IaaS is a cloud computing service that provides essential computing, storage, and network resources on a pay-as-you-go basis. It is one of the four types of cloud service Software as a service (SaaS), Platform as a service (PaaS), and serverless. By using IaaS, computing resources can be hosted in public, private, and hybrid clouds. It gives you high-level Application Programming Interfaces (APIs), which can be used to indirect various underlying low-level network infrastructures such as backups, data partitioning, scaling, security and physical resources of the computer, etc. IaaS was introduced in early 2010, but it was a basic computing model. In 2012, Oracle introduced IaaS as a cloud computing service model. Since then, it has revolutionized the world of computing. Amazon Web Services was the first worldwide cloud provider. It provides solutions to the problems the components and server faces, connectivity and networking, physical security, etc. IaaS provides ease to businesses by upgrading their hardware components, backing their data, updating the software, etc. It also helps virtualize the server and provide all the resources on demand.
What is IaaS?
IaaS is software designed in such a way as to provide solutions to the problems of both hardware and software components, including storage, network resources, and security. The people who use IaaS have the facility to access all the resources hosted by IaaS providers using the software solutions. Following is the list of resources provided by IaaS providers without having to think about the physical hardware:
- Servers and server cluster
- Computing Power
- Resources required for Networking
- Storage and data recovery tools
- Firewalls and security
- Development tools
- Database management tools
- Business analytical tools
- Preinstalled Operating Systems
- System monitoring tools
In short, IaaS provides the user with all the basic resources required to maintain a safe cloud environment. If needed, the users can install other software as per their needs to assist them further. IaaS minimizes the need for physical structures and provides users with virtual counterparts.
Examples Of IaaS:
Some of the famous examples of IaaS are:
- Amazon Web Services (AWS)
- Microsoft Azure
- Google Compute Engine (GCE)
- Digital Ocean
Features of IaaS:
Some of the architectural features provided by Infrastructure as a Service are listed below:
- Computing Capacity:
You have to decide the computing capacity of your needs. You can decide whether to have a less powerful CPU or a multi-core CPU processor depending on how much processing power you need, as complex tasks, require more processing power. On the other hand, static web pages need less processing power. Moreover, Public clouds provide their users with burstable computing resources in case of more utilization or traffic flow. IaaS provides you the feature of using a virtualized CPU according to your need, in a cloud Virtual Private Server or a private cloud, or CPU on dedicated cloud hostings or dedicated server hostings. You can decide if you need a cloud or dedicated server as per your needs.
- Volatile Memory:
When you turn your server on, it is run on a volatile memory called Random Access Memory (RAM) storage for all the data used by the CPU. But RAM has a comparatively low storage capacity. If you exceed the workload beyond the capacity of RAM, it will slow your system.
- Data Storage:
Most certainly, you have to store your data someplace. Therefore, your system comes with a built-in SSD (Solid State Drive) which is usually fast but has a small capacity, and SATA disks (Serial Advanced Technology Attachments) which usually have more storage capacity but are slower compared to SSDs. IaaS provides its users with SSD and SATA features to save their data without compromising performance and is also budget-friendly. The data stored in these virtualized structures is crucial to your system’s operations, so you can use data as a Service to make your tasks easier.
- Networking and Communication:
Your server has to communicate with other customers using the Internet to work. It does this via a specific amount of Outbound Bandwidth. And most of the IaaS providers include a certain amount of bandwidth in your purchase package. And rest of the work is managed by the IaaS to conserve the server environment to keep it accessible for working.
- Other Resources:
IaaS provides its users with extra useful features as well. Firewalls and VPNs are some of these features that provide the server with security against cyber attacks. It also protects you against CDN (Content Delivery Network) and loads balancer to improve the scalability of your service.
What are PaaS and SaaS?
PaaS (Platform as a Service) and SaaS (Software as a Service) are cloud computing solutions that can be implemented along with IaaS to achieve more features.
PaaS: PaaS provides the developmental environment to your cloud, including Operating Systems and Database Management Systems. Examples of PaaS are Windows Azure, Google App Engine, and Force.com, to name a few. PaaS provides users with all the basic tools and additional tools like Business Intelligence (BI) Services, Database management systems, developmental tools, etc. It saves you from buying complex and expensive software licenses. In addition, PaaS is designed to aid in the complete web application lifecycle starting from building, moving on to testing, deploying, managing, and finally updating.
SaaS: SaaS provides its users with a complete set of solutions, starting from the infrastructure to the implementation of the application. Examples of SaaS are Dropbox, Hubspot, Google Workplace, Salesforce, etc. Saas is primarily a way of providing applications over the Internet. Rather than downloading the software, users can easily access them through the Internet. The applications developed by SaaS are also called ‘on-demand’ software. These applications also come with security, availability, and performance features that the service providers manage.
As mentioned earlier, IaaS provides users with the basic infrastructure for their cloud-based technology, including virtual storage and virtual machines. PaaS helps develop custom applications using an Application Programming Interface (API) that can be delivered through the cloud. It also provides developmental tools for the applications. SaaS provides an alternative to software to be used over the Internet. The users do not have to install this software but can access the virtually available options provided by SaaS.
Pros of IaaS
Let us see some of the advantages of having IaaS providers:
- Service according to your needs: The resources provided by IaaS providers are adaptable to the requirements of your business. Following a few easy steps can increase or decrease according to your needs. You do not have to wait long for them to be updated; they will be ready within a few minutes. This feature is helpful if you have upgraded your business and need to manage more traffic; you can increase the resources with just a few clicks and do not need to buy more resources to cope with the increasing workload. Similarly, if you are in the prenatal age of your business, you can decrease the scalability of your resources to manage the business. You will have the option to increase them in the future. Henceforth, IaaS ensures the performance of the user in all circumstances.
- Pay-as-you-go option: You do not have to sign long-term contracts with IaaS providers. You can have a month-to-month subscription package. This will allow you to carry out the subscription for as long as possible. Moreover, you will have to pay for your resources, which will help optimize the cost and have a feasible budget for your expenses. It also saves money because you do not have to buy expensive hardware devices for your system. IaaS provides you with all the resources in a virtual form that you can use as long as you want.
- Manages your infrastructures: IaaS provides all the solutions to keep your cloud environment manageable and accessible. IaaS looks after all the problems for you, including hardware failures, security issues, upgradation of software, infrastructure maintenance, and performance optimization. It also provides data backup so you never accidentally lose your data. IaaS also has a customer support service to help its customers if they face any issues. It also comes with a Service Level Agreement (SLA) to brief you about its services and what you should expect.
Cons of IaaS
Everything in this world has some flaws. The same goes for Infrastructure as a Service. Let us go through some of the disadvantages of IaaS:
- Dependency: As we know that IaaS provides its users with all the basic resources and manages their physical hardware devices as well. Although it provides the users with a lot of ease, on the flip side of the picture, it also causes a complete infrastructure dependency on the IaaS provider. It is upon IaaS providers to make sure that the hardware is running smoothly and efficiently. Problems caused on the IaaS provider end could seriously affect the system’s working and hinder the services provided to the users.
- Hidden Charges: If the users do not understand their payment methods thoroughly, it can be a tricky business for them. As IaaS works on a ‘pay-as-you-go’ model, you only have to pay for the services you use. But if they do not understand this beforehand, it can create confusion due to hidden charges or unexpected bills.
- Annoying Users: Users have to share the basic resources with other users. And not all of them are as reasonable as you think. Some abuse the facilities provided to them at the expense of other users. This sharing of resources can cause security complications as well.
- Internet: Another con of using IaaS is that it requires Internet availability to work. It will not provide any services without a stable Internet connection.
When is IaaS Suitable to Use?
As IaaS provides many resources for your cloud environment to everyone who wants to start their companies, be it on an individual level or a large scale. IaaS also provides adaptability of resources according to the requirements of the business model, which is an amazing feature of this nature. IaaS is also helpful for companies developing mobile phones or desktop applications. Following are some of the situations in which IaaS can be helpful:
- Testing any Developmental Environment: IaaS is an amazing testing and developmental environment provider because it provides virtual resources to test any software and saves the company from spending money on buying extra resources. The adaptability features that IaaS has made it easier to change the scalability for different types of software.
- Flexible Cloud Environment: Because of the storage features and backup options, many companies are shifting their back offices to the virtual storage spaces provided by the IaaS provider. By moving these data to the cloud storage and IaaS infrastructure, much of the space and resources are freed for the company to develop and maintain new applications.
- Backup facilities: For companies that have to store a lot of data or clients’ information, it is necessary to have an easy backup facility or storage space. IaaS solves this problem for such companies. It provides them with a wide range of services in this area. It also helps in disaster data recovery, business intelligence (BI) tools, and analysis features, to name a few.
- Hosting websites: IaaS helps host a complex website in a cloud environment, particularly those with swinging traffic. IaaS can transform its features according to the website’s needs, so it is a feasible option for them.
Things To Notice Before Purchasing An IaaS
No matter how fascinating it seems, there are a few things that the potential user should consider before buying from an IaaS provider.
- Networking: The main question is about networking. You should make sure that the networking resources and infrastructure should be reliable. It should also have a long operating guarantee. You should also check for the speed between the data centers, servers, and virtual resources (machinery) to have a good quality of service.
- Storage: IaaS comes with an upgrading facility, but you should ensure that the storage capacity offered by the IaaS provider suits your business model.
- Compute: You should ensure that your company’s computing power is optimal.
- Security: IaaS provides its users with Firewalls and VPNs to secure them from security threats. Ensure that security features provide secure data and disaster data recovery options.
Future Prospect of IaaS
According to the latest reports, the global market of IaaS grew to 31.3% in 2018, which makes a total of 32.4 billion dollars, and reached 38.9 billion dollars in 2019. This is expected to grow to 76.6 billion dollars this year (2022).
IaaS is an amazing service for people who want to move their company to virtual spaces. Because IaaS provides them with all the basic resources necessary, it will also provide the opportunity to increase or decrease the scale of your resources according to their requirements. These features will allow you to save money from spending on expensive physical hardware devices to maintain your company because you can easily shift to the cloud space with the help of IaaS. You can use saved money for the upgradation and development of new technologies and applications. It also provides security against malicious viruses and hacking viruses through a firewall. In addition, you can install PaaS and SaaS to upgrade your existing facilities, as both of these services will add more benefits to your environment. Use the developmental tools provided by PaaS and the Business Intelligence (BI) tool to take your resources to the next level and use them for your profit as much as possible. You can also use the applications/software provided by SaaS via the Internet instead of buying or installing the required software and saving money. But make sure to understand the pay-as-you-go model because otherwise, you will be hit by unexpected bills and hidden charges at the end of the month. Do not forget to ensure that the networking speed is optimal for your business model and check for storage capacity. With all being said, if we do a cost-benefit analysis, IaaS has more advantages than disadvantages, and it is a fruitful option to be used by all kinds of companies (small-scale or large-scale). Therefore, benefit from it as much as you can.