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EMC Glossary

Cloud Infrastructure

Cloud infrastructure encompasses the computers, storage, network, related components, and facilities required for cloud computing and IT-as-a-Service.

Who uses cloud infrastructure and why

Mid to large corporations and government entities, ISVs, and service providers use cloud infrastructure to build private and public clouds and deliver cloud computing services.

Virtualization provides the foundation for cloud computing, enabling rapid deployment of IT resources from a shared pool and economies of scale. Integration reduces complexity and administrative overhead, and facilitates automation to enable end-user resource provisioning, allocation/re-allocation of physical capacity, and information security and protection, without IT staff intervention.

To fully capture (private) and effectively deliver (public) the benefits of cloud computing therefore requires an infrastructure optimized for virtualization and tightly integrated.

How cloud infrastructure works

Cloud computing infrastructure includes:

  • Servers - physical servers provide "host" machines for multiple virtual machines (VMs) or "guests'. A hypervisor running on the physical server allocates host resources (CPU, memory) dynamically to each VM.
  • Virtualization - virtualization technologies abstract physical elements and location. IT resources – servers, applications, desktops, storage, and networking – are uncoupled from physical devices and presented as logical resources.
  • Storage - SAN, network attached storage (NAS), and unified systems provide storage for primary block and file data, data archiving, backup, and business continuance. Advanced storage software components are utilized for big data, data replication, cloud to cloud data movement, and HA.
  • Network - switches interconnect physical servers and storage. Routers provide LAN and WAN connectivity. Additional network components provide firewall protection and traffic load balancing.
  • Management - cloud infrastructure management includes server, network, and storage orchestration, configuration management, performance monitoring, storage resource management, and usage metering
  • Security - components ensure information security and data integrity, fulfill compliance and confidentiality needs, manage risk, and provide governance
  • Backup & recovery - virtual servers, NAS, and virtual desktops are backed up automatically to disk or tape. Advanced elements provide continuous protection, multiple restore points, data deduplication, and disaster recovery.
  • Infrastructure systems - pre-integrated software and hardware, such as complete backup systems with de-duplication and pre-racked platforms containing servers, hypervisor, network, and storage, streamline cloud infrastructure deployment and further reduce complexity.

Benefits of cloud infrastructure

Infrastructure built for cloud computing provides numerous benefits:

  • Flexible and efficient utilization of infrastructure investments
  • Faster deployment of physical and virtual resources
  • Higher application service levels
  • Less administrative overhead
  • Lower infrastructure, energy, and facility costs
  • Increased security
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