With the surge in digital transformation, the cloud infrastructure market promises substantial growth. How can business leaders leverage it for their organization’s benefit?

Cloud infrastructure consists of all the hardware and software needed to execute and support the delivery of cloud services to customers. The cloud has become an omnipresent force in the modern computing domain. According to Gartner, worldwide end-user spending on public cloud services is expected to reach $675.4 billion in 2024, up from $561 billion in 2023. This growth is attributed to generative AI (GenAI) and application modernization.

Today, when the world is filled, or rather fuelled, by tech-savvy people, cloud computing infrastructure gives them the agility to digitalize core components of their business operations without spending excessive money on on-premise hardware. It also helps when the hybrid work culture is gaining popularity. The shift to the cloud can give employees access to apps from anywhere in the world – basically bringing the concept of workations a reality.

Types of Cloud Architecture

Cloud infrastructure does not rely entirely on third-party, public cloud service providers. The three widely adopted cloud architecture models use the same primary elements of cloud infrastructure to deliver computing services.

In a private cloud architecture model, only one organization can access the cloud infrastructure. The private cloud infrastructure could be developed in-house by on-site IT staff, or it can be delivered by an external service provider.

The public cloud includes third-party providers offering cloud resources to paying customers over the Internet. Public cloud providers use a multi-tenant environment model to lower the cost of computing power and data storage for their customers. The multi-tenant environment lowers the overall cost of computing resources, but it may also create privacy concerns for companies dealing with sensitive data.

A hybrid cloud computing model is defined as private and public cloud systems integrating in a separate but connected system. Organizations that deal with sensitive data may opt for maintaining data privacy by storing sensitive information in their on-site servers while hosting less sensitive applications and other resources in the public cloud where the costs are lower. Organizations that use hybrid cloud maintain their confidential cloud environments but may utilize public cloud services for added capacity or computing tasks on a flexible basis.

Three Cloud Infrastructure Delivery Models

Cloud service providers deliver cloud infrastructure and related services in three main delivery models: Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS), Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS), and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS). These delivery models differ by the parts of the technology stack that are outsourced.

In the IaaS model, a cloud service provider delivers networking, data storage, servers, and virtualization capabilities. The customer earns access to unlimited data storage and computing power, but they must have their own software platform to run on it. The software platform includes operating systems, runtime, middleware, data, and applications.

In the PaaS model, a cloud service provider supplies the cloud infrastructure, including networks, servers, data, and virtualization, along with a software platform comprising operating systems, middleware, and runtime. The PaaS model provides customers with the capability to develop, test, deploy, and execute their own applications in the cloud without the usual expense and intricacy of building on-site IT infrastructure.

In the SaaS model, a service provider delivers an application via a web-based portal, removing the need to store any information about the application on a local hard disk. The entire data storage is located on the servers of the service provider. SaaS companies are reliable for every element of the tech stack – from upholding the cloud infrastructure that supports the application to the application itself.

Cloud Infrastructure Components

1. Storage – Cloud storage stores data, gives you access to the latest version of a file and its previous versions, and stimulates remote access as required. It is a virtual storage – it enables people and organizations to access, edit, store, and backup their data from anywhere and anytime. There are three primary cloud storage models:

  • Block storage—segments and stores data into blocks instead of complete files. It is perfect for storing static data that does not need to change regularly.
  • File storage—like the file manager systems operated with regular PCs.
  • Object storage—suited for storing unstructured data or data that needs frequent modifications.

2. Virtualization – Virtualization means creating a virtual version of a physical machine. It adds a separate machine layer that allows multiple virtual machines to run on a single physical machine. It reduces hardware costs, improves scalability, and provides better security.

3. Network – A network in cloud computing infrastructure is a bunch of interconnected computers and devices used to share resources and data. Cloud computing networks can be private, public, or hybrid:

  • Private cloud networks are owned and managed by a single organization, and the public cannot access these.
  • Public cloud networks are the ones that are owned and operated by a third-party provider and are available to anyone with an internet connection.
  • Hybrid cloud networks combine features of both private and public networks for people to offer a balanced combination.

4. Hardware – Hardware is a physical machine or a tool that can be kept anywhere and is used to connect computing machines to a cloud. Hardware components comprise servers, power supplies, memory and storage, processing units, and more — all of which play a significant role in delivering services, information, and security to businesses and individuals.

Benefits of Cloud Infrastructure

Here are the main benefits of using a cloud infrastructure:

  • Flexibility – Cloud infrastructure helps you with easy and quick access to resources that you can use to self-manage and better align the infrastructure for your business needs.
  • Reliability – Cloud vendors build and maintain extensive infrastructure, providing various tedium options using availability zones to deliver dependability at scale. Each vendor offers distinct service level agreements (SLAs) that guarantee a certain level of availability.
  • Cost—cloud infrastructure can eradicate upfront capital costs spent on on-premises infrastructure, using a consumption-based model to deliver infrastructure readily. Cloud vendors use a pay-per-usage model to bill users for the infrastructure they use hourly, weekly, or monthly.
  • Security—cloud vendors invest in and enhance their infrastructure security and provide customers with attributes to set up their security controls. Cloud infrastructure allows you to access high-end security features that are inaccessible or too pricey.

Cloud Computing Infrastructure Best Practices

Migrating to and adopting cloud infrastructure could be quite challenging, given the security considerations and the intricacies. Here are a few best practices you could stick to while starting your journey with cloud computing infrastructure:

  1. Switching to cloud computing infrastructure is a strategic change in your business and should be approached with the exact focus on policies as any other change. It ensures a seamless transition and brings the entire organization on board with the switch.
  2. You must thoroughly research the diverse cloud solutions and options and choose the cloud infrastructure that best supports your requirements — both in the delivery models illustrated above and the potential of different cloud networks for your distinct business operations.
  3. Analyze how to use modern technology to your benefit. Cloud servers support the use of these tools, and it is worth probing whether they can help with automating your services or supporting a global expansion plan.
  4. Carry out tier optimization to make the most typically accessed data easier to find on a higher level as compared to the one that is rarely searched for and opened. This simple trick can streamline internal and external access within the network and works similarly to a multi-tiered file manager.
  5. Governance is essential to ensure that your data is always secure and up to date. It is worth having a contingency plan in case of any unforeseeable disaster. It is not unlikely that things can go wrong where technology is involved, so putting in place a risk mitigation plan is a reasonable way of training for the worst and guaranteeing that should it happen, your team knows what to do.

Wrapping it up

Up until now, IT equipment and data center systems worked on the circled wagon approach. Everything was behind a firewall and facing inward. The only users were inside the company and the firewall, as were the apps used by them.

The cloud – and to some extent mobile – forces a pause in that circle. Now, businesses need to face outward to cloud companies. Businesses must create a secure data flow in their firewall to connect securely to the public cloud and keep invaders out while at the same time maintaining optimum levels of performance. Now, here is the thing. There is a common delusion among organizations that migrating workloads to cloud infrastructure will automatically result in cost savings. In reality, that is not always the truth.

Reducing cloud costs and maximizing cloud infrastructure ROI should always be a conscious decision. Along with this, cloud security is a growing concern for organizations and businesses relying on cloud infrastructure to deliver the underlying resources that support fundamental business services.

Whether you are contemplating signing up for cloud services or working in the cloud industry, a good understanding of the cloud infrastructure opens a range of possibilities for you. As a business leader, you can optimize and automate the primary processes, saving time and improving productivity.


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