Infrastructure As A Service (IaaS)


IaaS: What It Is and When It Makes Sense To Use It.

The rapid growth in cloud computing has produced a matching growth in cloud services – specifically:

  • Software as a service (SaaS);
  • Platform as a service (PaaS); and
  • Infrastructure as a service (IaaS).

The first two of these are evolving and further changes are certain. It can also be difficult to ascertain which service a product belongs to, and SaaS and PaaS may ultimately merge and be seen to be the same thing. For example, in which of the two categories would you place Salesforce.com? That question reflects the fact that PaaS was originally simply a place where software could be developed and evaluated, but that has changed and will change some more.

IaaS is much more a separate item, because – much as road infrastructure is the place where trucks, buses and cars move and rail infrastructure is the place for passenger and cargo trains, so IaaS provides the physical place for programs to run and data to be stored and transferred. IaaS is the hardware and software – the servers, storage devices and networks together with the operating systems that make them work – on which software is developed, tested and deployed.

The benefits of IaaS are, essentially, the benefits of the rest of the cloud. It’s scalable, it’s always there, it removes the need for capital investment by the user, billing is flexible and reflects actual usage, and security, conductivity, maintenance and upgrades are all taken care of by the provider. All the user has to deal with is: what programs to run, and what deal to strike.

It’s easy enough to list situations in which using IaaS makes sense:

  • Where demand for storage, servers and/or conductivity is very variable. This may include trialing new systems and software or may simply reflect seasonal peaks and troughs;
  • Where user organizations lack the capital for investment in new equipment or can see a higher rate of return on other uses of that capital; and
  • Where growth is rapid and sustained and dealing with it in-house would require continuous increase of equipment.

We always strive to present a balanced picture and in this case that means also presenting cases in which IaaS either doesn’t make sense or may not be the best option. It isn’t easy. While we may be considered biased, it is our view that the cloud is increasingly the way to go and IaaS the best way to use it.

Categories: Data Center

Tags: IaaS, Infrastructure as a service, datacenter

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