Cloud Architecture

22 July, 2021

A ground-breaking blueprint for successful cloud implementation

The cloud architecture describes the interaction of several infrastructure components. It creates specific plans for implementation while taking all relevant business-related and IT-specific framework conditions into account. Designing cloud architecture is extremely challenging. It is essential to select suitable service models for cloud components, to consider all of the requirements derived from the cloud strategy, and to design the architecture flexible enough to ensure that future modifications are also feasible. 

The experts at PwC have extensive experience in designing cloud architecture. We help you map out powerful, robust, and forward-looking architecture for your cloud projects to enable optimum implementation.

What cloud architecture involves

Selecting suitable service models

In order to utilise the entire potential of the cloud, suitable service models must be selected for the individual components. The infrastructure as a service (IaaS) model facilitates the needs-based purchase of computer infrastructure, i.e. processing power and memory. When the platform as a service (PaaS) model is utilised, cloud-based runtime environments can be purchased, which offer opportunities for the development and provision of applications. Software as a service (SaaS) has been established as a service model for the cloud-based provision and use of software. The cloud architecture does not just explore how various components can be realised within the levels of these service models. It also outlines how the respective components intertwine.

Considering cross-organisational architectural approaches

How does new cloud architecture fit into existing architectural initiatives within an organisation, e.g. into the data or infrastructure architecture or the overarching business architecture? The response to this question within the course of designing the cloud architecture opens up new horizons for identifying synergies. Just like when constructing a building, the surrounding environment should also be considered in this context. This allows you to learn from existing architectural concepts and act in line with a forward-looking development plan.

Good cloud architecture does not just deliver an isolated plan for implementation. Instead, it also deals with architectural principles for cross-sectional areas.

Deriving architectural requirements from the cloud strategy

The prerequisite for the sustainable design of cloud architecture is a cloud strategy devised in advance. This strategy represents the guardrail for cloud implementation. It is closely coordinated with business and IT strategies and anticipates organisational changes arising from using the cloud within the organisation. The cloud strategy lays the essential groundwork for deriving requirements for the cloud architecture. As part of this approach, the cloud architecture substantiates the vast majority of the strategic provisions and framework conditions. It builds a bridge from the strategy to the technical implementation.

Being equipped for architectural modifications

As part of the initial architectural concept, it should be ensured that the architecture can be modified as easily as possible to fulfil new challenges in the future. For one thing, business continues to develop, which can cause existing assumptions to change and new requirements to emerge. Then again, technological advancement never stands still, and time and again technological innovation will require a new component to be integrated or an existing module to be replaced. Forward-looking cloud architecture can be expanded and adapted to reflect business development and technical innovations.

Our Services for Cloud Architecture

With the broadest cloud portfolio on the market, PwC supports you at each stage along your individual pathway into the cloud. We use the following services to help you design suitable and effective cloud architecture.

Target Architecture

Robust and forward-looking cloud architecture is the basis for cost-efficient, flexible, and scalable cloud infrastructure. Our experienced architects consult your development team during and following the cloud implementation concerning all matters relating to architecture design. For example, we collaborate with your team to set up suitable target architecture which is customised to your needs and can be flexibly modified for future requirements.

Ecosystem Suppliers

What suppliers are most suitable for your cloud strategy and the architectural requirements? This question often cannot be answered ad hoc. The cloud market has grown rapidly in recent years and is characterised by a complex supplier landscape. We help you find the most suitable supplier strategy (single vs. multi-vendor) and to explore platform types (on-premise, IaaS, PaaS, SaaS) and procurement options (self-service vs. managed service).

Security / Data Protection Architecture

Security and data protection criteria play a key role within the framework of cloud architecture. We support you in developing a suitable cloud security strategy and instituting state-of-the-art security measures. In doing so, we ensure that you comply with the provisions of all relevant legal specification such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and international standards like ISO 27001.


Cloud costs can be reduced through the needs-based procurement of IT resources. However, accurate dimensioning is a prerequisite for this – both in terms of the need for processing power and memory and the management of access to cloud-based services. PwC supports you in defining the right cloud sizing and establishing actions for the adjustment of capacities in order to benefit from cost-effective cloud use in the long term.

Financial Predictability

In regard to cost allocation and control, the cloud offers entirely new opportunities compared to conventional IT infrastructure – for example by means of use-based billing models such as pay-as-you-go. We develop a customised action plan for your cost optimisation. Among other factors, this plan considers the impact of modifications to the architecture. Furthermore, we make special tools available to allow the future costs for a growing business to be forecast accurately.

Proof of Concept (PoC)

A proof of concept is indispensable, especially for larger cloud projects. It provides certainty and helps validate new ideas and concepts. Our cloud architects help you create prototypes for a cloud environment or application with limited effort in a short time so that services, capacities, interfaces, and technologies can be tested for agile projects. As part of this, we support you from the identification of potential applications up to the creation of acceptance criteria, which are then used to evaluate the success of the proof of concept.

Governance for Architecture

Powerful architecture alone is not a guarantee for sustained success in the cloud. Effective governance mechanisms for long-term management and clearly defined templates for the system architecture and well-thought-out maintenance processes are needed. We support you in establishing customised architecture governance and ensure that the architecture develops within predefined boundaries and follows mandatory guidelines. Effective management and control in the field of cloud architecture is the key to optimising IT operations and directly benefits your business objectives.

Scalability & Resilience

Scalability and resilience are essential virtues for any cloud architecture. If they are not factored in sufficiently, there is a threat of system failures and long standby times should a specific incident cause a large rush of users and requests. Based on the nature of your business, we evaluate potential scaling scenarios, assess the current scaling options, and develop suitable templates or modifications for existing solutions. We take relevant risks and the company's risk strategy into account and recommend measures to promote service continuity.

Further services in the area of the Cloud Transformation Journey

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