What is IaaS?
By Chris Brunau
Most enterprise workloads are now in the cloud. Among the many different cloud computing options is Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS). This article will explain what IaaS is, as well as the advantages and disadvantages of using it.
What is an IaaS?
As opposed to purchasing and managing a traditional, on-premises data center, IaaS allows an enterprise to utilize infrastructure provided by a vendor on a public or private cloud. Taking storage, networking, and computing offsite means that customers can enjoy on-demand services while outsourcing infrastructure management to a service provider.
Because an enterprise rents or leases servers for computing and storage, pricing is flexible and agile: you can pay as you go, and scale based on your computing needs each month.
Advantages of an IaaS
IaaS is often a more efficient solution for enterprises than owning and managing their own infrastructure.
Because IaaS is a pay-as-you-go service, your organization has control and flexibility over cost. For example, if your need for IaaS varies throughout the year, you can save money by reducing your reliance on the service. Additionally, because IaaS is offered in a private or public cloud setting, you have control over what’s stored where. And, because public cloud storage is often more cost-effective than a private cloud, less sensitive data or non-business critical computing needs can be facilitated through a public cloud for further cost savings.
Finally, because you aren’t buying and supporting infrastructure yourself on-site, you can reduce IT management costs, which can quickly add up.
As mentioned earlier, IaaS can be quickly and easily scaled, both up and down, letting you pay only for what you use. IaaS’ scalability is possible because each resource within the infrastructure is offered as a separate service. By separating services, an enterprise can select what services to rent, and for how long, which gives you more control over your resources.
IaaS also eliminates the need for individual enterprises to manage physical servers, which allows you to focus on business-developing activities as opposed to time-consuming IT infrastructure demands.
Continuity and disaster recovery
Business continuity with IaaS and its cloud-based services is a major selling point for many enterprises. Cloud storage and management means your data is stored in different locations and your information is protected, in the event of a disaster or outage at your organization.
IaaS allows your customers to access servers nearest to their geographic location and guarantees service-level agreement (SLA) both in terms of uptime and performance.
Disadvantages of IaaS
Though the advantages of IaaS are abundant, there are a few disadvantages to be aware of before moving forward with IaaS at your organization.
Data security is a concern because security measures within the infrastructure are implemented and managed by the vendor, not the client. IaaS’s multi-tenant architecture also presents a potential risk. It’s critical to vet your vendor well, to ensure you and your clients’ data remains protected.
Because users’ workloads are in the cloud, they are at the mercy of the IaaS provider. Enterprises that utilize IaaS may encounter downtime or performance issues stemming from the IaaS provider’s network.
It’s difficult for an enterprise to gain insight into how the vendor’s infrastructure is configured, which could make systems management more challenging.
Do IaaS advantages outweigh the disadvantages?
An IaaS cloud computing solution is a great choice for many enterprises, offering flexibility in terms of scalability and the potential for significant cost savings. Many of the disadvantages - such as security - can be easily overcome through proper vetting of a third-party vendor.