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Is Infrastructure as a Service or IaaS Right for Your Organization?

With Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) being the second largest market segment in cloud services (behind SaaS) and the market with the highest growth rate according to Gartner, it's clear companies are embracing the diversity of IaaS solutions, eliminating the need to physically manage and maintain infrastructure onsite or in a data center. With Gartner predicting the infrastructure as a service (IaaS) market to grow 25% year-over-year, it is apparent that businesses are benefiting through IaaS. Is this solution right for your organization? Whether you are considering colocation or you’re ready to move to the cloud, learn more about IaaS.

First, what is IaaS and how does it differ from other as-a-service cloud offerings:

  • IaaS allows customers to select the infrastructure to deploy and develop on without having to physically manage and maintain on-site or in a datacenter. They can access and store data on servers via a dashboard or API (application programming interface). Only virtualization, storage, networking and servers are managed by a third-party.
  • PaaS provides an online platform that is accessible to different developers to create software delivered via the internet. The client manages applications and data whereas middleware, runtime, O/S, virtualization, servers, storage and networking are managed by a third-party.
  • SaaS allows customers to have a fully third-party managed cloud application and all the data that comes with it.
  • On-premise infrastructure is wholly owned and managed by the customer.

Why IaaS?

To grow you need to innovate. Relying on experts to navigate the complex world of CLOUD helps companies adapt or add new applications that don’t fit within legacy infrastructure. Utilize experts that understand what your applications and workloads require – identify the right environment with hosted private clouds for mission-critical applications or virtualized hardware and public cloud for other short-term workloads and support applications. Third-party managed cloud experts help configure and determine dedicated, secure platforms for always on infrastructure or determine the right mix of hybrid environments based on business requirements. Cloud service providers design and enable an environment that is flexible and easily scalable as company needs change or grow.

What is involved with IaaS?

What you get from the cloud service providers: compute, storage, and networking can live in the cloud with IaaS. IaaS is virtualized computing resources delivered over the internet or privately through cloud connections such as AWS Direct Connect or Azure Expressroute.

In the IaaS model, third-party service providers host computing hardware in the form of virtualized servers. Often, IaaS providers handle systems maintenance, backup and business continuity.

Services: Bare metal, private cloud, dedicated private cloud, virtual private cloud, managed AWS, Managed Azure, multi-cloud

Payment: Companies with IaaS can provision IaaS services and pay for them on a per-usage basis, paid for based on the service contract (by hour, week or month). Many providers invoice based on the amount of virtual machine capacity used.


Public Clouds: AWS, Google Cloud, Microsoft Azure

Bare metal data center providers

Public/Private cloud data center providers:

  • CenturyLink
  • Flexential
  • INAP
  • PhoenixNAP
  • Rackspace
  • RapidScale
  • Tierpoint

What do you get with a managed cloud provider?

Cloud experts available for end-to-end IT infrastructure (design and builds, monitoring, maintenance and optimization of compute, network, storage and hypervisor)

  • Cloud infrastructure management and maintenance
  • Multi-cloud services
  • Professional services
  • Security risk mitigation and compliance oversight

Questions to Discover If IaaS Is Right for Your Organization

  • Do you experience seasonal increases/decreases in demand that influence your need for added infrastructure capacity?
  • Do you have IT staff on site with the skillset to manage and maintain a server environment?
  • How do your staff access your computing resources today?
  • Do you have teleworkers or remote staff that need access to computing resources while mobile?
  • Use these questions as a starting point before approaching network architecture design:
  • What are you doing for data storage today; how are you ensuring backup and resiliency? Is it only physical tape, BaaS, etc.?
  • What cloud partners/applications are you utilizing?
  • What does future-state look like — what cloud services are you adding, sunsetting, or do you have plans to acquire/divest?
  • Do you have any current infrastructure problems (speed/agility, security/control, latency/performance/network optimization, costs etc.)?
  • Where are your workloads in geographic relation to your customers/employees/users?
  • What are key organizational/mission-critical sites (identify data centers and closest to org sites)?
  • Do you favor a capex or an opex model?
  • Do you have any compliance or regulatory requirements?
  • How are you handling redundancy within your environment today (network, data, servers, etc.)?

Want to learn more? Check out Real World Examples of IaaS