What is Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) within Cloud Computing?

The cloud has changed the way business can take advantage of technology. As the space matures, host providers are offering increasingly diverse ways to harness the power of the cloud for daily business use.

One newer model is known as “Infrastructure as a Service,” or IaaS. Infrastructure as a Service is a way for providers to deliver complete computing infrastructure to businesses including servers, storage, network and operating systems as a “pay as you go” on-demand service.  IaaS is generally delivered as a “public cloud” service, through a private infrastructure, or as a combination of the two delivery systems.

The Characteristics of IaaS

There are some core services that effectively describe exactly what Infrastructure as a Service delivers, including:

• Distributing resources such as software, storage, and network capabilities as a service

• Allows for easily dynamic scaling both up and down

• Operates on a variable cost utility pricing model (pay as you go)

•  Generally, multiple users share a single piece of hardware

As the technology and cloud space continues to evolve and mature, there are a number of host providers offering Infrastructure as a Service.

Is Infrastructure as a Service a Good Fit For Your Business?

Infrastructure as a Service makes sense for a number of business situations that are related to general cloud computing benefits including:

• If your business needs are volatile, seasonal or change quickly. Scalability means that usage spikes can be automatically addressed without the need for increased capital expenditure.

• If you are a new business with limited capital to invest in IT hardware

• If your company is experiencing rapid growth and scaling in-house IT would be problematic

• If your business has trial or temporary infrastructure needs such as experimenting with adding an online retail storefront

Infrastructure as a Service May Not Be the Best Option If…

While IaaS provides substantial advantages for many businesses that need quick scalability and cost control, there are certain business situations where Infrastructure as a Service may not be your best option.

• For example, if your business requires regulatory compliance, that can make offshoring or outsourcing of data processing or storage difficult. Infrastructure as a Service may be problematic as host provider’s servers may be based outside of the United States.

• While IaaS performance is usually not an issue, if your business requires the highest levels of service and your on-premise or dedicated host infrastructure has the capacity to meet your organization’s needs, IaaS might not be the right fit for you.

Infrastructure as a Service offers business the best the cloud has to offer at this stage in the platforms lifecycle. Cloud computing is rapidly evolving and we are moving towards a future where the cloud will be the default IT delivery method.  Exploring options for migrating your business to the cloud is a smart business decision and IaaS offers benefits worthy of consideration!