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How to choose an Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) provider

Posted by Rebecca Ney on Sep 28, 2018 2:43:49 PM
Rebecca Ney

How to choose an Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) provider

Cloud virtualisation and infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) have already fundamentally altered how businesses manage, purchase, and deploy IT infrastructure.

The provisioning of infrastructure, which was previously a complex and time-consuming process involving bulky data centres, has now evolved beyond recognition. 

With a large number of IT infrastructure providers presently operating in the market, companies need to partner with one that will cater to their unique cloud computing and IaaS needs. Before deciding on an IaaS provider, businesses should clarify their requirements by understanding how the service works.

 

What is Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)?

Infrastructure as a service (IaaS) refers to a service model that delivers virtualised computer infrastructure resources over the internet on an outsourced basis. Typically, IaaS provides companies with Virtual Services and storage to support their operations.

IaaS is one of three main cloud computing services, alongside platform as a service (PaaS) and software as a service (SaaS).

 

How IaaS Architecture Works

In an IaaS model, the cloud provider hosts the infrastructure components that would be found in an on-premises data centre such as servers, networking and storage hardware, as well as the hypervisor or virtualisation layer.

An IaaS provider also provides a range of services including monitoring, load balancing and clustering, and security.

IaaS clients gain access to these services and resources through an established wide area network (WAN); they can then install the remaining application stack elements. For instance, a user may log into the provided IaaS platform and do the following:

  • Deploy middleware such as databases
  • Install the created enterprise workload into the VMs 

Using IaaS, customers can monitor performance, track costs, manage disaster recovery, balance network traffic, troubleshoot application issues, and more. All cloud computing models require the participation of providers.

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Why is IT Infrastructure Important?

IT infrastructure optimises business performance and enables competitive advantage. As companies grow, so do the needs of their employees and consumers. For this reason, they cannot ignore the relevance of planning and developing their IT infrastructure in tandem with their business goals and current needs.

Most startups and SMBs start with a simple “DIY” infrastructure. They invest in basic hardware such as laptops, desktop computers, simple phone systems and routers for their internet connection. Their online delivery services and communication with stakeholders is accomplished via cloud applications. 

However, company growth can result in new security, connectivity and productivity issues. At this stage, computing speed and reliability are essential, as are system security and storage resiliency, making strategic IT infrastructure essential.

 

The Pros and Cons of IaaS

Improving Efficiency

Organisations choose IaaS for its speed, ease of use and cost-efficiency to operate their workload, without having to purchase, support, and manage the underlying infrastructure.

IaaS allows organisations and businesses to lease or rent that infrastructure from a third party. What’s more, by offloading some tasks to a third party (like network monitoring or routine maintenance), on-site teams can focus on specific goals such as Improvement projects.

 

Cost Efficiency

Depending on the IaaS model a business selects (like private, public, or hybrid cloud), cost is a large factor. Each model has its own associated expenses whether or not a third party is present. 

However, using a third party saves a business a lot of money. This is because, typically, IaaS providers don’t charge flat fees per period (a month or year); instead, they associate their costs with use and only charge for services rendered. Also, third parties can take over some infrastructure services like phone and email management, which cuts down costs further.

 

Allows Temporary Usage

IaaS is effective for workloads that are experimental, temporary or change unexpectedly. For instance, a business that is developing a new product may find it cost-effective to host and test it using an IaaS provider to start their infrastructure small and grow later.

 

Security

Security needs vary from business to business. A business handling sensitive information such as project details or customer records will likely opt for a private cloud model over a public one. Such businesses enjoy perks like scalability and increased control over their IaaS, but the cost benefits do not apply.

 

What Should You Look for in an IaaS Provider?

 

1. Infrastructure

A good IaaS provider should have a robust, managed cloud solution that runs in a highly secured data centre.

 

2. Flexibility and Scalability

Organisations should always explore the provider’s capability to offer the scalable and flexible capacity to accommodate growth and variations.

 

3. Sound Architecting Capability

Companies looking to build a private cloud model should pick an IaaS provider that can offer a sound consultative approach to building the best-suited cloud solution that is flexible, scalable, and secure. 

 

4. Pricing

It is hard to make direct pricing comparisons among IaaS providers. However, businesses that can accurately compute their basic networking and storage needs can easily decide on the best IaaS provider to choose when taking into account the different pricing models and any other perks such as discounts offered.

 

5. Security

Businesses should always make data security their primary concern irrespective of the cloud computing solution or provider they choose.

   

The Bottom Line

Choosing the right IaaS provider is an important decision. Strategic IT infrastructures address the needs of users today and are flexible enough to satisfy all future requirements as businesses mature. 

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To learn how The Missing Link can assist in your IT infrastructure needs, get in touch with us today.

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AUTHOR

Rebecca Ney

Marketing Manager

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