You’ve probably seen the whole gamut of “as a Service” models in industry publications, here on LinkedIn, and at major conferences. These cloud-driven as a Service models are changing the face of enterprise IT. Instead of spending more and more resources to find and hire qualified specialists, businesses are turning to subscription services from external, highly experienced teams. Companies of any size can take advantage of cost-effective virtual online services.
Of the breeds of as a Service options out there, this is especially true of Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS). Businesses using IaaS take advantage of scalable virtual computing resources without the extra strain of new personnel or fluctuating technology costs.
Just what is “as a Service”?
If you’re looking to automate your operating systems, reduce IT costs, or improve your security features, there’s an as a Service model for that. Simply put, these are subscription-based services that automate and streamline everything from data backup and business continuity to ongoing systems maintenance.
Some of the advantages of these cloud service models include regulating costs and cutting overhead while improving employee access to business productivity tools. Service fees can be by the hour, by workload, or by monthly subscription. Self-service features allow easy access to increased or reduced scale as needed, whether the service is just software or an entire virtual architecture.
How is IaaS different from PaaS, SaaS, ITaaS, and other as a Service options?
There are five main "types" of as a Service models, covering software, infrastructure, platforms, IT, and security.
- Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) is the backbone of as a Service models, providing a company’s servers and network or other hardware infrastructures in the cloud. Data is typically stored in a remote location by a hosted internet service provider (ISP) such as Amazon Web Services (AWS) or Microsoft Azure.
- Software as a Service (SaaS) is on-demand software in a hosted delivery model accessed via the internet. These software services are pay-as-you-go and accessible from anywhere with an internet connection.
- Platform as a Service (PaaS) is typically reserved for operations professionals. It extends past the infrastructure to help developers design, host, and test custom applications.
- Information Technology as a Service (ITaaS) adds to the IaaS model by also providing support to the virtual hardware/software package.
- Security as a Service (SaaS) offers IT security in a cloud-driven outsourced model.
These services are an example of distributed computing at its finest; companies have the option of utilizing these resources in a public, private, or hybrid framework. When people think of cloud as a Service models, they’re typically considering IaaS as a way to cut costs and add flexibility.
Benefits of IaaS
Like other as a Service models, IaaS is a scalable option for business growth. As capacity changes, your utilization and costs can increase or decline without cost spikes tied to equipment purchases or hiring IT personnel. Some of the key benefits of IaaS include:
- Removes the burden of managing a physical infrastructure
- Provides simple scaling to fit company demand
- Offers low cost, high customization
- Delivers cloud accessibility to these services with self-service features
- Eliminates some need for skilled personnel
If your company is ready to shift to IaaS, there are some questions you should consider before upgrading to this service.
What to look for in IaaS
IaaS is an effective model for businesses with seasonal spikes, such as retailers. Startups to medium-sized companies expecting growth could also benefit from the flexibility of IaaS. Even some enterprise organizations are shifting to IaaS to free up IT teams for strategic projects to reduce strain on their own servers.
But how do you know if you’re getting the best IaaS support for the best price? Ask your vendors these questions to determine if you’re buying the right services mix:
- Are the service levels tiered? If so, how is the pricing mix balanced to fit current and future needs?
- What is the service performance and availability?
- What key performance metrics are baked into the service level agreement (SLA)?
- How is risk distributed?
- What are the tiers of support, especially during evening, weekends, and holidays?
Windsor Group can help your company determine the best models for your IT infrastructure. Road-mapping delivery and pricing models will help your company determine the best course of long-term action for digital transformation. Schedule a strategy session today.