What is it?
IaaS or infrastructure as a service – is a cloud computing infracturure that is supplied in the cloud. This replaces the phsycial servers that previously took place in the office, and are instead manged by a supplier in the cloud. It’s also one of four components in cloud computing coupled with SaaS, PaaS and serverless. With Iaas you only pay for what you use/rent with a cost-efficient pay-per-use model. It helps you avoid technical issues as well as expensive costs that comes with managing and buying your own physical servers and other infrastructure needed for cloud computing. Each individual part is delivered separately and you only rent one for as long as you need. A typical example of a famous IaaS supplier is Azure that delivers infrastructure while you buy, install, configure and manage your infrastructure operative system, middleware and apps. SaaS became popular in 2010 and has since then grown into a standardize model for companies looking to reduce costs while boosting productivity with an on-demand infrastructure solution. With new technology taking place on the market such as microservices, IaaS has to face more competition than ever.
The last thing an organisation wants to think about when streamlining is if the infrastructure kan keep up. IaaS is a good alternative in these cases. It can lower costs for infrastructure, offer virtual unlimited scalability and lower time to market. It’s however important to note that you will never completely rid yourself of technical work. Companies still need to maintain and adjust in-house solutions like computers, printers, mobile units etc – that connect to the cloud to take advantage of IaaS.
- Servers and storage
- Firewalls and security in the network
- Facility and datacenter
Platform and architecture
To deliver building blocks to customers in order to run apps in the cloud, you need both physical and virtual resources. These usually consist of; physical datacenter, data management, network, and storage. It’s important to be aware of these components because it is still to some extent managed within the organisation and not your supplier.
- Server: IaaS suppliers manage big datacenters with physical machines that are required in order to run an app. End users have access to the service with internet but never really interact with the physical infrastructure. The supplier manages everything in regards to maintenance, updates, security, management, etc – all to keep the service up to par. You can always rely on how the supplier manages the server, which is something that would require a whole team to do in-office.
- Network: The network in the cloud is a new version of how traditional network hardware like routers and switches, are now available for programming with APIs. The supplier manages and monitors the network, and this can be decreased or increase according to needs. This involves everything from security measures that are required for maintenance.
- Storage: Storage is another big aspect of cloud computing. IaaS became increasingly popular when companies realized the value of storing in the cloud because of it’s elasticity. This essentially means that it can be expanded or decreased according to needs.
- Lower costs – Since the supplier provides and maintains everything regarding the hardware’s infrastructure like servers, storage and network, your company can avoid pricey bills that would follow if you were to do it yourself. This makes IaaS a great alternative for start-ups and companies that want to test new ideas.
- Increased scalability – With cloud-based solution, the services are always available with an internet connection. The services can easily be increased or decreased. And for companies expanding, they may want to include more personnel to manage the technical infrastructure. But with IaaS you never have to worry since the technology easily can be adjusted to your needs. This gives you time to focus on what you do best with a seamless solution.
- Flexibility – By implementing IaaS companies can supply their coworkers with flexibility. They can always reach files and data outside of the office. They can also connect to virtual offices.
- Reliability and security – Safe management of data is handled by the supplier. The infrastructure is stored in special designed data centers and the supplier oversees the data security. And if any part of the hardware would experience issues, or if internet is down, the infrastructure won’t be affected. A trend that is foreseen in the future is the hybrid cloud that will benefit from both the private and public cloud. It will provide tremendous flexibility and suits companies with changing needs. And users can more easily protect the data since it’s stored privately.
The cons with IaaS is mainly being more expensive that SaaS or PaaS solutions since you rent the entire infrastructure. In addition, you don’t have any control over the security in the environment and it needs to be continually monitored by the supplier. A company that implements IaaS is also completely dependent of their supplier in regards to security and infrastructure management. Updates are also up to the organisation. Technically you have the most control with IaaS in comparison to its cloud computing siblings, but it also requires the most expertise in order to manage infrastructure. SaaS for example allows you to use cloud-based apps without having to deal with anything else.
The future of IaaS
Even though IaaS is a new term on the market, modern solutions will take over what IaaS, SaaS and PaaS deliver individually. New modern solutions will be able to integrate all of them to a complete solution with streamlined process flows. This will make it possible for companies to be innovative at fast pace with continuous updates and access to the latest technology. This will aslo create a shift in maintenance that usually ended up on in-house technicians desks. It was also open up a new sphere of jobs, services, platforms and apps. There are countless opportunities that both suppliers and vendors can take part of. It also opens up a new world for designers and web developers.