Cloud Computing Architecture

As the cloud computing market continues to mature, a variety of cloud deployment models have emerged. Cloud models are typically categorized by where the cloud environment is deployed (the basis of distinction between public cloud, private cloud, community cloud, and hybrid cloud), and by which part of the IT service and application stack the cloud provides (the distinction between IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS clouds). Regardless of the cloud model that an organization may embrace, clouds tend to have certain cloud computing architecture elements in common. It's these core cloud computing architecture components that make a "cloud".

Cloud Computing Architecture Common Elements

While clouds vary widely in their implementation details, cloud computing architecture typically includes these common elements:

  • Virtualization layer. Server virtualization and storage virtualization play a key role in cloud computing architecture by delivering one of the primary cloud benefits: agility. A virtualization layer allows providers to quickly provision or deprovision cloud servers to meet the needs of service users.
  • Horizontally scalable storage. Scalability is another hallmark of cloud computing architecture, and on the storage side of things this typically derives from technologies that leverage large clusters of commodity hardware that can be easily and economically expanded as the demand for infrastructure and storage resources grows.
  • Mechanisms for supporting multi-tenancy. A cloud service must provide for the physical or virtual segregation of stored data on a per-tenant basis, and be able to track service usage per tenant. It's worth noting that multi-tenancy is an integral feature even in private clouds: in this context, the tenants are the different departments or work groups within the enterprise.
  • Web APIs. Another key element in cloud computing architecture is a set of web APIs (utilizing standard methods such as RESTful HTTP calls, XML, and SOAP) through which the cloud services may be invoked. This enables services to be made available through a standard web browser or other HTTP client application.

Cloud Computing Architecture's Often Overlooked Component

In considering cloud computing architecture in its full scope, it's important to recognize that an important part of the architecture is the public internet itself. For any public cloud and for many private clouds that serve geographically dispersed enterprises, the public internet will negatively impact cloud service performance and reliability, as that is how all users access the given Cloud service. For cloud service providers and for enterprises using cloud services, enlightened cloud management and optimization efforts need to take adequate account of this critical aspect of the overall cloud computing architecture.

Akamai Helps to Optimize Cloud Computing Architecture

For more than a decade, Akamai has been the leader in helping service providers and enterprises deliver their applications and web sites over the public internet faster, more reliably, and with greater security. Akamai's itself a massive, distributed cloud platform— deployed on over 100,000 servers embedded into thousands of networks worldwide, which means we are very close to all the world's Internet users and datacenters – so users of the Cloud can benefit from fast, reliable and secure business applications regardless of where they are – even on the other side of the world. Akamai's unique architectural approach also means that applications can be seamlessly moved across datacenters or Cloud environments at will, and the application delivery optimizations will automatically move with the application – the IT team doesn't have to do a thing!

Built on top of the global Akamai application delivery platform, Akamai's Web Performance Enterprise Solutions are designed specifically for cloud computing companies and enterprises that use cloud services. Akamai Web Performance Enterprise Solutions dramatically boost cloud application performance for end users, resulting in higher rates of service adoption and greater user productivity.

Learn more about Web Performance Solutions for cloud optimization.