Infrastructure-as-a-Service: Concepts, Advantages & Disadvantages

Blog /Cloud-Series-Part-5

In previous posts, I talked about cloud computing definitions, characteristics, benefits and why its becoming popular.  In the next several posts, I will cover the service models of cloud computing. The four service models currently associated with cloud computing are:

  1. 1. Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)
  2. 2. Software as a Service (SaaS)
  3. 3. Platform as a Service (PaaS), and
  4. 4. Integration Platform as a Service (iPaaS)

Here is a summary of the key concepts, advantages and disadvantages of IaaS.

Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)

IaaS allows organizations to avoid the large capital expenditures associated with infrastructure and data centers. IaaS enables an organization or user to use the equipment of a service provider to support operations, including the provision of processing, storage, hardware, servers, and networking components. The service provider owns the equipment and is responsible for hosting and maintaining it. The client does not manage or control the underlying cloud infrastructure, but has control over operating systems, storage, and deployed applications. Users typically pay on a per-use basis. Customers usually use an IT operations management console via a Web-based graphical user interface (GUI) to manage the environment. Customers are able to self-provision this virtual infrastructure using the GUI.

A major advantage of IaaS is the capability to transfer work to the cloud during periods of peak demand for on-premise systems. That means that organizations will not have to invest capital resources to cover the cost of additional servers that may be needed only several times per year. This concept is known as “cloud bursting.”

In terms of disadvantages, the IaaS model brings with it dependence on a specific provider. As a result, it is critical that the service provider remain an ongoing concern. Complex resource allocation software is also required to ensure that cloud-based resources are there when needed. It is important to consider what data is sent to the cloud in order to mitigate any security-related risk. Another concern with IaaS is that virtual on-demand infrastructure capability coupled with the increasing usage of mobile devices bring with it the challenges associated with the disbursement of resources.

These challenges include the difficulty of preventing employees from circumventing enterprise policies and procedures to use or develop software outside the view of an organization’s official governance programs.

Stay tuned for my next post where I will define SaaS and highlight it's advantages and disadvantages.

- Ryan Reed, Cloud Evangelist

Post Date: 9/3/2014

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