What is Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)

What is Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)

Cloud computing is one of the building blocks of modern business, because renting and using virtualized resources in the cloud not only ensures a high degree of flexibility, but also saves many in-house IT department efforts. Those who choose services such as Software as a Service (SaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS) or Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) benefit not only from a practical scaling and billing model. instead, it releases unpleasant tasks such as managing and maintaining individual software and hardware components to the provider. Especially with the IaaS model, where you rent a complete IT infrastructure, the benefits of cloud computing are fast and clear.

What is IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service)?

Infrastructure-as-a-Service, or in short IaaS, is a service where providers rent their own IT infrastructure and make it available via the Internet. For this purpose, these cloud providers usually operate their own data centers where appropriate hardware is stored, managed and maintained. IaaS vendors can provide access to computing power (processor, memory, disk space) and complete network structure (including firewalls, routers, and security / backup systems) that you, the customer, can freely dispose of. So you can on the one hand choose which infrastructure resources On the other hand, you want to know how many servers, routers, firewalls you want to use, and performance data (CPU, RAM, etc.) that various network elements must have.

IaaS resources leased can be increased or decreased as needed at any time, for example, if you want to integrate other servers or accelerate the specified computing power. However, with most providers, you only pay for the components that you actually use. This high level of flexibility results from the fact that infrastructure-as-service offerings are in principle not tied to specific hardware, which means providers can optimally divide data center resources among their customers. To ensure the reliability and security of its services in the long run, the provider will also take care of the maintenance and modernization of data center hardware and the installation of systems and appropriate security devices. Of course, this also includes the replacement of damaged parts.

How does IaaS work and how are its responsibilities shared?

Infrastructure-as-a-Service operates on the Joint Responsibility Principle (dt. Principle of joint responsibility). Both providers and customers themselves have different tasks that need to be covered in order to be able to deploy and use cloud resources optimally. The IaaS Provider is responsible for hardware management, operation and security. This is also referred to as the physical environment which must be processed by the provider in such a way that it is available to users at all times. The main tasks of the IaaS operator include:

  • Construction, maintenance and periodic modernization of data center infrastructure
  •  Secure data centers against external influences
  • Provision of computing power (CPU, memory) and storage space
  •  Provision of server and network structures and databases
  • Create a virtualization environment that allows customers to access the IaaS resources they offer
  • Provides software that allows customers to access and manage virtualized IT infrastructure

Based on this hardware and software structure, customers can then collect and manage their own small data centers. However, this not only includes the organization and use of this logical environment, but also takes security measures to protect claimed virtualized IaaS resources. The tasks that must be performed on the customer's side can be summarized as follows:

  • The selection and arrangement of the desired virtual infrastructure
  • Installation, configuration, and regular updates of the operating system and any application software needed for their own needs
  • IaaS network administration and firewall configuration
  • Protection of the operating system and other installed software (of course also applies to the application itself) by security software
  • Data encryption and data connection
  • Establishment of authentication, identity and access control mechanisms

What kind of Infrastructure as a Service is there?

Depending on how the service is provided, there are basically three different types of IaaS solutions:

  • Public IaaS
  • privately
  • IaaS Hybrid

In Public IaaS is a basic variant of practical cloud services. The term "public" (ie public) stems from the fact that the resources offered are basically shared by all provider customers and accessed through the Internet. However, hardware sharing causes conflicts, because all resources are virtualized and thus independent of certain computers.

The Private IaaS concept deviates from the real idea of Infrastructure-as-Service in the case that there are no external service providers, but the in-house IT department provides the supply and leasing of resources. In this way, companies benefit from IaaS technology capabilities without relinquishing control over data and security. However, it eliminates the benefits of flexible scalability - and the company itself is responsible for the physical environment.

With the IaaS Hybrid, there is finally a solution that combines Public and Private IaaS. In this solution, resources are sourced from in-house service providers and from external providers. In this way, it is possible to self-manage sensitive company data, while scalable foreign resources are used for other purposes.

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  • An overview of popular IaaS business scenarios

Infrastructure as a Service is not suitable for every business and every purpose. For example, anyone looking for storage space will most likely find a cheaper offer with an online storage service than the IaaS provider. Likewise, choosing a suitable provider for hosting a simple company website - in this area, traditional web hosts usually offer much cheaper offers

 What are the advantages and disadvantages of IaaS?

Infrastructure solutions as a service has several advantages: First and foremost, the fact that outsourcing the IT resources needed saves on purchasing and managing and managing expensive hardware (with the exception of Personal IaaS). You also have the cost of running thanks to industry-specific billing by using it always in view and being able to optimally provide a household budget. In addition, there is flexible resource scaling in both directions, which allows the IaaS environment to be adapted to current business conditions.

Although handing over responsibility at the physical level saves a lot of costs and effort on the one hand, on the other hand it also has a decisive weakness of Infrastructure as a Service: As a user you have no influence on service availability. on the function of each component. Also in terms of security and privacy you don't have control in your own hands. Another disadvantage of IaaS is that changing providers is basically possible at any time, due to lack of standards and non-uniform interfaces, but at the same time very complicated.

Benefits of IaaS

Losses from IaaS

No hardware costs, easily adjusted operating costs

Depending on the provider, the only responsibility is the availability and security of the service

Fast implementation and provision of new projects

Access via the Internet is fundamental (problems with the Internet connection also cause problems with the IaaS environment)

High flexibility thanks to easy resource scalability

Provider change is very complicated

No need to manage, maintain and modernize hardware

Possible privacy issues due to the location of the provider server

Simple connection from several company locations to the IaaS leased environment


Source :https://www.ionos.de