What Is IaaS?

IaaS, or Infrastructure‑as‑a‑Service, is a type of cloud computing service that leases computing resources to third‑party businesses.

October 14, 2022
15 mins to read

IaaS, or Infrastructure‑as‑a‑Service, is a type of cloud computing service that leases computing resources to third‑party businesses. Users utilize the resources of an IT system that is owned and managed by a cloud service provider.

A cloud provider does not lease the physical IT equipment. Instead, it virtualizes hardware for servers and storage. Virtualization is the process of deploying multiple virtual servers on a single physical medium, such as a server. That is what customers get.

Example

Today, almost anyone can install Oracle VM VirtualBox and use it to create virtual PCs. Each virtual PC will have its own operating system and memory allocation on the hard drive of the physical computer. All computers will operate autonomously.

This way, a single physical instance can be scaled to create multiple virtual instances.

That’s how clouds work.

Cloud providers create various virtual servers on top of a single physical server and rent them out. Depending on their needs, users get one or more virtual servers. Since servers are cloud‑based technologies, they can only be accessed remotely over the Internet or other networks.

For the same reason, they can easily be scaled. All of its resources can be scaled up or down based on demand. Companies won’t have to worry about reserving resources for peak loads or experiencing slowdowns in service due to insufficient resources because, let’s say, the accounting department is uploading data.

Architecture

The components of the IaaS architecture are the same as those of the local data processing center (DPC): physical servers, storage systems, and network components. Cloud providers use specialized software to deploy client‑side virtual servers and storage systems.

Cloud deployment methods

There are three ways to deploy infrastructure as a service.

Public IaaS

This cloud computing deployment model is designed for use by various organizations. The physical infrastructure (DPC) is owned, managed, and operated by the provider.

Private IaaS

With this deployment model, IaaS is used exclusively by one organization. The company, a third party, or a combination of the two could own and manage the physical infrastructure. Data centers can be located either on the company’s premises or in a separate, off‑site facility with similar security measures.

How is a private virtual infrastructure different from a traditional data center?

A data center is a physical infrastructure, whereas IaaS is a virtual infrastructure built on top of a physical infrastructure.

Hybrid IaaS

A hybrid infrastructure is when an organization uses its own hardware and only deploys services for specific tasks in the cloud. This model is frequently used by businesses that do not have enough resources or need them temporarily. This may include the capacity to deploy a machine learning platform or the resources to back up data.

How IaaS Works

Organizations get access to virtual servers and data storage, and manage their virtual resources independently, installing the operating system and work‑related applications. When needed, clients can easily add more servers.

Shared responsibility

Cloud providers are usually thought to be solely accountable for the management and security of cloud infrastructure. However, that’s not the case. Let’s take a look at how responsibility is shared in the cloud.

Provider

Providers are responsible for the physical security of the data center and control the physical access to those areas. They are also in charge of platform fault tolerance, protecting the network from cybercriminals, and analyzing events related to the security of infrastructure components.

Client

Clients handle security for virtual resources such as servers and virtual machines, while also creating backups, controlling access to resources, and preventing account passwords from leaks.

Benefits Of Migrating To IaaS

Infrastructure as a Service is a simple and in‑demand way to get the resources needed quickly. Imagine you’re an online retailer. With IaaS, you can easily handle massive traffic spikes that occur around Black Friday by simply renting more resources rather than investing in your own hardware.

Cloud infrastructure outperforms local infrastructure in a number of ways.

Resource scaling. Use of resources in IaaS is automatically scaled in response to shifts in demand.

Security. IaaS providers use the latest technology to mitigate potential threats and ensure the highest level of security.

Cutting‑edge technology. To remain competitive in the cloud market, providers implement the most recent software and hardware.

Reducing IT department costs and personnel workload. When a company migrates to the cloud, the service provider, rather than in‑house IT personnel, is responsible for system availability.

Minimizing a risk of a system downtime. The cloud provider ensures the highest level of data center reliability.

Pay‑as‑you‑go. Clients only pay for what they use.

Financial Benefits Of Migrating To The Cloud

IT equipment purchases can be time‑consuming. First, you have to decide on a configuration, arrange for the purchase, and allocate the funds. Then you should place an order, wait for the equipment to arrive, and, finally, configure it. The entire process can take anywhere from a few months to two years.

On top of that, many organizations find it difficult to calculate and predict the total cost of ownership (TCO) of their IT infrastructure. TCO is a metric that refers to the total cost of the cloud computing project, from the moment of purchase to disposal. How to calculate TCO:

  • cost of acquisition

  • cost of operational repairs, maintenance, and upgrades

  • cost of additional equipment

  • personnel costs

This isn’t an easy task, even for businesses with large and highly skilled accounting departments.

Migrating to cloud services eliminates the time‑consuming and costly process of equipment procurement and acquisition. Secondly, cloud computing resources are always available, and TCO is much easier to ascertain. Thus, TCO accounts for all the company’s expenses, from the initial costs of migrating to the cloud to the ongoing costs of maintaining an in‑house IT department. The service level agreement (SLA) will define the guaranteed availability of cloud services, so you won’t have to worry about potential failures in the operation of the cloud infrastructure.

Companies that use cloud services pay only for the resources they use rather than stockpiling extra capacity.

IaaS vs. SaaS vs. PaaS

IaaS is not the only cloud service delivery model. The other two are SaaS (Software as a Service) and PaaS (Platform as a Service).

PaaS: Platform‑as‑a‑Service

PaaS is a cloud infrastructure that, unlike IaaS, provides users with ready‑to‑use virtual machines and services and guarantees their continuous operation.

By providing a fully operational system, PaaS streamlines the process of getting started with cloud computing.

Examples of PaaS services are managed databases, such as ClickHouse, and machine learning services.

SaaS: Software‑as‑a‑Service

SaaS is a ready‑to‑go cloud software solution that is launched, managed, and updated by the cloud service provider. SaaS is a subscription‑based model, which means that users pay recurring fees to access the service.

SaaS services include Microsoft Office 365, Google Workspace, and CRM systems.

Data Storage, Backup And recovery

If you’re constantly dealing with steady or sudden spikes in workload that are difficult to predict, IaaS, being an easy and reliable way to store and manage data, is an excellent choice for you.

Application Testing & Development

IaaS offers agile and scalable solutions for application testing and development.