Cloud Talk
Cloud perspectives by cloud people at Ridge
Ben Gershon
Ridge

Customized Cloud Architectures: Create Your Best Cloud

Cloud computing offers an extensive set of storage and application resources that companies access via the internet. By storing files, databases, software applications, sites, analytics tools, and even operating systems on the cloud, businesses can build lightweight, cost-effective technology stacks. With cloud implementations, you can perform “computing” remotely.

Cloud technology has simplified working and collaboration for businesses all over the world. However, enterprises must build the right cloud architecture for their needs to leverage this technology's full potential. This article will brief you on what cloud architecture is, explaining everything you must know to build customized cloud architectures.

What Is Cloud Architecture?

Using the cloud means storing your data and applications on servers and virtual machines in data centers all over the world so you do not need to own or maintain physical racks of servers.

Designing a cloud architecture means assembling technology components based in the cloud in a network for collaborative working. 

Broadly, we can divide the cloud architecture into two parts: frontend and backend.

When designing a frontend cloud architecture, you focus on moving user-facing elements, like views and other GUI (graphical user interfaces), to the cloud. For example, you must decide your cloud applications' browser interface, appearance, and scope while designing the frontend cloud architecture.

Backend cloud architecture involves the resources that power the frontend. These include the design and networking of your storage resources, application servers, and monitoring systems. Organizations should keep in mind the arrangement and usage of applications, services, storage, security, and management resources to design a robust backend architecture.

Components of Cloud Computing Architecture

The list of central cloud computing architecture components includes:

Hypervisor

The hypervisor is software that allows one server to create and operate multiple virtual machines. Through the internet, a hypervisor manages these additional virtual servers in the cloud to handle network traffic and serve requests. Hypervisors can spin up new virtual machines easily and for a lower cost than purchasing physical servers.

Management Software

Using the tools and features in your cloud management software, you can automate your cloud-related processes, support your application's lifecycle more efficiently, change your cloud adoption plan, monitor cloud usage, and change settings.

Deployment Toolset

This cloud architecture component handles cloud service configurations, migrations, and deployments. In general, you choose one cloud deployment model:

  • For the SaaS (Software As A Service) model, you use the frontend application; the third-party cloud hosting service takes care of everything else. 
  • The PaaS (Platform As A Service) model allows users to develop, deploy, and manage applications through a platform. Ridge Cloud Platform is a customizable one-stop-shop for any organization’s PaaS implementation.
  • You can opt for infrastructure resources by picking a cloud plan from IaaS (Infrastructure As A Service) services providers. The deployment toolset will contain tools to create and allocate virtual machines, network connections, maintenance windows, and backups.

Load Balancer 

Although load balancers are optional for your cloud architecture, they are helpful if your cloud network traffic varies significantly. These balancers improve cloud performance and reduce downtime by evenly distributing traffic between your cloud-based services.

By setting balancers up with replicated data and resources, you can continue serving user requests and maintaining uptime while other servers are under maintenance.

Network

Your cloud network connects frontend and backend cloud architectures, enabling you to work seamlessly using the cloud. Routing requests from frontend to backend, communicating between resources, and authorizing requests are all handled through this virtual networking server.

Storage

For quick retrieval of all kinds of files in your network, cloud architecture includes one or more storage spaces for your organization. All your data is stored here. Users can delete, add, modify, and view data in the cloud storage.

Your storage unit must be highly scalable. Enterprises need to operate with large amounts of data every day, and your storage space requirement will grow exponentially with time.

What Are the Types of Cloud Architecture?


There are a few cloud architectures to choose from. Your deployment depends upon what you want to achieve with it.

Single-Cloud Architecture

A single-cloud architecture has three tiers, database, applications, and load balancers, stored in the same cloud. Suppose you have only one instance of each of these three tiers. In that case, the architecture will not be able to recover if the cloud fails, and you will experience downtime.

With multiple instances of database and load balancers, you can increase the architecture’s uptime and reliability. Store application backups with version management so that you can always restore a working version of the software in case of issues. 

For data-centric businesses, storing data in multiple data centers improves the performance of applications. If one data center experiences an outage, the other locations can still serve traffic.

Hybrid or Multi-Cloud Architecture

A hybrid cloud or multi-cloud architecture leverages multiple public and/or private cloud architecture to handle your business’s performance, scalability, and security needs. 

Depending on your organization’s requirements, you may choose to have multiple instances of each application, load balancer, and database in your cloud architecture.

Things to Consider When Choosing or Building Cloud Architecture

What Types of Clouds Can You Add to Your Customized Cloud Architecture?


  • Public cloud: Fully managed by your cloud service provider and has multiple other tenants who share resources in the cloud space;
  • Private Cloud: A cloud owned and used solely by your organization;
  • Hybrid Cloud: A combination of private and public clouds;
  • Multi-Cloud: A variety of public clouds leased from the same or different service providers.

Which Cloud Application Architecture Is Right For You?

Cloud-Native

Designed entirely on the cloud, all parts of this cloud application architecture are suitable for multi-tenant public cloud environments. As it follows the Microservices architecture for crafting, integrating, and orchestrating its elements, cloud-native architecture is highly scalable, flexible, and most advantageous for the dynamically changing cloud ecosystems.

Cloud-Enabled

In a cloud-enabled application architecture, companies host traditionally created monolithic applications on the cloud and convert them into virtual resources. These applications are not primarily for the cloud, so even after they are ported to the cloud, they lack the ability to collaborate or communicate with other cloud applications. As a result, this model is the least scalable and flexible.

Cloud-Based

Organizations adopt this architecture to avoid a complete redesign of their existing applications and leverage the cloud’s advantages. 

It is essentially a combination of cloud-native and cloud-enabled applications. For example, if you move your web-based applications to a third-party-managed cloud platform, your service provider will take care of updates, backups, and availability. 

Many companies use this approach to improve the performance and scalability of old applications without moving everything to the cloud.

Cloud-Agnostic

As you now know what is cloud-native architecture, understanding cloud-agnostic is simple. In the cloud-agnostic architecture, apps mandatorily function well with all kinds of cloud service providers. These applications are created adhering to generic cloud development standards, not for a particular cloud type or service provider. Therefore, when you migrate to another service provider or port your application, you will face minimal issues.

Applications with Cross-Cloud Ability

Cross-cloud architecture involves applications communicating with other apps located in different clouds and operating systems. Unlike the cloud-agnostic approach, the focus here is cross-compatibility instead of portability. As online interactions between apps may induce and exploit vulnerabilities, security standards for such setups are high.

What Other Important Factors Should You Consider?

Consider the following aspects before committing to a multi-cloud or hybrid cloud architecture:

Cost of Deployment

Research and compare various pricing models from different cloud service providers and application developers. These costs might differ based on service providers, server zones, types of clouds, number of data centers, and any on-premises resources you have.

Also, if you decide to go with cloud-based or cloud-native applications, clarify what your applications’ scope will be and how much their development will cost.

Pay special attention to the terms in the SLA (Service Level Agreement) with your cloud service provider and point out what terms you want to modify in the agreement.

Performance Preferences 

From the applications’ speed to their flexibility — everything is predictable when you use the cloud. Typically, performance depends on your cloud architecture, types of clouds, and your service provider package. 

For example, unless you add servers for load-balancing, your main server needs to work more, fulfill more user requests, and be available for more time. Similarly, you might have different speed requirements for various applications and regions.

So, plan to have a customized cloud architecture that meets your company's traffic and usage needs.

An edge cloud platform is a better option for businesses that prioritize performance as its decentralized data centers are located near users to provide faster response times and a better user experience. According to a Gartner report, 75% of enterprises will move to edge cloud computing by 2025, an increase of 65%.

To learn more about Edge Computing, read here in detail.

Complexity

Depending upon the complexity of your cloud architecture, you will need a certain level of fault tolerance, flexibility, and other capabilities. Before settling down for the cloud platform, ensure that it can deliver quality services as per your architecture’s complexity.

Security Needs

For single-cloud architecture with low-priority organizational applications, many companies skip tight security implementations. On the other hand, any architecture composed of several applications and clouds, might need advanced security measures like Virtual Private Network technology and encryption algorithms.

Whether you use a single- or multi-cloud architecture, the price, duration of implementation, and cost will also change with cloud security architecture.

Portability and Integrations

Clouds make online operations and integrations easy for users and porting data between clouds easy for companies. However, in the case of complex integrations, you must plan and act beforehand. 

For example, if you want to use the cloud services from one particular service provider for a specific component, such as your application code, discuss the migration process with your service provider to determine if it is feasible for your business.

How to Customize Cloud Architectures

To reap the benefits of cloud computing, your organization must know the basic cloud computing concepts and technology. Also, if you migrate or update your cloud deployment, it is better to design a cloud migration architecture beforehand.

You may face these design challenges in cloud architecture planning:

  • Managing cost constraints
  • Selecting a service provider
  • Finding resources for architecture planning and implementation
  • Overcoming security holes
  • Gaining full privacy through access-based authorization setup
  • Signing an SLA (service level agreement) with terms that suit your needs 
  • Achieving uptime and performance benchmarks

However, with the complete knowledge of cloud architecture types, components, and patterns, your team can design a cloud architecture diagram that suits your needs and your budget. Using the information in this article, you’ll have a headstart in designing a customized cloud architecture.

Applying Cloud Concepts for Your Business

Cloud adoption is a big step for organizations, and you should approach it carefully and strategically. Now that you know the answer to the question “what is cloud architecture?” you can choose the suitable cloud architecture or build the customized cloud architecture that your business needs. 

We hope this article helps you gain insight into cloud architectures and how to utilize them  to future-proof your deployment.

Ridge’s Flexible Cloud Architecture

Ridge is a flexible and configurable cloud that enables you to deploy cloud-native apps in any cloud configuration that fits your business needs. Ridge is able to customize your cloud architecture because its platform sits on top of any infrastructure you already have, whether it’s on-prem servers, colo deployments, local data centers, or hybrid clouds. 

Ridge overlays essential cloud-native services, like Managed Kubernetes, onto existing infrastructure. Basically, it’s like a public cloud sitting anywhere you need it to be.  Ridge’s cloud architecture is based on local infrastructure but with full public cloud benefits: pay as you go, managed services, scalability and all the things that make people use the public cloud. 

Since Ridge enables customers full freedom to choose where and how they want to deploy, customers choose to run on Ridge for various reasons:

  • Some say they cannot have their data, for legal or commercial reasons, in the same location on shared infrastructure. And some customers need a local deployment in countries that do not allow  citizen data to be maintained outside their own borders 
  • Others say it’s performance related reasons - like throughput and latency. Ridge partners with top-tier data centers all over the world to run workloads close to end-users.
  • Many customers are running through a hybrid cloud arrangement but want to add new locations. Ridge makes that easy because everything is interoperable and there’s no need to add any infrastructure.
  • And finally, others want to work with a local data center because of language, support, existing business relationship, and other customer support issues.

Do you want to see how Ridge's flexible cloud architecture can fit your growing business needs? Schedule a demo.

FAQs

How do you design a cloud architecture?

While designing a cloud architecture, you must consider: 

  • Types of clouds (private, public, multi, or hybrid) you want to use
  • Number of resources each application needs
  • Load balancers and databases
  • Networking method
  • Security implementations
  • Budget
  • Essential services
  • Application architecture
  • Portability preference.

Which architecture is used most to build cloud deployments?

Most cloud architectures have a three-tier setup (application, database, and load balancer) in a single cloud. However, larger enterprises with heavy traffic or varying traffic prefer multi-cloud or hybrid cloud architectures. 

What are the components of a cloud?

Frontend and backend components work together to form the cloud service. The frontend, which end-users interact with, depends on the service model you are using:

  • SaaS frontend comprises the application or website interface. 
  • PaaS frontend comprises applications, services, storage, security, and management resources. 
  • IaaS frontend comprises virtual operating systems, client infrastructure, and all components in PaaS.

Your cloud services provider manages the backend cloud elements, such as storage, application servers, and monitoring software.

What are the benefits of cloud architecture?

A customized cloud architecture can reduce your operational costs and improve mobility and accessibility for your data and applications. Other benefits of cloud architecture are:

  • Reduced scalability and latency issues
  • Better performance
  • Suitable for remote working and collaborations
  • Better data processing and organization
  • Highly flexible architecture
  • Improved security, maintenance, and updating

Topic: 
Cloud computing
cloud architects
cloud strategy
Distributed Cloud
Edge Cloud
hybrid cloud
private cloud
Public Cloud
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