Infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) is one of the three main categories of cloud computing service. Top benefits of IaaS are discussed below:
1) Allows IT to Shift Focus – With the quick availability of IaaS services, infrastructure delivered as a service (ready to consume), it frees an organization to leverage and focus their time and resources in bringing innovations in applications and solutions. It is not hard to imagine for example, a manufacturing firm finding it very hard to assemble and maintain their IT infrastructure, simply because that is not their core competence.
2) Hassle free service– Each infrastructure component is provided as a service. For ex: hardware –as-a -service , server –as-a -service, computing –as-a -service, storage –as-a -service. This adds lot of flexibility to anyone looking for only specific services. This is also important as not all client requirements are not created equal. Some require more computing power and others more storage.
3) Utility Service – IaaS follows a utility service model – pay per use / pay per go subscription based model. Availability of ready to go IaaS offerings with limited time for implementation and customization (if provided). This is hallmark of cloud services.
One uses the services based on the requirement and as long they are required. The ready to go aspect is also of great importance and can benefit firms in reaching their products and services to market quickly and easily.
4) Dynamic scaling – Scales up and down of Infrastructure services based on the application usage, best for the applications where there are significantly spikes and troughs on the usage of infrastructures. This again is one of the pillars of cloud computing services. IaaS services can be quickly scaled up in case of upturn in demand and scaled down when there is low demand. This adds enormous flexibility and optimal utilization of resources and money.
5) Multiple tenets – Service provisioning includes multiple users accessing same piece of infrastructure
6) Investment Cap – More beneficial for companies with limited capital to invest in hardware and infrastructure. Most Small and Medium businesses cannot afford the upfront cost of their IT infrastructure as they want to focus more on their product offering / core business. IaaS is a great choice – with no upfront investment, no maintenance and pay as you go services, there is nothing more one cas ask for.
7) Reduces TCO (Total Cost of Ownership) – Changes the cost from Capital expense (Capex) to Opex (Operational expense) for an enterprise. No need to buy an asset to use that asset and reduces other related costs of maintenance and support.
8) Metered Service – IaaS usage is metered and priced on the basis of units (or instances) consumed. Pay for what you use and when you use. Thus if your usage is low so will be your bill.
This is in contrast to infrastructure owned by a firm where there will be fixed costs (people, servers, storage, power, etc.) inspite of low or high usage.
9) Flexible offering – Access infrastructure from anywhere, any location on any device
10) Enables Green IT – Reduced environment effect with optimum use of IT resources and systems, hence adds to the Green IT initiatives for an organization.
Thus, benefits of IaaS are numerous. IaaS is specially great for small and medium enterprises looking for quick and cheaper scale up option. But before going ahead and choosing an IaaS vendor one must think seriously about these 5 points:
- Are you really in need of IaaS ?
- What are your exact requirements which an IaaS vendor should fulfil?
- Have you selected your vendor after propoer research – how is the reputation of the vendor – have you conducted relevant checks, esp. related to downtime, security etc.?
- Have you prepared a strong service level agreement points to protect your interests?
- Are you fine with billing mechanism of the vendors?
Opting for IaaS can be a great and an important decision for any company and it should be taken with after proper self and vendor evaluation .