The cloud is associated with various services that define its operability. The primary services offered include Platform as a Service (PaaS), Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Software as a Service (SaaS), and Network as a Service (NaaS). The use of these services is entirely dependent upon the needs of the client.
Cloud computing enables users to embrace the aspect of virtual services, where access to data can be achieved from anywhere. The entire process is further simplified by the rapid increase of web access devices that are compatible with the cloud services. Internet-enabled devices are portable and more advanced than the bulky devices that were used in the past. Therefore, even businesses can easily be monitored while on the move.
What is Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)
Infrastructure as a Service is primarily designed to provide computing services to clients. In the past, activities like program development and testing used to be undertaken using local machines. However, the advent of IaaS has changed the playing field as it is now possible to conduct all these activities online.
IaaS is classified as infrastructure because the service providers supply the software, storage, hardware, and server to the users. They also support other system related services like resiliency planning, maintenance, and backup.
IaaS in the business world
The business industry stands to benefit the most from IaaS service offerings. IaaS service providers make it possible for users to take advantage of the infrastructure without incurring the enormous costs associated with setting up the hardware and software. IaaS is expected to help firms in the following ways.
When a firm implements its infrastructure, then it will have to account for future growth. To deal with potential future growth, businesses will have to purchase many resources that translate into higher costs starting costs. If the expected growth does not occur, then many resources will remain unused and wasted. IaaS, on the other hand, allows upward and downward scaling of services at the will of a user without further costs.
Users of IaaS services simply require an internet connection. Therefore, It is possible to manage projects irrespective of the user's location.
IaaS providers commonly divide resources between a broad range of data centers and servers, therefore, ensuring that services are always available. If one server goes down, then services will still be available.
The subscription service offered by IaaS providers makes it easy for users to pick the suitable service pack. In effect, this prevents situations where users have to pay too much and end up not using the services.
IaaS Service providers
There are many IaaS service providers, and the primary difference arises from the types of services that are offered.
Amazon Web Service
AWS offers a wide range of storage features and computing functionalities that include Cluster GPU Instances, Amazon Map Reduce(EMR), and Elastic Block Storage. Additionally, it provides memory caching, workflows, archival storage, message passing, No-SQL & Relational Databases, and search services.
This IaaS provider does not entirely rely on Microsoft for service delivery. In fact, the storage services offered are also found on other platforms. However, the administrative programs associated Microsoft are much easier to manage. Azure also provides message queues, non-relation storage services, virtual networks and service buses.
This IaaS service provider is among those involved in the development of OpenStack. The services offered in this case target client needs. Rackspace uses OpenStack for the cloud infrastructure, which allows users to run a similar in house platform in case there is need to shift to other service providers. Additionally, users can select from a wide range of operating systems such as Windows Server and Linux.
Google Compute Engine
This IaaS provider is most suitable for advanced computing functionalities, big data, information warehousing, and analytics apps. Additionally, its services have infused Google Services, BigQuery, Cloud SQL and Cloud Storage.
Other Cloud Services
Platform as a Service (PaaS)
Platform as a service is quite different from IaaS. PaaS classifies itself of a development environment (programming language). PaaS environments make development to be more dynamic and scalable.
Software as a Service (SaaS)
SaaS services are availed through a web browser. Applications and associated processes are hosted in an off-site data center instead of a local computer.
Network as a Service (NaaS)
NaaS is designed to provider virtual network services over the internet on a subscription basis. Users only need a computer, internet connection, and accessibility to the service provider portal.