Cloud Computing Architecture: How Does the Cloud Work?

Cloud Computing Architecture: How Does the Cloud Work?


The architecture that makes up today’s current cloud computing services environment can be summarized as a front end platform (some kind of computing device the user interacts with), a back end system (servers and storage), and a connection to the Internet.


Front-End Platform

A visible interface that can be accessed on mobile or desktop devices, the front-end platform is the component that can be seen by users and clients. This front-end platform interacts with cloud data storage networks and servers through an application, commonly Middleware, a web browser (Chrome, Firefox, etc.) or a virtual session.


Each cloud computing system or architecture may have a different interface to meet specific user or client demands. Sometimes the platform is a desktop computer or a mobile smartphone, other times it is a thin client or virtual terminal.


Back-End Platform

The back-end platform component of cloud architecture is comprised of millions of servers and data storage systems and software that is accessed securely over the public network, or via private connections. The size and usage growth of the largest platforms in place today is staggering.


To put the magnitude of the back-end platform into perspective, Amazon AWS and Microsoft together have more than 4 million servers in hundreds of cloud data centers around the world, and Google’s cloud offering likely has at least 2 million servers. A single AWS data cenhttp://Link to will conservatively contain 50,000 – 80,000 servers and cover an area the size of 10 football fields.


Internet / Network

Without the network, there would be no cloud. The Internet and other private or public networks connect user to data, and data platforms to each other. This cloud network layer should provide users with uninterrupted access to data and applications, agile movement between servers and other clouds and effective security protocols.


Cloud Based Delivery

The delivery of cloud computing services can be broken down into four models: Software as a Service (SaaS), Development as a Service (DaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS) and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS).


  • Software as a Service (SaaS)

Provides on-demand access and use of cloud-based software without the need for physical, on-site equipment, platforms or installed software applications. More and more traditional desktop software, such as Microsoft Office, is moving to the SaaS model.


  • Development as a Service (DaaS)

Allows developers shared access to development tools for software and applications, whether those applications run on the cloud or not.


  • Platform as a Service (PaaS)

This cloud computer service provides application platforms and databases for programmers use as they develop applications.


  • Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)

Gives customers the ability to use a provider’s physical hardware remotely. For a fee, clients may utilize a provider’s virtual servers, storage databases and networks.


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