The Basics of Cloud Infrastructure Management

Melisa Wrobel July 28, 2023
- 10 min read

Cloud Infrastructure Management is the most efficient way to manage your IT resources in a flexible and decentralized way. This type of IT infrastructure provides the scalability, flexibility, and cost-effectiveness required to meet the dynamic demands of organizations of all sizes. 

Because of this, many business in today's work environment opt for this model. It helps them optimize performance and ensure reliability 

In this article, we will delve into the fundamentals of this practice, exploring key concepts, delivery models, and its main components. We will also explore how an IT Asset Management tool like InvGate Insight can help you perform this practice.

Without further ado, let’s dive in!


What is Cloud Infrastructure Management?

Cloud Infrastructure Management refers to the processes and practices related to overseeing and controlling the various components that make up a cloud environment. Any complete IT Asset Management strategy should include it in its practice to make sure their whole environment is under its scope. 

This task involves managing the servers, software, and network devices that collectively form the infrastructure supporting your cloud-based services and applications. Additionally, it also encompasses reporting and monitoring the financial investment associated with your cloud infrastructure.

Cloud Infrastructure vs. Cloud Architecture

Although both practices work managing cloud environments, they are not exactly the same. 

  • Cloud Infrastructure Management focuses on the operational aspects of maintaining and controlling the underlying components of a cloud environment.

  • Cloud Architecture refers to the design and structure of the cloud system itself. This involves determining the arrangement of servers, networks, storage, and other resources to ensure optimal performance, scalability, and reliability. 

In other words, while Cloud Infrastructure Management deals with the day-to-day operations, Cloud Architecture addresses the overall blueprint and design considerations of the cloud environment.

Cloud Computing vs. Cloud Infrastructure

Understanding the differences between Cloud Computing and Cloud Infrastructure can also help shine a light on the domain of Infrastructure Management. 

The first is a broader concept that encompasses the delivery of computing resources and services over the internet. It involves accessing and utilizing various software applications, data storage, and processing power from remote servers instead of relying solely on local infrastructure. 

Cloud Infrastructure, on the other hand, refers specifically to the underlying hardware and software components that enable Cloud Computing. 

5 benefits of a cloud-based infrastructure

Now that we have determined its lines of action, here are some key benefits associated with this type of infrastructure. Implementing a cloud-based infrastructure offers several advantages that can help your business operations become more stable, secure, and easy to manage:

  1. Less responsibilities - When you opt for a cloud-based infrastructure, a significant portion of the tedious work involved in ensuring hardening and stability is managed by the cloud provider (which, in most cases, is external). Tasks such as monitoring power requirements, HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) and fire suppression, for instance, are handled by the provider, freeing up your time and resources to focus on core business activities.

  2. Accessibility from everywhere - Particularly in today's work dynamics, this one is key. You can access your applications, data, and resources from anywhere with an internet connection. This level of accessibility enables remote work, enhances collaboration among teams in different locations, and allows for seamless scaling and expansion without geographical limitations.

  3. Reduced risk of personnel issues - Managing an on-premise infrastructure often entails the risk of human errors or oversights that can lead to system issues. In a cloud-based infrastructure, the responsibility for routine maintenance and system updates lies with the provider, reducing the likelihood of personnel inadvertently causing problems and ensuring a more stable and secure environment.

  4. Automated backup system - The built-in automated backup systems that Cloud Infrastructure usually includes eliminate the need for dedicated storage to create backups. This provides the convenience of easily backing up your data through a third-party service, ensuring that it is protected and readily recoverable in the event of data loss or system failure.

  5. High availability - Achieving high availability requires significant redundancy measures, and cloud providers are well-equipped to deliver it. They typically offer redundant systems, load balancing mechanisms, and failover capabilities to ensure minimal downtime and uninterrupted access for your users.

On-Premise vs. Cloud Infrastructure

You’ve probably heard before about the dichotomy cloud vs. on premise. Let’s see what this means for IT infrastructure.

On-premise infrastructure refers to having your servers, storage, and networking equipment physically located within your premises or data centers under your direct control. In contrast, Cloud Infrastructure involves hosting your resources on the infrastructure provided by a third-party cloud service provider that takes care of the hardware, software updates, security, and other operational aspects. 

The main difference lies in ownership and management (and, basically, responsibility). With an On-premise infrastructure, you are responsible for the capital expenditure, maintenance, and management of the entire infrastructure stack. 

Both approaches are not mutually exclusive and can be combined if that suits your needs. Some organizations, particularly if they work with highly sensitive data or simply want to maintain a stricter domain over their infrastructure, opt for on-premise options. 

The good news here is that InvGate Insight can be supported in both, it will all depend on your preferences and needs. But don’t worry, we’ll get back to the tool briefly and see how it can optimize overall cloud infrastructure practices. 

3 types of cloud infrastructure

Cloud Infrastructure can be categorized into different types based on the level of control, ownership, and accessibility. It is essential for businesses to evaluate their requirements, security concerns, data sensitivity, and compliance needs when deciding which one to adopt.

Let's explore the three main types of cloud infrastructure.

1. Private cloud infrastructure

A private cloud infrastructure is solely dedicated to a single organization and can be physically located on-premise, within the organization’s servers, or hosted by a third-party provider. 

Organizations have complete ownership and can customize the infrastructure to meet specific business requirements. All this makes it ideal for industries that handle sensitive data or have strict compliance regulations, as it provides greater control, security, and data sovereignty.

2. Public cloud infrastructure

A public cloud infrastructure is provided exclusively by third-party services, accessible over the internet. 

The providers own and manage the infrastructure, making it available to multiple organizations and users. It offers high scalability, cost efficiency, and a wide range of services, making it suitable for startups, small to medium-sized businesses, and enterprises seeking to leverage a shared infrastructure without the need for heavy upfront investments.

3. Hybrid cloud infrastructure

As the name implies, a hybrid cloud infrastructure combines elements of both public and private cloud environments, allowing organizations to leverage the benefits of both worlds. 

With a hybrid approach, companies can host sensitive data and critical applications on their private infrastructure while utilizing the scalability and cost-effectiveness of public cloud resources for less sensitive workloads. This flexibility enables businesses to optimize their infrastructure based on compliance and security requirements.

The main 4 IT cloud infrastructure components 

Whichever type you choose to go for, cloud infrastructure is typically made of several key components that work together to provide a reliable and scalable environment for services and applications:

  1. Hardware - It forms the foundation of cloud infrastructure, and includes physical servers, storage devices, and networking equipment. These items are responsible for processing, storing, and transmitting data within the cloud environment. Cloud providers carefully select and configure hardware resources to ensure high performance, reliability, and scalability. 

  2. Virtualization - It involves the creation of virtual resources, such as virtual machines (VMs), virtual networks, and virtual storage, on top of the physical hardware. This allows for the efficient utilization of hardware resources by enabling multiple virtual instances to run on a single physical server. It provides flexibility, isolation, and abstraction, making it easier to manage and scale the cloud infrastructure. 

  3. Storage - It plays a critical role as it is responsible for storing and retrieving data within the cloud environment. Cloud storage solutions provide scalable and resilient storage services that can accommodate vast amounts of data. Different storage options are available, including block storage, object storage, and file storage, each with specific use cases and performance characteristics. 

  4. Network - It is responsible for facilitating communication and data transfer between various components, users, and services within the cloud environment. It involves network infrastructure such as routers, switches, load balancers, and firewalls that enable secure and efficient connectivity. 

How the cloud infrastructure works

As it's often said, "the cloud" is just a computer elsewhere. Businesses (and individuals) use that storage to run their businesses, typically without the need to spend a considerable amount of their IT budget on infrastructure.

In general terms, for the cloud infrastructure to work, it needs connection to the internet. The network interconnects the hardware resources, enabling communication and data transfer between hardware devices in the cloud environment. It also plays a crucial role in connecting VMs or containers with the rest of the cloud infrastructure, allowing for data exchange and integration within the environment.

Virtualization also allows cloud providers to create virtual disks on physical storage devices. As data is written or read from these virtual disks, the storage infrastructure ensures data integrity and redundancy to provide a reliable and highly available storage solution.

Cloud infrastructure delivery models

Lastly, you can acquire a cloud-based infrastructure in various ways – or delivery models. Their main difference lies in the amount of control and management you have over the underlying infrastructure and services. 

Here are the main three:

  1. Software as a Service (SaaS) - In the SaaS model, the cloud provider hosts and manages software applications that users can access over the internet. This is ideal for organizations that don’t want to handle underlying infrastructure or the maintenance of the software, as the provider is in charge of that. This is the case for InvGate Insight’s cloud version. 

  2. Platform as a Service (PaaS) - The PaaS model is oriented to software developers, as it provides them with a platform to build, deploy, and manage applications without worrying about the underlying infrastructure. In this case, developers can focus on coding and application logic while the provider still handles tasks such as scalability, security, and Infrastructure Management. 

  3. Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) -  Going one step further in autonomy, this model offers users the flexibility to provision and manage virtual machines, storage, and networking resources. They are responsible for managing their applications and data, while the cloud provider takes care of the underlying hardware, virtualization, and Infrastructure Management. Thus, this alternative is great for those organizations that can quickly scale their infrastructure based on demand, without the need for upfront investments in physical hardware.

How to manage cloud infrastructure? Cloud Infrastructure Management software

The main challenge of Cloud Infrastructure Management is to visualize the invisible. This means, being able to have a clear understanding of the components, their state, the relationships and dependencies between them, and other extra details. 

InvGate Insight combines a full set of capabilities to ensure your whole IT environment is correctly managed. Particularly when looking at cloud infrastructure, the following features have been designed to access, incorporate, and manage its main components.

  • Unified inventory - On InvGate Insight you can quickly and easily create a unified inventory, which incorporates assets from your cloud infrastructure. This makes it easy to both map and monitor them throughout your organization.

  • Asset tracking - You will also have these assets reporting to your instance, improving visibility, providing updated data, and making sure everything is working as it should.

  • Relationships - Every asset in your instance is connected to others. Some may have owners, contracts, and warranties, or software licenses installed in them. Building these relationships will give you a holistic approach to your cloud infrastructure.

  • Configuration Management Database (CMDB) - This is a visual representation of how the assets are interconnected within a Business Application. InvGate Insight’s CMDB  makes a big difference when it comes to cloud management visualization by setting out all the codepences between the assets.

  • Application Programming Interface (API) -  InvGate Insight’s API allows for programmatic interaction with the cloud infrastructure, enabling developers to integrate their own software tools or applications with the cloud provider's infrastructure. APIs provide the flexibility to automate tasks, retrieve real-time data, and manage resources programmatically.

  • Risk Management tools - They help monitor and analyze networks, assets and applications for vulnerabilities and threats. InvGate Insight includes features such as automation, Smart Tags, Health Status, and Discovery to ensure the security and integrity of the cloud environment.

Key takeaways

The majority of organizations have their services allocated in a cloud environment: it’s flexible, efficient, and suited to today's needs. Thus, Cloud Infrastructure Management has become crucial to optimize an organization’s cloud environments for enhanced performance, scalability, and cost-efficiency. 

The challenge here relies on maintaining control over components that are not always visible or accessible, and making sure that they are working as they should and in the right place. To do so, a well-rounded tool like InvGate Insight provides you with the capabilities needed to gain visibility and monitor the performance of your cloud infrastructure. 

So, ask for a 30 day free trial and give it a go!

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