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In this guide, we cover what cloud architecture is, its benefits, how it compares to on-premise setups, and best practices for cost-effective design.
Moving to the cloud offers many advantages vs. on-premise environments — scalability, flexibility, and the prospect of cost-efficiency are among the top reasons companies migrate.
Yet, simply using a “lift and shift” strategy — where you move your application as-is from an on-premise environment to the cloud with minimal, if any, modification — can lead to a number of issues (such as inefficient design, bloated costs, etc.).
It’s often better to consider how you can best architect your software or application for the cloud with best practices in mind. This is where cloud architecture comes in.
In this guide, we’ll take a look at what cloud architecture is, its benefits, how it compares to on-premise setups, and best practices for efficient and cost-effective design.
Table Of Contents
Cloud architecture describes the layout of technologies and their connections to form a cloud environment where you can deploy and run applications. Cloud architecture enables an abstract environment where you can pool and share scalable resources over a network.
As in an on-premises environment, you have access to a dashboard that enables you to observe and manage your cloud resources according to your needs. It allows you to store, access, retrieve, and modify your workloads and your application from anywhere at any time.
A cloud's architecture is like your home's blueprint. The blueprints show how all the building materials will work together to create a house, which you can then nurture into a home.
Cloud architecture describes how different cloud technologies and components interact to create an online platform on which applications and workloads can run. Materials or components make up the cloud infrastructure.
Read our ultimate guide to cloud infrastructure vs. cloud architecture here.
Cloud architecture emphasizes agility, scalability, and resilience while taking into consideration the unique needs of your users, workloads, and operational costs. Although on-premises and cloud environments share many similarities, you'll also notice many defining differences.
Look around, and you’ll find various cloud architecture diagrams that show different cloud design patterns. But you should be aware of four fundamentals of designing and building cloud environments:
Let’s cover each briefly:
The following are the building materials or the fundamentals of cloud architecture:
Cloud deployment models allow clients to access the cloud's resources.
Here, cloud architecture is two-fold; frontend and backend. The frontend is client-facing and comprises the user interfaces and applications that a client uses to access cloud computing resources.
Computing resources are in the backend and include applications, services, cloud runtime, and storage. Clients can connect directly to some clouds. The term "bare-metal cloud" refers to these options.
Now, we did mention that architecting a cloud computing environment is simpler than building a house from scratch. Here is why.
Building a home requires a lot of site inspections before you can lay the building's foundation. It starts from scratch, from leveling the ground and pouring the foundation to completing rough framing and installing plumbing.
Building cloud architecture does not have to be a start-from-scratch project.
You only need to consider your current and future computing needs so you can choose the suitable cloud architecture model to serve in your cloud migration strategy.
You can begin quickly and affordably using a cloud service provider's infrastructure. Cloud services are available in three principal models:
Find out more about IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS here.
Here are the dominant four you should know:
These cloud architecture fundamentals help make clear the advantages it holds over on-premises architecture. You can see them more clearly in the next section.
Cloud architecture can provide several tangible benefits, including:
This is not to say that all of these advantages are automatically available. The following are some cloud architecture best practices that you can use to optimize your gains.
Here are some ways you can architect for the cloud to maximize its advantages:
Cloud architecture isn't without challenges. For example, many engineering and finance teams find monitoring cloud costs in rapidly scaling, hybrid, or dynamic multi-cloud environments challenging.
Without a robust tool to monitor cloud costs, you can quickly overspend on AWS services. CloudZero's cloud cost intelligence platform automatically detects and reports cost anomalies to the right people in advance, so they can take timely action to avoid overspending.
You can also use CloudZero to measure the metrics that matter most to your business like unit cost, COGS, and cost per customer. With detailed cost insight, you can make informed engineering and architecture decisions that ensure profitability.
Request a demo today to see how CloudZero can empower your organization with cloud cost intelligence.
CloudZero is the only solution that enables you to allocate 100% of your spend in hours — so you can align everyone around cost dimensions that matter to your business.