Cloud Building Blocks
Core Components to Build Your Cloud
Data Center Building Blocks
It is expensive to maintain a complex IT infrastructure. The specialized knowledge required to deploy, maintain, and troubleshoot systems which your organization relies does not come cheap. The constant stream of new and emerging technologies make it difficult to keep up with the demands of an increasingly IT-centric workforce. And if things do go wrong, it can difficult and expensive to put things right. The difficulties of maintaining the entire technology stack on-premises has led many organizations to outsource some, or all, of their IT infrastructure to cloud providers.
One of the benefits of implementing your infrastructure in the cloud is that it enables you to shift from performing constant maintenance tasks to keep things going and to focus on a more strategic role; one which enables you to respond more quickly to your organization’s business needs. Moving workloads to a public cloud certainly simplifies operational issues and perhaps provides a cost benefit, but often a public cloud is not appropriate or desirable for every computing service.
A private cloud is built on technologies that expand the functionality of many aspects of a data center infrastructure. These technologies include virtualization advances, converged and hyper-converged hardware optimized for cloud solutions, software defined storage and networking. These trends are consolidating computing hardware systems down to a few standard components, and moving most of the complexities into software helping greatly to reduce the costs of owning and managing a cloud data center.
Cloud Software and Hardware Building Blocks
Cloud Software and Hardware Building Blocks
Data centers are moving away from complex silos of technology and towards industry standard hardware systems. This trend has made hardware management simpler. However, the software technology that runs on standard hardware has not grown simpler in the process. Cloud technologies continue to expand and compound as it migrates to increasingly complex software technologies. This trend is commonly referred as Software Defined Datacenters.
Storage systems are complex systems with advanced technologies to guarantee performance and reliability. Today, using Software Defined Storage, you can implement scalable and elastic storage solutions using standard servers and disk drives. With only a few variations of server hardware connected to Top-of-Rack network switches, you can design and deploy cloud infrastructures of any size. Cloud resource capacity can be increased by adding hardware components one at a time.
Software Building Blocks
- Application Workloads – Applications that run inside Virtual Machines and provide the services to end users.
- Virtual Appliances – Pre-configured Virtual Machine which perform specific functions. These appliances were originally hardware appliances like firewalls, routers and storage systems.
- PaaS Infrastructure – A framework of resources for the development and operations of software packages.
- Identity Management – Software services which are the foundation for identity and security management including user and hardware identities, infrastructure security and access policies.
- Virtualization Infrastructure – Software abstraction from the physical data center infrastructure including virtual machines, virtual storage and virtual networks.
Hardware Building Blocks
- Compute Servers – Hardware servers running Windows Server 2016 and Hyper-V for hosting Virtual Machines
- Storage Servers – Hardware servers with directly attached disk drives running Windows Server 2016 and Storage Spaces. These servers provide primary and secondary data storage and data management solutions.
- Hyper-Converged Servers – Hardware servers running Windows Server 2016 and serve both compute and storage functions in a single converged solution. These servers are configured with both Hyper-V and Storage Spaces.
- Physical Networks – network switches which provide a network infrastructure for traffic within each rack and traffic across multiple racks.
Azure Stack Platform
Microsoft has integrated the cloud technologies of Azure with Windows Server 2016 to deliver an integrated IaaS and PaaS cloud solution. Azure Stack is a cloud solution deployed on-premises as a private or hybrid version of Azure. Azure and Azure Stack integrate seamlessly and share common APIs and management functions. Cloud resources can reside in both public and/or private environments and managed as a single integrated environment.
The Azure Stack shares a common portal, application model and DevOps tools with Azure. Both cloud environments also share a common API and much of the same software code. The result is an Azure solution for private and hybrid cloud data centers.
The Azure Cloud Building Blocks diagram shows the components of both the PaaS and IaaS service models of Azure Stack. Under the hood is the same software and hardware cloud building blocks listed above with a rich set of PaaS services.