The IT Infrastructure of any organization is mainly composed of the computing power needed, storage space, and the networking required to make it all work. Businesses traditionally had to set up all that infrastructure on-site, meaning investing physically in computers, storage, and networking components. They also had to have the skilled manpower to setup and maintain their infrastructure. However, businesses today can use computing, storage, and networking power remotely. They can pay for this periodically, which is the essence of ‘consumption as a service’.
There are three types of Infrastructure as a Service setups. A Private IaaS is where a business runs its own cloud data center where computing power, storage, and network components are delivered through an internet connection. A Public IaaS involves getting the service from a third party, such as Amazon Web Services, who also sells the service to other parties. A hybrid IaaS is a mix of the two.
Infrastructure as a service has been embraced by many businesses because of the agility it provides, scalability, cost efficiency, and acceleration. Let us break down these benefits further.
Infrastructure as a Service results in Cost Savings
By going the IaaS route, a business saves itself the capital expenditure cost of hardware. Hardware needs replacement after a few years as well as routine maintenance. Instead of incurring these costs, the business spends less cumulatively on periodic payments for service enjoyed. Minimizing hardware needs also reduces the number of IT staff needed, resulting in even greater savings.
IaaS service providers will use a pay-as-you-go model to charge clients. This means that the company will only pay for the capacity used. In contrast, a business with onsite hardware will still incur fixed maintenance and insurance costs even on unused machines. In IaaS model, the company can always opt-out of a service contract when they no longer need the services.
Scalability and Flexibility
The pay-as-you-go model in IaaS arrangements means that businesses can get more capacity whenever the need arises. This flexibility increases a business’s agility in being able to respond to client needs. In addition, service providers will constantly seek to improve their security measures, redundancy, storage, and networking technology. All this is abstracted away from the businesses that are paying for services on the go.
A big advantage of agility is faster response to opportunities as well as a reduction in the time it takes to get a new product to the market. In a scenario where all infrastructure is on-premise, an expansion would need hiring and training of new staff which might delay getting new products to the market.
Security and Increased Performance
IaaS service providers invest considerably in security improvements to guarantee the security of the data that clients store on their infrastructure. An individual client would never be able to guarantee themselves similar levels of security. Further, service providers strive to provide clients as much uptime as possible by ensuring their infrastructure is robust. Clients would have to invest in too much hardware to match a similar level of robustness in their systems. These are major selling points that have attracted businesses to Infrastructure as a Service solution.
Preparing for Worst-Case Scenarios
Any business that stores sensitive data must consider what would happen to its operations in case such data is lost to an attack or disasters such as fires. For companies that run their own onsite data centers, they might need to manually backup their data every so often to minimize exposure to data loss. In contrast, IaaS providers have their equipment in highly secure data centers with redundant power. They also have purpose-built cooling mechanisms. In case of a natural disaster, a business that uses IaaS is likely to take a shorter time to get back to operations because its most important data would be safe
A worst-case scenario could also be that employees are unable to report to the office due to health risks or government directives on restricted movements. IaaS infrastructure would allow employees to access the organization’s system via an internet connection remotely. This is likely to be a big driver for IaaS adoption going forward.
Challenges when Implementing IaaS Solutions
Despite the numerous benefits of implementing an IaaS solution, businesses must remain of issues that could potentially arise. First, a cloud solution for computing and storage might require the business to change certain elements of their workflow. In addition, even the best experienced IaaS providers might experience downtime, which will be unforeseen in most cases. The client business must reply in the swiftness of the service provider to get them back online as quickly as possible.
Vendor selection is never easy. The most reliable providers will often charge a premium for their services. The client business must strike a balance between the resources they have available and an acceptable level of quality of service. Even after picking a vendor, a different vendor can acquire the former and change the nature of operations.
Businesses must also realize that when depending on a public IaaS provider, they might not attain the level of customization they would get when running an on-premises data center. There is also a great level of control given up to the service provider. A business must be comfortable with this.
Indeed, IaaS offers great benefits to businesses in this age where operational excellence is key to customer satisfaction. It allows the business leaders to focus on business growth and leave the background technical work to a third-party expert. Businesses also have the chance to grow, pivot, and scale rapidly because additional computing and storage power is readily available. IaaS also provides better security and backup for company data, thus reducing worries about malware attacks and natural disasters.
In case your company needs help in moving from an onsite to a cloud-based data center, check out Transcendent Software. We have years of experience offering clients IaaS services, enabling them attain flexibility cost effectively. We assess clients’ current systems, plan on the best cloud technologies suit them, before building and deploying.