Cloud Computing Architecture

Cloud technology offers mutual benefits to both enterprise business units and IT. While for businesses, it offers a lower cost of business operations through operational excellence and also saves costs for the IT by balancing the cost through scale and higher utilization.

Traditional on-premise technology architecture is no longer able to meet the highly demanding functionality requirements, operating costs, and innovation. Cloud technology is a system that provides lowered total cost of ownership, rapid deployments, increased agility, and reduce capital and operating costs. Several cloud architectural models offer their unique features based on the business requirement.

The ultimate aim of the cloud model is to design a system that allows users to have uninterrupted access to their data and applications and also which provides the users with high bandwidth for fast computations. Each component has its own operating and maintenance costs involved.

The model of pay-as-you-go will only work when businesses understand the costs involved in the existing systems and go for the right type of cloud architecture design. The major cloud design offerings are:

1.  Software as a Service (SaaS)

This involves the distribution of software (hosted and maintained on the internet) that customers are licensed and use for their products. This minimizes the cost involved for hardware requirements since all software is hosted remotely. It further reduces IT cost by outsourcing hardware and software maintenance. Another cost-consuming task is to install, maintain and update the software. The SaaS model removes this burden from the enterprise businesses, thus offering overall reduced operating costs.

2.  Platform as a Service (PaaS)

This provides a platform for the programming developers to create software that can be delivered over the web. It is a computer platform specifically used for software development organizations. This provides the facility with quick and easy-to-use web applications, even for non-programmers. While it offers lower cost and ease to use by providing pre-defined business functionalities, it also could become complex and vendor migration and data privacy in this could majorly impact the budget.

3.  Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)

This majorly is focused on reducing the cost involved by IT on infrastructure and hardware such as virtual machines, servers, storage drives, operating systems, and networks. These are also available on pay per usage basis. Major organizations invest huge amounts in buying and configuring their on-premise systems first before developing a new product. IaaS provides these resources fully outsourced, which becomes much more cost-efficient as compared to the traditional way.

Once the business achieves the first prerequisite, ensure that they understand cloud design principles and know the characteristics of each architecture and requirements of the applications they plan to migrate. The next step focuses on Engineering and IT to work together to identify the needs and evaluate the costs for cloud management.

Every service provider has a way to bill for the services. The business must first understand the billing criteria and then decide to choose the cloud vendor. Some charge based on GB per hour, while some on Cost per click or cost per rack unit. Majorly, there are two ways in which we map the costs with the systems – Evaluate Direct Infrastructure Costs and Indirect Costs.

Direct Infrastructure Costs

Based on the cloud design, the direct costs include the cost involved for software licenses, yearly or monthly subscriptions, and maintenance contracts, etc. Along with this, the amount of storage allocated and utilized, network bandwidth costs, and the database technology and its capacity to consume the data from the servers are included as indirect costs. The estimation of cloud infrastructure and operating costs also include any training costs, IT staffing, skill upgrading, and resources required to manage the cloud services in the business.

Indirect Costs

These are often called hidden costs. Organizations end up doing over-engineering to identify and avoid these costs. These are majorly situational-based or are part of the mitigation strategy of the business. They are always in a range based on several factors like

  • Loss of productivity and revenue when the IT infrastructure goes down.
  • Monitor utilization and rightsizing of the instances
  • The shutdown of the workloads during specific hours
  • Not active storage or services during the day
  • Automated solutions to switch or deal with temporary workloads.

Today, major organizations are struggling to create a balance between modern technology and the costs involved. The services and offerings of cloud technology are so tempting that we often end up setting high expectations than our actual needs.

While on the contrary, the teams which are proactive and smart try to break the architecture and costs at a much more granular level that they are left with another problem to solve i.e. Over-engineering. Our actual business requirements would define the need of which resources we need today or for the future and will help us choose the best type of cloud architecture.