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A business restricted to a single geographic location is now a thing of the past.

With virtual computing and resourcing taking over, it’s now easier for organizations to expand and utilize their applications from multiple locations.

Virtual resources primarily bring one thing to our minds, the ever-evolving ‘cloud’. Cloud computing has taken over our lives with its ease of use, and it’s here to stay because of its unparalleled access to multiple devices.

Cloud computing is the process of computing services such as storage, networks, servers, and software being delivered as a service over the internet. Cloud computing uses virtual resources to provide us with a seamless application experience and is backed by a virtual platform known as cloud infrastructure.

What is cloud infrastructure?

Cloud infrastructure is a collective term for server hardware, storage resources, networking equipment, and application software, which are used to build cloud-based applications. The hardware and software components of a cloud infrastructure ensure a seamless implementation of a cloud computing model for an organization.

Cloud infrastructure enables on-demand access to computing resources and helps organizations function with a hassle-free on-premise IT infrastructure. It supports public, private, and hybrid cloud systems and is a popular service provided by cloud vendors.

How does cloud infrastructure work?

Cloud infrastructure as a service is delivered by dissociating resources from physical hardware and placing them over the cloud through virtualization.

Virtualization: A technology that allows you to create multiple virtual environments from a single physical system.

The cloud infrastructure model uses virtualization functionality to pool resources and stimulate virtual machines or environments. These environments and resources can be used as per the business demands.

Cloud infrastructure vs. cloud architecture

Cloud computing is supported by multiple software platforms, databases, network devices, and servers over the internet. It’s built on cloud architecture with the help of cloud infrastructure. 

Cloud architecture is the blueprint or plan for using cloud infrastructure resources so that individual technologies can be used collaboratively in a computing environment. It’s regarded as the back-end functioning platform for cloud computing. Some common examples of cloud architectures include CRMs and webmail providers such as Gmail. 

Cloud Infrastructure vs. Cloud Architecture

Cloud infrastructure, on the other hand, facilitates the architecture by provisioning computing resources such as operating systems, networks, middleware, and other virtual components. Web browsers, graphical user interfaces, and storage devices serve as examples of cloud infrastructure.

Components of cloud infrastructure

Organizations use cloud infrastructure to build a cloud computing model for their business. Let’s look at the essential components of cloud infrastructure that can be used to deploy business applications.


It may seem bogus to have a physical infrastructure for a cloud computing model but hardware components such as networking equipment, routers, firewalls, and backup devices are placed strategically at different geographic locations to keep the model working seamlessly. The hardware resources are in place to connect servers and virtualized resources.


Virtualization abstracts the computing resources from physical infrastructure and allocates them to logical pools over the cloud. It allows users to access the virtual resources through a simple interface. Cloud infrastructure employs virtualization software to create dynamic resource pools, enhance self-service software access, and automate infrastructure scaling.


Cloud storage enables data storage and access over the internet. With the help of cloud infrastructure, organizational data can be stored and used virtually anywhere. 


Cloud networks are composed of physical network resources such as routers, switches, wires, and virtual networking gear on top. They are made up of multiple subnetworks, which are then used to create virtual local area networks (VLANs).

Types of cloud infrastructure

Cloud infrastructure provides services for all types of cloud platforms. However, there are some basic differences underlying cloud infrastructure usage principles in the following three delivery models.

Private cloud infrastructure

Private clouds are used and managed by a single organization. The cloud infrastructure used by private clouds is developed and maintained by their in-house IT team and has a more secure architectural model.

Pros: Private cloud infrastructure gives you more control and flexibility over your cloud platforms

Cons: It can be expensive in the long run.

Public cloud infrastructure

Public cloud infrastructure uses services from third-party cloud service vendors and makes use of multi-tenant environments to get data storage and computing power at a lower cost. A multitenant environment is where a single cloud platform is divided and mused by multiple tenants or clients.

Pros: This infrastructure model has a lower overhead cost than others and provides unlimited scalability.

Cons: The downside to adopting a public cloud infrastructure is the data security risks that come with being on a public server.

Hybrid cloud infrastructure

Hybrid cloud infrastructure comprises a combination of public and private clouds. It enables secure data storage via a private cloud platform and reduces public cloud computing resources’ costs.

Pros: Hybrid cloud infrastructure also ensures your control and flexibility over your business applications while providing a cost-effective solution.

Cons: Implementing a hybrid cloud infrastructure demands intensive planning and maintenance overhead.

Cloud infrastructure as a service

Infrastructure for cloud computing has gained a market of its own, with vendors providing compatible models to organizations. Cloud infrastructure as a service is provided through three main delivery models.


In the infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) model, third-party hosted hardware such as networking gear, servers, and storage services are provisioned for users in a virtualized environment. It’s an on-demand resource allocation model where end-users only pay for the resources they use.


In the platform-as-a-service (PaaS) model, complete cloud infrastructure is delivered with software resources such as operating systems, middleware, and testing platforms. This allows users to build, run, and deploy their cloud applications.


In the software-as-a-service (SaaS) model, cloud infrastructure is provided through a web application over the internet. It removes the need for in-house maintenance by the client, and the application is taken care of by the service provider.

IaaS vs. PaaS vs. SaaS

Benefits of using cloud infrastructure

Cloud infrastructure makes our lives easier by bringing our business applications to our fingertips, no matter where we’re located. It is estimated that by 2022, over 90 percent of enterprises will be relying on a cloud-based infrastructure for their application needs. Let’s shed some light on the most important advantages that cloud infrastructure offers.


Cloud infrastructure eliminates the need to build and manage a data center or a physical server. Since resources are virtualized, it reduces the operational costs of IT hardware infrastructure and is therefore cost-effective in the long run. 


Cloud security is taken seriously by vendors who provide cloud infrastructure services, resulting in highly secure and protected environments immune to data vulnerability. Cloud providers also provide cloud backup and disaster recovery services to optimize cloud computing services’ security features.


Cloud infrastructure is highly scalable, agile, and flexible. The resources in cloud infrastructure can be accessed and used on-demand. This increases business efficiency and uptime. Cloud infrastructure can also support sudden spikes in website or application access, thus helping in improving brand authority and reliability in the market.

Challenges of managing a cloud infrastructure

Cloud infrastructure is the baseline for building a cloud computing model. With businesses around the world moving over to the cloud, cloud infrastructure has gained its much-deserved prominence. But handling cloud infrastructure comes with its own set of challenges. 


Organizations using cloud infrastructure often opt for a multicloud environment since it suits their needs for cheaper computing and real-time data access over a single platform. This increases the complexity of managing cloud environments where organizations work across geographies, time-zones and make use of tools and processes asynchronously.

Vendor reliability

Dependency on vendors is a major roadblock to cloud infrastructure. The cloud vendor you choose may be the best option at that time, but with the ever-changing cloud computing trends, you might have to reevaluate your requirements with your current vendors to always be ready. This increases the overturn costs and a large-scale data migration that can affect your business.


Like all other cloud components, cloud infrastructure is heavily dependent on internet availability. If the internet connection is lost due to an external glitch, all your applications go down for a while, causing massive business downtime. Connectivity issues can also impact your organization’s data access capabilities, which may prove a deterrent for fast-paced businesses. 

Requirements for building cloud infrastructure

Building a cloud infrastructure is the first step for an organization to migrate to the cloud. For an organization to implement a cloud strategy, it needs to follow a robust cloud infrastructure building process.

Software compatibility

The cloud infrastructure and virtual components you choose need to support the software platforms already used for your business applications. Since choosing a cloud infrastructure service is a long-term decision, you need to make sure that it’s scalable for your business.

Network infrastructure

Network components and infrastructure need to be configured for the virtualization of servers and storage. Organizations should also ensure that their network infrastructure is migration-friendly while adopting the cloud. Network compatibility would mean you have the required number of servers and network equipment to support your data and applications over the cloud.


For resources being moved over to cloud infrastructure, visibility is an important factor. Organizations should keep all the stakeholders of the migrated applications informed about the change in infrastructure. Since business applications undergo substantial platform and infrastructural changes while migrating to the cloud, the exact transition components need to be communicated clearly to everyone who uses the concerned data and the applications.

System integration

Integration and automation of the hardware and software components of cloud infrastructure is the most important step while adopting a cloud solution. Elements such as network, storage, and servers need to be automated to support business applications on demand.

Cloud infrastructure automation software

Cloud infrastructure automation software is used to deploy servers and data storage centers over the cloud instead of using physical hardware. It enables developers to build and run template-based infrastructure as a code that can be reused.

To qualify for inclusion as a top cloud infrastructure automation solution, a software must:

  • Enable cloud infrastructure configuration
  • Allow infrastructure recreation as a template
  • Automate the basic infrastructure code definitions
  • Integrate with DevOps tools

*Below are the five leading cloud infrastructure automation solution providers from G2’s Spring 2021 Grid® Report. Some reviews may be edited for clarity.

1. AWS CloudFormation

AWS CloudFormation is an automated and secure platform to provide virtual IT resources for your cloud platforms.

What users like:

“Amazon Web Services CloudFormation makes it possible to develop entire environments within YAML or JSON configuration files, and then use the same file over and over again across accounts. This allows engineers/architects to deploy consistent, repeatable infrastructure.”

 AWS CloudFormation Review, Aaron A.

 What users dislike:

“Not all services are added at launch, which creates a bit of a separation between what can be done and what can not be done, also the syntax is a bit limited, but it only comes to play for large projects. It does tie you down to AWS only, there’s no multi-cloud support.”

 AWS CloudFormation Review, Salvador R.

2. Red Hat Ansible Automation Platform

Red Hat Ansible Automation Platform is a secure way of automating cloud-based infrastructure platforms and applications.

What users like:

“The best part I like about Ansible is that it’s very easy to use. An internal SSH connection does not let us worry about connectivity. I have used Ansible to deploy scripts and retrieving logs from a remote machine. I have also used Ansible to create AWS EC2 instances. The thing that I like the most is the documentation provided by the ansible team for every bit of work. It’s really helpful.”

 Red Hat Ansible Automation Platform Review, Jagadish P.

What users dislike:

“Nothing much except that YAML syntax is somewhat complex. Although YAML is now a go-to format for sharing data, JSON support would have been an added advantage.

Also, it has a limitation as compared to Terraform of being unable to dynamically change host files.”

 Red Hat Ansible Automation Platform Review, Shreyas B.

3. GitLab

GitLab is an open-source DevOps platform delivered as a single application and reduces development and operational costs by allowing teams to collaborate and build software. 

What users like:

“Gitlab has a good number of capabilities for creating and managing repositories. It’s also packed with good activity-monitoring features. It provides us with comprehensive analyses of apps that help us improve them and allows us to operate more seamlessly, and makes interdepartmental communications easier for us. It comes with several useful integrations and various capabilities for time-tracking and source code management, among others.”

 GitLab Review, Lucas P.

What users dislike:

“The things to dislike would be the fact that Gitlab’s pipelines processes are a bit slow, after deployment changes are reflected after 10mins, it can be sped up. Also, there is a critical problem when it comes to rebasing and non-mergeable commits. Sometimes cherry-picking and merging several MR’s is a nightmare when someone had to deal with a large repo with multiple teams working at the same time. This process can be improved with some intelligent solutions. Overall otherwise, I would say the Gitlabs team works hard to document and give updates.”

 GitLab Review, Sujay K.

4. Azure Automation

Azure Automation provides process automation and management features for cloud infrastructure platforms. It’s a cloud-based automation platform.

What users like:

“Microsoft Azure platform allows me to save a lot of time because I can simply program repetitive routines that can easily be deployed anytime I need. The programming interface is minimal and very simple to use. The cost of the service is reasonable since other competitors offer paid solutions with a lot less useful functions. The quality of the platform is outstanding, and it can save you a ton of money by decreasing the cost to your project.”

 Azure Automation Review, Louis F.N.

What users dislike:

“When I do the automatic updates, the system gets slow or corrupts the files. I always have a backup on my PC to avoid these problems with the automatic synchronization to the Azure cloud.”

 Azure Automation Review, Walter H.

5. Azure Resource Manager

Azure Resource Manager provides a single cloud management platform to deploy, update, and manage all your virtual resources for your business applications. 

What users like:

“The best thing about Azure Resource manager is how easy and how intuitive it’s for the average user to use. I use Azure Resource Manager every day as a part of my job. The first time that I used ARM, it was immediately easy to understand and find the features and the resources that I wanted to deploy and how to deploy them and configure them.”

 Azure Resource Manager Review, Cameron W.

What users dislike:

“There is no way to preview what will happen when you deploy an ARM template, unlike Terraform with its Plan command. Microsoft has, however, now released ‘what-if’ in preview which looks very promising.”

 Azure Resource Manager Review, Lee N.

Secure your cloud infrastructure

The world has gone digital, and so have the businesses. Cloud infrastructure provides organizations the much-needed services and resources to build their cloud computing models and migrate to the cloud with minimal hassle. With business applications moving over to the cloud, there’s a shared space of resources used by multiple organizations. This has to lead to an albeit justified fear of business data being at risk of cyber attacks and such.

Create an airtight secure space for your organizational data and applications by eliminating the vulnerabilities of sharing a digital space.

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