Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) is a lot like staying in a hotel. Except for your applications – er, your clothes and personal affects – the hotelier provides everything else … closets and dressers for storage, TV, phone and Internet communications, and the all-important bed and bath. Then there are the air conditioning, heat, hot water, and housekeeping services. Hopefully, your security is as important to them as it is to you, from fire protection and electronic keycards to the in-room safe and hall monitoring. Need dry cleaning, dog walking, or dinner reservations? They’ll do that, too, for the asking. The better they treat you, the more likely you’ll be to refer their properties to others.
IaaS is like staying in a hotel in another way, too. Every hotel, motel or inn is different, some great, some horrendous, many in the middle. Some never look like they do in the brochures or on-line (as they did in 2004 when the pictures were taken). Bath water is cold, the room is too hot, the TV is busted, and their idea of security is a squawking cockatoo in the lobby.
IaaS is one of three main categories of cloud computing service. The other two are:
IaaS is the fastest growing segment of the cloud market because it enables companies and organizations to realize cost savings and efficiencies while modernizing and expanding their IT capabilities – or forgoing owned infrastructure altogether – without spending capital resources. Cloud-based infrastructure is rapidly scalable, secure, and accessible over the Internet.
A customer will rent infrastructure for running applications and/or storing data. The service provider owns the equipment and is responsible for housing, running and maintaining it. IT infrastructure includes physical and virtual storage and servers, and networking. The physical infrastructure includes the data center, security, cooling, and power. Ideally it is all backed by redundancy of, and back-ups to all critical systems.
Beyond standard IaaS, providers may offer additional services that help customers tailor solutions precisely to individual needs. The scope and quality of these services are as varied as the providers themselves. Examples include managed security services (intrusion detection and prevention, or firewall management, for example), data back-up and restore, application services or disaster recovery. Customers subject to industry or agency regulations should vet IaaS providers carefully, both for their ability and continuing commitment to offer secure and compliant infrastructures.
Collaboration and knowledge sharing should be standard, but some providers can be stingy or incapable of engaging with customers at that level. At Peak 10, we think of it as IaaS concierge services to help make your stay long and as rewarding as it can be.