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What is Infrastructure as a Service | IaaS in Cloud Computing

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Infrastructure as a service (IaaS) is an online service that provides applications and data hosting services to existing enterprise workloads; high-level APIs used to dereference numerous low-level details of underlying network infrastructure like physical computing resources, location, scaling, security, and backup.

What is Infrastructure as a Service(IaaS)

Infrastructure as a service (IaaS) is a kind of cloud computing that gives virtualized computing resources over the Internet. Infrastructure as a service is one of the three main categories of cloud services, besides Software as a Service aka SaaS and Platform as a Service aka PaaS. IaaS is the fastest type of cloud in the market today, and AWS is a leading cloud provider.

Infrastructure as a service (IaaS) is an instantaneous computing infrastructure, provisioned, and managed over the internet. IaaS quickly scales up and down based on the demand, letting you pay only for what you use. IaaS helps you avoid the gigantic expense and complexity of buying and managing your physical servers and other datacenter infrastructures.

Each resource is offered as the separate service component, and you only need to rent the specific one for your need. Cloud computing service provider, such as Azure, maintains the infrastructure, while you purchase, install, configure, and manage your software operating systems, middleware, and applications.

IaaS architecture

IaaS enables quick configuration of network resources hosted by someone else. IaaS architecture is the structural design of the computing network that provides the delivery of computing resources as a service via the cloud.

Physical resources such as data storage and processing capacity are examples of standard components that may be incorporated into the cloud computing environment, under the IaaS (infrastructure as a service) model of IT resource delivery.

IaaS means that taking physical hardware and providing virtual services. In this, there are businesses like Netflix which pay the fee to run the virtual servers, network, and storage from the cloud. This infrastructure maintains by the back end.

The IaaS provider also supplies the range of services to provide those infrastructure components.

These can include billing, detailed monitoring, log access, security, load balancing, and clustering, as well as the storage resiliency, such as replication, backup, and recovery.

These services are increasingly policy-driven which enable IaaS users to implement the higher levels of automation and orchestration for essential infrastructure tasks. For example, a user can enforce policies to drive load balancing to maintain application availability and performance.

IaaS has the following components.

  1. Virtual Servers
  2. Network hardware
  3. Storage
  4. Hypervisor

Virtual Servers

virtual server is a server that shares hardware and software resources with other operating systems versus dedicated servers. Because virtual servers are cost-effective and provide faster resource control, virtual servers are accessible in Web hosting environments. A virtual server is one of the significant components of IaaS.

Network hardware

cloud network is made up of a variety of physical hardware that can be located at multiple geographical locations. The hardware includes networking equipment, like switches, routers, firewalls, and load balancers, storage arrays, backup devices, and servers.

Storage

Cloud storage is the model of computer data storage in which the digital data is stored in logical pools. People and companies buy or lease storage capacity from the providers to store user, organization, or application data.

Hypervisor

The Hypervisor is also known as Virtual Machine Monitor. The Hypervisor consists of the software, hardware, and firmware, which makes and runs the virtual machines.

The Hypervisor provides the user with a platform which is known as a Virtual Operating Platform. This allows us to manage the guest’s OS to use the cloud. This can also be known as the traditional term of the kernel in the operating system world.

How to access IaaS

IaaS clients can access resources and services through a wide area network (WAN), such as the internet. They can use the cloud provider’s services to install the remaining elements of an application stack.

For instance, the client can log in to the IaaS platform to create the virtual machines (VMs); install operating systems in each Virtual Machine; deploy middleware, such as databases and create storage buckets like AWS S3 for workloads and backups, and install the enterprise workload into that Virtual Machines.

Consumers can then use the provider’s services to monitor performance, track costs, balance network traffic, troubleshoot application issues and manage disaster recovery.

Top IaaS Providers

Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform (GCP) are leading examples of independent IaaS providers. A business might also opt to deploy the private cloud, becoming its provider of infrastructure services.

AWS (Amazon Web Services)

Amazon Web Services is one of the most popular when it comes to cloud computing. AWS offers the wide range of storage services. Whether you are looking for a compute power, content delivery, storage, or other service functionality, AWS is one to call when it comes to the IaaS cloud computing model. Netflix is using its storage service to deliver the content as fast as possible.

Key Features:

  1. Comprehensive security capabilities
  2. Rich controls, auditing
  3. Hybrid IT architectures
  4. Scalable
  5. Works on Web Applications, Big Data & HPC
  6. Backup and storage
  7. Disaster recovery

Microsoft Azure

Azure (also known as Microsoft Azure) is Microsoft’s public cloud. It provides a fabrication from which users can build, deploy, and manage applications. It can be used on Windows, as well as other operating systems such as Linux and, languages, and tools.

Key Features:

  1. Ease of use
  2. Administrative tool
  3. Can be used as PaaS
  4. Can be used on all operating system

Google Cloud Platform (GCP)

Google Compute Engine is a scalable, high-performance virtual machine that can enable you to run large-scale workloads. Compute Engine gives configurable virtual machines running in Google’s data centers with access to high-performance networking and block storage.

Key Features:

  1. Google infrastructure backup
  2. Scalable
  3. Low cost, automatic discounts
  4. Fast & efficient networking
  5. Environmentally friendly global network
  6. Flexible
  7. High-performance

Common IaaS business scenarios

Web applications

IaaS provides all the infrastructure to support web apps, including storage, web and application servers, and networking resources.

Companies can quickly deploy web apps on IaaS and easily scale infrastructure up and down when demand for the apps is unpredictable.

High-performance computing

High-performance computing (HPC) on supercomputers, computer grids, or computer clusters helps solve complex problems involving millions of variables or calculations.

Examples include earthquake and protein folding simulations, financial modeling, climate and weather predictions, and evaluating product designs.

Big data analysis

Big data is a popular term for massive data sets that contain potentially valuable patterns, trends, and associations.

Mining data sets to locate or tease out these hidden patterns requires a considerable amount of processing power, which IaaS economically provides.

Test and development

Teams can quickly set up and conduct test and development environments, bringing the new applications to market faster.

IaaS makes it quick and economical to scale up dev-test environments up and down.

Storage, backup and recovery

Companies avoid the capital expense for storage and complexity of storage management, which typically needs the skilled staff to manage data and meet legal and docility requirements.

IaaS is useful for handling changeable demand and steadily growing storage needs. For example, if you are using It can also simplify the planning and management of backup and recovery systems.

Advantages of IaaS

Improves business continuity and disaster recovery

Achieving high availability, disaster recovery, and business continuity is expensive since it requires high technology and staff. But with the right service level agreement (SLA) in place, IaaS can reduce the cost and access apps and data as usual during the disaster or outage.

Eliminates capital expense and reduces the current cost

IaaS sidesteps the upfront capital expenses of setting up and managing an on-site data center, making it the economical option for startups and companies testing new ideas.

Innovate rapidly

If you have decided quickly to launch the new product or initiative, the necessary computing infrastructure can be ready in the minutes or hours, rather than the traditional where days or weeks and sometimes months it could take to set up internally.

Respond quicker to shifting business conditions. 

IaaS provides a quick scale up to the resources to accommodate spikes in demand for your application during the holidays or seasonal traffic. For example, if you are running a Christmas blog then after Christmas, your traffic will tumble and then scale resources back down again when activity decreases to save money.

Disadvantages of IaaS

Despite its pay-as-you-go model, IaaS billing can be a real pain for some companies. Cloud billing is extremely unexpected sometimes, and it is broken out to reflect the correct usage of services. Clients should monitor their IaaS environments and bills closely to know how IaaS is being used and to avoid being charged excessive for unauthorized services.

IaaS providers own the whole infrastructure; the details of their infrastructure configuration and performance are rarely transparent to the IaaS clients. This absence of transparency can make systems management and monitoring more difficult for clients.

IaaS clients are also concerned about service flexibility. The workload’s availability and administration are highly dependent on the cloud provider. If the IaaS provider experiences network problems or any form of internal or external downtime, the users’ workloads will be affected.

IaaS cloud computing platform can limit consumer privacy and customization options. IaaS cloud computing platform model is highly dependent on the internet availability.

Conclusion

IaaS is one of the layers of the cloud computing wherein the user organization outsources its IT infrastructure such as networking, servers, processing, data storages, virtual machines, and other resources. Client can access these resources over the internet.

See also

What is Cloud Infrastructure

What is iPaaS

What is Cloud Migration

Hybrid Cloud

Public Cloud

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