What is Infrastructure as a Service?
Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) is a type of cloud computing. This service provides virtualized resources for computing remotely over the Internet. IaaS is one of three main types of services offered by cloud computing.
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The other offered services include: Software as a Service (SaaS) and Platform as a Service (PaaS).
The IaaS model involves enlisting a third-party service provider to host elements required for computer work, including servers, hardware, software, storage, location, data partitioning, backup, security, and other infrastructure items required. These third-party service providers also host applications for users, handling tasks such as backup, system maintenance, and planning.
Why Use Infrastructure as a Service?
The benefit of using IaaS is that resources can be adjusted according to the demand. It’s a model that’s especially well-suited to workloads that change frequently or are temporary—such as the workload of a start-up company.
Businesses that use IaaS do not have to invest in hardware and software. Physical hardware required for computing is set up and maintained by the provider, and as a result the user doesn’t have to put in the time and investment required to maintain hardware.
Another benefit is that administrative tasks, the scaling of resources, desktop visualization, and policy-based services are all automated. For small businesses, this means less human input is required.
Finally, IaaS presents another benefit in that it allows users to work remotely. There is no need for a user to work from a single physical site when the infrastructure environment is accessible remotely.
How Much Does Infrastructure as a Service Cost?
The cost of IaaS varies from company to company, but many service providers charge based on a pay-as-you-go model. That means that users pay for the amount of IaaS they use, whether it’s by the hour, week, or month. Some service providers also charge for “virtual” space in the machine. This payment model eliminates the need to deploy in-house hardware and software. But users have to take care to check their IaaS portals to ensure they’re not being charged for services they aren’t using.
Monitoring the amount of IaaS consumed by a user can prove difficult. After all, the provider owns the systems management and monitoring tools as well as the infrastructure. In addition, if an IaaS provider experiences a problem, it may affect the user’s ability to complete work.
For instance, if a start-up company is trying to develop a new software product, they might decide to host and test their application-in-progress through an IaaS service provider. The new software has to be tested and assessed to identify any problems. Once potential bugs are fixed, the company can remove the software from the IaaS environment and host it in-house. This can save money or free up IaaS resources for new projects in development.
Who Provides Infrastructure as a Service?
Some of the most popular providers of IaaS include:
- Google Compute Engine
- Rackspace Open Cloud
- Amazon Web Services (AWS)
- Windows Azure
- IBM SmartCloud Enterprise
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