What are the Pros and Cons of IaaS?
Infrastructure-as-a-service, or IaaS, is a cloud-based computing solution that removes the stress and financial burden associated with the daily operations of a business. Particularly in the cloud vs on-premise solutions today. There is more than one type of IaaS model to choose from, but the goal of any IaaS platform is to provide the infrastructure a business needs to conduct online operations. This includes networking equipment, data centers, servers, and even virtual machines to run software programs. As you consider cloud-based solutions like IaaS infrastructure, it is important to focus on the pros and cons of IaaS in the process.
How Does IaaS Work and How are the Responsibilities Divided?
Infrastructure-as-a-service is one of the three primary could services that form the backbone of cloud computing along with PaaS and SaaS. IaaS is considered the most basic form of cloud computing. When you hear the term IaaS used, it is referring to a pool of physical and/or virtual computing infrastructure offered by a cloud provider that is delivered to an organization from datacenters. Infrastructure cloud-computing resources are one of the fastest-growing categories within cloud solutions.
The components of IaaS typically include datacenters, servers, cloud storage, and networking solutions. Infrastructure-as-a-service can also include virtualization methods that boast virtual machines that employees can access via the internet. IaaS cloud providers also handle the management of the infrastructure systems themselves, as well as IP addresses, network connections, load balancers, and access management.
With so much going on, who is responsible for the various components in an IaaS model? That depends on the type of IaaS platform your company employs. For example, in a public infrastructure setup it is primarily the responsibility of the cloud-computing provider to manage and support all of the infrastructure equipment, as well as software programs running on the network in some cases. This contrasts with onsite infrastructure in which your in-house IT staff is responsible for managing, maintaining, and supporting the operational effectiveness of the computing infrastructure. Hybrid IaaS models and private cloud computing infrastructure solutions offer varying divisions of responsibility that depend on the agreement between the provider and the company.
In the end, keep in mind that most IaaS cloud providers take responsibility for servers, storage, networking, and virtualization. This leaves your company, in most cases, responsible for operating systems, middleware, runtime, data, and applications.
What are the Benefits and Drawbacks of Cloud Computing?
Cloud computing allows a business to transfer the responsibility of supporting infrastructure, software, and other virtualization systems to a provider while freeing up resources within the company. This can streamline IT processes and making daily computing operations that much easier for employees on a day-to-day basis. As you consider cloud computing in general, such as SaaS, IaaS and PaaS, it is important to understand the benefits and drawbacks that come with cloud computing. We’ll look at the pros and cons of IaaS specifically shortly.
Benefits That Come With Cloud Computing
- Easy implementation: cloud computing allows your business to use the same applications and processes without needing to worry about the backend technicalities involved in daily work operations. Managed over the internet, cloud infrastructure is easily accessible.
- Accessibility: as just mentioned, infrastructure supported in an IaaS model is easy to access anywhere at any time. Whenever and wherever an employee can access the internet, that individual can get to work and remain productive.
- Lack of hardware needed: since all infrastructure is hosted in by a cloud vendor, a physical data center for storage is no longer needed. This could free up money to invest in a backup datacenter if so desired.
- Cost per employee: infrastructure solutions such as IaaS keep technology costs low, comparatively to on-premise solutions, saving the company money while still keeping employees productive on a regular basis.
- Flexible growth: while expanding capacity in your onsite infrastructure setup costs money and takes time to set up, cloud-based services like IaaS enable your company to quickly and easily expand data storage, networking access, and virtualization for new employees without added cost.
Cloud-based Infrastructure Solutions Sound Great, But There Are Drawbacks to Using Cloud-Computing Solutions.
- Lack of control: the more services you move to a cloud service provider, the less control you have over your data and information. This is particularly true of public cloud computing, but can be minimized in hybrid and private cloud computing environments. We built a custom portal that provides visibility and unmatched transparency into your environment than any other cloud computing services today has available.
- Possible loss of features: if there are specific software applications or features that are critical to your daily operations, it is important that you carefully consider the options from the computing platform you are considering. Not all cloud providers are the same and before you sign up, make sure you know all the features and software applications available.
- Bandwidth issues: if servers and storage devices are set in small datacenters, you could experience bandwidth issues that will impact daily effectiveness.
- Missing redundancy: again, it is important to ensure that redundancy is built into the cloud-computing solution you choose. Without redundancy, your company could be offline with no power to remedy the situation.
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What are the Different Types of Infrastructure as a Service?
In general, there are three major types of infrastructure-as-a-service available to businesses. Providers such as Amazon Web Services, or AWS, and Google represent the public cloud IaaS environment. These brands handle the operating and maintenance of data centers, networking equipment, servers, and any virtualization systems.
There are two other types of deployment for IaaS. These include hybrid IaaS models and private IaaS models. In a hybrid model, you rely on a cloud provider for some of the common infrastructure features and services in IaaS, while still retaining control over the operation and maintenance of other aspects. Which ones you maintain direct control over is up to your individual business needs. A private cloud is deployed, operated, and maintained by your in-house IT staff and you retain all control. This comes with the benefit of delivering the flexibility and accessibility of IaaS models, as well as greater control over security measures, secure access, and other IaaS concerns.
Pros of IaaS
Switching to cloud computing has a number of benefits, as discussed earlier. This applies to the IaaS leg of cloud computing as well. Among the pros of IaaS are the following factors:
- Cost savings: your business has significantly lower infrastructure costs to worry about when you switch to an IaaS platform. You won’t have to purchase, maintain, and worry about uptime for any hardware or other network equipment. This makes IaaS an economical choice for startups.
- On-demand scaling: if your business operates in an industry with seasonal fluctuations, IaaS makes it easy to increase and decrease data storage needs, the number of virtual machines in use, and even the software applications used without making a significant investment. You just pay for the additional services during the period of use and scale back down when needed. The scalability of your business has never been easier.
- Operational flexibility: infrastructure platforms make it easier to grant your employees wide access to hardware, computing power, and software applications used on a daily basis. IaaS makes it possible for employees to easily access files and data offsite and on-the-go at any time.
- Ability to focus on growth: as your business grows, you won’t have to worry about constantly hiring and training new IT staff. Instead, you can focus on growing your business and allowing an IaaS provider to handle the workload of upgrading and maintaining infrastructure to support business operations.
- Reliability: finally, IaaS providers typically spread the workload of a system across various datacenters and servers. If operations are offline in one data center, the workload is spread across the other datacenters to ensure all clients have continuous access to computing resources, hardware, networking, and cloud-based applications.
Cons of IaaS
Nothing in life is perfect. Even the best IaaS model can have cons that should be kept in mind. As you look into switching from onsite infrastructure to a hosted cloud-computing setup, make sure to analyze the potential cons of IaaS. These cons include:
- Security: giving up control of your infrastructure can expose your sensitive company data. In an IaaS environment, companies give up control over cloud security to the cloud provider. Even if there is a hack or a vulnerability is exposed in the system that doesn’t directly impact your data, a compromised system threatens your operations as well.
- Lack of flexibility: the cloud provider that you work with is in charge of maintaining and upgrading not just hardware, but cloud-based software. If the programs you rely on for daily operations are not upgraded by the provider, this could have significant impacts on the efficiency of your staff on a daily basis.
- Technical problems: some organizations may face downtime with IaaS that is beyond their control. While most cloud services spread the workload and bandwidth out across a broader IaaS environment, any issue that arises on the provider’s end could restrict your company’s access to the applications and data it leans on to get work done.
- Over-dependency: while IaaS can relieve some of the burden and stress involved in the use of IT infrastructure, it is also possible to become too reliant on the service provider. This leaves the control of your data and software in the hands of other providers.
- Upgrade and maintenance: one of the benefits of IaaS is not having to deal with the constant need to upgrade outdated hardware and purchase new software licenses, but it can also be a drawback. Make sure that your cloud provider outlines its obligations in this realm and the regularity with which it completes upgrades and maintenance to keep the IaaS environment competitive and functional.
- Virtualization and user-privacy: in a public cloud services IaaS model, in particular, virtualization may come with little option for customization. You may also find that user-privacy with some providers is not protected as vigorously as it is with other providers.
At the end of the day, it is extremely important to pay attention to the responsibilities of the cloud provider in any contract involving infrastructure-as-a-service. If the provider fails in any of these “con” areas, it could be detrimental to your business.
Consider Avatara CompleteCloud
The Avatara cloud platform, CompleteCloud, delivers all of the benefits of infrastructure-as-a-service, while also minimizing the potential impact of any cons. This system is deployable quickly and scalable when your business needs, but also more secure than any other cloud computing platform. It features the latest security measures combined with regularly upgraded servers, networking systems, disaster recovery, and software programs to ensure that your business remains online and your employees have access wherever and whenever they need it to stay efficient each day. It is the most advance and secure IT platform on the market today.