Evaluation of Cloud Infrastructure
The cloud is synonymous with the on-demand resource availability, full-service, API-driven, pay-per-use model. Over the years, as the cloud consumption model became popular and competitive, cloud infrastructure consolidation started, requiring the infrastructure to be cost-effective, power-efficient, feature-rich, simplified and scalable.
The first generation cloud was built by putting discrete pieces of infrastructure together and wrapping them up with resource scheduling and automation APIs. The discrete components were typically provided by legacy hardware vendors providing network, storage, load balancers, firewalls and compute servers. The software layer was good enough to provide the abstraction needed for the consumption model. This solved the problem of operational complexity associated with undifferentiated infrastructure and offered a subscription model for resource consumption.
Then, along with the unprecedented growth for the cloud infrastructure, came massive economies of scale that prompted building purpose-built infrastructure blocks providing a scalable, efficient and simplified architecture.
The "pre-cloud" infrastructure was a set of individual small data centers, where infrastructure was a cost center. The scale was limited, capping the cost savings that came from bulk purchasing power. The infrastructure was not highly reconfigurable and was full of heterogeneous environments. contrast "early cloud" infrastructure was built as consolidated large data centers, where
infrastructure was the business (versus a cost center). The scaling multiplier pushed for cost optimization, resulting in the mass ado
ption of infrastructure as a service (IaaS). The early cloud was built using homogeneous software and hardware components.
Then, came today's "modern cloud" infrastructure, which enjoys the benefit of consolidation using purpose-built hardware and software. It is optimized for business use cases, offering value-added services (versus just a profitable service). In a modern cloud, vertical integration delivers extreme optimizations and better user experience, while industry experts work on the new challenges of unprecedented scale and availability. The infrastructure is relatively easy to iterate upon and innovates faster due to uniformity.
Everything this includes how the computing environment is built, how security is thought about from scratch, how the network is designed, how reliable storage is offered using off the shelf components, how services are offered, how a tighter vertical integration provides value, how scalability is improved with distributed architecture, how high availability is achieved and how services are delivered at a rapid rate.
Third, the serviceability aspect of the cloud is a significant benefit to the cloud user. Consequently, the infrastructure has built-in data collection for problem identification, diagnosis and capacity planning. It allows for optimization based on data, taking out the guesswork. Its operations have grown beyond basic automation, now using AI-driven operations, proactive problem detection, automated traffic diversions for maintenance, AI-driven workload placement and canary rollout of infrastructure and services.
Fourth, security is a primary aspect of any multi-tenant infrastructure. Providing isolation among tenants is achieved using network virtualization. The holistic posture of security includes custom kernels and hypervisors that are built with home-grown components. Devices are secured using better guarding cloud infrastructure components. Finally, the modern cloud improves auditing capabilities and provides logs and analytics for any post-incident analysis and compliance.
Future Of The Cloud
Cloud infrastructure will continue to evolve, taking advantage of resource pooling and providing newer and more innovative services based on custom infrastructure, such as quantum computing. If you are considering building infrastructure for your SaaS cloud, enterprise cloud, hybrid cloud or edge cloud, or aspire to become a public cloud provider, consider the design approaches discussed here. These proven methods mitigate risk and provide agility, efficiency, security and newer infrastructure feature.
Written by Morampudi Sunil, a Siliconvalley4u's student