An Introduction to Cloud Architecture Design

Get more from the cloud by aligning your cloud computing architecture with your workload needs and business goals.

Cloud Architecture Basics:

  • A good cloud design starts with an assessment of your existing workloads and business needs.

  • Your back-end cloud infrastructure is made up of data center hardware, virtualization, applications, and services.

  • The latest Intel® technologies for the cloud help optimize performance and maximize resource utilization.



Principles of Cloud Architecture

Before you can design your cloud, you must first assess your existing environment and business needs. Here are just some of the questions your team will need to explore:

  • What are your existing workloads and applications? Where do they currently run, and who uses them?
  • How is your overall cloud utilization? Is it lower than it should be because it was designed to accommodate peak loads? Do you need to scale up to support new workloads?
  • Are you running into any bottlenecks in compute performance, memory, or networking?
  • What does your virtualization environment look like? Are you using containers?
  • How will you ensure resiliency? Should this involve using multiple cloud service providers?

By understanding how your cloud is currently performing and how your needs have evolved, you can make better decisions about where your applications should reside. You may identify a need to modernize your on-premises infrastructure to support the cloud design you want.

Depending on your needs, you may bring in a third party for consultation on cloud design. This can happen before, during, or after your assessment. A systems integrator, managed service provider (MSP), cloud service provider, or hardware provider can help you determine the best platform and architecture for your cloud.

To learn more about Cloud Transformation considerations, read the infographic "The Six Ms of Cloud Transformation".

Cloud Infrastructure Components

There are two sides of the cloud environment. The front end is what’s visible to the end user; in other words, it’s the user interface. The back-end infrastructure is what runs the cloud. This back end is made up of data center hardware, virtualization, applications, and services. The front end communicates with the back end through middleware. Whether on-premises or via your preferred cloud service provider, your back-end cloud infrastructure includes the following layers. 

Data Center Hardware

At the foundation of any cloud is the data center hardware on which workloads run—servers, storage, and networking. Depending on the workloads you’re supporting, your hardware may also include accelerators, such as FPGAs. These are especially helpful where specialized workloads, such as deep learning applications, are involved.

Virtualization Layer

Next, a virtualization layer abstracts your compute, storage, and networking hardware. Virtualization allows for the creation of virtual machines (VMs). To drive optimal utilization, many different applications, each on its own VM, can run on the same data center hardware. Additionally, each VM can run its own operating system—such as Linux, Ubuntu, or a Windows operating system—for greater flexibility in how you provide cloud services.

Applications and Services Layer

The applications and services layer on the back end of your cloud supports the user interface that’s displayed on the front end. Here, end user requests are coordinated with available back-end resources.

Whether you’re using public cloud services, on-premises infrastructure, or a hybrid cloud, Intel® technologies give you consistent, reliable performance you can count on."

Intel® Technologies for Cloud Infrastructure

Whether you’re using public cloud services, on-premises infrastructure, or a hybrid cloud, Intel® technologies give you consistent, reliable performance you can count on. The latest Generation of Intel® technologies for the cloud helps optimize performance while helping maximize your investments and resource utilization.

Intel® products and solutions for cloud infrastructure

Intel® Select Solutions

Simplify and accelerate your cloud deployments. Intel® Select Solutions offer tuned compute, storage, and networking infrastructure for private and hybrid cloud deployments. These solutions have been verified for optimized performance in the real world.

Intel® Xeon® Scalable processors

The latest-Generation Intel® Xeon® Scalable processors deliver robust, workload-optimized performance for cloud servers. Intel® Deep Learning Boost (Intel® DL Boost) accelerates AI inference performance for deep learning workloads that are optimized to use vector neural network instructions (VNNI). This can improve performance for image classification, object detection, speech recognition and translation, and more.

Intel® FPGAs

Add FPGAs to compute, storage, or network hardware for flexible acceleration. Low-power, multipurpose FPGAs can be customized for a range of functions in the cloud, such as search and machine learning.

Intel® Optane™ persistent memory

Intel® Optane™ persistent memory is delivered with the latest Generation Intel® Xeon® Scalable processors. It offers a unique combination of affordable large capacity and support for data persistence for cloud workloads.

Intel® Solid State Drives (Intel® SSDs)

Intel® Optane™ SSDs and Intel® 3D NAND SSDs are among the cloud storage options to increase agility and performance.

Intel® Ethernet products

Intel® Ethernet Network Adapters, Controllers, and Accessories come in a range of GbE options. Worldwide availability and exhaustive compatibility testing make Intel® Ethernet products a leading choice for server network connectivity.

Software optimizations and tools

Intel’s partnerships with key independent software vendors (ISVs) enable the optimization of software tools and libraries for higher overall performance on Intel® Xeon® processors.

A Cloud-Ready Foundation

Designing your cloud computing architecture is a critical part of a comprehensive cloud strategy. Intel® hardware and solutions for the cloud are designed with a hybrid, multi-cloud approach in mind. With industry-standard servers and technologies that run on software-defined infrastructure, Intel helps you manage an environment of workloads on more secure private clouds while also integrating with public clouds, many of which already run on Intel® architecture. All this helps you unlock the full capabilities of hybrid and multi-cloud computing.


Frequently Asked Questions

Cloud architecture refers to the underlying infrastructure and components—data center hardware, virtualization, applications, and services—that support your cloud.

How you design your cloud depends on your unique workload needs and business goals. Whether you’re using a public cloud, on-premises infrastructure, or a hybrid cloud, look for hardware and software that give you reliable performance.