Infrastructure as a service (IaaS) is a form of cloud computing that offers virtualized computing resources via the internet. IaaS is one of the three cardinal categories of cloud computing services along with its counterparts viz the software as a service (SaaS) and platform as a service (PaaS).
In the IaaS model, the cloud provider manages the entire IT infrastructure such as the storage, server, and networking resources, then delivers those to subscriber organizations using virtual machines that are accessible via the Internet. IaaS offers several fantastic perks for organizations by making all the otherwise taxing workloads a lot faster, easier, flexible, and cost-efficient.
- An Overview of the IaaS Architecture
In an IaaS service model, a cloud provider hosts all the infrastructure components that are ideally a part of an on-premises data center. This includes servers, storing, networking hardware, and also the virtualization or the hypervisor layer.
Furthermore, the IaaS providers offer an array of services to accompany the infrastructure constituents. These services usually include detailed billing, monitoring, security, log access, clustering, and storage resiliency such as backup, recovery, and replication.
It is interesting to note that usually the IaaS providers furnish policy-driven services, enabling users to implement an advanced level of automation and for coordinating critical infrastructure tasks. The users can, for instance, implement policies that automate the entire load balancing in order to maintain application performance and availability.
The IaaS customers can also access resources and services from a wide area network (WAN) such as the Internet and can thereby instruct their cloud providers to deploy a complete application stack.
While there are innumerable IaaS providers nowadays, mentioned below are some of the most prominent ones who stand tall as eminent IaaS players.
- Amazon EC2 - Amazon Elastic Cloud Compute (EC2) is one of the most eminent IaaS providers. It consists of Amazon's pre-configured and pre-defined templates and this wonderful feature assists users in building virtual servers via the Amazon Machine Images (AMIs) to imitate virtual servers, an OS, or an app server to address different business needs. Amazon offers innumerable, useful tools that help create robust AMIs. Amazon's EC2 is also renowned for its reliability and its pricing is undoubtedly the X-factor that gives it an edge over its other competitors.
- Microsoft Azure Virtual Machines - Microsoft Azure is a renowned IaaS provider, and customers are particularly drawn to it because of the wonderful migration tools that offer detailed information to users regarding the available features and the costs involved in shifting on-premises data to a cloud platform prior to actually moving the data. Furthermore, its user interface is extremely easy, especially for novices, and both Microsoft Office 365 along with SharePoint can be accessed easily via Azure. Microsoft Azure also has a close-knit user community that helps beginners overcome any snags.
- Google Compute Engine - Google Compute Engine is another established IaaS provider. Its key feature is its migration tool which is supremely easy to learn. Google's data analytics, real-time processing tools, and its Cloud Dataflow are some other stunning features that make Google Compute Engine stand apart from its various other competitors. Google Cloud Platform compute engines work on per seconds usage, so customers find it to be more affordable and cost-effective as compared to other IaaS providers. Furthermore, Google Compute Engine makes use of one-click boot-up time and pre-built operating systems, and this is indeed one of the major perks of this product. Its user interface and visual appeal are however not that compelling, but there's always room for improvement and for now customers seem quite satisfied with the Google Compute Engine.
- DigitalOcean Droplets - DigitalOcean makes use of droplets or Linux-based VMs. These droplets then function over the virtualized hardware. DigitalOcean Droplets is one of the most cost-effective IaaS providers that is quite easy to set up and use. DigitalOcean Droplets are particularly useful for hosting websites and other web apps. Users have the discretion to maintain what's installed inside the droplet, but this might be a little time-intensive. However, its loyal customers fervently advocate for DigitalOcean as the best IaaS provider, especially for developers.
- IBM Cloud Private - IBM Cloud Private is quite distinct from the other aforementioned IaaS providers. This IaaS solution needs to be installed on-premises, typically at the business location that is in a data center-type environment. Its biggest advantage is the advanced level of security along with its ability to host servers in a cloud environment. Businesses using a private cloud get complete control over their software and hardware choices, and customize it in the way they see fit. This unique feature is not offered by any other public IaaS provider apart from IBM Cloud Private. IBM makes use of Kubernetes to amplify the reach of its cloud applications to public cloud service providers while automatically managing the storage, RAM, and CPU usage, which is what makes IBM one of the finest IaaS providers.
If you are keen on hand-picking the best IaaS provider, then one pro tip that we would like to give is that you must first evaluate the type of business that you have. It can indeed be a Herculean task to zero in on the best IaaS provider, and for this you primarily need to analyze your work operations besides taking into consideration various other ancillary factors. We at thinkbridge can assist you in this regard and can help you hand-pick the finest IaaS provider as per your distinct work requirements. Connect with our Vice President of Client Services Shamik Mitra (firstname.lastname@example.org) to learn more about our array of unparalleled strategic services that would help you choose the best cloud provider. Contact us today for a one on one consultation.