The three main types of cloud computing infrastructures are public, private, and hybrid. Cloud computing is Internet-based computing, providing shared resources, shared software, and shared information to reduce an organization’s information technology (IT) costs. Combining IT services can also provide dynamic scalability, allowing organizations to greatly increase computing resources instantly without investing in additional systems hardware. Although cloud computing offers benefits, organizations should be aware of potential risks.
Cloud computing infrastructure, also called Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), refers to the servers, networks, data storage, and systems software that is housed off-site and accessed through the Internet. These are virtualized services, which means the services are hosted on hardware equipped to run multiple instances of services. Infrastructure cloud computing can extend or even replace traditional on-site, organization-owned, data center activities.
The public cloud may also be called an external cloud. With this type of cloud computing infrastructure, customers use a third party hardware and system software located off-site. Billing is often based on usage of the shared resources. This is called utility computing, because the concept is similar to an energy company that bills just for the energy consumed.
A private cloud, which may also be referred to as an internal cloud, can mimic public cloud computing but it is conducted using private networks. This type is suggested for mission critical and highly sensitive infrastructure systems. In this situation, the organization is responsible for maintaining and upgrading the systems.
A cloud computing infrastructure that combines aspects from both public and private types is the hybrid cloud infrastructure. This offers greater adaptability when an organization is primarily on a private cloud. The organization can easily scale up data center operations by adding public cloud infrastructure if needed.
Using infrastructure cloud computing can offer organizations a number of benefits. On-demand viewing of storage in the cloud can be a useful advantage. In times of growth, the organization can quickly scale up operations without needing to invest in expensive hardware and systems software. If an organization is shrinking, their infrastructure costs can likewise be reduced.
Though it offers benefits, cloud computing infrastructure may present some pitfalls. Some costs, such as data storage costs, may be unclear. Another potential concern is the time it can take data to travel through the Internet compared to the time it takes when the data center is in-house. The delay is known as data latency, and it may cause problems for time sensitive operations.