The cloud has redefined the way the world does business. It’s therefore vital that all businesses choose the right type of cloud services for their needs. For many, this means IaaS. With that in mind, here is a quick guide to the key benefits of IaaS for businesses.
Before looking at the benefits of IaaS, it’s worth taking a moment to look at what IaaS actually is. This can make it easier to appreciate how it compares to other offerings such as PaaS and SaaS.
IaaS stands for Infrastructure as a Service. In essence, an IaaS provider offers a range of standard IT infrastructure such as servers, storage, and networking devices. Clients then virtually build their own infrastructure in much the same way as they would build physical infrastructure.
With PaaS (Platform as a Service), the vendor provides the client with a range of pre-configured infrastructure. The client can then build their own applications on top of this. These applications are, however, intrinsically linked to the underlying infrastructure.
With SaaS (Software as a Service), the client just buys access to functionality. They may be able to configure their use of the software to some extent. The configuration options will, however, be much more limited than even PaaS. There is no comparison with IaaS.
Most of the benefits of IaaS hinge on the fact that it delivers the control you would expect from on-premises infrastructure with the flexibility of the cloud. Here is a straightforward guide to what that means in practice for businesses.
Before the cloud, businesses that wanted to build extensive IT infrastructure needed to be prepared to spend significant amounts of capital. This was sometimes a challenge for enterprises.
It was an even more challenging barrier for SMBs. Smaller and even medium-sized businesses are much less likely to have large cash reserves. They were also likely to find it much more difficult to get investment and/or financing.
Thanks to the cloud in general and IaaS in particular, however, all organizations can get the infrastructure they need without paying anything upfront.
When businesses run on-premises infrastructure, they are committed to paying its ongoing costs no matter what. With IaaS, businesses have a lot more flexibility to match their billing cycles to their business cycles.
This kind of flexibility and accuracy is part of the reason why finance departments tend to love IaaS as much as IT teams do.
There is simply no comparison between the scalability of on-premises infrastructure and the scalability of IaaS. With on-premises infrastructure, both scaling up and scaling down are generally expensive, logistically challenging, and time-consuming.
With scaling up, you have to commission new equipment (and wait for it to be delivered). With scaling down, you have to decommission the equipment you’ve bought. This means you either need to sell it (probably at a loss), store it, or recycle it. Either way, there will be costs involved.
You also need to make physical changes as well as changes to software. There’s a strong chance that these changes will need to be made out of hours. As with all complex changes, there is a lot of scope for human error. This can be very disruptive.
With IaaS, businesses can usually scale their usage up and down just with a few mouse clicks. At most, it will require them to update a contract with their IaaS provider.
Modern businesses have largely abandoned the traditional “one-and-done” approach to developing products and services. Instead, they are using agile, lean working methods to develop products and services incrementally.
This type of working process, by its very nature, is fast-paced and flexible. Features can be added, removed, brought forward, or delayed. Bugs can be identified and fixed while other development is in progress. Priorities can shift quickly.
Traditional on-premises infrastructure is simply not flexible enough for this approach. At least, it isn’t for SMBs that cannot afford to finance massive amounts of capacity in case they need it. IaaS, by contrast, is perfect for it.
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