Topic

Understanding clouds

Sharing resources through hardwired connections is quickly being replaced with a delivery method that provides infrastructure, services, platforms, and applications on demand, across networks.

What are clouds?

Clouds are IT environments that abstract, pool, and share scalable resources across a network. Clouds are usually created to enable cloud computing, which is the act of running workloads within that system. Neither clouds nor cloud computing are technologies unto themselves.

  • Clouds are environments—places where applications run.
  • Cloud computing is an act—the function of running a workload in a cloud.
  • Technologies are things—software and hardware used to build and use clouds.

Public clouds, private clouds, hybrid clouds, and multiclouds

The differences between public clouds, private clouds, hybrid clouds, and multiclouds were once easily defined by location and ownership. But it’s just not that simple anymore. So while we’ve tried our best to define the main cloud types, we do so with an eye to the future—knowing the explanations of yesterday may not indicate how clouds will be used tomorrow.

Public clouds

A cloud environment created from resources not owned by the end user that can be redistributed to other tenants.

Private clouds

Loosely defined as a cloud environment solely dedicated to the end user, usually within the user’s firewall and sometimes on premise.

Hybrid clouds

Multiple cloud environments with some degree of workload portability, orchestration, and management among them.

Multiclouds

An IT system that includes more than 1 cloud—public or private—that may or may not be networked together.

Building clouds

There’s no single, perfect cloud architecture or infrastructure. All clouds require operating systems—like Linux®—but the cloud infrastructure can include a variety of bare-metal, virtualization, or container software that abstract, pool, and share scalable resources across a network. This is why clouds are best defined by what they do rather than what they’re made of. You’ve created a cloud if you’ve set up an IT system that:

  • Can be accessed by other computers through a network.
  • Contains a repository of IT resources.
  • Can be provisioned and scaled quickly.

You can build a private cloud on your own or use prepackaged cloud infrastructure like OpenStack®, and there are thousands of cloud providers all over the world. Here are some of the most popular:

Alibaba Cloud Logo
Amazon web services
Microsoft Azure logo

Creating a hybrid cloud requires some degree of workload portability, orchestration, and management. Application programming interfaces (APIs) and virtual private networks (VPNs) have been the standard ways to create these connections. Many of the major cloud providers even give customers a preconfigured VPN as part of their subscription packages:

Another way of creating a hybrid cloud is to simply run the same operating system in every environment and build container-based, cloud-native apps that are managed by a universal orchestration engine like Kubernetes. The operating system abstracts all the hardware while the management platform abstracts all the apps. So you deploy almost any app in almost any environment without retooling the app, retraining people, splitting management, or sacrificing security.

Cloud services

Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS)

Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) delivers cloud resources—compute, networking, and cloud storage—to users via a network connection. The rise of big data, mobile apps, and the Internet of Things (IoT) have led to a rise in IaaS data storage providers like DropBox.

Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS)

Platform-as-a-service (PaaS) delivers an application software platform—and all the IT infrastructure required to run it—to users via a network connection. This is typically how cloud platforms are delivered.

Software-as-a-Service (SaaS)

Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) delivers an entire working app—as well as the platform it runs on and all its IT infrastructure—to users via a network connection. This is typically how cloud apps are delivered.

Why choose Red Hat?

Because no matter what type of cloud you deploy—public, private, or hybrid—it should be open. Many cloud infrastructures are based on Linux and other open source software, and nobody does open source better than Red Hat. We make cloud computing easy with cloud automation features, comprehensive consulting, and hands-on training from expert instructors.

Some of the ways you can set up a cloud

Infrastructure

The ideal platform for your business to build a private cloud or for service providers to construct a public cloud.

Platform

This private cloud infrastructure comes with a container orchestration platform to help implement containers across the entire IT stack.

There's a lot more to do with the cloud

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