Service on the Cloud: A Look at the Pros and Cons of Infrastructure as a Service
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While cloud computing may be a popular business solution for many companies out there, a major decision to make is what kind of service to use. Cloud computing comes in many different services, like Platform as a Service and Software as a Service. One of the more popular offerings from vendors is Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS). IaaS has many different uses, but some of the more common ones include virtual servers, load balancers, and network connections. The choice in IaaS vendor is also a big decision, with most businesses looking for high quality service and support experience, according to one recent survey. Cloud computing is making all of this possible as more businesses are moving past asking what is cloud computing to how can we implement cloud computing, but some businesses may still be hesitant to jump on board. Here are just a few of the major advantages that come from IaaS along with some disadvantages.
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One of the biggest reasons businesses are so eager to adopt cloud computing in general and Infrastructure as a Service specifically is the way it cuts company costs. Since cloud computing is done over the internet, businesses don’t have to spend the time or money on investing in hardware for their own infrastructure; all of that is handled by the IaaS vendor the company chooses. That means enterprises don’t have to worry about maintenance and replacing old equipment. Another way costs are lowered is by the reduced need for numerous IT personnel. Since most of the technical work is being carried out by a vendor, on-site staff will necessarily be fewer in number. At the same time, IaaS also allows on-site IT to shift their focus to more innovative applications and solutions. With more time on their hands, don’t be surprised to see IT come up with some creative ways to contribute to the business.
On the same note of reduced costs, another big advantage IaaS brings to the table is its pay-as-you-go model of payment. That essentially means that use of IaaS is metered where companies only pay for the services they use and how much they use it. Without a fixed monthly price tag, businesses will know they are spending their money wisely and not wasting it on stuff they’re not even utilizing. If your use of IaaS one month is low, your costs will match that. If you need to use IaaS a lot one month, your bill will reflect that. Either way, it’s a more efficient use of resources and investments.
Perhaps one of the major strengths of IaaS is its easy scalability. Workloads for businesses can change from week to week, which means they need dynamic infrastructure to handle the large variety of demands that are placed upon it. With IaaS, resources can be made instantly available for sudden spikes or drops in activity, effectively eliminating any downtime needed to add to or adjust infrastructure requirements. For example, if new demands suddenly arise, IaaS services can upscale quickly and easily to meet the growth. If there is a drop in demand, services can scale downward so that resources aren’t wasted unnecessarily. This basically makes IaaS mold itself to whatever business is using it.
IaaS also provides easier access for employees and business leaders who need to use business applications. Since IaaS is provided over the cloud, that means access to the essential systems, features, and data can be given to anyone with the right credentials provided they have a workable device and an internet connection. This provides employees with the same capabilities they would have in the office, even if they’re on the go.
As with any technology, there are a number of disadvantages associated with IaaS. One particular concern is that of security. It’s the same concern that surrounds all of cloud computing--mainly that data over the cloud can be more easily stolen or lost. Vendors have tried to address the concern by offering private cloud options, but the worry may never fully go away. Another disadvantage comes from vendor outages, where IaaS vendors suffer networks and service crashes, leaving customers unable to access their vital data and systems. Vendors can only really address the problem by promising quick recovery time in the unfortunate event of an outage.
Disadvantages may exist, but the benefits derived from Infrastructure as a Service can truly make a business more flexible and efficient. IaaS can cut costs and boost productivity while leaving more room for innovation and a tighter focus on the business side of things. Companies that adopt IaaS will have new capabilities to meet the demands of a rapidly evolving business world.
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