Cloud computing enables the consolidation of information from different sources (client machines/front ends) into a single, secure data repository (cloud based servers/back ends) and makes available such data to authorized users regardless of their location via the network or Internet. In other words, a network consists of the “backend” and the “front end” and the connecting hardware or a horizontal connecting component that is measured in terms of bandwidth.
The front end is the customer’s desktop/laptop or server that connects to the backend over the Network/Internet.
The connection between the remote server and the client machine is made possible by the installation of an ‘agent’ or a software component on the client machine or the front end.
In agent based systems, the agent is a small software component that is installed on the customers computing device (the desktop/laptop/server) and initiates the connection to the cloud service vendor’s remote server. The agent software provides a secure administrative console, with varied features, for administering the user account in the cloud; scheduling the backup; defining the settings and policies with regard to the data being uploaded. In agent based systems client machines connect to the cloud based user account using a userid and password that is authenticated on login.
Agentless cloud architectures require the installation of a software component on one central console known as the DS-Client. The console administrator then identifies each of the machines that are authorized to connect to the cloud based user account in the server known as the DS-Server. All data transmitted to the cloud, is routed through the DS-Client to the DS-Server.
The amount of Network/Internet bandwidth available with the customer will determine the speed with which data will be transmitted to the cloud from the client machines.
The backend is the “cloud” or the cluster of remote servers/devices that create a set of services and hosts the appropriate software and allocates sufficient storage space to client machines connecting to the cloud. The servers in the cloud connect to the front end via the network/Internet and the agent installed on the client machine/central console.
Within the cloud, a central administrative server regulates the traffic and monitors the demands that are made by client machines connecting to it. The server follows a set of rules known as “protocols” and communicates with the other servers in the cloud using software known as “middleware”. The concept of ‘virtualization’ is used utilize any excess capacity that may be available in the different servers. Replication is a process by which all data stored in the servers are copied on to similar servers located at a different remote data center to ensure redundancy of information and safeguard against disaster.