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Definition

cloud configuration

Cloud configuration is the process of setting hardware and software details for elements of a cloud environment to ensure that they can interoperate and communicate. 

The complexities of a cloud environment, and a hybrid cloud environment in particular, make configuration more challenging than would be the case in a single-location, homogenous network. A cloud provider has to enable service for clients in various locations, using all different kinds of hardware and software. Just like the administrator of a single-premises network, the provider has to ensure that the service is reliable, performance is acceptable and communications are secure. 

Cloud APIs (application program interfaces) sit on top of client hardware to enable interaction with the provider's environment. The APIs are supposed to deliver a unified programmable experience no matter what hardware is running underneath. However, that means it's not possible to use the same practices used on traditional hardware, simply because there are too many variations.

Configuration specifics differ among the three major elements of cloud provision, sometimes referred to as the SPI model

In the Software as a Service (SaaS) distribution model, applications are hosted by a vendor or service provider and made available to customers, usually over the Internet. Software configuration may be enabled for the user so that they can make the same types of changes they would to customize a locally-hosted application. In other cases, there may be a single configuration offered. The provider’s configuration responsibilities are typically laid out in the service-level agreement (SLA).

In the Platform as a Service (PaaS) model, operating systems and associated services are delivered over the Internet without downloads or installation. The platform for a developer could include, for example, an operating system, a programming language, an execution environment, a database and a web server. Configuration and management of all elements are the responsibility of the provider.

In the Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) involves outsourcing the equipment used to support operations, including storage, hardware, servers and networking components. Similarly to the PaaS service model, configuration of all elements is the responsibility of the provider.

This was last updated in June 2015

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