Cloud infrastructure refers to a virtual infrastructure that is delivered or accessed via a network or the internet. This usually refers to the on-demand services or products being delivered through the model known as infrastructure as a service (IaaS), a basic delivery model of cloud computing. This is a highly automated offering where computing resources complemented with storage and networking services are provided to the user. In essence, users have an IT infrastructure that they can use for themselves without ever having to pay for the construction of a physical infrastructure.
Cloud infrastructure is one of the most basic products delivered by cloud computing services through the IaaS model. Through the service, users can create their own IT infrastructure complete with processing, storage, and networking fabric resources that can be configured in any way, just as with a physical data center enterprise infrastructure. In most cases, this provides more flexibility in infrastructure design, as it can be easily set up, replaced, or deleted as opposed to a physical one, which requires manual work, especially when network connectivity needs to be modified or reworked.
Cloud infrastructure includes virtual machines and components such as:
- Virtual servers
- Virtual PCs
- Virtual network switches/hubs/routers
- Virtual memory
- Virtual storage clusters
All of these elements combine to create a full IT infrastructure that works just as well as a physical one, but boasts such benefits as:
- Low barrier to entry
- Low capital requirement
- The low total cost of ownership