Cloud Building Blocks and Layers

Welcome back to our blog series, Solutions for the Cloud. Now that we’ve discussed three concepts of virtualization related to the cloud, we will cover the basics of cloud infrastructure including cloud building blocks and layers.

Cloud Building Blocks and Layers

The cloud infrastructure consists of two building blocks: the front end and the back end. These two elements are connected through a network, in most cases the Internet.

The front end is the vehicle by which the user interacts with the system. The front end is composed of a client computer or the computer network of an organization, and the applications used to access the cloud.

The back end is the cloud itself. The back end provides the applications, computers, servers, and data storage that creates the cloud of services.

The cloud infrastructure is also built on three layers: the bottom infrastructure layer, the middle platform layer, and the top application layer.

The bottom infrastructure layer is the foundation of the cloud. This layer consists of the physical assets (for example, servers, network devices, storage disks). Users do not control the underlying infrastructure when using infrastructure as a service (IaaS). However, users can control the operating systems, storage, deployment applications, and (to a limited degree) select networking components.

The middle platform layer provides the application infrastructure. Platform as a service (PaaS) provides access to operating systems and associated services. This layer provides a way to deploy applications to the cloud using programming languages and tools supported by the cloud provider. Users do not control the underlying infrastructure. However, users control the deployed applications and (to some degree) the configurations of the application hosting environment.

The top application layer runs applications and provides these applications to the users on demand.

Each layer provides a distinct level of functionality. This stratification of the components of the cloud provides a means for the layers of the cloud to become a commodity.

Read more in the full solution brief.

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