Why Should Businesses Use IaaS?
In the cloud arena there is now more choice than ever before. You can now choose between private, public and hybrid clouds and can sign up for a variety of things ‘as-a-service’ from the cloud. The cloud can be particularly advantageous to businesses and can provide useful services and systems with minimal hassle. One service that is particularly well-suited to the business world is IaaS, or ‘Infrastructure-as-a-Service’.
In basic terms IaaS is where computer resources are delivered to the customer virtually via the cloud. Where SaaS refers to access to software and applications through the cloud, IaaS encompasses hardware, networking and storage. It may also include the operating systems needed to manage these resources. When you rent infrastructure from an IaaS provider you are not paying for the physical server or hardware. Instead you are given virtual access to the infrastructure through the cloud - the servers and hardware remain firmly in the provider’s data centre!
Many companies are investigating how to implement the cloud in their business and have started to incorporate IaaS solutions. There are five main benefits to using IaaS in a business setting.
1. Saving on cost
For many companies finding IT solutions that can save money has become increasingly important. With IaaS you not only gain practically immediate access to important hardware, but also you can save money on the use of this hardware. Utilising Infrastructure-as-a-Service means that you no longer have to invest in your own in-house hardware - reducing your capital expenses (i.e. the cost of buying the hardware). With capital expenses reduced you only have to worry about the operational expenses of using the hardware. Any maintenance costs are dealt with by the provider and should be covered by the price.
2. Focus on what you do best
For most companies time is precious. Organising the setup and maintenance of an in house IaaS solution can take up valuable time and resources. Choosing a cloud IaaS solution can allow companies to focus on developing their business and moving forward without having to worry about technological problems that may not be their forte. Many small companies without an IT team will not have the technical know-how to implement their own IaaS solution and using the cloud can be a simpler and easier option. For those companies that do have an IT team, using IaaS can free up their time and allow them to focus on other projects.
3. Easy, dynamic scaling
When companies set up an IaaS solution it can be difficult to predict the required scale of the solution. You do not want to overestimate as this can unnecessarily cost you money and underestimating can mean that later down the line you have to expand the infrastructure - potentially disrupting the workflow. With IaaS, this problem can be avoided. Increasing your infrastructure, adding more storage capacity or additional servers can be done quickly and easily - pretty much at the push of a button. Equally your infrastructure can also be reduced depending on your requirements. With dynamic scaling the amount of resource can automatically be scaled up or down depending on the needs of the application.
4. Pay for what you use
An attractive part of IaaS for many businesses is its flexibility in price. For the most part, with IaaS, your fee is calculated based on the quantity of resources you have used and the length of time they were used for. This means companies do not have to pay a large monthly or annual fee for something they may only use once a week. IaaS providers will use a method called ‘metering’ to determine the usage of the resources. Paying on a per use basis can be particularly advantageous and cost effective for many companies. It can also save money on licensing as with a ‘pay-as-you-go’ IaaS solution you do not have to purchase your own licences - which can be expensive - instead a small proportion of your fee goes to the provider of the software that requires a licence. If you already have licences then a ‘bring-your-own-licence’ scheme will allow you to utilise your licences in the cloud and within the workplace.
5. Green advantages
Environmental impact is becoming more and more of a concern for many companies. Utilising the cloud for your infrastructure requirements can be a helpful step in a ‘greener’ direction. The fact that infrastructure resources can be accessed and managed from anywhere on any device means that travel costs, and therefore the environmental impact, can be cut down. Having the infrastructure resources hosted and managed by the IaaS provider means that there is less of an environmental impact than there would be with an in house solution.