What is cloud architecture?

In simple terms, cloud computing architecture refers to the way your cloud system is structured, and how various components combine to share information and resources across a virtual network. But what does this all actually mean, and how can your business benefit from cloud architecture?


In this guide, we’ve explored all there is to know about cloud computing architecture, including the types of cloud to consider, how cloud architecture works, the benefits and challenges, and the essential components. 


What is a cloud architect?

A cloud architect is responsible for designing, implementing, and managing business cloud solutions, from start to finish, to negotiate components and deliver streamlined and seamless cloud-based, data-sharing processes. 


They align your cloud strategy with business objectives, with essential considerations include performance, reliability, and security.


As cloud technology continues to evolve, cloud consultancy services are becoming increasingly essential, with architects helping to navigate the various digital complexities and ensure strategies are up-to-date with current best practices – considering everything from security to scalability and cost-effectiveness.


What are the types of cloud architecture?

It’s important to choose the right type of cloud architecture for your business, to streamline processes and match your requirements. 


Though your architect can leverage innovation and individual components to better-improve efficiency, there are a handful of core cloud environments: public, private, hybrid, and multi. 

Public cloud

Public cloud is the most common type of cloud computing, because of its relative ease and simplicity. Essentially, public cloud architecture is owned and managed by a third-party provider, meaning you can enjoy no-maintenance scalability and flexibility without having to invest in a private network. 

Private cloud

Unlike its public counterpart, private cloud computing architecture is owned solely by your business, and is privately hosted within your organisation’s data centres. This direct ownership comes with pros and cons: you’ll have greater control over the data and infrastructure, as well as increased security, but it’ll come at a heavier financial cost.

Hybrid cloud

Hybrid cloud combines the advantages of public and private cloud networks, to give you complete control over your data, without having to fully commit to a private cloud centre (and the associated costs). It allows you to scale, and only pay for extra cloud power or services when needed. 


Multi-cloud occurs when a business uses more than one cloud provider at the same time, to manage data and run applications. A multi-cloud network could be a combination of public or private – or two of the same. This allows an architect to leverage the benefits of multiple cloud systems, to improve efficiency and enhance delivery. 


The components of cloud computing architecture 

A cloud architect is responsible for managing, leveraging, and combining the essential cloud components, to improve processes and efficiency. But what do we actually mean by components? 


Well, there are two primary component categories, front-end and back-end, with each playing equally crucial roles. 

Front-end cloud components

Front-end cloud architecture refers to any user-facing elements (i.e. anything a user interacts with). A key part of this is the user interface – often shortened to UI – which is the display a user is met with when using a network. Here, they can view data, access information, and perform actions. 


A real-world example of front-end cloud components is your email account. Your account is hosted on the cloud, and your inbox interface is a front-end component. Naturally, because front-end cloud computing architecture is user-facing, it’s essential that it’s intuitive and easy to use – not everyone is an IT or cloud expert, after all!

Back-end cloud components

Back-end cloud architecture comprises of all the server-side components (i.e. all the bits the user doesn’t see). These components are responsible for handling and processing data, delivering user actions, fulfilling data requests, and managing cloud operations. 


The main back-end cloud architecture components are:


  • Infrastructure: Infrastructure refers to all the major hardware and software components that support the cloud operation, including servers, operating systems, and data centres. Infrastructure is the foundation on which a cloud system is built. 
  • APIs: APIs are essential in cloud architecture, as they’re responsible for communicating data from the back-end to the front-end. They manage interactions between the two. 
  • Service: The service part of cloud architecture is often considered the beating heart, and ensures all tasks and functions run properly. 
  • Storage: Storage is where all data and information is securely stored, ready to be accessed when required. 
  • Security: Security is essential in cloud-based operations, with this component responsible for preventing data loss, prohibiting attacks, and keeping the system running during malfunctions. 
  • Management: Management components facilitate smooth operations, to ensure data can be accessed and requests can be actioned in real time. 


What are the benefits of cloud architecture?

There are various notable benefits of cloud computing architecture, of which your architect will leverage based on unique business requirements.


Solid cloud architecture allows you to scale your resources up or down, depending on real-time infrastructure needs. For instance, if you’re undergoing significant business growth, simply increase cloud resources to the right level – or if you’re experiencing seasonal troughs, simply scale back resources. This flexibility is second-to-none.


Cloud architecture is highly agile and allows you to take advantage of the latest technological and digital innovations, such as machine learning and artificial intelligence. Leveraging these can, in turn, improve overall efficiency or unlock broader potential. 


Operating within the cloud ensures data, applications, and systems are always available in real time, no matter how much strain is on the system. High-performance is the standard, at all times. 


One of the great benefits of cloud architecture that you don’t necessarily get with local computing is that cloud servers are constantly being tested, with a view to upgrading and improving security where required – meaning your data and systems are in good hands. 


However, it’s important to note that cloud systems aren’t infallible if businesses or users are lax with their own data security – in this sense, there is an element of shared responsibility. 

Cost effectiveness

Finally, one of the biggest reasons to choose a public cloud is its cost-effectiveness – you can benefit from scalability and dynamic processes without having to invest in costly servers and private infrastructure. This ensures you’re only spending on what you’re using, and if you do need to scale down, you don’t have wasted resources. 


Of course, before committing to any service, make sure to compare cloud solutions and ensure your choice has the capacity to facilitate growth – you don’t want to be locked into an agreement that’s inflexible, and costs more in the long run to exit!


With that final point in mind, hopefully you now feel fully equipped to explore your options with a good understanding of cloud computing architecture! Alternatively, if you’re still unsure, explore our guide to choosing a cloud consulting company, or head on over to our cloud blog for even more insight from our experts – such as help choosing between public vs private vs hybrid cloud.

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