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The Reference Architecture

The NIST cloud reference architecture is a logical extension of the NIST cloud computing definition. The reference architecture was published in September 2011. The institute aimed to develop a neutral architectural model. They analyzed various already existing reference models suggested by researchers, enterprises, and cloud vendors which had many limitations as they were either product-specific or had some other deficiencies. The reference architecture of NIST does not model the system architecture of any particular cloud. Rather it intends to simplify the conception of the operational details of cloud computing. The architecture focuses on ‘what’ cloud services need to provide but not ‘how to’ do that. Figure 4.2 represents the NIST reference-based architecture. The diagram depicts a generic high-level architecture and represents an actor or role-based model. The five major factors of the model are cloud consumer, cloud provider, cloud broker, cloud auditor, and cloud carrier. Along with the actors, the model also identifies their activities and functions. This helps in understanding the responsibilities of the actors.

The NIST cloud computing reference architecture focuses on ‘what’ cloud services must provide, not ‘how to’ implement solutions.


                                            FIG 4.2:NIST cloud computing reference architecture

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