How Does Cloud Architecture Work?
Dakota Murphey

Understanding cloud computing (or cloud architecture) might appear daunting and convoluted on the surface. However, this short guide is here to explain all the essential information about cloud computing architecture to help you make more sense of it, to help your business.

Introduction to cloud architecture

Cloud architecture refers to the way in which technology components combine and work together within a cloud. It essentially lists the components and subcomponents that exist within a cloud environment.

Cloud computing refers to on-demand resources and services like databases, analytics, software and other platforms that are accessible via the internet, without the user having to be physically present or close to the hardware. For example, Google Drive, Google Meet, and Google Docs (among others) are part of G Suite, which sits entirely on the cloud.

What does cloud architecture look like?

Increasing numbers of companies are migrating their businesses and resources into the cloud due to the increased accessibility, storage, and security that cloud platforms provide. In particular, the booming FinTech industry has become increasingly reliant on scalable cloud computing.

That said, no cloud architecture is the same as the next, given that businesses everywhere utilize different software, databases and programs as part of their operations, each of which likely has a unique cloud setup. However, cloud computing providers offer larger businesses or enterprises solutions that are often fully integrated.

Cloud providers supply users with a platform and the IT infrastructure associated with that platform. It’s not as simple as extracting components from computer hardware; additional development processes like automation, security, APIs, routing, user experience, virtualization, and others are necessary when building a cloud platform.

How to design a cloud architecture

Many companies turn to cloud computing as a means of scaling to meet their adapting and evolving business demands. As well as security and business development, having a cloud adoption strategy in place is valuable. Often, cloud architecture exists as a reliable and robust infrastructure that can comfortably scale at the same pace as a company.

Therefore, designing a cloud architecture requires knowledge of your existing workload, continual business needs, and both front- and back-end technologies to help you optimize performance and make the best use of your resources.

To ensure your chosen cloud architecture works for your business, you will need to explore the following, as a guide:

  • Your existing business and environment requirements
  • Your current and expected workload
  • How your current cloud applications and systems are currently performing
  • Whether you can feasibly accommodate additional workload or storage with your current infrastructure
  • Your virtualization environment, if you have one
  • Anything that could be causing bottlenecks or disruption in performance or efficiency
  • Whether a single cloud platform will be suitable or whether multiple options may be necessary
  • Cloud computing service providers

    Below is a list of some of the most recognized cloud service providers:

  • Amazon Web Services (AWS)
  • Microsoft Azure
  • Google Cloud
  • Oracle
  • VMWare
  • Rackspace
  • Salesforce
  • It’s important to note that many of these solutions shouldn’t explicitly be seen as off-the-shelf products. You’ll likely need someone with development experience to ensure each one is migrated and configured correctly for its chosen purpose. Alternatively, cloud engineers or contractors can aid in your architecture deployment.

    Advantages of cloud architecture

    Organizations can achieve many benefits by adopting a cloud computing architecture, such as those listed below.

  • Eliminate the need for on-premise servers and storage.
  • Reduce the reliance on data center real estate and costs.
  • Compliance with evolving and changing regulations.
  • More reliable and continually patched security.
  • Enable faster and more accurate delivery of new apps and resources.
  • Ensure greater visibility of resources to make informed decisions.
  • Improved data processing and fewer latency issues.
  • Gain insight into spending patterns, resource runtime and program utilization.
  • Better disaster recovery processes and procedures.
  • Enhanced collaboration and communication among colleagues working remotely.
  • Real-time scalability as business and environment needs change.
  • Front-end vs back-end cloud architecture

    Cloud architecture is divided into two core parts - front-end and back-end, both of which communicate with one another via the internet. However, both have a clear purpose, hence the differentiation.

    Front-end cloud

    This consists of client-side applications, such as web browsers, and the interfaces that are required. The cloud infrastructure itself (the hardware and software components) is the only component of the front end.

    Back-end cloud

    The back end monitors all programs, servers and storage systems that collectively run the application on the front end. The back-end cloud architecture consists of various other components (outlined below).

    In simple terms, the front-end infrastructure is what’s visible to the end user, while the back-end infrastructure is all of the internal components that collectively work together to run the cloud environment.

    Fundamental components of cloud architecture models


  • Client infrastructure - a graphical user interface (GUI) which contains the applications and user interfaces required to access the cloud platform.

  • Back-end:

  • Application - software or platform(s) that the client accesses.
  • Deployment - the specific type of cloud-based service offered such as SaaS (Software as a Service), IaaS (Information as a Service) or PaaS (Platform as a Service).
  • Storage - flexible storage and management of data that is stored.
  • Infrastructure - hardware and software components like virtualization software or network devices.
  • Runtime - the virtual machine monitor which divides and allocates resources.
  • Security - the implementation of security mechanisms for the protection of resources.
  • Internet - what connects the front- and back-end together and allows them to interact.
  • Management - the management of back-end components listed above.

  • What cloud architecture model should you choose?

    Common cloud architecture models include public, private or hybrid cloud models, as well as multi-cloud architecture. In summary, here is how they compare.

    Public cloud

    This is where computing resources are owned and operated by a third-party cloud service provider. The resources are distributed across numerous tenants using the internet. Public cloud environments often require very little (if any) maintenance and thus are often more cost-effective in the long run.

    Private cloud

    This architecture is owned and managed privately, often in a business’s on-premise data center. However, a private cloud setup can include multiple server locations or colocation facilities. While a private cloud is often more expensive than a public cloud, it presents more customization opportunities for the client, as well as enhanced data security.

    Hybrid cloud

    As the name suggests, this architecture combines the data security of a private cloud with the operational benefits of a public cloud. This allows for IT resources to be effectively consolidated while workloads can be delegated with more flexibility, in accordance with a company’s data security requirements.


    This architecture utilizes several public cloud services to suit a company’s requirements. The company is often at liberty to choose and deploy specific services as it sees fit, which could exist in multiple cloud environments. Furthermore, cloud vendors willing to exist in a multi-cloud client setup often do not force the client into long-term contracts or restrictions.

    In summary, your chosen cloud setup should not be viewed as a technical obligation or cost. It’s wise to think of a cloud environment as a vehicle for driving efficiency and scalability within your organization, while lowering costs and providing end users with an easy-to-use platform.

    As you plan for the future, be mindful that without proper protection you could open your company up to an increasing number of cyberattacks. Therefore, choosing the right cloud environment is no longer voluntary; it’s vital.

    With some careful planning and research, your cloud computing architecture can be a worthwhile investment as your business scales and grows, providing the most secure, optimized and cost-effective infrastructure it needs.