Cloud computing is no longer a mysterious term that only tech journalists throw around. Nowadays, everyone from business leaders to entry level office workers are supposed to already know what it is. Unfortunately, it’s hard to find information on cloud computing that’s written simply enough for someone without IT knowledge to understand.
In a nutshell, there are three main models of cloud computing. There’s Infrastructure-as-a-Servive (IaaS), Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS), and perhaps the most popular of the three models, Software-as-a-Service (SaaS). Today we’re going to focus our efforts on unpacking the IaaS model, how it’s used today and why it’s so talked about in tech circles all over the globe.
What is Infrastructure?
Understanding the IaaS cloud computing model requires at least a cursory understanding of what IT infrastructure is. In very basic terms, infrastructure refers to the physical hardware used to connect computing technology with users. In the IT world, this includes everything from storage drives to servers to networking equipment.
IaaS: A Working Definition
As you can imagine, this equipment is expensive to own. The big idea behind the cloud-computing phenomenon is that you don’t have to actually purchase software or hardware, but rather you can pay for access on a subscription basis. And that’s exactly what an IaaS provider does – they provide organizations with infrastructural resources on a subscription basis. The service provider owns the infrastructural equipment. This means they’re responsible for installing, maintaining and housing the infrastructural resources. The subscribing organization merely has access to the resources based on their subscription agreement.
Examples of Real-World IaaS Providers
· Amazon Web Services (AWS) – Amazon Web Services has upwards of a few dozen cloud-based services that range from web-based storage to email services for both small-scale and enterprise-level organizations. Perhaps their most popular IaaS offering is in the Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2), which is basically a set of virtual private servers (VPSs) running on the Xen hypervisor.
· Bluelock – Many industry analysts were taken by surprise when Bluelock was labeled as a market leader in Gartner’s Magic Quadrant report. The five-years-young company is heavy on virtualizations. They’re often considered a great Amazon alternative. They offer a series of vCloud-powered products can be used in any combination of public, private and hybrid cloud computing environments.
Now that you have a solid grasp on the IaaS model, you can show off your newly acquired knowledge to your colleagues. More importantly, you can do the important work of finding an IaaS provider that works well with your organization. This isn’t an easy task, but it is definitely doable. While not all providers are created equal there are plenty of providers that are doing amazing work in the cloud.