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What Are The Different Layers Which Define Cloud Architecture?

Cloud architecture is not as simple as it first seems. Cloud is the outcome of several layers of cloud architecture intelligently placed over one another. Before we move towards the various layers, take a look at the more general picture of cloud layers below -

1. Hardware Layer

This bottom most layer of cloud architecture, the hardware layer, primarily deals with all the hardware powering clouds. The hardware includes but is not restricted to routers, servers, switches, power and cooling systems.

2. Infrastructure Layer

Also called the virtualization layer, the infrastructure layer is where all the servers are pooled together into one.

3. Platform Layer

The platform layer comprises the operating system and other requisition structures and is based over the infrastructure layer.

4. Application Layer

As the name suggests, the application layer - the topmost layer - contains applications that directly interact with the end-user.

Cloud computing architecture is made of several layers for better operational efficiency. Cloud controller or CLC is at the top and is used to manage virtualized resources like servers, network and storage. Walrus is the next layer and used as a storage controller to manage the demands of the users. Cluster Controller or CC manages the virtual networking between Virtual machines and external users. Storage Controller or SC is a block-form storage device, dynamically attached by Virtual machines. The next layer is NC or Node Controller. It acts as a hypervisor and controls the Virtual machines activities such as execution, management and termination of many instances.

What are the various types of Cloud Computing?

Cloud Computing is of the Following three types -

IaaS - Infrastructure as a service. A cloud service is said to be IaaS when the provider is responsible for creating the entire virtualization environment for the client. The provider will setup the cloud, pool resource of the server together, turn on the lights and hand the keys of the cloud to the client. It is the bottom most service that can be sold to the client.

PaaS - Platform as a Service. When the provider itself configures an operating system on the infra, creating a ready platform to be used for various needs, it is called the PaaS or Platform as a Service. PaaS is mostly used by web developers for launching VMs as it gives them a ready made platform to start developing applications as per their needs.

SaaS - Software as a service is the topmost service layer that can be sold among various layers of cloud architecture. Of all types of cloud computing, this one involves the end-user and the underlying hardware the least. In SaaS, the client is not at all concerned with the layers underpinning the cloud and only works at the topmost layer.
Which type of cloud computing is the best?

It is difficult to weigh the various types of cloud computing on the same scale. Each service or the layer has its own characteristic advantage. Say, the IaaS is the most suitable for organizations who covet the ultimate control of their cloud platform. PaaS is more apt for users who want an Operating System or any other software pre-installed in the cloud. Even if these users were to opt for IaaS, they would reap no added benefits because their requirements are different altogether. Similarly, software as a service is meant for less proficient users, who only need an application to perform specific functions. SaaS clients only concern themselves with the applications and not the cloud architecture. Some users might not even have an idea that their service is running with cloud computing underlying it.

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