Infrastructure as service (IaaS) is one of the major service delivery models of cloud computing where users can access virtual computing resources over the internet. In IaaS the cloud service provider offers hardware, servers, storage, networks and also software along with the infrastructure as required by consumers. IaaS service providers handle multiple tasks that include resource provisioning, maintenance, backup, disaster recovery, and also resiliency planning. Like other cloud models, IaaS resources are scalable and the infrastructure can be adjusted according to the business requirement.
Like all cloud service models, IaaS services are charged on per-use basis over a period (week, or month). The pay-as-you-go model eliminates capital investments incurred in deploying hardware and developing an infrastructure to run applications. For instance, if an organization plans to deploy newly developed software, it is more cost effective when the testing and implementation is done on IaaS. In spite of these benefits, many companies planning to hire IaaS services should monitor their environments closely from being charged for services that are no longer used.
Business Benefits of IaaS
- Shifts the focus of IT: IaaS eases much of the hassles in maintaining and managing the internal infrastructure. The resources of IaaS are managed by the provider or data center. This frees time for internal IT staff for focusing on solutions and innovation that will generate business growth and value. For example, a banking organization can hire IaaS and focus on their core banking areas for growth without much worry for their IT infrastructure.
- Service without disruptions: In clouds every component is offered as a service. For example, storage is a service, network is a service, etc. IaaS provide the flexibility for companies looking for specific solutions, such as storage space. Clouds ensure services without disruptions because the cloud infrastructure is built with redundant resources. Clouds offer business benefits like availability at all times and scalability due to the concept of elasticity.
- Dynamic scaling: The infrastructure can scale up or scale down based on application usage to handle unexpected resource demands. This is one major benefit in all cloud service models. IaaS allows the consumer to add or remove resources automatically based on usage. This flexibility results in optimization of resources and cost.
- Utility services: IaaS is a utility service and follows the model of pay-per-use or pay-per-resource subscription model. The customization and provisioning of resources or utilities can be made in less time. The services can be used as long as they are required and returned back when not in use to result in subscription cost savings for the company. In IaaS the company pays only for the services and components utilized. The utilization of each resource is metered, if the usage is low, bill amount is low.
- Eliminates capital costs: Organizations may not be willing to invest huge money in hardware and infrastructure. IaaS is an ideal solution, because no capital costs are involved. Organizations pay for hiring the IT infrastructure services form data centers which incurs only operating costs. Also the need for hiring IT personnel is reduced in the company which is another cost saving with IaaS.
- Ubiquitous availability: The infrastructure is available for access from any location and from any device.
IaaS offers infrastructure services for organizations across all industries to align IT resources with their business objectives at minimal cost. Businesses must identify and consider specific areas of IT that are appropriate for IaaS and understand how resources are available for use along with their risks and performance metrics which are defined in SLAs. IaaS will certainly prove to be beneficial in companies with reduced IT budgets and in dynamic market scenarios.