Infrastructure as a service (IaaS)

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In this article , we are going to explore about Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) and dive into some deeper and basic concepts included in this along with the steps to setup / implement IaaS.

Table of contents:

  1. Infrastructure as a service (IaaS)
  2. Architecture of Infrastructure as a service (IaaS)
  3. Working of Infrastructure as a service (IaaS)
  4. Uses of Infrastructure as a service (IaaS)
  5. Pros of Infrastructure as a service (IaaS)
  6. Cons of Infrastructure as a service (IaaS)
  7. IaaS Providers
  8. How to setup / implement IaaS?
  9. Building High Performance IaaS

Infrastructure as a service (IaaS)

Infrastructure as a service also known as IaaS is a cloud computing service which offers and provides us with computing resources over the internet. There are generally three most important and standard cloud computing services. They are:

  1. Infrastructure as a service (IaaS)
  2. Software as a service (SaaS)
  3. Platform as a service (PaaS)
    IaaS or Infrastructure as a service is one of these computing services.

When we talk about infrastructure as a service, in this, the cloud provider manages all the operations of information technology infrastructures. These operations includes managing of storages,servers,other resources related to networking. Then it transfers these services to organizations with the help of virtual machines that are accessible through the internet. Due to this type of working algorithm, IaaS is very beneficial in organizations for managing their workloads and making them fast,flexible and efficient.

Now we have some basic knowledge of IaaS, so let's move to study it's architecture.

Architecture of Infrastructure as a service (IaaS)

In infrastructure as a service (IaaS) model, cloud provider manages all the infrastructures of an organization as we have discussed above. IaaS architecture targets to achieve good amount of efficiency to provide better services to end users. To attain or achieve this, it requires an architectural design that can provide information technology or IT resources and delivers their resources in an efficient manner. As cloud computing services are delivered to consumers, organizations that provide IaaS via the cloud need to develop and design an IaaS architecture that successfully optimize the use of its physical computing resources, in order to maximize cost savings and revenue for the organization.

Generally IaaS architectural designs differ and depend on the basis of need of any organization. Let's take an example of a private company as it requires a different IaaS architecture as compared to IaaS vendor as their needs are different, their goals are different. But one thing is very important and necessary that IaaS architecture should be well enough so that it can provide and offer better services to any organization.

Now let's have a look on how IaaS works.

Working of Infrastructure as a service (IaaS)

You might have heard of some IaaS providers like Microsoft Azure, Google cloud platform(GCP), Amazon web services(AWS). They play an important role as cloud computing model requires the help or interaction from these IaaS providers. The customers or users who are using IaaS services can access all the services through a network which is known as Wide area network popularly known as WAN.

Best example of WAN is the internet. Users can use IaaS platform in which they can create virtual machines, install operating systems in that machine, they can also deploy middleware like databases. The services provided by these IaaS providers can help a customer or user to investigate or track performance, costs and they can also handle troubleshoot issues of applications.

Now we have a brief look on some important uses of infrastructure as a service.

Uses of Infrastructure as a service (IaaS)

Infrastructure as a service is widely used nowadays. It helps in storing,recovering and providing backup of data. We will some of the best uses of IaaS.

  1. Hosting complex applications: This is a fact that IaaS is very useful in hosting complex applications or websites as compared to simple ones. It helps in managing and handling high traffic load in websites. You always get an advice to host your website on any cloud platform especially in Amazon web services or Azure. They are very useful and efficient in terms of hosting any website.

  2. Big data management: Before understanding this point first we will explore what is big data. So basically big data is a huge amount of data as the name suggests, that cannot be handled by traditional data processing applications. In today's scenario there is large amount of data which is collected by each and every organization. For handling this data IaaS is very efficient. It can manage,store and analyze this data as it can handle large workloads. In this way IaaS helps an organization in making decisions based on these data and they get valuable insights.

  3. Disaster recovery: As we know that building a centralized file storage or backup option is a very tough task but with the help of IaaS it can be done very fast and efficiently. IaaS helps to allow its users to use a broad and wide range of services.

  4. High computing performance: IaaS is very useful in handling and encountering complex tasks which generally requires the use of supercomputers as their calculations are very complex. Infrastructure as a service is considered best in this case.

We have seen some of the best uses of IaaS, now we are gonna take a look on pros and cons of infrastructure as a service.

Pros of Infrastructure as a service (IaaS)

  1. Cost savings: When someone starts any business or any introduce any websites, the main obstacle is its revenue and costs. If IaaS is used it will help in reducing the cost to large extent. As in IaaS platform there is no need to purchase and maintain any equipment or hardware. This advantage is one of the reasons why IaaS providers are gaining so much popularity these days.

  2. Scalability: There are some of the businesses which operate in some industries with seasonal fluctuations. Due to this reason scalability of business is required which is very difficult. But IaaS makes it easy by increasing and decreasing need of data storage,number of virtual machines and that too without paying anything.

  3. Flexibility: While using an infrastructure as a service, it becomes very easy in an organization as it provides access of hardware, software applications and computing power to employees. They can also access data and files at any time. IaaS makes an organization flexible.

  4. Growth of an organization: IaaS helps in growth of an organization as there is no need of training new employees in an organization. Rather company can focus on their business growth and allow IaaS providers to manage all the workloads of maintaining and upgrading infrastructure.

Cons of Infrastructure as a service (IaaS)

  1. Security: This is one of the major issues and disadvantage of an infrastructure as a service. Generally organizations give the control of infrastructure to IaaS providers which may lead to expose sensitive data. If there is a situation of hacking, there is a possibility that an organization's important data can be leaked and exposed.

  2. Dependency: Most of the organizations rely on IaaS platforms very much which is in some way not good. We have to accept the fact that IaaS is very useful and efficient and decrease the workload but providing total control to any third party platform is very dangerous. So over dependency on IaaS may be harmful.

  3. Lack of flexibility: IaaS providers work on managing workloads and upgrading the hardwares, software applications. But if some programs or applications that are of daily use in an organization are not upgraded by IaaS provider, it will create a lot of problems in an organization and there will be a lack of flexibility.

  4. Technical issues: In recent times some of the organizations reported that there is some technical problems in IaaS providers. This is also a very major disadvantage as most of the organizations rely and depend on IaaS platforms and if they are not working properly, harms an organization which is not tolerable. Proper upgrading is necessary and if there are problems in IaaS provider it would not be possible.

So we have discussed about advantages and disadvantages of infrastructure as a service. We have covered all the important concepts related to IaaS, so now we will take a look on some of the IaaS providers.

IaaS Providers

There are so many providers and platform that offer infrastructure as a service. Some of them are:

  1. Amazon web services(AWS): It is offered by Amazon and it provides storage services such as simple storage service and glacier, and computing services like elastic compute cloud.
  2. Google cloud platform(GCP): It is offered by Google and it provides storage services and cloud computing services like Google compute engine and many more.
  3. Microsoft Azure: It is offered by Microsoft and it also provides a variety of computing services and virtual machines.

These are the most famous IaaS providers as they have a large amount of customers. There are some of the small IaaS providers also available.

  1. Red Hat
  2. VMware
  3. Digital Ocean
  4. IBM Cloud
  5. OpenStack
  6. Rackspace

Now at last we will see how to setup or implement or develop IaaS.

How to setup / implement IaaS?

If we want to implement or setup an IaaS product, then there are important considerations and you can some rules to make and follow. The IaaS use cases and infrastructure needs should be strictly defined before different technical requirements and providers must be aware of all this and take this into consideration. There are some technical and storage needs for setup and implementation of infrastructure as a service. We will see each one of them.

  1. Security: Security of data must be considered when evaluating cloud services and providers. It is very important and necessary to take proper of care of data security.

  2. Networking: If an organization is paying attention to cloud deployments, it is compulsory and important for them to make sure that the infrastructure in the cloud can be accessed in an efficient and flexible manner.

  3. Compute: The organizations which are using cloud services should consider the various implications of virtual machines,servers and all other services that cloud providers offer.

  4. Storage: Organizations should have to consider about the requirements and need of storage types, storage performance levels and space needed.

  5. Various details: The details include:
    a. How many features of IaaS can be controlled by an user, What type of feature user can access and control?
    b. Details related to size of servers like , how many CPUs can be placed on servers,memory details.

These are some of the factors which an organization has to consider while implementing an IaaS. It is also very important for an organization to check the whether IaaS provider is providing all the services they need to establish their business or other needs.

Building High Performance IaaS

For building any infrastructure as a service we need to use following three steps with the help of which we can easily build a high performance IaaS. We will discuss each of the three steps in detail.

Step 1: Implement Pervasive Virtualization

Virtualization is the most important and first step while building any cloud infrastructure. It basically abstracts and isolates the underlying hardware
as virtual machines in their own runtime environment and locates multiple machines for computing,storage and networking resources in a single hosting environment. Generally virtualization is managed by a host server running a hypervisor—software, firmware or hardware that creates and runs virtual machines. It also provides and offers various facilities of cloud computing, resource sharing, load balancing. Pervasive virtualization is basically an approach towards providing various facilities and meeting the requirements for any organization or particular business. There are certain number of advantages which include better quality of service, improved availability and business continuity, faster resource deployment, and lower energy consumption.

Step 2: Select Your Cloud Management Platform

After implementing pervasive virtualization, we must also need a cloud management platform for building a cloud infrastructure. A cloud management platform generally helps and provides us facilities including good service quality, security and availability for workloads that are running in cloud environments. It can also provide us with the facility of direct user access to the system, automated provisioning and many others. More advanced capabilities include performance and capacity management, interoperability between private and public IaaS offerings, connectivity to and management of external clouds, application life-cycle support, back-end service catalogs, and integration with external enterprise management systems. CMP also help in automation and orchestration capabilities.
Now we have come up with two new words i.e, automation and orchestration. So let's understand what are they.
Automation: Automation is a key capability of elastic, high-performing cloud
environments.
Orchestration: Orchestration software provides the automated intelligence
that dynamically arranges, coordinates, and manages the elements of your cloud environment.
It is very important to choose a right cloud management platform for your organization which totally depends on your current virtualization environment, scope of your cloud strategy, your business requirements and budget.

Step 3: Implement Cloud Security

After virtualization and building a cloud platform it is compulsory and necessary for us to have a better cloud security for saving the data from hackers or other issues. We have seen above in the disadvantages section that data security is a major problem in cloud providers so a proper awareness should be there. Cloud security must be adaptive to an environment in which workloads are decoupled from the physical hardware and delivered from a fabric of pooled resources. At the same
time, security must protect the physical boundaries of the network edge. While building a cloud infrastructure that also provides better quality data security, one can lay the groundwork for eventually moving certain workloads into a public cloud. One way to do this is to provide security as a set of on-demand, scalable services. In this approach, policies are tied to logical attributes that create adaptive trust zones to separate multiple tenants. Workloads and the appropriate security policies can then be associated throughout the workload’s life cycle. This will definitely gonna help in building a good cloud platform.

So all these three steps are usually implemented while building a high performance IaaS.

So now we have deeply explored infrastructure as a service(IaaS). With that note I would like to conclude this article with a hope that you all who are reading this article will definitely learn and understand about IaaS.

Happy learning
Thank you.