In recent years, IaaS adoption rates have been growing as companies increasingly invest in cloud technology. What does investment in cloud infrastructure entail exactly, and what are the real benefits of IaaS for a business? Join us as we uncover more of the benefits of infrastructure as a service (IaaS) and a little more about cloud services in general.
What is IaaS?
For many, the concept of cloud technology can seem elusive. Is it just a theoretical place where our data is stored, ready to be accessed at will? Well, yes, but it’s also so much more than that.
IaaS stands for Infrastructure as a Service. It’s a cloud computing model that delivers a subscription-based service for fundamental compute, network and storage resources.
This allows users to avoid the challenges of purchasing hardware and managing it. Instead IaaS empowers them to remotely manage:
- Servers and storage;
- Networking firewalls and security.
In doing so, IaaS providers can also cover some additional functions essential for business. For example, the following infrastructure as a service benefits are delivered by the largest market players:
- Ability to analyze big data. Another growing business trend, big data, is a key component of any company’s future plans. It allows a company to establish future trends or see patterns and associations that a human wouldn’t. IaaS delivers the processing power to make analyzing such massive data sets possible.
- Computing performance like no other. Speaking of processing power, another infrastructure as a service benefit is its HPC—high-performance computing. Using supercomputers, computer grids, and more, IaaS is a problem-solving, pattern-identifying powerhouse.
- Data warehouse power. We may have moved away from physical filing cabinets, but that data has to go somewhere, right? Correct! IaaS delivers by providing the storage, backup, and recovery for all essential company data. This reduces the outlay of finding a storage space and costs associated with data. It’s also easy to access and thoroughly tailored to your needs.
- The perfect environment for testing and development. Trying to test out new products or software can be not only time-consuming but expensive too. Creating the environment to conduct these tests, especially so, that’s where the benefits of IaaS cloud computing come into play as testing and development scenarios can be easily set up and dismantled without any extra costs.
- Supports web-based apps. If you’re building a web app, you know it doesn’t exist in a silo. That’s why you’ll need a robust support system around it. The cloud-based infrastructure benefits web apps by providing storage, servers, and resources that let applications run. Its scalability capabilities act as a risk management tool by allowing this environment to grow or recede in line with business needs.
Who are the key players in the world of IaaS?
Although you may not know it, you have probably heard of some of the most popular providers of IaaS. They include world-known names such as:
- Microsoft Azure
- Google Cloud
- IBM Cloud
- Oracle Cloud Infrastructure
But of course, there are many other great providers out there. What’s essential is to find one that suits your specific needs and budget.
What are other cloud-based systems out there?
Now you know what IaaS is and its cloud-based infrastructure benefits, let’s learn a little more about the ecosystem it fits into to avoid confusion. IaaS is a cloud computing service. It is one of many cloud services out there. But what are the others? Let’s take a look.
- PaaS stands for a platform as a service. Think of it as the hardware and software that is created upon the canvas of IaaS. PaaS empowers users to create apps and services while reducing the need for admin processes. Some examples of PaaS include AWS Elastic Beanstalk, Windows Azure, Google App Engine, OpenShift, among others.
- SaaS is short for software as a service. This is custom, ready-to-use software that is available online. Generally known as “on-demand” software, it offers wide distribution, flexibility in subscription, and accessibility. You are probably familiar with some of the most common SaaS solutions out there, such as Gmail, Slack, and Skype.
- CaaS is an abbreviation of Container as a Service. What this is, is a contain-based system that helps companies deploy and manage apps and other computer services. Some of the most commonly used providers include AWS, Microsoft Azure, and Pivotal.
- FaaS means Function as a Service. Essentially, this is a platform that lets businesses run, develop, and manage applications without the need to build their own infrastructure to do so. Some notable providers of FaaS include AWS Lambda and Azure Functions.
Although the various cloud services may sound similar, they are not the same. Depending on your business requirements, you may use one or more of these.
What are the benefits of infrastructure as a service, aka IaaS?
Time, money, labor. These are some of the top reasons that companies state as their motivation for switching to the cloud. But are there other advantages of infrastructure as a service? Let’s take a look at the top benefits of IaaS in cloud computing.
1. Reduces TCO. Destroys capital expenses
No doubt that on the whole, IaaS is a cost-effective solution. Firstly, all upfront costs (i.e., data storage) are borne by a data center. Meanwhile, ongoing costs are worked out via a subscription model. All this means that often the TCO is reduced, making IaaS effective for a business.
2. Boosts flexibility
One of the key criteria for a modern business is the ability to innovate and adapt to market changes quickly. This is one of the key benefits of scalability in cloud computing. By providing a flexible, scalable system, a company can more easily adapt and scale up quickly to meet market demands. And if those demands wane, then subscriptions can be reduced accordingly.
3. Minimizes the risks in stability and reliability
In today’s post-pandemic world, where we are still working remotely from all corners of the globe, disaster recovery (DR) and business continuity (BC) planning could not be more important. The real business benefits of cloud storage mean that your team can continue to work even if something happens at one physical location or nation. This makes your business infrastructure highly adaptable to change, so you can move if and when you need to.
4. Support when you need it
As your IaaS is external and operated by a third party, you’ll always have support on hand to solve issues. This can range from troubleshooting problems to dealing with downtime and everything in between.
5. Cuts the time-to-market
The benefits of stability in cloud computing are all well and good, but in today’s ultra-competitive market, one of the key factors of success is a fast time-to-market. Getting your product, service, or upgrade out there faster than your competitors gives you an edge. The stats show that a product that gets to the market more quickly makes 67% more profit over the next five years than one that is on the budget but late.
6. More secure and efficient
As long as you have an appropriate service agreement (SLA), you’ll know that your data and everything surrounds it is safe and secure. More often than not, due to their scale and expertise, your IaaS provider can deliver better security than you can in-house, making it a solid choice.
7. Allows you to focus on what matters
From dealing with customer service to ensuring that your team is the best that they can be, making the informed decision to onboard IaaS means you are freeing up your time to focus on more important matters.
Are there any challenges to IaaS?
Before making the cloud IaaS seem like too much of a cloud-9 dream, let’s take a look at some of the challenges. After all, no system is perfect. It’s all about finding the best one for your business.
Any existing investments. If you have previously spent money on IT infrastructure, you may find that moving to the cloud could be more costly for you right now. If this is the case, undertake a complete analysis before moving to IaaS.
Vendor lock-in. When using a cloud-based system, you will become somewhat dependent on the cloud provider in terms of upgrades, maintenance, and other areas. For each company, their level of service will be different, as your level of comfort control will be. That’s why you should always factor this into your analysis when choosing to switch to the cloud.
Compatibility. If you’ve already started to modernize your business, you may find that moving to IaaS is a little more challenging than expected. Always check before you start how compatible your current system is with a move to the cloud.
Legislative restrictions. Remember always to read the fine print. Depending on your industry, you may be subject to specific regulations or security procedures. That’s why before signing up for any cloud system, it’s vital you check out the small print on security and data storage.
Push-back from stakeholders. Very often, it can be challenging for stakeholders to grasp the true benefits of IaaS. That’s why, when it comes to investing in new technology, it’s vital you have a compelling argument complete with the actual benefits for your industry.
Downtime concerns. Moving to the cloud is never simple, and some downtime is expected. But for a business, this can be scary. That’s why it’s vital that you know going into the cloud migration process how long that downtime will take and what’s your backup plan if things run longer than they should.
Lacking cloud expertise. Many companies shy away from onboarding IaaS technology for one reason—they don’t know enough about it. That’s why it’s vital to start the IaaS migration process to inform yourself as well as possible and get the right specialists on hand who can explain all there is to know from A to Z.
How to set up a modern infrastructure for your business?
Need professional help with adopting cloud technology?
Developing a cloud adoption strategy is a vital step forward for your business. And considering the benefits of IaaS in cloud computing, it should definitely be a key part of it. But what steps can you, as a business owner or manager, take to reap the benefits of IaaS for themselves?
- Analyze. At this stage, it’s vital that you define and create a document detailing your motivations for IaaS. Why is it vital to your business, and how will it add value?
- Go deeper. Now let’s look at the business outcomes associated with IaaS, in which ways will it affect your business for the better, and in which areas? Meeting with other executives at this time can give you a more comprehensive viewpoint.
- Make a case. Now it’s time to put all your research together. Include financial models such as TCOs, and the motivations behind your suggestion to present to management.
Once you’ve completed these three steps, you’re almost ready to get started with upgrading to IaaS. By aligning the technology with your motivation and requirements, you can design and implement a successful IaaS project within your company.
Get the benefits of IaaS for your business
Wanting to reap the benefits of IaaS for your business? Good choice. After all, with cost reduction, flexibility, and efficiency as some of the main Infrastructure as a Service benefits, it’s no longer a question of if you should consider a cloud-based infrastructure. It’s when.
IaaS cloud computing is the future, but we know that taking that first step into innovation can be challenging. That’s why it’s important to do it right. Save yourself a headache and some cash by making sure you migrate the right way — backed by a team of cloud professionals ready to take on any challenge and get it right!