Infrastructure as a Service

Updated: Fri, 03 Apr 2015 by Rad

Infrastructure as a service** - (IaaS) is one of the three fundamental service models of cloud computing alongside Platform as a Service (PaaS) and Software as a Service (SaaS). As with all cloud computing services it provides access to computing resource in a virtualised environment, "the Cloud", across a public connection, usually the Internet.

In the case of IaaS the computing resource provided is specifically that of virtualised hardware, in other words, computing infrastructure. The definition includes such offerings as virtual server space, network connections, bandwidth, IP addresses and load balancers.

Physically, the pool of hardware resource is pulled from a multitude of servers and networks usually distributed across numerous data centers, all of which the cloud provider is responsible for maintaining. The client, on the other hand, is given access to the visualized components in order to build their own IT platforms.

Third party provides everything

IaaS providers also host users' applications and handle tasks including system maintenance, backup and resiliency planning.

IaaS platforms offer highly scalable resources that can be adjusted on-demand. This makes IaaS well-suited for workloads that are temporary, experimental or change unexpectedly.

IaaS customers pay on a per-use basis, typically by the hour, week or month. "Pay as you go" model eliminates the capital expense of deploying in-house hardware and software. Customers are able to self-provision this infrastructure, using a Web-based graphical user interface that serves as an IT operations management console for the overall environment. API access to the infrastructure may also be offered as an option.

IaaS enable end users to deploy both virtual and dedicated bare metal servers, develop applications and run production-ready workload

IaaS is ideal for startups, development of new apps, fluctuant demand

Since end users don't need to invest in their own hardware, IaaS is perfect for start-ups or businesses testing out a new idea.

And also the infrastructure scales on demand, it's great for workloads that fluctuate rapidly.

Common public IaaS workloads include:

  • dev/tests
  • website hosting
  • storage
  • simple application development

IasS growth continues in 2015

Market demand for pure IaaS has remained strong.

Analysts forecast the Global Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) market to grow at a CAGR of 48 percent over the period 2010 - 2014. One of the key factors contributing to this market growth is the need to reduce the overall organizational IT service cost.

A recent report from market research firm Markets and Markets reveals that the cloud market is expected to grow to $121 billion dollars by 2015: a 26% compound annual growth rate from the $37 billion value in 2010.

Infrastructure as a service, including cloud compute, storage and print services, continued as the fastest-growing segment of the market, growing 42.4 percent in 2012 to $6.1 billion and expected to grow 47.3 percent in 2013 to $9 billion.

The Global IaaS market has also been witnessing increasing hybrid approach for cloud infrastructure service solutions. However, the increasing concern for data security in the cloud infrastructure could pose a challenge to the growth of this market.

Key vendors dominating this market space include:

  • Amazon EC2
  • Rackspace
  • Verizon-Terremark
  • CenturyLink-Savvis

While some of the industry's giants, including Microsoft and Google, entered the cloud infrastructure market as an adjunct to other cloud services, they both now have a dedicated IaaS offering—Microsoft Azure and Google Compute Engine, respectively.

Much of the growth is being driven by larger companies that have previously been reluctant to invest in cloud infrastructure because of concerns of vendor lock-in, lax security, and the difficulty of developing cloud solutions that are tailored to their specific requirements.

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