A decade ago, almost no one had heard of Infrastructure-as-a-Service. The largest and most famous IaaS offering, Amazon Web Services, only launched in 2006 as a consolidation of the massive IT resources that Amazon had strung together to support its e-commerce operations.
Flash forward to the present day, though, and IaaS is ubiquitous. According to a 2016 report from Structure Research, the entire IaaS sector brought in $16.2 billion in 2015, with the bulk of that total going to industry leaders such as AWS, Microsoft and RackSpace, according to a Data Center Knowledge summary.
The study's authors predicted that the market would have ballooned to more than $22 billion by the end of 2016, representing a 38.4 percent compound annual growth rate. Expansion among the seven largest providers was expected to be even more robust, at a 67.9 percent CAGR that would bring in a haul of $18.8 billion.
What are the advantages of using IaaS?
It is clear that IaaS has tremendous momentum. But why are so many organizations opting for IaaS as an alternative or supplement to their existing IT infrastructures? There are several key drivers here:
Operating expenditures versus capital expenditures
Traditional IT requires regular upgrade cycles for hardware and software, which are both time-consuming and costly. Essential appliances such as servers, storage arrays and cables depreciate and must be replaced. In contrast, IaaS houses all of these assets for you in a secure offsite data center, which you pay for on a rolling basis with a price tag that is tied to your level of usage. You get the convenience and savings of only paying for what you need, when you need it.
Unrivaled scalability and flexibility
Obtaining additional computing capacity on your own is expensive. If you are running an application with a volatile level of demand – e.g., a retail point-of-sale or inventory system that experiences a surge of traffic at specific times of the day or during certain seasons – it can be difficult to obtain sufficient resources without access to a public cloud. Cloud bursting via IaaS empowers companies to build economies of scale and recalibrate their infrastructures on the fly to respond to evolving business requirements.
" IaaS houses your assets in a secure offsite data center."
Advanced security and compliance
One of the oldest but most persistent myths about IaaS is that it is not secure. Like many myths, there is a grain of truth in it: You do give up some control over your IT destiny, which can be an unfamiliar situation for many IT professionals without experience in the cloud. However, in the vast majority of cases, IaaS is much more secure than anything an IT department could spin up on its own. IaaS facilities may be SSAE 16 (SOC 2) compliant, meaning that they have met requirements for control monitoring, change management and organizational structure.
Less overhead for IT personnel
IT workers lose a lot of time to mundane tasks such as dealing with emails, searching for documents and responding to help desk tickets. On top of these burdens, they can see their entire mornings and afternoons vanish if a server goes down or a network suddenly becomes much more latent. Such incidents are expensive. The Information Technology Intelligence Consulting Research has estimated that the costs of a single hour of downtime rose up to 30 percent between 2008 and 2017; 98 percent of the organizations they surveyed said one such hour would cost them more than $100,000. IaaS helps minimize such incidents through redundant infrastructure and 24/7 monitoring by the service provider.
How to do IaaS the right way – with a trusted managed services provider
IaaS has many advantages on the surface. Still, many organizations fall into a trap of not properly assessing their requirements and coming up with a custom-built solution that addresses these specific needs. Many of the most commonly identified issues with cloud deployments – e.g., out of control costs as operations scale, security hiccups and technical troubles with IP networks – are the results of inadequate planning and lack of effective partnerships.
For this reason, any organization considering a new or additional investment in IaaS should look for a managed IT services provider that can offer:
- Top-notch facilities: You'll want the assurance that your assets are maintained in the best data centers, with networks and software that go beyond typical local equivalents and are housed in jurisdictions with acceptable laws about data retention and privacy.
- Around-the-clock support: If something goes wrong with your IaaS instances, it is crucial to have a 24/7 technical support team that you can count on, with a clear service-level agreement to uphold.
- Assessment of pre-existing infrastructure: Migrating your operations to the cloud is not a light undertaking, and shouldn't be rushed into. It pays to get a full assessment of existing IT infrastructures to determine what type of cloud deployment will be the best fit for a given situation.
- Inflection point guidance: It is common for cloud customers to change what resources they use as their operations shift in type and scale. When a business hits one of these inflection points, an experienced partner can provide guidance on how to evolve the relevant IT infrastructures to further optimize costs and shore up system performance.
UbiStor is your one-stop shop for IaaS solutions that are custom-built for your organization's fundamental requirements. Learn more about your options today by visiting our IaaS page.