Today, many cloud computing services are well known for being quite innovative and economical and for resolving challenges that hinder business operations.
There are a lot of technological tools that are used to either provide extra storage, software, better connectivity, intelligence, databases, etc.
There are a few different service models like platform as a service (PaaS), software as a service (SaaS), and data as a service (DaaS). However, this article will take a deeper look at a different service model, infrastructure as a service (IaaS).
Table of Contents
- The Definition of Infrastructure as a Service
- The Benefits of IaaS
- The Downsides of IaaS
- Examples of IaaS Usage
The Definition of Infrastructure as a Service
IaaS is perhaps one of the most important cloud computing service models because it provides all the standard virtualized computing resources over the internet, like servers, storage, and networking.
It is primarily known for delivering serverless computing, meaning users can run applications without managing servers.
Based on the demand, IaaS quickly adjusts its function, therefore not requiring additional physical servers or other data center infrastructure.
With the infrastructure taken care of, the user has to handle the installation, configuration, and software management. Essentially, the user leases the hardware infrastructure but controls all other components.
The purpose of a cloud computing service is that it is mainly managed for you so that you can focus on things that are more pressing for your business.
IaaS is often preferred because it cuts down costs by enabling companies not to have to purchase equipment, the space to keep the equipment, or entire IT teams to manage and upgrade the equipment.
Much like most service models, IaaS is offered on a pay-as-you-go basis. Its services are provided on-demand, making it a suitable option for smaller organizations that cannot afford to pay much for IT services.
The service provider can bill based on the amount of data stored or the number of virtualization instances. Some cloud service providers may charge extra for certain managerial services.
The Benefits of IaaS
Most of the benefits of IaaS are related to cost-efficiency, flexibility, and convenience.
As mentioned earlier, IaaS cuts down many costs related to upkeep and equipment storage.
Clients only have to pay for the services they use and nothing more.
Furthermore, they do not have to pay in advance for services they currently do not need but might need later, avoiding server setup costs, which the provider frequently covers.
In terms of scalability, IaaS clients can select what kind of services they require based on their individual needs.
Therefore, users can always scale up or down the service they receive, meaning that their expenses towards the service provider also go up and down accordingly.
Moreover, they can always readjust their options at any point they choose. This responsive scalability model prevents the so-called service provider lock-in, removing the chance for a long-term dependency for the user.
Another significant advantage of an IaaS provider is accessibility. Service providers have a large number of cloud servers in data centers, creating multiple points of access from anywhere and through any device.
Moreover, because IaaS has a large presence in many different geographies, businesses can grow their online reach faster.
This accessibility becomes even more helpful in the case of server maintenance when your application can be hosted on a different server while your server is unavailable during maintenance.
A similar process can also occur in case your server fails for some reason, which enables you not to interrupt your operations. Therefore, IaaS provides excellent reliability, ensuring you never experience service interruption.
The Downsides of IaaS
The flexibility that an IaaS solution provides is indeed very advantageous. However, IaaS might be less reliable when the security question comes into play.
If an organization leases cloud infrastructure in a shared public cloud to run a large number of applications, it will be more challenging to detect and evaluate security threats accurately.
For that reason, there will be greater uncertainty about the level of security of an organization’s data and the possibility of data breaches.
While the pay-as-you-go billing model definitely has its benefits, it does create some difficulties for the user.
Specifically, it is harder to forecast and manage costs with IaaS.
Because the IaaS service provider bases its charges to the user on the exact usage of services, breaking down every single little service involved in an application, costs can add up quickly without the user realizing it in time.
Finally, there is the subject of dependency.
While IaaS service providers generally allow the user to have a certain level of self-reliance, the nature of IaaS does not make it possible for the customer to have complete independence.
Because the cloud service provider owns the infrastructure, a lot of its ins and outs will remain unknown to the user.
Therefore, there will be a lack of transparency, which can create challenges regarding management and monitoring.
Furthermore, if the cloud service provider experiences any network blockages, the customer and their workloads will also be affected.
Examples of IaaS Usage
There are many examples of the services that the IaaS model provides.
Many businesses use IaaS resources to host and run websites and mobile applications. IaaS makes running websites an easy and cost-efficient process, while applications can be quickly deployed and scaled according to the business’ needs.
Applications can be rapidly deployed because IaaS is also very useful for testing and development.
Storing, backing up, and recovering data are more great examples of infrastructure as a service, as well as the support of multiple types of applications like cloud native applications and traditional enterprise applications (ERP and business analytics applications).
Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) by Amazon Web Services (AWS) is a great tool that allows businesses to run applications. Other well-known IaaS cloud providers are Microsoft Azure, Google Compute Engine (GCE), Cisco Metapod, DigitalOcean, and more.
Infrastructure as a service (IaaS) is a fundamental cloud computing service model that provides an array of functions on an on-demand basis.
Some of the functions it supports are data storage, application optimization, website hosting, etc. Its use of multiple data centers allows the users to avoid disruptions that could affect their workloads.
Cloud infrastructure services are great resources for multi- and hybrid cloud solutions.