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What is IaaS? Infrastructure as a Service

Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) is a cost-effective and efficient way of managing your organization's IT infrastructure.
February 10, 2021

In this Article:

What is IaaS?

IaaS is the implementation of IT infrastructure as a service, rather than an in-house department. 

Data Center & Physical Infrastructure

The primary purpose of implementing IaaS is to eliminate the need for extensive on-premise data centers or computing resources. 

Private vs. Public Cloud

Private and public cloud infrastructure are available through IaaS. Here’s what you need to know about each.

IaaS Cloud Services

Everything from storage to computation can be handled in the cloud. 

Benefits of IaaS

Four of the most significant benefits of utilizing IaaS are reduced costs, ease of use, growth management, and improved security.

IaaS Examples

Initially, it can be challenging to grasp what a literal IaaS deployment will look like in action. 

IaaS vs. PaaS vs. SaaS

In the tech industry, there are three widely recognized cloud computing models. 

Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) is a cost-effective and efficient way of managing your organization's computer infrastructure. Setting up an internal IT infrastructure can be complex and expensive. With IaaS, a cloud-based third party manages your computer solutions. IaaS also allows your business to freely scale up and down in size without fear of unnecessary expenditure. Services provided by IaaS include basic computing, networking, and data storage. Combined with other services such as PaaS or SaaS, you can easily and efficiently manage all your business's IT resources without the need for dedicated internal infrastructure.

Let CDW help you embrace Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) with our custom, cost-saving infrastructure services. Learn More

What is IaaS?

IaaS is the implementation of IT infrastructure as a service, rather than an in-house department. This means that tasks like multi-level computing, data storage, and network management can be done remotely by a third-party. While it may be considered the lowest-level cloud-based control of resources, IaaS still provides many beneficial solutions for your organization. IaaS also operates without harsh contracts or agreements. A core component of IaaS is that you only pay for what you use.

If your company needs to scale down or adjust for fluctuating workloads, IaaS allows you to easily add or remove services as you need them. The best part of IaaS is that setup and implementation does not take days or weeks but merely hours or sometimes even minutes. 

Data Center & Physical Infrastructure

The primary purpose of implementing IaaS is to eliminate the need for extensive on-premise data centers or computing resources. This allows for reduced overhead costs and more reliable operations for your business. Datacenter management will be handled by the IaaS provider, allowing for minimal hiccups or interruptions in service.

Although major data centers will be off-site, that does not mean there will be zero hardware on-premises. There will still be a need for some internal hardware to utilize IaaS fully. Luckily, providers like CDW offer hybrid infrastructure solutions that include managing both cloud and physical resources. 

Data Center Infrastructure Management

One thing you will have to do as a user is manage how much power you use from a provider's data center. Efficiently using data center resources is key to keeping costs down and ensuring that you are only paying for what you need from your IaaS provider.

Data Center Infrastructure Design

Experts at providers like CDW can help you design internal infrastructure if need be. This can be required for many reasons but is most commonly needed to access and utilize IaaS fully. You will also need to pay attention to data center infrastructure, because how you use resources from a provider will directly affect billing.

Private vs. Public Cloud

Private and public cloud infrastructure are available through IaaS. Here’s what you need to know about each:

Public Cloud

The public cloud is massive and can encompass not only IaaS but also SaaS and PaaS solutions. Public clouds are massive resources that many entities can access, but your IaaS provider will manage your specific interaction with the public cloud and its resources. This is why going with an experienced and sizable provider is advised. Large companies like CDW have extensive contracts and experience with all the major public cloud services — including Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure  — and can help get your organization the best possible access.

Private Cloud

Sometimes, companies that are larger in scope or need to store sensitive client information may require additional private clouds. The benefit being that with a private cloud, access is only available internally. While using a public cloud, you can add another layer of security by adequately implementing a private cloud. Sensitive data can only be accessed internally, which means it is not stored in the public cloud. This keeps information secure, because it is only exposed to the public cloud when needed.

IaaS Cloud Services

Many different services can be offered via IaaS. Everything from storage to computation can be handled in the cloud. Each has various costs and requirements, but thanks to the scalability of IaaS, you will only ever have to pay for precisely what you need. Cloud services allow you to minimize and reduce internal IT infrastructure, further shrinking operating costs. When you use IaaS, you can potentially utilize the entire infrastructure of your provider from the cloud.

Benefits of IaaS

There are numerous benefits to implementing Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS). As your organization grows, so will the benefits. Just like with any service, there are standard results you can come to expect while using IaaS. Four of the most significant benefits of utilizing IaaS are reduced costs, ease of use, growth management, and improved security:

Reduced Costs

Without a doubt, the first benefit you will see from using IaaS is reduced costs. Setting up and maintaining an internal IT infrastructure can be expensive, and you will often end up with excessive features and expenses that are not necessary. With IaaS, you only pay for what you are using, so from the get-go, you are saving money and improving stability by reducing areas of fault.

Ease of Use/Support

Employees will have a much more efficient and pleasant work experience when using IaaS. This is because providers often have extensive experience with myriads of issues and can offer support 24/7. When all you have is an internal IT infrastructure and hardware goes down, or an employee calls out sick, you may not be able to handle an outage efficiently. IaaS ensures there is an entire company with its own infrastructure ready to support your organization's technology at any time.

Growth Management

One of the most significant benefits of using IaaS is that it can scale with your business flawlessly. Specific industries have fluctuating workloads that can change at a moment's notice, and static in-house IT solutions are not ideal for those situations. IaaS allows for companies to pay for what they need when they need it. This allows a business to save costs in crucial downtimes so that money can be available to expand along with spikes in workloads.

Improved Security

Just like with tech support, the major aid to security is that it is not a single department working to protect your infrastructure. With IaaS, that responsibility falls under the provider, and because of their specialization and experience, they can better secure your company's IT-based solutions.

IaaS Examples

Initially, it can be challenging to grasp what a literal IaaS deployment will look like in action. Many different services can be provided, and some may see more concrete results than others. Knowing what some of the most common examples of IaaS looks like will help you to get a better idea of how your organization could utilize the service. Below, you can find a list of some common IaaS examples and what they accomplish:

Hosting

Similar to web hosting, but more cost-efficient. Dedicated cloud hosting means that your website exists within your IaaS provider's infrastructure rather than a single server. This allows for secure and reliable web hosting, because your site is stored in more than just one physical location.

Web-Based Applications

An IaaS provider will have ample infrastructure in place ready to support web apps at any moment. Supported applications include web-based storage, network management, or application servers. Rather than building costly infrastructure to host applications, you can utilize IaaS to best optimize your organization.

HPC

High-performance computing, or HPC as it can be called, is the practice of using supercomputers or computer clusters to process complex calculations with millions of variables or complete any other hyper-resource intensive workloads. An example of HPC is predicting weather patterns or simulating environmental events. 

Data Analysis

The robust data centers and resources provided by IaaS allow for the processing of tremendous amounts of information. Massive data sets that include information like trends and associations can be incredibly valuable when economically computed via IaaS.  

IaaS vs. PaaS vs. SaaS

In the tech industry, there are three widely recognized cloud computing models. These include IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS. Each is different and can accomplish various tasks, although there can be some crossover, and it is common for organizations to utilize more than one cloud service solution. As it stands today, there is not a significant difference between PaaS and IaaS; they are functionally the same. Although, it is worth knowing more about each and why IaaS is more common than PaaS today:

IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service)

An IaaS provider is responsible for the least amount of client services of the three cloud service models. Vendors will provide and regulate data storage, network use, servers, and virtualization. This allows for on-site hardware to not have to worry about updates or maintenance. PaaS can accomplish all of the same tasks with some added features aimed at developers. 

PaaS (Platform as a Service)

Functioning on all the same levels as IaaS, PaaS sees less use because it is only more beneficial in very specific fields. PaaS is ideal for developers where a service provider also needs to supply a platform for developing, running, and managing applications. This feature is not required in most cases, and thus, IaaS is more cost-efficient for most organizations.

SaaS (Software as a Service)

The most intricate of the major cloud-based services is SaaS. The most significant difference between SaaS and the other services is that it provides an entire web-based solution. Web-based applications are managed by the provider entirely. Updates, maintenance, and general support are all handled by the provider as well. The most considerable benefit of SaaS is that it requires no local installations to be fully utilized. This allows for greater collaboration across numerous physical locations because employees or clients only need access to the internet to fully use software and services. Due to the comprehensive and extensive nature of SaaS, it is also the most expensive cloud service. 

Summary

One of the largest hurdles in any organization is the proper management and utilization of technology. Whether you are a small business just starting or you are opening another franchise, your IT infrastructure could make or break your business. Luckily there are many cloud-based solutions out there that can help to reduce the stress and costs associated with IT implementation.

IaaS is a great way to only pay for the infrastructure you need while simultaneously getting the benefits of a larger organization's data centers, support, and security practices. Eliminating the need for in-house departments and hardware can significantly reduce costs, and with IaaS, you can easily add or reduce the scope of your IT infrastructure.

Future-proof your data center architecture with CDW Amplified Infrastructure services.

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