As cloud computing rises to the forefront of technology, more people are beginning to adopt it for their end users. Familiarizing yourself with the basic components of a cloud environment can help you better understand your current cloud environment or help you plan for cloud provisioning in a new one.
1. Routers and Switches
Routers act with your IP address to send and receive information over the Internet. IP addresses are a unique set of numbers that identify with a computer or website. Much like physical addresses, IP addresses tell visitors where to find them. Switches act with your router to channel incoming data through a Media Access Control (MAC) address. MAC addresses identify individual machines on a network and are unique to each computer. This allows each machine on a network to communicate with one another.
These are used to guide your cloud's traffic to the appropriate location. All incoming and outgoing information you send through your cloud environment goes through these. There are two different types of routers and switches for cloud provisioning: physical and virtual. Physical routers and switches exist in the form of cables that are plugged into your hardware. Virtual routers and switches act in the same ways as physical ones do, but they exist within the infrastructure as software instead of physical cables.
2. Hosts and Hypervisors
Hosts are where your hypervisors are located in your cloud environment. They allow the resources of your cloud environment to be shared among multiple users. Hosts monitor traffic, utilization of compute, network and storage, and finds out how much of each resource the individual virtual machines (applications you have launched) need. Each virtual machine is allocated the resources it needs because of this host.
Hypervisors manage your virtual machines for you, including launching and running, as well as destroying those resources. They abstract the hardware from the host and allow the virtual machines to be utilized. There are many types of hypervisors, including KVM, XenServer and VMware. Understanding the differences between these and choosing the ones that best suit your needs is an important part of developing your new cloud environment or enhancing an existing one.
There are varying levels of the storage that comes with your environment. Storage (also known as SAN) is where your data lives. SAN stands for Storage Area Network, and means that your storage is shared among all machines on the network. The automation component of your cloud environment allows the storage to be provisioned for each virtual machine. Purchasing an adequate amount of storage and increasing this as necessary ensures that there is always enough room to run your applications and virtual machines.
4. Automation Technology
The process of implementing automation technology in your cloud environment will reduce the amount of time your employees and end users spend allocating resources for new virtual machines. Utilizing automation enables cloud provisioning by your end users without any necessary IT knowledge, making your compute resources accessible for everyone.
In addition to these benefits, automation technology will reduce your need for specialized cloud IT staff, saving you money and time on the implementation process. It gives you a window into your cloud environment as a whole and allows you to effectively monitor and manage your system through a single interface.
These four components: routers and switches; hosts and hypervisors; storage and automation technology, can help you better understand your current cloud environment or learn how to execute cloud provisioning in a new one. Gaining a firm knowledge can be a good way to gauge what kind of hardware and software you need to provide or upgrade to the best possible experience for your end users.