What is Infrastructure as a Service?

Written by True Topia

November 28, 2020

Introduction

With the technology sector expanding rapidly, cloud computing has become one of the industry’s significant needs.  It saves you space, time, and money; so many companies prefer to use cloud computing for their business. Infrastructure as a Service or IaaS is a cloud computing version that provides instant computing infrastructure over the internet. 

Cloud computing has four types, namely Software as a service (SaaS), Serverless, Platform as a Service (PaaS), and Infrastructure as a Service. Despite growing demands for newer technology and IaaS remaining foundational, many businesses prefer IaaS for their cloud computing needs. 

So how does Iaas help end-users? What are the benefits of Infrastructure as a Service? How do we implement IaaS? If you have these questions in your mind, you have landed on the right page. This article will answer all your burning questions and help you to understand and implement Infrastructure as a Service to your business.

How does IaaS help end-users?

As we mentioned earlier, IaaS provides instant computing infrastructure over the internet; end-users can shrink and scale their resources according to their requirements. End users can change their scale depending upon the demand, saving them a lot of money and avoiding unnecessary expenses. End users can pay for what they use instead of paying for the entire infrastructure.

It reduces up-front expenditures and the complexity of managing physical servers or datacenters. You can rent a particular service component and pay for it according to your requirements. If you are low on your budget and don’t want to hire an entire infrastructure, IaaS is worth considering.

What businesses use IaaS?

These are the typical business scenarios that involve IaaS:

Website hosting – Compared to traditional web hosting, using IaaS to run websites can save you money.

Test and development – As IaaS is quick and economical, businesses can develop, test, and bring new applications. It saves a lot of time and money and is a practical choice for most organizations.

Web apps – Demands for apps are unpredictable, so many organizations develop infrastructure based on IaaS, which provides them the flexibility to scale up and down depending on their apps’ performance. IaaS also helps organizations deploy apps quickly, including networking resources, application and web servers, and storage. 

High-performance computing – Supercomputers use high-performance computing to help solve complex problems, such as earthquakes and weather predictions. IaaS is the first choice for these types of computing, as it is a flexible infrastructure. 

Storage, backup, and recovery – As IaaS is a flexible infrastructure, organizations prefer it recovery and backup systems. It is also less expensive than traditional servers and helps manage storage needs depending upon the demands.

Big data analysis – IaaS is economical and a perfect choice for big data analysis and mining data sets. This process requires a lot of processing power and capital, making IaaS the first choice for many businesses.

What are the Benefits of Infrastructure as a Service?

IaaS comes with a lot of benefits for organizations and businesses. The flexibility and convenience that IaaS provides to companies make it a top choice. Here are some benefits of Infrastructure as a Service:

1. Zero capital expense/Reduces ongoing cost

As IaaS is a flexible infrastructure, you don’t have to deal with the complexity of buying and managing physical servers. IaaS eliminates the upfront capital expense, making it an excellent and budget-friendly choice for businesses and start-ups.

2. Flexibility and scalability

One of the crucial advantages of using IaaS is its ability to be flexible and scalable. Businesses can scale their apps and products according to their demands and requirements, which makes IaaS an economical option. Additionally, IaaS provides the flexibility of virtually connecting to your infrastructure without investing in additional infrastructure. 

3. Better security

IaaS provides better protection to your infrastructure, which means that your application and data remain secure. These security levels can be much higher and if you compare them with in-house infrastructure. 

4. No or less management required

Unlike traditional infrastructures, you don’t have to worry about upgrading and maintaining hardware and software. Additionally, your service provider will also troubleshoot equipment problems for you, which increases your infrastructure’s performance. IaaS ensures that your infrastructure remains stable and reliable at all times. 

5. Disaster recovery and business continuity

To achieve disaster recovery and business continuity, organizations require a lot of expense. Using IaaS, you can access the data and applications as usual, even in an outage or disaster. If you have the right SLA or service level agreement in place, IaaS reduces the cost and improves disaster recovery and business continuity.

6. Rapid innovations

IaaS provides the required computing infrastructure needed to initiate and launch new products within hours. You don’t have to wait for days and weeks to get the infrastructure ready, unlike you would if you set it up internally.

7. Provide new apps faster

As you can initiate the infrastructure in IaaS more quickly, you don’t have to set it first. This process makes it convenient to develop and launch apps more quickly using IaaS.

How to Implement Infrastructure as a Service?

Infrastructure as a Service

Before implementing Infrastructure as a Service, you need to consider some crucial factors. Businesses need to follow these rules while implementing IaaS to achieve the most out of this service model. Here are some of the essential considerations you have to make:

  • Evaluating storage needs – Since IaaS incorporates all networks, storage needs, and servers, it becomes imperative to assess your usage requirements before you can implement IaaS. It would be best to determine and evaluate your storage needs before choosing your provider and implementing IaaS.
  • Be clear about your agreements – Before implementing IaaS, make sure you check all your service agreements with your provider. A proper service agreement will ensure security and reduce disaster recovery and business continuity. It would be best to create a requirement list before choosing your service providers and ensure that you get the most out of your service.
  • Evaluating your IT team – Evaluating your team’s capabilities will ensure that your business runs smoothly. It would be best to clear all the flaws before implementing IaaS. Your team is an integral part of your structure, and it becomes crucial to know your team’s strengths and weaknesses to manage an immense workload if required.
  • Change in service providers – Although most service providers offer seamless service, it is crucial to understand that you may want to switch at some point. It would be best to know about your data storage policies and application access before signing the contract.

As IaaS can be scaled up and down when needed, you can implement IaaS in a hybrid, public, or private cloud setting. You can change your infrastructure depending on the demand and buy new servers as and when needed. Organizations can use a graphical interface to modify the infrastructure or access it using an API key.

How Does Infrastructure as a Service Work?

IaaS works on shared responsibility where both the customer and the provider have different roles to get the most out of the service model. The provider looks after the physical environment, including the hardware’s operation, security, and structure. A provider has to ensure that these services are available to the users 24/7.  

Here are the key responsibilities of an IaaS service provider:

  • Establishing and maintaining the infrastructure
  • Keeping the data center up to date
  • Keep the data secure
  • Provide storage space and computing power
  • Provide databases and network and server structures
  • Provide customer access to IaaS resources by establishing a virtualization environment
  • Provide software for customers to administer and control the infrastructure

After a service provider provides these structures, customers can assemble their small data center. Customers can also manage and organize the logical environment along with establishing security measures to secure their resources. Here is a summary of the responsibility that a customer shares in IaaS:

  • Select and configure the virtual infrastructure
  • Installing operating systems and application software as per requirement
  • Routine configurations and updates of operating systems and application software
  • Functioning the IaaS network and structuring the firewall
  • Using security software to secure installed software and operating system
  • Encrypting data as well as data connections
  • Setting up access and identity controls as well as authentication mechanisms

To get the most out of your service model, both parties are responsible for its security and functioning. The provider takes care of the physical environment while the customer ensures that the virtual environment functions smoothly and securely. It would be best to check with your service provider regarding service policies and check if they facilitate customer service tools.

Infrastructure as Service

Now that you know how IaaS works or how you can implement it. Let us look at some significant IaaS vendors and their products.

Major IaaS vendors and products

With a sea of service providers offering IaaS technology to customers, choosing one can be tricky. IaaS is a growing technology, and its needs are growing with each passing day. Many organizations prefer IaaS over other cloud services as it offers seamless performance at a relatively lower price. We have done some research and found these five IaaS providers to be the best.

1. IBM Cloud

IBM is known for its quality services, and its hybrid cloud infrastructure is no exception. It offers portability and flexibility for your data and applications, and you can configure it within hours, depending on the customer’s requirements. Customers can enjoy its seamless performance, including scaling and supply on demand. The security features are also best in class, and it is undoubtedly one of the best IaaS providers in the industry.

IBM Cloud offers a variety of pricing models for its customers. You can choose a subscription package according to your needs or opt for the ‘Lite tier’ that comes with no time limit and 256MB of Cloud Foundry Memory. You also get a ‘Pay as you Go’ tier where customers only pay for their use.

2. Microsoft Azure

If you want to create a scalable and secure infrastructure, Microsoft Azure is worth considering. It reduces infrastructure costs and saves you a lot of time and money. Customers can enjoy a highly bare-metal infrastructure with top-class security and data storage. You can quickly provision infrastructure, deploy hybrid environments, and protect your applications with this service. Overall, it is one of the best IaaS providers to date. 

3. Google Compute Engine

Google offers many services, and cloud computing is one of them. The Google Compute Engine is one of the best IaaS providers in the industry that provides high-performance and scalable virtual machines. This IaaS provider offers seamless performance to customers with persistent disk storage and top-quality security for your applications and data. Customers can scale their infrastructure as per their requirements and manage all their used resources.

4. Amazon Web Services

Amazon Web Services offers highly customizable computing to businesses and individuals. It provides web-based solutions to customers who want to build their infrastructure in the cloud. AWS provides hardware infrastructure to customers saving them a lot of money and time.

Customers can choose between three pricing models according to their requirements. It also offers a free tier with limited services that customers can use for 12 months before opting for a pricing model.

5. Oracle Cloud

Oracle Cloud is another service provider that you should consider. It offers seamless connectivity and provides complete control over your infrastructure. You get excellent security features such as identity management and secure application access, making it a perfect option to consider. It also offers API solutions for digital transformation and development.

Customers can also experience several enhancement features, including machine learning, AI, and a digital assistant. Overall, it is one of the best IaaS providers in the industry.

The final verdict

Despite aging back on the cloud computing scenario, Infrastructure as a Service remains an attractive solution for many businesses and organizations. The ability to get flexible and scalable makes IaaS the preferred choice for many customers, especially start-ups and small businesses. Its seamless performance and advanced security features make it a complete winner and a must-try technology for every organization and individual.

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