The Evolution Of Cloud Infrastructure
Cloud Infrastructure is a word that refers to a network of internet-connected servers that store, manage, and process data in place of local hosting servers.
The cloud is associated with on-demand resource availability, full-service API-driven pay-per-use models, and on-demand resource availability. As the cloud consumption model grew in popularity and competition, cloud infrastructure consolidation began, necessitating cost-effective, energy-efficient, feature-rich, simple, and scalable infrastructure.
The first cloud was created by connecting disparate pieces of infrastructure and wrapping them in resource scheduling and automation APIs. Legacy hardware suppliers that provided network, storage, load balancers, firewalls, and computation servers often provided the distinct components. The abstraction required for the consumption model was provided by the software layer. This addressed the issue of operational complexity associated with undifferentiated infrastructure and provided a resource consumption subscription model.
Then, as the cloud infrastructure grew at an unprecedented rate, massive economies of scale prompted the development of purpose-built infrastructure blocks that provided a scalable, efficient, and simplified architecture.
The Shift To A Better Infrastructure
Let’s take a look at the undercurrents that prompted the move to a more advanced public cloud.
The “pre-cloud” infrastructure consisted of a collection of small data centers that were treated as a cost center. Because the size was restricted, the cost reductions from bulk purchasing power were minimal. The infrastructure was not easily reconfigurable and contained a variety of different contexts.
Early cloud architecture, on the other hand, was constructed as a collection of enormous data centers, where the infrastructure was the business (versus a cost center). The scaling multiplier pushed for cost reduction, which led to widespread use of infrastructure as a service (IaaS). The early cloud was made up of software and hardware components that were all the same.
Then comes today’s “modern cloud” architecture, which benefits from consolidation through the use of custom hardware and software. It is tailored to corporate needs and provides value-added services (versus just a profitable service). Vertical integration provides extraordinary improvements and a better user experience in the modern cloud, while industry specialists tackle the new difficulties of unprecedented size and availability. Because of its consistency, the infrastructure is relatively straightforward to iterate on and innovates more quickly.
What Is Unique About The Modern Cloud Infrastructure?
Everything: This includes how the computing environment is built, how security is thought about from the ground up, how the network is designed, how reliable storage is provided using off-the-shelf components, how services are provided, how tighter vertical integration adds value, how scalability is improved with distributed architecture, how high availability is achieved, and how services are delivered.
Let’s take a look at four major themes in modern cloud infrastructure.
Clean Slate Physical Infrastructure
To begin, contemporary cloud infrastructure is built from the ground up, with an emphasis on critical infrastructure components such as physical layout, servers, networks, and storage—from efficient racking and cabling to power management and energy-efficient cooling. This includes hardware-accelerated and software-defined storage, physical network architecture based on Clos designs with high redundancy, unlimited capacity, scale, simpler and more stable network fabrics and virtualized networking for multitenant deployments, and physical network architecture based on Clos designs with high redundancy, unlimited capacity, scale, simpler and more stable network fabrics and virtualized networking for multitenant deployments.
High Degree Of Vertical Integration
Second, vertical integration of numerous components for efficiency, scale, and innovation is a common motif in the modern cloud deployment. Tightly integrated OS and hardware provide a variety of services while minimizing interoperability issues and maximizing memory, CPU, and storage resources. The modern cloud uses intelligent network interface cards (NICs) to provide a variety of network, storage, telemetry, and security services, as well as enhance vertical integration for novel services like hardware-integrated AI Services, storage, database, search, and more.
Focused On Operations
Third, the cloud’s serviceability provides a considerable benefit to cloud users. As a result, data collection for problem detection, diagnosis, and capacity planning is embedded into the infrastructure. It enables data-driven optimization, eliminating the need for guessing. Its operations have progressed beyond simple automation, with AI-driven operations, proactive problem detection, automated traffic diverts for maintenance, AI-driven workload placement, and canary infrastructure and service deployment now being used.
Security At The Core
Fourth, any multi-tenant infrastructure must prioritize security. Network virtualization allows tenants to be isolated from one another. Custom kernels and hypervisors constructed using home-grown components are part of the overall security posture. The hardware root of trust secures devices by booting only verified software. Furthermore, a zero trust model protects cloud infrastructure components by preventing tenant security breaches. Finally, the modern cloud enhances auditing capabilities while also providing logs and analytics for post-incident analysis and compliance.
What Does This Mean For Your Cloud Approach?
To keep cloud infrastructure efficient, secure, operational, and future-proof, it must be approached with all four concepts mentioned above in mind.
If you want to establish your own private cloud, you need to use scale-out network designs, virtualized high-speed storage that can be dynamically assigned, and servers with intelligent network interface cards that can provide security, storage virtualization, and virtual network services. Of course, not just for provisioning, but also for upgrades, proactive troubleshooting, and post-mortem analysis, the infrastructure should be fully automated.
If you select a public cloud infrastructure, the efficiency of their physical designs and vertical integration will almost likely save you money. However, their security procedures and capacity to supply you with automation tooling are two other unique variables that will have an influence on your firm. Inadequate security measures by third parties can result in data breaches, and their failure to deliver automation will raise your operational costs.
The Future Of The Cloud
Cloud infrastructure will continue to evolve, leveraging resource sharing to offer new and creative services based on custom architecture, such as quantum computing. Consider the design techniques covered here if you’re planning to develop infrastructure for your SaaS cloud, enterprise cloud, hybrid cloud, or edge cloud, or if you want to become a public cloud provider. These tried-and-true techniques reduce risk while also delivering agility, efficiency, security, and modern infrastructure features.