What is IAAS – Infrastructure as a Service?
Whether your company is a conglomerate or start-up, chances are you are using cloud computing services in one form or another. From sending emails, editing documents, playing games online to watching TV and banking transactions, you are already using the cloud all the time. Cloud computing can take care of all your IT needs – such as servers, software, storage, databases, networking and analytics.
Here is what each type does.
SAAS – A distribution model where a cloud service provider hosts all your applications and makes it available to you over the internet.
PAAS – The cloud service provider delivers the operating systems as well as other related services through the web, and you don’t have to bother about installation and downloads – or invest in IT infrastructure.
IAAS – The cloud service provider offers everything that you need for your IT infrastructure. From virtual machines, operating system, and networks to storage, support, and hardware, the provider will offer you everything, which can fulfil all your IT infrastructure needs –without investing money in buying hardware of your own.
All about IAAS
IaaS allows customers to use the IT infrastructure of the cloud service provider on a subscription basis. This model outsources all IT infrastructure needs to the provider, which typically has an on-premise data center that includes servers, networking hardware, virtual machines, operating systems and storage. The service provider also offers a host of other services that include monitoring, security, billing, load balancing, log access and clustering, as well as storage facilities – such as backup, data recovery and replication.
IaaS users can access these services and resources via a wide area network (WAN) like the internet, and then use the IaaS provider’s services to install the rest of the applications. For example: as a customer, you need to log in to the IaaS platform and create virtual machines, install an operating system (OS), make storage buckets and backups. You can then use the cloud provider’s services to perform many functions, such as cost tracking, network traffic balancing, performance monitoring, disaster recovery management – and even solve application issues.
All cloud computing models work on the participation of the provider, and in most cases act as a third-party organization that sells IaaS. Two of the better-known independent IaaS providers are Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Google Cloud Platform (GCP). As a customer, you can also opt for a private cloud, where you provide your infrastructure services.
Advantages of IAAS
Businesses opt for IaaS because it is an easy, fast and cost-effective option for which they don’t have to invest, support, or manage the infrastructure. In this model, a business subscribes its IT infrastructure needs from a cloud service provider. IaaS is best suited for businesses/ assignments that are new, short-term, or that entail unexpected changes.
IaaS subscribers typically pay only on a per-user basis. At times, IaaS providers bill based on the amount of virtual machine space you use. This convenient payment method turns out to be a better option for businesses that don’t want to invest big money in setting up their own IT infrastructure.
Also, cloud computing works well for several other reasons. It is reliable because it keeps your data safe, offers uninterrupted service and high speed, which increases overall productivity.
However, says Ian McClarty, CEO and President of PhoenixNAP Global IT Services,
“Infrastructure requires careful planning as well. Determine if a prebuilt IaaS Solution is a good fit. This can save money and add expertise to your deployment without having to hire on your own.”
Prominent IAAS Venors & Providers
There are several IaaS providers in the market, but selecting one that best serves your needs is a crucial question. Though most of the IaaS providers offer its clients virtual machines, it all comes down to the kind of management and specialized services they are ready to deliver.
For this reason, it is important to evaluate service providers on not just the basis of cloud services they offer, but also on the following factors: management functions, identity management, service level agreements (SLAs), customer support and monitoring tools.
Amazon AWS offers a range of compute and storage services, such as Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2), Glacier, and Simple Storage Services (S3). AWS offers a full range of services and integrated monitoring tools with a competitive pricing structure.
Since Google Compute Engine (GCE) is integrated with other Google services, it is best suited for high-performance computing, data warehousing, big data and analytics applications. GCE also offers a range of compute and storage services.
Windows Azure also offers a range of compute and storage services. It is an easy-to-use administration tool, more so if you are used to working on Microsoft platforms. It is not a Windows-only IaaS.
Rackspace Open Cloud also has an easy-to-use control panel and offers strong customer service apart from offering core cloud compute services.
HP Enterprise Converged Infrastructure is a viable solution for businesses that want to integrate their current IT infrastructure with a public, hybrid or private cloud.
IBM SmartCloud Enterprise offers a range of compute and storage services with a combination of software, management and security features for enterprise cloud administrators.
Tom’s IT Pro offers an informative in-depth look at the above IaaS providers. Of course, this is not a comprehensive list. There are many vendors in the market, some small and others offering niche services.
Again, carefully analyze your needs before selecting a cloud service provider. McClarty advises the following: “If a customized product is a better fit, start by testing some solutions with a smaller deployment before jumping in. By testing a proof of concept, you can get a direct feel for what cloud adoption for your entire
organization may be like. Working with engineers to review detailed architecture ahead of time can reduce costly mistakes and make sure your move goes smoothly. Additionally, if there are compliance requirements, these will need to be identified and considered.”
No matter which IaaS provider you choose, keeping your company’s data secure is always the first priority. DocuServe is a cloud-based digital data protection company providing services that include cloud-based document management, content encryption and distribution, and digital media replication and encryption. Contact us today to learn about our full range of solutions.