtual ones. This can include servers, storage and more. For example, a cloud server is in many ways similar to a physical server, except it’s completely virtual. This allows resources such as cloud servers to be distributed and hence, the cloud becomes a service. The resources are run from premises known as data centres, which house the required infrastructure. The virtual resources that these environments support can be engineered, hosted and delivered by cloud providers and accessed by the end users through the internet.
Once the user has decided which cloud model they require, for example public, private or hybrid, they can then work with their hosting provider to decide on a cloud deployment strategy to suit their needs. Once the specifics of the cloud solution has been confirmed, deployment software ensures the necessary installations and implementations are carried out.
Not to be confused with any software provided through cloud services, such as Software as a Service (SaaS), management software plays a huge part in ensuring cloud services are efficiently deployed and optimised. Essentially, they allow the cloud provider control over the entire cloud operation such as infrastructure, applications and data. Specific examples of the controls of management software include resource deployment, compliance auditing such as Service Level Agreements (SLAs) and plans for disaster relief.
We hope this blog post has been useful and you understand the different components that make up the cloud architecture. As always, if you have any questions regarding the contents of this blog post or our cloud services, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.
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Matthew is Secura's content specialist, producing gripping, emotionally complex, edge of your seat, cloud hosting articles and videos.
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