What is an IaaS model in cloud computing?

Is your organisation looking to make a sizeable investment in procuring an IaaS model in cloud computing (Infrastructure-as-a-Service)? If so, then it’ll be worth your while to learn as much as you can about this type of cloud computing model and how it differs from others. Only then can you determine whether its the right cloud deployment for your organisation and take measures to mitigate limitations that are relevant to your business (more on that later).

What Is an IaaS model in cloud computing: How does it work?

In an IaaS deployment, you’re leasing what is known as virtualised computing resources from a third-party vendor. Such resources include access to networking hardware, data storage, servers and everything else that a business could need to establish their own IT platform. The difference, of course, is that there’s no on-premise hardware involved — all of it is accessible on the Internet through a virtualised environment (hypervisor).

You can think of the IaaS model in cloud computing as renting a virtual data centre. This means that organisations are free to do just about anything with the computing resources they have (albeit at a reduced performance due to virtualisation) — running operating systems, installing applications, programming languages, etc.

As you might imagine, there are a ton of benefits that come with using the IaaS model in cloud computing. This includes the following:

  • Reduce IT expenses by eliminating the need to buy, maintain and replace computing hardware. You need only pay for the computing resources that you use.
  • Scalability. Businesses can ramp up or dial down the amount of computing resources allotted to them as needed.
  • IaaS provides a flexible work environment for members of your organisation. Employees can access their data from just about anywhere and on any device that’s connected to the Internet.
  • Allows more room for your business to focus on growth instead of spending time and money setting up and managing hardware.

Of course, it is well worth noting that IaaS also has a few cons:

  • The IaaS vendor handles everything related to cloud security. This is cause for concern since virtualisation is provided through a public connection. Businesses would do well to carefully review their vendor’s SLA (Service Level Agreement) and the scope of their responsibilities in the event of a security breach.
  • No control over software upgrades used in virtualisation
  • Organisations can become too reliant on their IaaS vendor. This means that any technical problem in a cloud deployment can cause severe downtimes for businesses.
  • Businesses are still responsible for managing and troubleshooting software they have running in a virtualised environment.
  • Applications run a bit slower; an inevitable side effect of virtualisation.

One good example of an IaaS model in cloud computing is Google’s Compute Engine. This on-demand cloud service enables its users to run workloads in a virtualised computing environment.

Conclusion

As you may have already realised, IaaS is a highly flexible and cost-effective cloud computing model with the potential to provide useful and near-instant access to a wide range of IT solutions. However, that doesn’t mean the cloud model is for everyone. Adoption is a decision that must be weighed carefully, especially when it comes to your organisation’s ability to cope with its limitations.

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