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What is Cloud Computing Architecture?

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  • Written By: Jeremy Laukkonen
  • Edited By: Allegra J. Lingo
  • Last Modified Date: 01 September 2016
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Cloud computing architecture refers to the set of interconnected servers, storage systems, and control nodes that can enable distributed computing. Each cloud computing system typically has both a front end, the client computer, and a back end that consists of application servers, data storage, and some type of control node. The network that connects everything is another important facet that can be associated with cloud computing architecture. Components in cloud computing architecture may be connected to each other locally or via the Internet, and the client typically accesses them through the Internet.

Each hardware component associated with cloud computing architecture typically communicates using application programming interfaces (APIs), such as various web services. The front end of the architecture, which is what the client or user sees and interacts with, can take a variety of different forms. Some instances of cloud computing use common interfaces, such as web browsers, that can access cloud based email or other services. Other uses of cloud computing have proprietary software systems that are designed for specific tasks.

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The back end portion of the architecture typically consists of three main components. One of these components is data storage, where information can be placed for later retrieval. Data may be stored on the cloud by clients or by cloud applications. The data capacity of a cloud system is typically quite large to allow for redundancy. This basically means that the data storage component in cloud architecture is usually designed to store more than one copy of each data set in case any part of the system becomes damaged or inaccessible.

Application servers are another important component associated with cloud computing architecture. Cloud architecture typically involves a number of different application servers, each of which can be responsible for a different function. Each of these servers is usually designed to run one program or service, and many of them may be available to the client through the front end interface. This sort of distributed setup can allow the system to function in a more streamlined way than earlier monolithic designs.

The final components that can be instrumental in cloud computing architecture are control nodes. These specialized computers may be connected to data storage and application servers via the Internet or another network. The front end usually interfaces with a control node, allowing the client to interact with the application servers. Control nodes typically also connect application servers and clients to data storage.

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