What Is Cloud Network Architecture?
Cloud computing today makes it possible for different cloud network designs depending on the needs of the business or organization using it. To answer, “What is cloud network architecture?” and understand the different options available, we have to define first what a cloud network is. Let’s delve right in.
The Cloud Network Explained
A cloud network is an IT infrastructure in which network resources can be hosted and managed in different ways. Businesses and organizations that use a cloud network today can configure and manage this network according to their needs.
For example, they may use services provided by providers like Amazon AWS or Microsoft Azure. Or create a cloud network in-house and operate it on local data centers. They may also use a combination of different network architectures. To better understand how they can do this, let’s look at the different cloud network architecture types.
Cloud Network Architecture Types
Flexibility, control, convenience, cost—these are some of the key factors that influence the choice of a cloud network architecture.
Public cloud network architecture
The public cloud brings together a wide range of cloud computing services including Amazon AWS, Google Public Cloud, and Microsoft Azure. These services include web storage, app deployment, web hosting, and much more. Software-as-a-Service and Platform-as-a-Service offerings are part of public cloud offerings.
With this type of architecture, you buy cloud resources and services from one or multiple providers the same way that other users do. You don’t have to worry about the infrastructure, security updates, or maintenance. On the other hand, you don’t have control over the networking environment.
Infrastructure-as-a-Service public cloud solutions provide more control, allowing you to configure your cloud network. However, underlying resources and services are still managed by the provider, into whose hands you put your data and security. You essentially buy resources or services while leaving the management of the infrastructure, the updates, and all the rest in the provider’s hands.
Private cloud network architecture
In contrast to a public cloud, a private cloud consists of data centers that operate within your organization’s walls. You can create a private cloud network architecture from the ground up by setting up your own data centers and software. But this requires a big investment and a team of experts to manage it.
Or you can buy a virtual private cloud from a cloud services provider. Compared to a public cloud, a virtual private cloud gives you more control over your connectivity, networking environment, security, and other factors.
Hybrid cloud network architecture
A hybrid cloud is a mix of public and private cloud services integrated to work with each other. For example, you may use public cloud solutions while keeping your most sensitive data in a private cloud. A hybrid cloud network architecture can bring together the best of both the public and the private clouds while giving you more control and flexibility.
Multi-cloud network architecture
With this type of cloud network architecture, you can run a combination of public, private, and hybrid clouds that are or not connected to each other. Multi-cloud network architecture usually appeals to enterprises that need more customization options than any one type of cloud architecture can offer.
Choosing a Cloud Networking Architecture
Looking at the three different types of cloud network architecture options can make choosing the right architecture easier.
- Integrated Network Tools – Cloud services providers offer networking tools as part of their service. They allow you to assign IP addresses, segment a virtual network into subnets, and enforce different security policies.
- Virtual Networking Appliances – Networking vendors sell virtual networking appliances such as virtualized routers and firewalls. You can use these instead of those provided by the cloud services provider. With these tools, you can create a hybrid cloud.
- Multi-cloud Management Tools – To build a multi-cloud environment, you can use a multi-cloud management platform to integrate public and private clouds. A more complex solution, it works for large and sophisticated cloud architectures.
In the end, each type of cloud network architecture has advantages and potential limitations. It’s important to factor in your long-term goals and calculate costs to determine the best architecture for you.
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