Infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) is a cloud computing model that uses virtual servers. As such, an external provider supplies and manages computer hardware for an enterprise. Companies that need computing infrastructure but don’t want to deal with the difficulty of managing it use it.

Think of IaaS as a store that sells preconfigured computers. Rather than shop for each part individually and set up a computer, all you have to do is go to a store, pay for the set you like, and start using it when you get home.

Read More about Infrastructure-as-a-Service

Did you know IaaS gained prominence in the early 2010s? Since then, the industry has grown, amassing a global market size of US$84.1 billion in 2022. Read on to find out more about IaaS.

How Does the Infrastructure-as-a-Service Model Work?

An IaaS provider enables organizations to use virtualized computing resources over the Internet. It hosts and manages infrastructure components, such as servers and storage, networking, and virtualization resources, allowing users to access and utilize them on demand.

Here’s how the IaaS model typically works.

  1. The provider sets up and maintains a vast physical infrastructure, including data centers, servers, networking equipment, and storage systems.
  2. The physical infrastructure gets divided into virtualized resources using hypervisors or containerization technologies to let multiple users share the same physical resources while keeping their data isolated and secure.
  3. Users can obtain and manage virtual machines (VMs) or containers on the IaaS platform. They control the operating systems (OSs), applications, and configurations that run on these instances.
  4. Users can quickly scale their resource allocation up or down based on their needs by adding or removing VMs or containers.
  5. The provider offers networking capabilities, including firewalls, load balancers, and virtual private networks (VPNs) that users can configure and control.
  6. The provider also offers various storage options that users can utilize based on their requirements, such as object, block, or file storage.
  7. The provider often offers tools and interfaces so users can monitor and manage their resources. Users can monitor instances’ performance, health, and utilization; set up automated scaling rules; and access logs and metrics for troubleshooting.
  8. The provider bills users based on consumption. Users only pay for the resources they utilize based on their number of VMs, storage capacity, network bandwidth, and additional services. Billing models can vary, including pay-as-you-go, reserved instances, or spot instances, providing flexibility and cost optimization options.

What Benefits Does Using the Infrastructure-as-a-Service Model Provide?

Using the IaaS model offers several benefits, such as:

  • Scalability: IaaS provides a high degree of scalability, letting users quickly scale infrastructure up or down based on demand. This flexibility allows companies to handle traffic spikes, accommodate growth, and adjust resource allocation without significant upfront investments or hardware limitations.
  • Cost efficiency: Users only pay for the resources they actually consume, eliminating sizeable upfront capital expenditures on physical infrastructure. They can also optimize costs by dynamically scaling resources, leveraging spot instances, or using reserved instances for long-term workloads.
  • Reduced maintenance burden: IaaS enables enterprises to offload the responsibility of managing and maintaining physical infrastructure to the provider. As such, the provider handles tasks like hardware provisioning, software updating, security patching, and infrastructure monitoring. That lets users focus more on core business activities and reduces the time and effort spent on infrastructure management.
  • Geographic flexibility: Users can access their infrastructure and resources from anywhere if they’re connected to the Internet. That allows for geographic flexibility, remote work capabilities, and the ability to deploy applications and services closer to end-users, resulting in lower latency and improved performance.
  • Rapid deployment: Provisioning resources in an IaaS environment is generally quick and straightforward. Users can create and deploy VMs, storage, and networking components within minutes, compared to the time required to procure and set up physical infrastructures. This agility facilitates faster application deployment and reduces the time to market for new products and services.
  • High availability and disaster recovery: Providers often operate multiple data centers across different geographic locations. This redundancy and geographic distribution help ensure high availability and business continuity. Users can replicate their infrastructures and data across multiple regions, enabling robust disaster recovery capabilities without significant additional investments.
  • Innovation and experimentation: IaaS allows organizations to experiment and innovate with minimal risks and costs. Users can quickly spin up test environments, try out new technologies, conduct proofs of concept (PoCs), and iterate rapidly, encouraging innovation and fostering an environment of continuous improvement.
  • Security and compliance: Providers invest heavily in security measures to protect their infrastructure and user data. They implement advanced security controls, encryption mechanisms, and compliance certifications, relieving users of the burden of maintaining security independently.
Infrastructure-as-a-Service Benefits

Overall, the IaaS model empowers businesses to focus on core competencies, optimize costs, and leverage scalable and reliable infrastructure without the need for upfront investments or extensive maintenance efforts.

Key Takeaways

  • IaaS is a cloud computing model where an external provider supplies and manages hardware to a company.
  • An IaaS provider lets organizations use on-demand virtualized computing resources over the Internet by hosting and managing infrastructure components.
  • Scalability, cost efficiency, and reduced maintenance burden are benefits of using the IaaS model.